Mike Flynn has another Russian connection. Here is the rest of the story…
On 3/31/17, Luke Harding, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Nick Hopkins of The Guardian penned the following report, “Michael Flynn: new evidence spy chiefs had concerns about Russian ties.”
“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.”
“Flynn’s erratic conduct had troubled US intelligence officials well before his appointment last year by Donald Trump, multiple sources have told the Guardian.”
“US and UK officials were troubled by Moscow contacts and encounter with woman linked to Russian spy agency records.”
“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.”
“Western historians say access to intelligence agency records in Moscow has been severely restricted under Vladimir Putin. One Russian historian who has written extensively on Russian intelligence said the situation with the GRU was “a complete disaster”.
“Maybe two or three military historians have been allowed in. Sometimes there are duplicates in other archives, but getting into the actual GRU archive is basically impossible.”
“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 Guardian understands Flynn and Lokhova remained in email contact, conducted through an unclassified channel. In one email exchange described by Andrew, Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.
“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.”
“Flynn did not disclose his conversation with Lokhova, the Wall Street Journal reported. Whatever concerns the US intelligence agencies had over Flynn, he retained his top-level security clearance.”
“Price Floyd, a spokesman for Flynn, said: “This is a false story. The inference that the contact between Gen Flynn and a Russian (dual) national described in this story should be seen in any light other than incidental contact is simply untrue.
Lokhova’s partner, David North, also declined to comment in detail. In comments to the Wall Street Journal he said Lokhova and Flynn “had a 20-minute public conversation” and have not “met or spoken since”. North also disputed Andrew’s account of the dinner in Cambridge and did not answer questions about the emails.
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.
“The Cambridge meeting was part of a wider pattern of “maverick” behavior which included repeated contacts with Russia, the sources said.”
“In summer 2015, Flynn met Trump for the first time after being invited to do so by his team. That year he received about $45,000 (£36,000) for attending RT’s gala dinner in Moscow, where he sat next to Putin. Flynn also accepted $11,250 from two Russian firms for speaking engagements in Washington. One of them was Kaspersky Lab, a cyber-security company with ties to the Kremlin.”
“The US army is investigating the RT transaction and whether it was properly disclosed, according to a source close to US intelligence. The US constitution’s emoluments clause forbids military officers from accepting foreign government payments without the permission of Congress.”
“The sources pointed to a reported remark by Sally Yates, the former acting AG, who had told the White House in January that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by Russian intelligence.”
“Flynn’s spokesman said Flynn had signed on with a speakers’ bureau after his 2014 resignation, as other former senior government officials have done. He said Flynn had alerted the DIA about the RT speech before he traveled and had briefed the DIA upon his return. The spokesman said Flynn had “nothing to hide”.
“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.”
“In January, the Obama administration said the GRU was behind the operation to hack the US election.”