Retired Army lieutenant general Michael T. Flynn lived a life before he was selected by Donald Trump to serve as his National Security Advisor. In that life he made some mistakes that, coincidentally, have to do with national security.
The Washington Post reports that Flynn was subject to a secret U.S. military investigation in 2010, when it was alleged he “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign officers while serving in Afghanistan. Naturally, since the material was classified, they can’t tell us what it was, but the materials were a mix of papers and slides that Flynn was not authorized to share:
“It was a general intelligence briefing that included stuff that shouldn’t have been on those slides,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject. The disclosures revealed “stuff the intelligence community was doing that had a much higher level of classification.”
This was actually the second time that Flynn was busted for flashing government secrets. In either late 2009 or early 2010, Flynn disclosed U.S. intelligence capabilities being used to monitor the Haqqani network in Pakistan, a group of insurgents responsible for attacks on U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. Flynn was verbally reprimanded by James R. Clapper Jr., the top intelligence official at the time, who later forced Flynn out of the job “over concerns with his temperament and management.” He was not reprimanded at all after the 2010 investigation, because it was determined he did not act “knowingly.”
Flynn does take issue with threats to national security, however, as long as he’s not the one releasing classified info. During Trump’s campaign, Flynn spoke out frequently against Hillary Clinton and the accusations against her for mishandling state secrets:
At the Republican National Convention in July, Flynn called on Clinton to drop out of the race for putting “our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of a private email server.” He egged on the partisan crowd in chants of “lock her up,” adding: “If I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.”
In an interview with the Washington Post in August, when asked about his history of investigations, Flynn responded, “The investigation on me was for sharing intelligence with the Brits and Australians in combat, and I’m proud of that one. That was substantiated because actually I did it. But I did it with the right permissions when you dig into the investigation.
He added, “I’m proud of that one. Accuse me of sharing intelligence in combat with our closest allies, please.”