Tue
Feb 14 2017
06:07 am

NYT and WaPo reporting that NatSec director Michael Flynn has resigned after it became clear he lied about the content of his calls during the transition in which he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with their ambassador.

WaPo reports AG Sally Yates warned Trump administration Gen. Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Trump did nothing then. Why not?

The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that ­Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice ­President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the information.
[...]
The current and former officials said that although they believed that Pence was misled about the contents of Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador, they couldn’t rule out that Flynn was acting with the knowledge of others in the transition.

Due to these dynamics the IC has been operating as if the Trump administration has been compromised by Russian foreign intelligence. Does it end with Flynn being out?

What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

US Congressman Jimmy Duncan (865) 523-3772) should take a look at the following questions:

What did Bannon/Miller know?
What did Pence (who was running transition) know?
What did Trump know?
What is in Trump's tax returns?

Meanwhile AP reporting that Russian lawmakers are mounting fierce defense of Flynn.
Russian lawmakers mount fierce defense of Flynn

PS - if one is an officer in an intel unit what does one say to their soldiers after they've seen pictures of a president on his privately owned patio looking at NatSec documents while dozens of non-staffers are milling about taking pictures of it all?

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bizgrrl's picture

Sally Q. Yates? Oh, well,

Sally Q. Yates? Oh, well, that's the problem. She must have setup Flynn.

Knoxgal's picture

Meanwhile over at Fox News

Meanwhile over at Fox News I watched an interview with Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin. The main concern of both Johnson and the anchor was, who leaked the information about Flynn and was this an indictable offense? Johnson railed about how the so-called president needed to have loyal henchmen around him who would protect his back. We sure do live in alternate realities.

Mike, glad you asked about what Pence knew. I've been amazed at how every media outlet has been assuming Flynn lied to him. Maybe so, but maybe he knew - and supported - what happened and is just really good at feigning outrage.

Somebody's picture

Fair and Balanced

Over at Fox News, they will conveniently forget everything they said about Benghazi! as this plays out. Like Susan Rice, Mike Pence went on the Sunday morning talk shows and made statements that were later found to be incorrect. Other administration officials repeated those talking points, even after (the now unemployed) Acting Attorney General Sally Yates alerted the White House about the nature of Flynn's calls. If Pence and others in the Administration knowingly made false statements, then they have been covering up a possible pattern of illegal and unusual contacts and negotiations with a hostile foreign power.

Will Fox and Friends demand that Trey Gowdy head up an investigation to find out what Pence knew and when he knew it? Yeah, I didn't think so.

fischbobber's picture

Benghazi

The right will not forget Benghazi because the aftermath of Benghazi is the only situation they have in the entire Obama administration that was handled poorly. Not one other cow pie they threw at the barn door stuck. And Benghazi wouldn't have stuck if the State Department hadn't run with the whole"it was started by a you tube video" farce of a story. If they had simply said, "I don't know" then slowly and repetitively released the story of the Libyan revolution, the right would have nothing. In the grand scheme of things, it was likely not that large an error, as it wouldn't have changed anything, but that doesn't matter to the folks trying to pound blame.

Somebody's picture

A swing and a miss

...

fischbobber's picture

False equivalency

False equivalency will be the go to call in the right-wing playbook. We will hear over and over that these security breaches are no different than Benghazi and the e-mail scandal. The irony of the false equivalency is, of course, Clinton's refusal to violate issues of national security to defend herself was used by her adversaries as a point of contention. Most people in this nation not only do not care to know how intelligence actually works, they are too lazy and stupid to admit it.

Speaking of which, you're mighty touchy these days. Still smarting from your shitty year of prognostication and analysis in 2016?

Rachel's picture

I smell Russiagate in our

I smell Russiagate in our future. This isn't over, folks.

fischbobber's picture

Duncan's silence is deafening.

