NSC Head Flynn Was Brought Down By the Very Spying Machine He Helped to Build
There’s a delicious irony in the downfall of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s National Security Advisor, who resigned his post just 24 days after his appointment.
A retired three-star Lt. General, Flynn had previously been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. In that role since 2012, he was a key player in the leadership of the sprawling $50-billion US intelligence apparatus that has increasingly been spying not just on Americans but on US allies and, to the extent possible, on the entire world. Flynn, as DIA director, was the top guy in charge of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of intelligence agencies-- all English-speaking nations including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- which has coordinated spying on citizens of those nations as well as on the citizens and leaders of such supposed NATO allies as Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc.
Knowing all this, it’s simply astounding to learn that Flynn himself was using apparently unencrypted email, phones and texting to communicate with, of all people, the Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, discussing such issues as potentially lifting sanctions imposed on Russia by the sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama.
His political implosion is doubly ironic because Flynn was one of those during the election campaign who was loudly condemning Trump’s presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private server for her official State Department business, and for her general lax security standards (he actually led a “Lock her up!” chant at one Trump rally!). However, it turns out Flynn himself was not using secure communications in his own conversations with the Russian ambassador -- communications that are now widely circulating in embarrassingly complete transcript form courtesy of US spy agencies like the National Security Agency.
Talk about someone being hoist with his own petard!
You’d think that seeing the kind of trouble the NSA’s “collect it all” motto can wreak even for the powerful and seemingly invincible, Washington’s elite might rethink what the NSA is doing?
But nah, I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s more likely to be a lot of schadenfreude among those, both Democrats and traditional Cold War Republicans, who want to see Trump and his band of bozos go down, but hubristic to a fault, they’re not going to go so far as to think, “Hey, this could as easily happen to me!”
And yet, what we’re seeing here, besides the exposé of a thoroughly inept and out-of-his-depth President Trump, is the workings of the so-called “deep state” -- the permanent power structure that really runs things in the US -- which is taking advantage of its vast powers to rein in the efforts of a loose cannon trying to steer things off on an unorthodox course.