FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hoisted on His Own Petard: Flynn Was Brought Down by the Very Spying Machine He Helped to Build

by

Official DIA portrait of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

Official DIA portrait of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

There’s a delicious irony in the downfall of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s National Security Advisor, who resigned his post just 24 days after his appointment.

A retired three-star Lt. General, Flynn had previously been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. In that role since 2012, he was a key player in the leadership of the sprawling $50-billion US intelligence apparatus that has increasingly been spying not just on Americans but on US allies and, to the extent possible, on the entire world.  Flynn, as DIA director, was the top guy in charge of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of intelligence agencies– all English-speaking nations including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada — which has coordinated spying on citizens of those nations as well as on the citizens and leaders of such supposed NATO allies as Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc.

Knowing all this, it’s simply astounding to learn that Flynn himself was using apparently unencrypted email, phones and texting to communicate with, of all people, the Russian Ambassador to the US, discussing such issues as potentially lifting sanctions imposed on Russia by the sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama.

His political implosion is doubly ironic because Flynn was one of those who was loudly condemning Trump’s presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private server for her official State Department business, and for her general lax security standards (he actually led a “Lock her up!” chant at one Trump rally!).  Because clearly Flynn was not using secure communications in his own conversations with the Russian ambassador — communications that are now widely circulating in complete transcript form courtesy of US spy agencies like the National Security Agency.

Talk about someone being hoist upon his own petard!

You’d think that seeing the kind of trouble the NSA’s “collect it all” motto can wreak even for the powerful and seemingly invincible, Washington’s elite might rethink what the NSA is doing?

But nah, I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s more likely to be a lot of schadenfreude among those, both Democrats and traditional Cold War Republicans, who want to see Trump and his band of bozos go down, but hubristic to a fault, they’re not going to go so far as to think, “Hey, this could as easily happen to me!”

And yet, what we’re seeing here, besides the exposé of a thoroughly inept and out-of-his-depth President Trump, is the workings of the so-called “deep state” — the permanent power structure the really runs things in the US — which is taking advantage of its vast powers to rein in the efforts of a loose cannon trying to steer things off on an unorthodox course.

That should, when you think about it, be a scary notion, and a major cause for concern. After all, one big thing that Trump campaigned on, quite openly and consistently, was the very rational and commendable idea of de-escalating the years of anti-Russia fear-and-war mongering that had been going on under the Obama Administration, and of moving the country’s foreign policy away from the chaos and regime-change-promoting policies of both the Bush and Obama years, to a more isolationist live-and-let-live stance.

I mean, let’s face it: Trump is a dangerously narcissistic and sociopathic individual, wildly unsuited to be running a country that has the capability to destroy the earth many times over, whether militarily or by rampaging climate change. And Gen. Flynn was a nut job who was pushing for a US confrontation with Iran. How could the downfall of such whackos, and hopefully chief political advisor Steve Bannon, be a bad thing?

Well, if the manner in which they’re brought to heel is by having secret government forces such as the intelligence services, which are unanswerable to anyone and which, clearly, have dirt on everyone, making them effectively immune from criticism and democratic control, handle the job, that means that we no longer live in anything approaching a democracy. It’s all just secret power games among elites in Washington, with the American people as simply spectators.  Say what you want about Trump, but he was elected by voters the United States under the arcane rules laid down by the founders. If he’s going to be removed, it should be by an open process of impeachment, with charges brought publicly, debated publicly, and voted upon publicly by members of Congress who themselves are elected by the people. It should not be done by the strategically timed release of secret spying efforts by the intelligence agencies.

Good riddance to Flynn. He deserves to endure a fate that he helped to make possible. But let’s also see this as a warning that the national security state has crossed a major line and needs to be unravelled, scaled back tremendously, and put on a very short leash held by genuine Congressional defenders of the Bill of Rights.

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail