Michael Flynn has resigned from the National Security Council

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For those out of the loop, it was shown that he broke a law(s) outlined in the Logan Act by performing diplomatic duties in contacting Russian government officials. There are a lot of rumors about what he said and the implications it has on how Trump is viewing his relationship with Russia. Thoughts?

Source here.
 

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  • #2
zoobyshoe
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I don't get the impression the Logan Act thing is the primary reason he's in trouble. From the NYT article:

Few members of Mr. Trump’s team were more skeptical of Mr. Flynn than the vice president, numerous administration officials said. Mr. Pence, who used the false information provided by Mr. Flynn to defend him in a series of television appearances, was incensed at Mr. Flynn’s lack of contrition for repeatedly embarrassing him by withholding the information, according to three administration officials familiar with the situation.

Mr. Flynn and Mr. Pence spoke twice in the past few days about the matter, but administration officials said that rather than fully apologize and accept responsibility, the national security adviser blamed his faulty memory — which irked the typically slow-to-anger Mr. Pence.

The slight was compounded by an episode late last year when Mr. Pence went on television to deny that Mr. Flynn’s son, who had posted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton on social media, had been given a security clearance by the transition team. The younger Mr. Flynn had, indeed, been given such a clearance, even though his father had told Mr. Pence’s team that he had not.

Officials said classified information did not appear to have been discussed during the conversation between Mr. Flynn and the ambassador, which would have been a crime. The call was captured on a routine wiretap of diplomats’ calls, the officials said.

But current Trump administration officials and former Obama administration officials said that Mr. Flynn did appear to be reassuring the ambassador that Mr. Trump would adopt a more accommodating tone on Russia once in office.

Former and current administration officials said that Mr. Flynn urged Russia not to retaliate against any sanctions because an overreaction would make any future cooperation more complicated. He never explicitly promised sanctions relief, one former official said, but he appeared to leave the impression that it would be possible.

So, it may well be that Flynn's greatest sin here was twice (that is: on two separate issues) feeding misinformation to Pence who then publicly defended him on the basis of that misinformation.

In addition, Flynn made himself a potential target for blackmail: the Russian ambassador knew the actual content of the conversation and could have threatened to reveal it unless Flynn performed some service for the Russians.

Something that is strange to me is the mention of a routine wiretap of diplomats' calls (by the US). It seems odd that Flynn wouldn't know about this and wouldn't know that people in the US govt knew he was publicly lying about what was discussed with the Russian ambassador.
 
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  • #3
Buckleymanor
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For those out of the loop, it was shown that he broke a law(s) outlined in the Logan Act by performing diplomatic duties in contacting Russian government officials. There are a lot of rumors about what he said and the implications it has on how Trump is viewing his relationship with Russia. Thoughts?

Source here.
He is not the only one performing diplomatic duties with the Russians.
Here is some old news which probably brought recent events to light.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38589427
 
  • #4
nsaspook
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I don't get the impression the Logan Act thing is the primary reason he's in trouble. From the NYT article:



So, it may well be that Flynn's greatest sin here was twice (that is: on two separate issues) feeding misinformation to Pence who then publicly defended him on the basis of that misinformation.

In addition, Flynn made himself a potential target for blackmail: the Russian ambassador knew the actual content of the conversation and could have threatened to reveal it unless Flynn performed some service for the Russians.

Something that is strange to me is the mention of a routine wiretap of diplomats' calls (by the US). It seems odd that Flynn wouldn't know about this and wouldn't know that people in the US govt knew he was publicly lying about what was discussed with the Russian ambassador.

The long knives at the IC were out for Flynn. All calls to Russia and to Russian officials world-wide are monitored on a routine manner so it's very likely IMO Flynn didn't lie to the VP because he knew that calls are recorded and he didn't said anything improper on the calls to lie about. He fell on his sword after leaks made it seem he did something underhanded with Russia with rumors of possible blackmail and lies with zero evidence of anything.

That's rich, he made the VP look bad. A typical story of how the Deep State operates in the Military Industrial Media Complex today.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/...ational-security-adviser-170214040638481.html
Mark Jacobson, a Democratic adviser to former Defence Secretary Ash Carter , told Al Jazeera: "This is not about the conversations [Flynn] had with the Russian ambassador or other Russian diplomats. This was about the way he characterised it to the vice president, plain and simple."

