As the 2016 election cycle approached, a number of Republican candidates solicited Flynn’s advice to include Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Ted Cruz. In a sense, Flynn chose Donald Trump as much as Donald Trump chose him. At the time, the candidate’s understanding of what he called “the swamp” consisting of bureaucrats, elected officials, consultants, and contractors enriching themselves at the expense of the American taxpayer, was mostly theoretical. But Flynn had detailed knowledge of how the Beltway worked.
With that, the two men hit it off and as a result, the General traveled with candidate Trump regularly. In fact, outside of Trump’s family, Flynn was his closest adviser. The foreign policy initiatives he articulated were the president-elect’s, and when he spoke to foreign officials, Flynn indeed, was speaking for Trump.
The other thing that Flynn was aware of was that the Obama administration’s major spying operations on its foes and opponents. As I have talked about in previous writings on Obama administration domestic spying, which is a felony if identified and released, was a frequent occurrence. By law, the names of Americans are minimized in transcripts of intercepted foreign communications to protect their privacy. For instance, an American swept-up in an intercept might be referred to as a “U.S. Person.” It is not illegal or even necessarily improper for U.S. intelligence officials to de-minimize, or “unmask,” their identities and find out who “U.S. Person” is, provided there are genuine and legitimate intelligence and national security reasons for doing so. Period. Regardless, the names need to be protected from public expose.
In Part I of this article, we revealed a lot of what the Obama administration had been doing policy-wise to the country and that General Mike Flynn knew it. But of course, what made it worse for Flynn was that Obama and company knew that he knew it.
Certainly, there is ample evidence that Obama officials knew what they were doing was wrong. But the Obama administration has its sources⏤I’ll call them moles in the NSA, contractors with access, who would strip out the names and forward them to their deep state colleagues at CIA, the ONI, and in the White House NSC staff who targeted those listened to with political retribution. Obviously, the Obama administration was fearful of what Flynn knew about this or would subsequently have access to.
By early December 2016, weeks after Trump’s election, the anti-Flynn campaign was well underway. It was at this time when Obama’s Iran deal spying and media operation merged, call it; Russiagate or Spygate. Clandestine spying targeting Flynn began on or about December 2, 2016 when DNI James Clapper and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power unmasked Flynn’s name from classified U.S. intercept of communications between Russian officials. Reason being Obama officials were interested in a Trump Tower meeting Flynn and Jared Kushner held with Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Following that meeting, Kislyak reported his meeting to Moscow.
This is important to understand, it was that communications between the Russia ambassador and Moscow that Obama targeted. Meaning they knew, anticipated it would be communicated and focused on targeting it to hear what Kislyak would say about Flynn.
Shortly thereafter, it was that information that Obama officials leaked to Washington Post investigative reporter Adam Entous, and subsequently forwarded and written in an article by David Ignatius. Certainly, a serious offense on so many levels. Leaking information from classified intercepts is a felony. Concerned U.S. officials’ use of the press to illuminate government crimes and abuses is a keystone of the American political process.
However, the many times that Flynn’s name was illegally leaked from communications intercepts during the transition period revealed that the classified information passed to journalists was not whistleblowing but was instead an aspect of the political surveillance operation targeting the Trump team.
As we saw two weeks ago when Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell provided declassified documents, there were 39 Obama officials who unmasked Flynn’s identity a total of 53 times. Samantha Power led the list with seven unmaskings of Flynn—a small part of her sum total of more than 330 unmaskings between 2015-16, making her the largest unmasker of U.S. persons in our history. Raising the question, what in God’s name was the U.S. UN Ambassador doing and involved in unmasking Americans?
Further, Power was one of thirty Obama officials who unmasked Flynn between December 14th-16th alone. The list includes Clapper, Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, as well as six other Treasury officials. It now appears they were interested in a December 15th meeting in which Flynn, Kushner, and Steve Bannon hosted the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Was the Iran nuclear deal a concern with that meeting? You bet, with UAE being a staunch opponent of Iran.
Next up, there was also Obama’s former National Security Adviser Susan Rice who also unmasked Flynn for this meeting. She indicated that she was irked that Emirati leadership had come to the U.S. without notifying the Obama White House. Rice’s description of her emotional angst may well be accurate, though it does not explain why she requested the identities of presidential transition officials to be unmasked, again, that is illegal, and a felony. So why would she do it?
