This is how WaPo opens up the dramatic short-story of the rise and fall of Trump’s first NSA director:
Michael Flynn was at a beachside resort in the Dominican Republic, a stretch of sand and sun that he and his wife had visited for years, when he took a few moments out of their post-election vacation for a call with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
As a veteran intelligence officer, Flynn must have known that a call with a Russian official in Washington would be intercepted by the U.S. government, pored over by FBI analysts and possibly even shared with the White House.
Flynn had to know the intelligence services would be tracking high level Russian communications within the U.S.. So why did he persist with the contacts? Why did he have so many of these conversations? And why did he then lie about them? These are fair questions. At the very least we can conclude that Flynn was stupid.
But don’t let that distract you from a second (maybe better) narrative now emerging from an unexpected place. It is entirely possible, friends, that the poor general is actually a victim. Of a kind of plot. Something apparently sinister humminah targeting him bleargh phone calls harumph.
“That’s nine leakers that all belong in jail,” [Devin] Nunes said. “Those nine people broke the law, clearly, by leaking classified information to anybody.”…
Nunes said he also wanted to know how U.S. intelligence agencies were wiretapping Flynn’s calls, which he said may also have been illegal.
So Nunes said. And where exactly does this Flynn defender come from? The House Intelligence Committee, he’s the chairman.
The chairman said there are only two ways that intelligence agencies can listen in on an American’s phone call — after obtaining a warrant, or inadvertently, such as in the case of Flynn speaking with a foreign official being spied on, which the report suggests was the case.
Nunes said “it’s pretty clear” that there was no warrant.
“It’s pretty clear that’s not the case,” he said. “I’m pretty sure the FBI didn’t have a warrant on Michael Flynn … To listen to an American’s phone call you would have to go to a court, there’d be all that paperwork there. So I’m guessing that doesn’t exist.”
It’s pretty clear there wasn’t a warrant. Unless there was, because there certainly could have been. Maybe though – this is complicated, I know, but stay with me here – the recording could have happened inadvertently. Like when intelligence agents are listening to a foreign operative. But hey what could that possibly have to do with Michael Flynn? He was only calling the Russian ambassador five times a day, like Lisa Simpson on the Corey Hotline. ‘Tis a puzzlement.
If it seems like we’re through the looking glass here, it’s because we are. All of us who lived through the Cold War are right now banging our heads against the desk.
A Wall Street Journal editorial on Tuesday also questioned whether spies listening to Flynn broke the law.
“…they are supposed to protect the identity and speech of innocent Americans. Yet the Washington Post, which broke the story, says it spoke to multiple U.S. officials claiming to know what Mr. Flynn said on that call,” the Journal said.
“The questions someone in the White House should ask the National Security Agency is why it didn’t use minimization procedures to protect Mr. Flynn?”
WHY DIDN’T THEY PROTECT MR. FLYNN? That’s a good question. Hell, what about that poor Russian ambassador? Why won’t anybody protect him? The CIA are all over the poor guy like white on rice.
Now would probably be a good time to throw in a few links to breaking stories:
• Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence
• Russian Media And The American Alt-Right Movement Converge On Messaging Over Gen. Mike Flynn’s Resignation
• Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump
• Russia sends spy ship near US coast, deploys banned missiles at home, officials say
• Russian jets buzz US destroyer in Black Sea
This would also probably be a good time to remind ourselves how much Donald detests intrusions of government, hi-tech espionage, stark hypocrisy…
Are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2016