"Charges have never been brought against anyone based on the Logan Act. I'm less concerned about that, I'm more concerned about the fact he may have lied to the vice president," Jacobson added.

"It's more of the cover up that gets you here. There's been a lack of transparency, there has been a looseness with the truth at this White House."
 
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  • #5
Astronuc
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So, it may well be that Flynn's greatest sin here was twice (that is: on two separate issues) feeding misinformation to Pence who then publicly defended him on the basis of that misinformation.
That is a concern, but the much larger concern is that Flynn mislead investigators concerning discussions with foreign government officials about sensitive matters. Prior to getting a clearance, one is subject to an official investigation and questions about foreign contacts. Lying in that case is a felony.

According to the NY Times article:
. . . on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.
So Flynn did apparently have some discussion about the sanctions imposed on Russia with the Russian ambassador.

The article quoted by Zoobyshoe states, "Former and current administration officials said that Mr. Flynn urged Russia not to retaliate against any sanctions because an overreaction would make any future cooperation more complicated. He never explicitly promised sanctions relief, one former official said, but he appeared to leave the impression that it would be possible."

In addition, Flynn made himself a potential target for blackmail: the Russian ambassador knew the actual content of the conversation and could have threatened to reveal it unless Flynn performed some service for the Russians.
The other concern is that having mislead investigators and the VP, Flynn compromised himself with regard to potential blackmail.

If Flynn was aware of the likelihood that his conversation with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak was recorded, and even if not, Flynn should have simply (and truthfully) answered that yes, he and Kislyak had discussed sanctions. However, Flynn telling the Russians not to retaliate in response to the sanctions, because it would complicate future cooperation, would seem troubling for one in his position.
 
  • #6
nsaspook
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Maybe I'm missing something but I really don't get the blackmail implications if the US, Russia and Flynn all know what was said and we all know the others know. Where is the secret?

http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/cou...rested-if-he-discussed-sanctions-with-russia/

http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/non...sor-general-mike-flynn-is-no-criminal-period/
1. Nobody has EVER been prosecuted under the Logan Act of 1799 – although one farmer way back in 1803 was indicted – the indictment was not pursued. That’s it. No attempted enforcement since. Never.

2. There’s a reason it has never been used – it is unconstitutional. First – it violates the 1st Amendment – you know – that thing called freedom of speech and all that stuff.

Oh yeah – its also unconstitutionally vague.

A federal court in Waldron v. British Petroleum Co. said in 1964 that the law was “likely unconstitutional due to the vagueness of the terms “defeat” and “measures.” Beyond that passing reference by a New York district court there’s no judicial rulings regarding the Logan Act. Why? Well it’s like asking why 2 plus 2 equals four. Because that’s the way it is and everyone knows it.
...
 
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  • #7
zoobyshoe
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If Flynn was aware of the likelihood that his conversation with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak was recorded, and even if not, Flynn should have simply (and truthfully) answered that yes, he and Kislyak had discussed sanctions.
Yes. As Nixon and Clinton demonstrate, "It's not the crime, It's the cover up." Repeating over and over that the sanctions weren't even mentioned during the conversation constitutes a lie that got him into more hot water than anything said during the phone call.
However, Flynn telling the Russians not to retaliate in response to the sanctions, because it would complicate future cooperation, would seem troubling for one in his position.
I think "troubling" is as far as anyone could go with this. As has been pointed out, the most people seem to come up with is that, in discussing the sanctions in that phone call, he might have violated an obscure, old law that, itself, might be unconstitutional. But denying he discussed the sanctions at all was a lie, and that lie is how he painted a target on himself, it seems.
 
  • #8
jim hardy
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Honesty woulda been the way to handle it.

"Heck yeah i talked to the Russians, wouldn't you do some checking around before accepting such a job?" and see where the chips fall.
 