Then there was this⏤one of the most critical aspects of the spying and unmasking occurred on December 22, 2016. During this communication, Flynn spoke with Kislyak about the vote scheduled to take place at the UN the next day. The Obama team had coaxed Egypt into introducing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, claiming that Israel was occupying the territories it had taken in the 1967 War. In the resolution, Israel, according to 2334, it claimed was in flagrant violation of international law. Under the terms of the resolution, even the Western Wall of the Temple Mount was an illegal Israeli settlement.
President-elect Trump got Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on the phone on December 22nd – suggesting in his opinion that the proposal should be withdrawn. Somehow, el-Sissi was convinced and withdrew the proposal. Flynn later told the FBI that he knew the math and at least five countries had to abstain to block the resolution. He did not believe his calls would affect the final vote. He compared the effort to a battle drill, to see how quickly he could get foreign officials on the phone. Would they even respond to the new incoming national security adviser⏤was not indicated?
On December 23rd UNSCR 2334 passed 14-0, with Samantha Power casting a vote to abstain, forsaking America’s customary role of blocking anti-Israel actions at the U.N. Obama had reinforced his regional realignment strategy by balancing opposing forces—weakening Israel and empowering the Palestinians. It was Obama’s parting shot at America’s most important regional ally.
Obviously, the FBI knew that Flynn had spoken to Kislyak, too. It is not clear when the bureau learned of the call, but they asked him about it during his pivotal January 24th interview. Flynn said he did not try to influence the Russian envoy, but just wanted to know where the Russians stood.
At the same time, Obama aides were zeroing in on Flynn. The Obama White House claimed it wanted to know why Putin announced on December 30th that he would refrain from responding to the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats. The FBI said it had an answer—the bureau had a record of a phone call between Kislyak and Flynn from the day before Putin made his decision public.
We later learned, an analyst had passed it on to Comey, who told Clapper, who briefed Obama. Comey corroborated the account in congressional testimony, while Clapper swore under oath that he did not brief the president, which may be factual. The unmasking list actually revealed that Obama officials were listening in on Flynn’s conversations in real time. According to former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Obama knew about the Flynn-Kislyak call no later than January 5th, when he was discussing it in an Oval Office in the now famous meeting. Interestingly, she says Comey was the only other official present—which contradicts Susan Rice’s account where she claims Vice President Joe Biden was also there.
As we now know, last week Trump’s acting DNI Richard Grenell declassified a previously redacted passage from an email Rice sent to herself on January 20th 2017 at 12:15, Inauguration Day regarding the January 5th meeting. The unredacted section confirmed, revealing clearly that Obama was fully read into the anti-Flynn operation.
In the Rice email, Obama asked if the FBI director was saying that they “should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn.” Obama knew at the time there was no evidence that Flynn had any improper or inopportune relationship with Russia. Remember, that was already validated in that the FBI had been investigating the allegations for more than four months and found “no derogatory information” on Flynn⏤recommending the investigation be closed on January 4th 2017.
Then on January 7th, Clapper made his move when he was giving Obama his official daily intelligence briefing requested to have Flynn’s name unmasked, a move that would make the information accessible to numerous Obama officials with whom the briefing was shared⏤thus expanding the pool of possible sources.
Now follow me here, on December 29th, Adam Entous was offered the leak of the call that day between Flynn and Kislyak. Entous however raised the question, why is it news that Flynn is talking to the Russian ambassador? “He should be talking to the Russian ambassador.” Then the leak was offered to Entous’ Washington Post colleague David Ignatius. As a result, this is how the Obama team intended to bloody the waters. On January 10th, according to Michael Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell, Clapper told Ignatius to “take the kill shot on Flynn.” As it turned out, Ignatius published the leak in his January 12th column, describing Flynn’s December 29th conversation with Ambassador Kislyak. Ignatius wrote, “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Kislyak several times on December 29th, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials … What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?”
That effort by the Obama administration and that Washington Post story ignited the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, which was intended to damage Flynn while disguising the nature and purpose of the campaign. The criminal leak of a classified intercept was evidence that the Obama White House was spying on the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. And all this for the same reason they had spied on lawmakers and pro-Israel activists⏤all this to know the plans of Iran deal opponents, to include the incoming Trump administration and specifically to attempt to frame Michael Flynn.
