Unnamed intelligence officials are at it — trying to paint Mike Flynn as a more nefarious figure than he already is perceived to be.
US intelligence officials had serious concerns about Michael Flynn’s appointment as the White House national security adviser because of his history of contacts with Moscow and his encounter with a woman who had trusted access to Russian spy agency records, the Guardian has learned.
US and British intelligence officers discussed Flynn’s “worrisome” behaviour well before his appointment last year by Donald Trump, multiple sources have said.
They raised concerns about Flynn’s ties to Russia and his perceived obsession with Iran. They were also anxious about his capacity for “linear thought” and some actions that were regarded as highly unusual for a three-star general.
This is one of those stories, obviously sourced by Ben Rhodes and his merry #resistance that consists of three things: guilt by implication; thin air; and a casual admission of intelligence surveillance.
This is the allegation:
One concern involved an encounter with a Russian-British graduate student, Svetlana Lokhova, whom Flynn met on a trip to Cambridge in February 2014.
At the time, Flynn was one of the top US spies and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which provides information to the Pentagon about the military strengths and intentions of other states and terrorist groups.
A historian and a leading expert on Soviet espionage, Lokhova has claimed to have unique access to previously classified Soviet-era material in Moscow. She says her forthcoming book makes groundbreaking revelations about Soviet military intelligence operations run by the GRU – Russia’s military spy agency.
This is the only bio I can find of Lokhova, it is from a book she contributed to:
Watch closely what goes on here. No one says Lokhova is a Russian intelligence asset BUT they imply that because she was able to gain access to GRU archival material and others were not that there is something wrong. Why do they do this? Because British libel laws would enable Lokhova to crucify them. But, of course, she’s a Russian asset because this is how the Russians go about recruiting agents of influence — they use the British secret service to make the introductions:
Flynn and Lokhova were introduced to each other at the end of a dinner attended by 20 guests who included Sir Richard Dearlove – the former head of MI6 – and Prof Christopher Andrew, the official MI5 historian.
Flynn says the meeting with Lokhova was “incidental” and lasted just 20 minutes. However, Andrew has said Flynn invited Lokhova to accompany him on his next official visit to Moscow to help with simultaneous translation. The trip fell through soon afterwards because of Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Andrew wrote in the Sunday Times.
The fact that the meeting was incidental and that meeting ended with an invitation to accompany Flynn on his “next” visit to Moscow… which didn’t happen… doesn’t seem to mean anything other that the opportunity to use “however” as an accusation.
Lokhova also listed Flynn as one of four referees who would provide selective endorsements for her book, which is expected to detail how Russian spies penetrated the US atomic weapons programme.
Though there is no suggestion of impropriety, Flynn would have been expected to “self report” any conversation with an unknown person, especially with links to an “adversary” country, such as Russia.
But, Lokhova is a British citizen and was introduced to Flynn by the head of British intelligence. “Links” does not apply to mere nationality, particularly when a person is a dual national and you might not even know they were a dual national. Getting Flynn as a referee for her book would be a huge coup, guaranteeing she’d land an agent and a publisher. I’m underwhelmed.
Now we can move on to the casual admission that Flynn’s email was being captured by intelligence agencies as early as 2014 when this event occurred.
The Guardian understands Flynn and Lokhova remained in email contact, conducted through an unclassified channel. In one email exchange described by [Prof. Christopher Andrew, the official MI5 historian], Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.
Multiple sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the CIA and FBI were discussing this episode, along with many others, as they assessed Flynn’s suitability to serve as national security adviser.
And on to the finale:
As DIA chief, Flynn visited the GRU in Moscow in 2013. He was the first US officer ever allowed inside its headquarters, where he gave a lecture on leadership. “It was a great trip,” he told the Washington Post, adding that it was fully approved. Flynn was keen to make a second GRU visit but permission was denied, it is understood.
In January, the Obama administration said the GRU was behind the operation to hack the US election. Putin has described claims of Russian interference as “fictional, illusory, provocations and lies”.
Ironically, this is probably the most significant allegation that has been made about Flynn. He met a Russian grad student who has done groundbreaking research in the GRU archives. He agrees to referee a book she’s writing. He asks her to accompany him on a trip to Moscow that never happens. They keep in touch by email. Flynn visits the GRU headquarters. GRU is blamed for hacks. Putin controls the GRU. Putin controls Trump. Putin controls Flynn.