  • #9
zoobyshoe
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His resignation might not be the end of this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powe...cee7ce475fc_story.html?utm_term=.495b789ab209

Top Republican senators said Tuesday that Congress should probe the circumstances leading up to the resignation of President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, opening a new and potentially uncomfortable chapter in the uneasy relationship between Trump and congressional Republicans.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), vice chairman of the Senate GOP Conference and a member of the Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers ought to look at the matter as part of an existing probe into Russian meddling in the United States political system — a sensitive topic that has lingered over Republicans since Trump’s election win...
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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I don't get the impression the Logan Act thing is the primary reason he's in trouble. From the NYT article:

So, it may well be that Flynn's greatest sin here was twice (that is: on two separate issues) feeding misinformation to Pence who then publicly defended him on the basis of that misinformation.
I agree with this. The Trump administration doesn't care at all about scandal, but what they do want is absolute loyalty. And if someone can't be trusted to be loyal, the administration would want no part of them.

The Logan Act is interesting. At first glance it makes sense that you wouldn't want a private citizen undermining the government's negotiating position. But there's a contradiction in that a private citizen has no power/influence and therefore can't actually offer anything to a foreign government on behalf of the USA. So the law strikes me as moot.
 
  • #11
Astronuc
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But there's a contradiction in that a private citizen has no power/influence and therefore can't actually offer anything to a foreign government on behalf of the USA.
Except when a private citizen is counseling a presidential candidate and has conversations with officials of foreign governments, but fails to report contacts. That is a concern in and of itself.

The more serious concern is that Flynn may have lied to the FBI.

According to the AP, Flynn was interviewed by the FBI.
Flynn was interviewed by the FBI about his telephone conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., a sign his ties to Russia had caught the attention of law enforcement officials.
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/...ichael-flynn-resigns-081111825--politics.html

In a somewhat bizarre twist, according to the AP report, apparently "Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, . . . ."
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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Except when a private citizen is counseling a presidential candidate and has conversations with officials of foreign governments...
No, a Presidential candidate (or President-elect) is also a private citizen with no power and nothing to offer a foreign leader in the present, so no way to affect "present" policy deals (except by causing the foreign leader to wait). At most he can offer a deal that would be executed in the future when he becomes President and making such policy becomes a part of his job description.
 
  • #13
Buckleymanor
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Of course he has, he has intent, at most he can offer a foreign leader a deal would be executed in the future.
If it transpires a deal is offered and it can be shown the deal is made good when he becomes president, then is shows he was undermining the president in the past.
 
  • #14
jim hardy
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Of course he has, he has intent, at most he can offer a foreign leader a deal would be executed in the future.
Didn't Nixon do that with the Vietnamese while running in '68?
 
  • #15
gleem
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I agree with this. The Trump administration doesn't care at all about scandal, but what they do want is absolute loyalty. And if someone can't be trusted to be loyal, the administration would want no part of them.

The WH has stressed that Flynn was asked to resign because of a loss of trust. Certainly the President needs and should have that trust. But trust works both ways. Pence was not told of Flynn's problem for eleven days. If I were Pence I would be more than concerned about being kept out of the loop.
 
  • #16
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Of course he has, he has intent, at most he can offer a foreign leader a deal would be executed in the future.
If it transpires a deal is offered and it can be shown the deal is made good when he becomes president, then is shows he was undermining the president in the past.
I don't see how that follows - if the deal isn't executed until the new president takes office, how is it undermining the old President? I guess you could say it delays a response to the old President's actions, but that's what being a "lame duck" means, so it would be hard to separate them. Moreso what it does is make the transition to the new President go faster/smoother.
 
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  • #17
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The WH has stressed that Flynn was asked to resign because of a loss of trust. Certainly the President needs and should have that trust. But trust works both ways. Pence was not told of Flynn's problem for eleven days. If I were Pence I would be more than concerned about being kept out of the loop.
This was mentioned on an and NBC or ABC evening news broadcast last night. The newscaster stated that Pence is the security blanket for the Republicans and if he is out of the White House loop, it raises serious concerns within the party.
 
  • #18
mheslep
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Flynn resigned due a lie to the VP per reports. There is no evidence of any prosecutable crime here for Flynn to cover up. Logan, if it applies, has never been prosecuted. It if were, Jimmy Carter's various foreign interventions after leaving office would have landed him in jail long ago. Leaking classified signal intercepts though, that's very much a crime.

the public learned about Flynn’s lie is because someone inside the U.S. government violated the criminal law by leaking the contents of Flynn’s intercepted communications.

In the spectrum of crimes involving the leaking of classified information, publicly revealing the contents of SIGINT — signals intelligence — is one of the most serious felonies. Journalists (and all other nongovernmental citizens) can be prosecuted under federal law for disclosing classified information only under the narrowest circumstances; reflecting how serious SIGINT is considered to be, one of those circumstances includes leaking the contents of intercepted communications, as defined this way by 18 § 798 of the U.S. Code:

https://theintercept.com/2017/02/14...mitted-serious-and-wholly-justified-felonies/
 
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  • #19
Buckleymanor
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I don't see how that follows - if the deal isn't executed until the new president takes office, how is it undermining the old President? I guess you could say it delays a response to the old President's actions, but that's what being a "lame duck" means, so it would be hard to separate them. Moreso what it does is make the transition to the new President go faster/smoother.
There was no tit for tat expulsion of American diplomats before the new President came into power.
If it pans out that it is recorded that advice was given in that direction and from whom then it's an illegal act by the private citizens concerned.
It breaks the Logan act.
 
  • #20
Buckleymanor
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Flynn resigned due a lie to the VP per reports. There is no evidence of any prosecutable crime here for Flynn to cover up. Logan, if it applies, has never been prosecuted. It if were, Jimmy Carter's various foreign interventions after leaving office would have landed him in jail long ago. Leaking classified signal intercepts though, that's very much a crime.
In the spectrum of crimes involving the leaking of classified information, publicly revealing the contents of SIGINT — signals intelligence — is one of the most serious felonies. Journalists (and all other nongovernmental citizens) can be prosecuted under federal law for disclosing classified information only under the narrowest circumstances; reflecting how serious SIGINT is considered to be, one of those circumstances includes leaking the contents of intercepted communications, as defined this way by 18 § 798 of the U.S. Code:


https://theintercept.com/2017/02/14...mitted-serious-and-wholly-justified-felonies/
(and all other nongovernmental citizens)
So don't the security services work for government.
Are they not immune from prosecution.
 
  • #21
nsaspook
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There was no tit for tat expulsion of American diplomats before the new President came into power.
If it pans out that it is recorded that advice was given in that direction and from whom then it's an illegal act by the private citizens concerned.
It breaks the Logan act.

Did Dennis Rodman break the Logan act with his "basketball diplomacy" mission to North Korea or did Jane Fonda's visit to Hanoi?

Should Rodman and Jane both be arrested and put on trial for what they did?...

The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 30 January 1799, currently codified at 18 U.S.C. § 953) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.
 
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  • #23
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Thoughts?
A post-"cloud" effort at/to very high-profile "sheep-dipping?"
 
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  • #24
Buckleymanor
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Did Dennis Rodman break the Logan act with his "basketball diplomacy" mission to North Korea or did Jane Fonda's visit to Hanoi?
Hanoi Jane brings back memories well there was a lot of people who would have liked to have put her in prison at the time but that was long ago.

I don't remember the act ever being mentioned. I do remember Trickie Dickie resigning before he was impeached though.
Also I remember more recently Mr.Flynn calling for Mrs, Clinton at a rally to lock her up.

Trouble is if Flynn is called to testify under oath.
Quote:-
Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday it's possible that Flynn will be called to testify under oath. More could become known about the specifics of the call before then. The New York Times reports Tuesday evening that the FBI questioned Flynn in the early days of the Trump presidency about his conversations. And investigators believe Flynn "was not entirely forthcoming":

"That raises the stakes of what so far has been a political scandal that cost Mr. Flynn his job. If the authorities conclude that Mr. Flynn knowingly lied to the F.B.I., it could expose him to a felony charge."

Irrespective of breaking the Logan act.
So who knows?
 
  • #25
Buckleymanor
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Didn't Nixon do that with the Vietnamese while running in '68?
Did he ever stop running after 68.
 
  • #26
jim hardy
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Did he ever stop running after 68.


Running, as in "running from.." ? i suppose not. Self deceivers stay on the run.


https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/nixons-vietnam-treachery.html (suitable reference i hope)
Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery
By JOHN A. FARRELLDEC. 31, 2016

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Richard M. Nixon always denied it: to David Frost, to historians and to Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the strongest suspicions and the most cause for outrage at his successor’s rumored treachery. To them all, Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured on the White House taping system.