In an effort to conceal their illegal surveillance of the incoming national security adviser and other Trump officials, Obama aides repurposed Hillary Clinton’s Trump-Russia collusion narrative, which had provided dozens of pre-election news reports and falsely validated the FBI/FISA justifications for warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. In turn, the media believed that it had the Trump White House on the defensive⏤identifying likely “points of collusion” everywhere, while covering-up Obama’s spying operation.
Then to their benefit, the outgoing administration caught another break when the transition team made an unforced error. Days after the Ignatius Washington Post story broke, that Vice President Mike Pence said on TV that Flynn had assured him there was no talk of sanctions. Either Pence had misunderstood, or Flynn did not explain himself clearly enough⏤which in the end mattered neither. However, Flynn later took responsibility for the mix-up. Saying he was sorry he had put Pence “in a position,” and he “should have said, ‘I do not know. I cannot recall,’ which is the truth.” Flynn further elaborated on the call with Kislyak: “It wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys (Russians) who were thrown out.” Flynn said that he told the Russian envoy when they were in office, “We’ll review everything.” Flynn said, “I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”
There was no promise to relieve sanctions on Russia and tamper with Obama’s policy before Trump came to office⏤never mind collusion. Nevertheless, the discrepancy between Pence’s statement and the transcript of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak gave Comey and McCabe a window of opportunity. On January 24th we now know they sent two FBI agents to interview Flynn in the White House Situation Room. They later assessed from the interview and reported that they did not think Flynn lied. In the end, that did not matter either.
The FBI edited and falsified the records, the FBI Form 302’s which are the official records of the interview. That is another felony⏤be it altering, changing, doctoring, manipulating, or falsifying official documents; particularly in a situation like this involving a national security adviser.
In the meantime, Flynn continued to do the job the president had chosen him to do. After Iran conducted a ballistic missile test and its Yemeni proxies attacked a Saudi naval ship, he announced in the White House press room: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” In turn, former Obama aides fumed: the Trump administration had no choice but to stay in the JCPOA. Then they flipped through the dog-eared pages of the Iran Deal playbook and whispered to the press, rumors regarding the loyalties of a combat veteran who served his country in uniform for more than three decades. Attempting to claim that General Michael Flynn sold out his country to Russia.
To further demonstrate the duplicity and the deceit of the Obama administration senior officials, on February 9th, Mr. Entous got his chance to publish the leaked intercept of the Kislyak-Flynn call. He and his Washington Post colleagues found nine current holdovers and former Obama officials to confirm, i.e., lie that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian. It went unremarked that the article provided evidence of yet another leak of Flynn’s name from a classified intercept, and thus proof of the massive spying operation targeting both the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and now, against the less than three-week old Trump administration.
President Trump had been warned. Obama was serious when he told him not to bring on Mike Flynn. As a result, the new president’s hand was forced, and the national security adviser resigned and left the White House on February 13th. Going forward, within the year, prosecutors from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation threatened to charge Flynn’s son with lobbying violations if he did not plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI. The rest of that story is well known.
Come summer 2017, the Russia-Spygate saga was in overdrive—one of the most destructive conspiracy theories in U.S. history was well on its way to influencing and poisoning minds around the country.
Russiagate, Spygate, while the concept of the intent was a hoax, it was not a hoax, as some conservative journalists call it. Rather, it was a purposeful and a ‘defensive extension of the Obama administration’ to do two things:
1/ Protect the Iran Deal whose goal was to strategically realign American interests with those of a radical anti-American terror state that embodies the most corrosive forms of anti-Semitism.
2/ Was the secret espionage operation targeting those opposed and get in the way of the Obama administration’s policy efforts, namely General Michael Flynn and Donald Trump.
As I have been saying for years, it is not difficult to see and understand why Barack Obama went after Michael Flynn. Certainly, there were the numerous reasons about what Flynn knew and would have access to. But most of all it was the retired general’s determination to undo the Iran Deal, which was grounded in his own experience in two Middle Eastern theaters of combat, where he saw how Iran murdered Americans and threatened American interests.
Now, we must try and understand why Mr. Obama would choose the radical Islamic regime in Tehran as a partner and encourage tactics typically employed by third-world police states⏤remains a mystery. That will be the next aspect of investigation for those who analyze and assess the decision making of former presidents and their policy officials. I plan on taking that on in the coming weeks and months.