Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn gives the thumbs-up as he arrives at Trump Tower, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)

Lock him up? Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's pick for national security adviser, mishandled classified information

Army records show that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn violated the rules by sharing secrets with foreign military officials


Taylor Link
December 14, 2016 9:38PM (UTC)

While Donald Trump's supporters really wanted Hillary Clinton arrested for her email server, the president-elect's pick for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, "inappropriately shared" classified information with foreign military officials in Afghanistan, military documents show.

Army records recently obtained by The Washington Post allege that Flynn informed allies about the activities of the CIA in Afghanistan, even though Flynn lacked authorization to do so.

Advertisement:

In August, Flynn told The Post he had permission to share the classified intel, but documents show that an investigation of the incident determined that Flynn did not have approval to share the secrets he exposed. The Defense Department and the Central Command both concluded Flynn mishandled the classified intel.

During the presidential primaries, Flynn argued Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton should pull out of the race due to the FBI investigation into her private email server. He then gleefully led a "lock her up" chant at the Republican National Convention. In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Flynn said he would have been jailed if he committed the same offenses as Clinton.

"If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail," Flynn said.

According to the documents procured by The Post, the U.S. military opened an investigation into Flynn in 2010 after a Navy intelligence specialist complained that Flynn violated rules by inappropriately sharing secrets with foreign officers. While the Army records did not indicate the nature of the secrets Flynn allegedly shared, a former U.S. official told The Post that it involved a general intelligence briefing that contained "stuff the intelligence community was doing that had a much higher level of classification."

For Flynn, it was not the first time he had been reprimanded for mishandling classified intel. Former U.S. officials told The Post that Flynn had divulged sensitive information to Pakistan in 2009. A CIA officer who accompanied Flynn to a meeting in Islamabad reported that Flynn inappropriately shared U.S. intelligence capabilities against an insurgent group in Afghanistan.

Flynn was reprimanded the Pentagon's top intelligence official at the time, James Clapper — who would later endorse Flynn to become his successor as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Advertisement:

Flynn was President Barack Obama's top military intelligence official for two years until Clapper forced Flynn to retire over concerns with his temperament and management.


Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

MORE FROM Taylor LinkFOLLOW taylorlink_

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •