Lanterns: The Disturbing Backstories Behind Gen. Flynn’s Demise

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The Disturbing Backstories Behind Gen. Flynn’s Demise

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

The resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, as a result of one or more telephone conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, around December 29th has been portrayed by some media figures as the greatest event since Watergate, or maybe even 9/11. But there’s a dark backstory that’s far more significant than what Flynn did or didn’t do. Actually, there’s more than one.

The controversy about Flynn’s phone conversation revolved around the issue of whether he discussed the sanctions the Obama Administration had imposed for the alleged Russian hacking before Mr. Trump was inaugurated. General Flynn at first denied to the vice president that he had discussed sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. But on February 9th, The New York Times published a story saying:

Weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, discussed American sanctions against Russia, as well as areas of possible cooperation, with that country’s ambassador to the United States, according to current and former American officials.

The report went into some detail and said right out that the info had been drawn from classified materials:

During the Christmas week conversation, he [Flynn] urged Mr. Kislyak to keep the Russian government from retaliating over the coming sanctions … by telling him that whatever the Obama administration did could be undone, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified material.

The story made it clear it was quoting “officials” who had actually read transcripts of the phone calls, but did not name those officials.

Federal officials who have read the transcript of the call were surprised by Mr. Flynn’s comments, since he would have known that American eavesdroppers closely monitor such calls.

Our intelligence agencies routinely eavesdrop on telephone conversations Russian officials like Kislyak, but since an American citizen was on the other end of the call, Flynn’s end of the conversation should have been “minimized,” but apparently wasn’t. It’s unclear why.

On February 15th, CNN published a story containing this:

High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.

~

Both the frequency of the communications during early summer and the proximity to Trump of those involved ‘raised a red flag’ with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.

Among several senior Trump advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and then-adviser Michael Flynn.

Manafort emphatically denied that he was in contact with Russians known to US intelligence.

"That is 100% not true, at least as far as me," he said. "I cannot believe that they are including me in anything like that. I have not been involved in any of these activities."

Notably, not a single source is named in this story either. There is also an indication that the news outlet had been given classified data:

Adding to US investigators' concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access.

“Intercepted communications” means U.S. intelligence had eavesdropped on Russian officials’ telephone calls. Obviously, this would also be classified information.

Much is being made of these revelations, which just happen to dovetail with a narrative the Democratic Party has been pushing since just after the election, that also included the disproven allegation that the Russians had “hacked the election,” implying the vote had been tampered with. The intent was to delegitimize the Trump election. The office of the Director of National Intelligence under the Obama Admin specifically denied the activity they reported on was involved in the vote tallying. [See page 3.]

The smoke raised by Democrats obscures memory of the Obama administration

Of course, the Democrats’ Holy Grail would be to prove that President Trump himself had been involved with Russians in helping to sink Mrs. Clinton’s ramshackle campaign. But in fact, some of us are only glad we don’t have Clinton instead of Trump choosing people for her cabinet. She’d be looking at far-left individuals like Tom Perez for her cabinet right now, and we’d be watching them breeze through Senate confirmation. He and his ilk are far more dangerous to America than the Russians. A look back is educational.

Perez worked in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, in the latter as Asst. AG of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, later as secretary of labor. Had Clinton been elected, Perez might well be heading the DOJ now, instead of Jeff Sessions.

Perez held the view that “compensatory payments to plaintiffs who win judgments in civil-rights cases should go not only to the actual victims of discrimination, but additionally to ‘qualified organization[s]’ approved by the Justice Department,” according to Discover the Networks. Is that even legal?

DTN’s account of Perez’s activities, “depicting America as a nation rife with injustice and maltreatment against many groups of people,” investigating police departments, applauding the work of La Raza and battling voter ID laws is an interesting read.

His lawsuit against Florida to stop it from validating its voter rolls was particularly egregious. “Florida election officials had identified some 53,000 still registered voters who were deceased, and another 2,600 who were non-citizens. In fact, state officials estimated that the total number of non-citizens on Florida's registered-voter rolls was as high as 182,000,” said DTN. Perez “authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court” June 12, 2012. It’s telling that this is a sample of the “Obama legacy” the Left/Democrat Party is trying to preserve by fighting the Trump Administration to the death.

