As I said the other day, I don’t think former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn did anything criminal and therefore, should not have stepped down. However, in a final interview before leaving the Trump administration, Flynn called for the prosecution of leakers who gave information to reporters that was based on classified information.
“In some of these cases, you’re talking about stuff that’s taken off of a classified system and given to a reporter. That’s a crime,” Flynn told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group during a telephone interview.
“You call them leaks,” he added. “It’s a criminal act. This is a crime. It’s not just a wink and a nod.”
Though it was reported by Bloomberg that Flynn was “instructed not to speak to the press when he was in the fight for his political life. His staff was not even allowed to review the transcripts of his call to the Russian ambassador,” he told the DCNF that he was to “go out and talk more.”
“He [President Donald Trump] expressed confidence,” Flynn said. “That’s when he told me that we need to go out and talk more. So I’m going to do that.”
“I haven’t been fighting back because I’m not that kind of guy,” he continued. “I’m behind the scenes. I’ve always been behind the scenes. But this is ridiculous. It’s so out of control. I’ve become an international celebrity for all the wrong reasons.”
He then queried about where the leaks were coming from.
“One has to wonder, ‘Are they coming out of people in the National Security Council? Are they coming out of people in the intel community? Or State? Or Defense?’”
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump responded to the leaks asking why so many illegal leaks were coming out of Washington.
“The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?” Trump tweeted.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
“People who are entrusted with national security secrets, classified information, are leaking it out. That’s a real concern for this president,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. “We have to wonder that people who work for our government, who are entrusted with classified information, decisional-based materials are leaking that information out. That, I do believe is a big story.”
Several sources have provided reporters with classified information, including allegations that Flynn’s December 25, 2016 discussions were with regards to sanctions on the same day that 35 Russian diplomats were kicked out by the outgoing Obama administration.
“It wasn’t about sanctions,” said Flynn. “It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out. So that’s what it turned out to be. It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”
According to Flynn, the conversation in December “was not to relieve sanctions. It was basically to say, ‘Look, we’re coming into office in a couple of weeks. Give us some time to take a look at everything.’”
“Members of Congress are very concerned because these are leaks from classified systems. The House and Senate are looking into those things, as they should,” Flynn said.
Thirty-year intelligence officer and retired Col. James Waurishuk, who served in the National Security Council asked, “Who pulled the NSA tapes on Mike Flynn? Who compiled it? Who released it?”
“There are those in the intelligence community that are more concerned with their agendas than with national security,” he said. “Notice how the intelligence community can leak Flynn’s conversation, but there are no leaks on Hillary Clinton and Benghazi.”
Isn’t’ that something?
Former intelligence official retired Col. James Williamson added, “What is illegal is that Flynn has his conversations eavesdropped on. Who at NSA leaked the transcript?”
Flynn then admitted his fault and apologized to Vice President Mike Pence.
“For the vice president, I feel terrible,” he said. “I put him in a position. He’s a man of incredible integrity. I think the world of him. He is so good for our country. I should have said, ‘I don’t know. I can’t recall,’ which is the truth. Looking back, that’s what I should have done.”
President Trump encouraged Flynn to speak out, but he has largely remained silent following his resignation.