The problem with asking Duncan to do anything is the irony of Duncan, at this point. He has made a career of making small moves that seem ethically sensible to the little guy. He has operated under the radar because he doesn't do anything to draw attention to himself. He really screwed up big time in this election though by endorsing Trump instead of simply being loyal to the party. It will now be up to him to defend this position or reject Trump and join the call for investigation and accountability. To not do one or the other will expose himself to being corrupt or incompetent and picking the wrong side will do the same. He should have stuck to his original playbook, ducked the issue in the election, and kept his mouth shut. For the first time in his political career, his office is legitimately open to challenge. Supporting Trump was a big mistake on his part, and he knows it.

fischbobber's picture

The first of many final thoughts......

Don't think for a moment that the Russians haven't used this open door to attempt to infiltrate our entire intelligence system. This is a huge deal and everyone in Washington and Moscow knows it. There will be a mad scramble in D.C. to hide the magnitude of our loss and a similar scramble in Moscow to downplay the size of the victory.

Simply put, it is how the intelligence game works. Duncan knows this and by not using his position he stop any further leaks, he is giving his tacit approval to the Russian government to continue this operation. He's no longer our "down home, folksy" representative, he's moving toward being an enemy of the state.

Somebody's picture

Almost 59% of Duncan's

Almost 59% of Duncan's constituency voted for Trump. Duncan will change his tune when something greater than 10% of his constituency shifts. Because of his relative inactivity, Duncan's relevance to all this is one vote out of 435, should anything interesting ever get to a floor vote. He is hardly "an enemy of the state." Calling Duncan an "enemy of the state" ranges between pointless and counter-productive. The focus should be on people who actually have authority on the hill and on those doing whatever it is they're doing on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

fischbobber's picture

Liberals and kooks

Since I last posted the Russians have launched a cruise missile in what was described as a "test." This is a direct violation of the 1987 treaty between Russia (Gorbachov) and the U.S. (Reagan). Would that be considered interesting and worthy of action on the floor of the house?

Given that this has happened after a high level security meeting in the aftermath of a North Korean launch on unsecured communication devices in full view of the general public at a country club and almost certainly monitored by Russian surveillance can you honestly say that Duncan's wholesale endorsement and support of what is turning out to be both a suspect and incompetent presidency is in his constituency's best interest? Or what they voted for? That class of cruise missile can make it to Oak Ridge, you know. His term is at a crossroad. He needs to decide whether he's going to uphold the constitution and serve the best interests of his nation and constituency or become an enemy of the state. The observation is fair. The choice is Congressman Duncan's.

As to Duncan's relevance on the floor. The implication that all 435 are lined up in lock-step is simply ludicrous. His vote becomes more and more relevant with each crazy day of this administration.

Somebody's picture

Test?

Could you please provide a link to a reputable news source that says the Russians have tested a cruise missile in the last 24 hours, as you have claimed?

I can find plenty about the Russians recently deploying a cruise missile in apparent violation of the INF treaty, and that it had been tested three years ago, also in apparent violation of the treaty. The Obama administration decried Russia's actions then and apparently anticipated the current provocation in the form of the deployment.

Mind you this is serious stuff, and would be even without the bizarre and disturbing links between the current administration and Moscow.

Nonetheless, I'm real curious about your claim of a Russian cruise missile launch taking place yesterday, because the seeming lack of evidence that such an incredibly significant launch actually occurred might influence one's assessment of the quality of your own extensive "prognostications and analysis" of these and other matters.

fischbobber's picture

The text

fischbobber's picture

The text

(link...)

Here is the article I sourced for my comment. I realize many Fox viewers don't consider the New York Times to be a credible source, but my based on my experience, I've had pretty good luck using them as a primary source. You will note that details tend to be sparse in national security issues. There is a reason for this and if you pay attention, Mr. Knapp and I may engage in a dialogue as to what we are and are not likely to be able to ascertain from mainstream media. Or we may not. Spring is a hectic time for this involved in educational endeavors.