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.
 
  • #27
nsaspook
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"That raises the stakes of what so far has been a political scandal that cost Mr. Flynn his job. If the authorities conclude that Mr. Flynn knowingly lied to the F.B.I., it could expose him to a felony charge."

Irrespective of breaking the Logan act.
So who knows?

It's seems unlikely that the former Director of the DIA would lie (Flynn says he didn't) to the FBI while knowing that his and all conversations to foreign countries are recorded and could/would be easily checked for truth but you're right, who knows the truth when anonymous leaks are the basis for news stories and it's impossible to tell the truth from a smear campaign of lies and half-truths from all sides.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/tags/confidentialsources.html
 
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  • #28
jim hardy
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when anonymous leaks are the basis for news stories and it's impossible to tell the truth from a smear campaign of lies and half-truths from all sides.

Gee, you don't think that in these times anybody would stoop to "Fake News" , do you ?

Great link BTW. Frontline has been pretty fair IMO.
 
  • #29
nsaspook
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Gee, you don't think that in these times anybody would stoop to "Fake News" , do you ?

It does't need to be 'Fake'. Most leaks are a slanted version of truth telling 'their' side of the whole story. That's to be expected in most cases but it's expressly true when the subject matter of the leak is clearly directed at a target of venom. The use of a term like FBI investigators believe he "was not entirely forthcoming" is loaded with innuendo about hidden secrets but it's just as likely they didn't ask him (as a trained spook and weasel) the right question and it's not the same as "was not entirely honest" about his involvement in possible treason.
 
  • #30
Buckleymanor
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It's seems unlikely that the former Director of the DIA would lie (Flynn says he didn't) to the FBI while knowing that his and all conversations to foreign countries are recorded and could/would be easily checked for truth but you're right, who knows the truth when anonymous leaks are the basis for news stories and it's impossible to tell the truth from a smear campaign of lies and half-truths from all sides.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/tags/confidentialsources.html
Yes I agree so it is more than likely that he will be called to testify under oath to clear up any misunderstandings.
 
  • #31
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More bad news for Flynn - his security clearance has been suspended pending further review.
“We have taken the administrative step of suspending Mike Flynn’s access to classified information pending a review,” Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) spokesman James Kudla said.

“We take this standard administrative action when questions arise concerning an individual’s compliance with security clearance directives.”
 
  • #32
zoobyshoe
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From the NYTimes article linked to in the OP:

The White House had examined a transcript of a wiretapped conversation that Mr. Flynn had with Mr. Kislyak in December, according to administration officials. Mr. Flynn originally told Mr. Pence and others that the call was limited to small talk and holiday pleasantries.

But the conversation, according to officials who saw the transcript of the wiretap, also included a discussion about sanctions imposed on Russia after intelligence agencies determined that President Vladimir V. Putin’s government tried to interfere with the 2016 election on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Still, current and former administration officials familiar with the call said the transcript was ambiguous enough that Mr. Trump could have justified either firing or retaining Mr. Flynn.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/...-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn.html

What is very interesting is that, apparently, while the FBI routinely records conversations with foreign diplomats, no one routinely listens to the recordings. They only happened to listen to this one in an effort to explain Putin's announcement he planned no retaliation for the sanctions:
Putin’s muted response — which took White House officials by surprise — raised some officials’ suspicions that Moscow may have been promised a reprieve, and triggered a search by U.S. spy agencies for clues.

“Something happened in those 24 hours” between Obama’s announcement and Putin’s response, a former senior U.S. official said. Officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and diplomatic cables, and saw evidence that Flynn and Kislyak had communicated by text and telephone around the time of the announcement.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...5_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.19cf36efed72
 
  • #34
Borg
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That's completely normal if you lose your need to know. If it were revoked that would be bad news.
Isn't it more common to be "read off" of a clearance rather than being suspended when a person loses their need to know?
 
  • #35
nsaspook
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Isn't it more common to be "read off" of a clearance rather than being suspended when a person loses their need to know?

He still has his basic TS clearance. It's very likely the SCI access is what's under review after being fired.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politics/michael-flynn-security-clearance/
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Flynn is retaining his security clearance.
 

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