Did Congress and the Media whip themselves into a froth over all of that?  NO. One of the backstories is this: unless the Media invented a source for its allegations about Trump team contacts with Russians, the information was leaked to them by persons unknown in the Intelligence Community, likely Obama holdovers.

That is unquestionably criminal.

Shadowy groups work against the Administration

The other backstory comes from the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on February 14th that:

The … resignation … of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump's national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

This cabal reportedly includes former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes, who once bragged about crafting an “echo chamber” to sell the controversial Iran deal. One of the cabal’s prime missions was to block “the Trump administration's efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration,” wrote the Free Beacon. “Since then,” it said, “top members of the Obama administration's national security team have launched a communications infrastructure after they left the White House. They are using that infrastructure to undermine Trump's foreign policy.” See also here and here.

The Free Beacon report also quotes unnamed sources, but with more specificity in what was actually said:

“It's actually Ben Rhodes, NIAC [the National Iranian American Council], and the Iranian mullahs who are celebrating today,” said one veteran foreign policy insider who is close to Flynn and the White House. “They know that the number one target is Iran … [and] they all knew their little sacred agreement with Iran was going to go off the books. So they got rid of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”

Flynn had been preparing to publicize many of the details about the nuclear deal that had been intentionally hidden by the Obama administration as part of its effort to garner support for the deal, these sources said.

In a January 23, 2017 report, the Free Beacon revealed that:

Two high-level Iranian government backers, including a former Islamic Republic official and another accused of lobbying on Tehran's behalf, were hosted at the Obama White House for more than 30 meetings with top officials at key junctures in the former administration's contested diplomacy with Iran, according to White House visitor logs…

Seyed Mousavian, a former Iranian diplomat and head of its national security council, was hosted at the White House at least three times, while Trita Parsi, a pro-Iran advocate long accused of hiding his ties to the Iranian government, met with Obama administration officials some 33 times, according to recently updated visitor logs.

Sources familiar with the nature of the meetings told the Washington Free Beacon that both Parsi and Mousavian helped the White House craft its pro-Iran messaging and talking points that helped lead to the nuclear agreement with Iran. These efforts were part of a larger pro-Iran deal "echo chamber" led by senior Obama administration officials who were tasked with misleading Congress about the nature of the deal.

“One veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team” commented: "This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters."

Making a real-world comparison of allegations

In making comparisons, the WikiLeaks revelations—like the news that then-CNN employee Donna Brazile had gifted Hillary Clinton with debate questions in advance—were not classified; they were not released to the press from unknown employees of the Intelligence Community. They were hacked from Center for American Progress founder John Podesta’s email account. And some might say that the American people deserved to know that fact. The Free Beacon said:

“The larger issue that should trouble the American people is the far-reaching power of unknown, unelected apparatchiks in the Intelligence Community deciding for themselves both who serves in government and what is an acceptable policy they will allow the elected representatives of the people to pursue,” said the national security adviser quoted above.

In addition, can we really draw a comparison between Flynn’s pre-inauguration talk about sanctions with Kislyak, and an “infrastructure” created by associates of ex-President Obama specifically to conceal secret provisions of the Iran deal and demolish the Trump presidency? If true, that’s especially unsavory since Obama’s policies were unquestionably what voters rejected in November.

The Democrats are selling the narrative that the Trump team colluded with Russia, in some unholy way, in spite of the fact that comparing Russia to Iran shows that Russia is obsessed with regaining its former power, but is also dead-set against Islamic terror, having suffered devastating attacks, like the Beslan school siege and others. So we could indeed work with them at least in this area. Iran, on the other hand, is a longtime self-declared enemy of America, is the world’s leading supporter of terror, and is credited with killing 500 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Written by Bob Bennett

Bob Bennett, a NY-based writer, has written op-eds for the WSJ and a cancer medical journal; op-eds and travel pieces for the NY Post and a cover article for the Jewish Press. He has also appeared with his wife on Fox News, discussing Obamacare.

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