If there is anything else I can do to deal with your concerns over my journalistic integrity, by all means, let me know. I have nothing better to do with my time than subsidize you laziness.

As to the use of the word launch, that was my choice. The inference in the article was that the Russians test was a test to ensure the cruise missile was fully operational. The only way to do that would be to launch it and the way we would have to catch them is via satellite. This sort of cat and mouse stuff tends to produce sketchy details and tends to be highly classified. Blast me all you want. I welcome your search into these archives to test my penchant for telling the truth.

Somebody's picture

I would suggest you re-read

I would suggest you re-read the article. You actually linked to the exact same New York Times article that I linked to when I asked the question in the first place. That article refers to a recent deployment of the system in question; not a test recently, not a launch recently.

As I noted when I asked you to provide evidence for your assertion of a launch or test in the last 24 hours, the article indicates (by omission) that there was none. The article is quite clear in stating that there was a launch and a test three years ago, as I referenced above. Three years ago is not yesterday, or last week or last month.

The reason I asked was because the difference between "deployment" and "launch" and "test" are not trivial. If you call failing to make such differentiations "telling the truth," well, that is certainly interesting.

fischbobber's picture

Re-read

I took your advice and read, not only the article, but some broad-based (and by no means inclusive) history on the subject.

I then attempted to read from your broad-based interpretation of the word deployment and my own.

You have a valid point, which leads to an interesting question. If indeed, the weapons are being put in position to attack rather than being perfected and tested for such an event, where did the Russians deploy to and who is in their immediate sight? I wouldn't draw too much from things omitted from the article, since it appears that,based a few other, by no means encompassing, articles that this has been an ongoing and continuing, issue. I would tend to think that articles of omission are simply the areas the source would point one to look. And as you've noted, it serves on best to have an open mind when looking at situations like this. While there may be other directions still to explore, the two scenarios put on the table certainly are worth pursuing.

Though yours tends to be somewhat more onerous. I hope I'm right, because if I understand your implication, this situation could well be more urgent and dangerous than I would have thought.

On the other hand, you could just be gas-lighting me.

fischbobber's picture

I would counter.......

59% would claim they voted against Clinton. The majority of Duncan's votes come from moderates who will leave his camp should he push into the extreme. He does a great job of campaigning and painting himself as sane, but the last two times I saw him publicly, his speech and actions were hopping around the ethics line like a rabbit on a hot sidewalk. If the right candidate is willing to outwork him, he has an achilles.

fischbobber's picture

The missile test

Russia's test of the cruise missile was likely a test at several levels.

First it was a test of the actual missile. They have been itching to test it for a while, but were on notice from the Obama administration that there would be repercussions should they attempt it.

Second it was a test of Trump to see if he had the strength and knowledge and savvy to stand up to this obvious act of aggression. They clearly do not fear him, but it was necessary to see what kind of adversary they were facing. It is obvious he is in over his head and that our national security is in disarray.

Third, it was a test of their intelligence community. It's pretty obvious they have infiltrated this administration at a high level in a short period of time. This is not surprising. Trumps complete disregard for protocol left the door wide open for deep and thorough infiltration.

Fourth, it was a test of the present world order. Who are our allies? Who are our adversaries? Which relationships have been deeply damaged and which are still sound? How will we react as a group?

Fifth, it was a test of the American system. Will our congress stand idly by and watch as our overmatched president sacrifices our nation's interest, or will they stand up and perform their constitutional duties? Will our judiciary hold Trump accountable? Will our citizens have the resolve to act as Americans instead of sheep, blindly following path to the slaughterhouse?

It's hard to say what's going to happen, but this is the damnedest first four weeks of a presidential administration I've ever seen. And there's still three days left.

fischbobber's picture

The Atlantic's take

(link...)

This is a great quick overview.

Mike Knapp's picture

Glenn Kessler timeline for reference later

This will come in handy
The fall of Michael Flynn: A timeline

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