Michael Thomas Flynn is a man who is well known for his longstanding service to the United States of America where he served in the Army. The retired lieutenant general was the 18th Director of the defense Intelligence Agency. In January 2017, he was appointed by Donald Trump as the first National Security Advisor. His tenure in the prestigious post was short lived when damaging information regarding his conduct began to surface. Flynn was accused of misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the true nature of his relationship with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Could a man, who has been held to such a high standard, turn around and engage in questionable activities?
The United States’ relationship with Russia existed for decades, when Russia was still known as the Soviet Union. While the two countries do maintain a diplomatic relationship, it is a very strained one. Relations became sour after the NATO bombing in 1999. This was when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization also known as North Atlantic Alliance ( NATO), was responsible for the bombing of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War . It has become worse under the leadership of Russian president, Vladimir Putin and after the 2017 elections when it was confirmed that Russia had interfered with the process to create propaganda against Hillary Clinton and in favor of Donald Trump.
Therefore, it is clear to see that any underhanded relationship Michael Flynn may have with Russia would only create more problems. The Obama Administration was angered by Russia’s involvement in elections; they placed sanctions on five Russian intelligence services and expelled thirty five Russians from the United States. It was later confirmed that, in December, Flynn had discussed those sanctions with the Russian ambassador long before Trump was sworn into office, but did not particularly say if they were to be lifted in the future. However, he did give the impression that Trump and his administration would review the sanctions made by the previous administration. Flynn, who initially denied such activities, later on said he did not remember if sanctions were even part of the conversation.
To make matters worse, recent files show that Michael Flynn had been receiving monies from Russian- related organizations but he did not include this information on the financial disclosure form he submitted before resigning as National Security Adviser. He did make corrections to the form and submitted it with the new details which showed that he was receiving monies from RT- a television network funded by Russia and a Russian cyber security firm. On the financial disclosure form, he did mention that he received payment from a speaker’s bureau but did not say which organization was paying him. Flynn’s inability to be transparent and truthful regarding his finances and his actions while in office, have made him difficult to trust.
In his resignation letter, Flynn said he spoke to many foreign officials after the 2016 elections and implied that this may have smeared his decisions later on. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”
Considering all the information that has been revealed and the actions that have been taken, one can only hope that Michael Flynn has learnt from his past mistakes. Whether or not he will ever again be allowed to serve in a position of this magnitude, is left to the decision of the Trump administration.