The media have figured out they can’t bring down or impeach President Trump. So they are targeting his Cabinet officials and top advisers one by one. In the case of Michael T. Flynn, the media think they have hit pay dirt. The Washington Post has led the charge, using top-secret surveillance intercepts of communications between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. It’s more evidence that the CIA, and perhaps the National Security Agency (NSA), are out to destroy Trump’s national security adviser.
“The knives are out for Flynn,” said one administration official quoted in the paper. The knives are computer keyboards in the hands of scribblers for a paper whose owner, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has a business relationship with the CIA. The Post is wielding the knives provided by anonymous intelligence officials.
Nobody knows this better than the Post’s Watergate reporter, Bob Woodward, who said on Fox News that the CIA was using unverified “garbage” allegations in a campaign to destroy Trump himself. Since Trump has survived, the campaign has taken a new form against Flynn, a close adviser to Trump on foreign policy who had campaigned with him and by his side.
At the heart of the story are secret surveillance intercepts of conversations whose disclosure is itself a violation of the law. In fact, these illegal disclosures to the press are far more serious than anything Flynn is accused of doing. But don’t think the media are going to investigate themselves for these illegalities. If they bring down Flynn, they will have wounded Trump. The sharks will smell blood in the water.
Remember that the FBI is said to have reviewed the intercepts and determined there was nothing illicit in what was discussed. That finding hasn’t stopped the CIA and the Post from continuing a campaign to sink Flynn. The so-called sensational news angle is that Flynn forgot what he told the Russian Ambassador and Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
The real explanation for the assault, as we have explained in several columns, is that Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a retired Lieutenant General, doesn’t trust the CIA. And the CIA clearly doesn’t trust him.
Meanwhile, in a newsworthy development that went mostly unreported here in the United States, Trump’s new director of the CIA, former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), traveled to Saudi Arabia to give a top Saudi official a CIA award for “counter-terrorism” named after a discredited former CIA director. The Saudi official was given the “George Tenet Medal” in recognition of his “excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realize world security and peace.” Tenet is known for his embarrassing and false “slam dunk” comments about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S. invasion.
Pompeo’s tribute to the Saudi official, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, is astounding considering the evidence of the Saudi role in facilitating jihadist terrorism in Syria, a debacle that has helped to produce 500,000 dead and refugees streaming into Europe and the United States. Bin Nayef serves as Minister of Interior.
Rather than focus on Flynn, the media should be asking what Pompeo is doing paying tribute to a Saudi official whose regime is neck-deep in a conflict that has produced a major humanitarian catastrophe. And why is the CIA giving an award named after a director who failed in the intelligence mission of the agency he led?
Under these circumstances, if President Trump fires or forces the resignation of Flynn, it will be a huge victory for the CIA’s failed policies in the Middle East. These are policies Trump promised to reverse.
The assault on Flynn began on January 12, when Post columnist David Ignatius reported, “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about ‘disputes’ with the United States. Was its spirit violated?”
With subsequent stories and various Trump administration comments, a “scandal” has been created, with Flynn’s fate hanging in the balance.
Despite the FBI clearing Flynn, the issue is now whether Flynn talked about sanctions and to whom. He apparently first denied this, and later acknowledged that the subject may have come up. With multiple Obama-created foreign policy problems on his plate, it may be the case that he gave some misleading information to Vice President Mike Pence.
The real issue, as Flynn has talked about publicly since he left the DIA in 2014, is the evidence of a U.S. role under Barack Obama and his CIA director John Brennan in facilitating an increase of radical Islam in the Middle East. He has cited the evidence contained in a DIA document, declassified and publicly released by Judicial Watch.
While Flynn has been critical of the agency for carrying out the Obama/Brennan policy of supporting Islamists in the Middle East, he writes in his book, The Field of Fight, about how the Russian intelligence services have also been involved in supporting radical Islam. This proxy war has damaged mostly Europe and the United States, and lies behind President Trump’s desire to curb immigration from Middle Eastern countries racked by Islamist violence.
Rather than clean house at the agency, Pompeo reportedly jumped on the bandwagon against Flynn, with the CIA or some other anonymous intelligence community insider leaking information that the agency had denied a security clearance for one of Flynn’s associates on the National Security Council. “One of the sources said the rejection was approved by Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s CIA director, and that it infuriated Flynn and his allies,” Politico reported.
This is truly amazing since Obama’s CIA director himself should never have received a security clearance, and his policies were incompetent, if not anti-American. Brennan was a close friend and confidant to George Tenet and had served as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly converted to Islam. As CIA director, Brennan told a congressional forum that even voting communist, as he once did, was not a bar to employment at the agency. Brennan admitted voting communist when attending Catholic Fordham University in 1976. He was also involved in the cover-up of the Benghazi massacre of four Americans.
In his new book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, Bill Gertz explains how the CIA has become “politicized,” dominated by a “liberal culture,” and resistant to probes of communist moles within.
Having had a pro-communist with Muslim sympathies once reach the top position of CIA director, it’s no wonder that the agency wants to get rid of Flynn. The CIA has a lot of baggage that needs to be exposed and swept away. The real mystery is why Pompeo decided to continue with the business-as-usual mentality and has not followed through on the President’s pledge to “drain the swamp.”
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].