Michael Flynn’s Reward for 33 Years of Service

By | December 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

Lieut. Gen. Michael Flynn, 2012
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Michael Flynn, 2018

If you followed the 33-year career of Lieut. Gen. Michael Flynn, USA (Ret.), you would be impressed with the decorations and campaign ribbons he earned. His last assignment was as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he supervised the handling of a multitude of highly classified material.

Flynn was briefly President Trump’s national security advisor. Again we have a special counsel, in this case Robert Mueller. Again we have a subordinate pressured to implicate “bigger fish,” in this case Trump or his associates in “collusion with Russia.” Again we have actions that were not a crime, in this case a President Elect contacting officials of other nations. But if there is a crime, it is the Hillary Clinton campaign paying Brits and Russians to fabricate the “Trump dossier,” detailing Trump’s hypothetical misdeeds in Moscow, including having Russian prostitutes urinate on a bed.

Flynn pled guilty not to any underlying crime, which has not been charged, much less proved. No, Flynn pled guilty to making a false statement to federal agents about meetings with Russians. Did he lie, or merely fail to remember? And if he did lie, was it out of malice, or out of ingrained habit of many years in intelligence: Tell only those with a need to know. But no matter, his statements apparently were incorrect. To save his family from bankruptcy from legal bills, and to save his son from similar charges, he pled guilty.

How does this differ from extracting confessions by torture? True, we no longer have Torquemada using the rack ‒ we have Mueller using the legal system. But is the result any better, either factually or morally? Both the Inquisition and the Nazis extracted confessions by threatening family members. The Nazis called this Sippenhaft.

Question: Did the FBI agents who conducted the interview have Top Secret-Sensitive Compartmented clearance? As recent director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Gen. Flynn would be expected to know the answer to this question. And if the agents did not have this top-level clearance, or if in Flynn’s opinion they did not have a need to know, he probably believed he was forbidden to disclose contents of private communications between himself and foreign officials.

In short, if he did not disclose the information, the FBI could charge him with lying. But if he did disclose it, he could be charged with revealing Top Secret information to those not cleared to receive it. Asking about phone conversations the FBI had already recorded was a trap. Asking Flynn to disclose Top Secret information was a trap squared. Have a nice day.

Even worse, Peter Strzok, the FBI agent in charge of Flynn’s interview has been removed from the Mueller investigation because of his blatant anti-Trump bias. Worse still, Flynn was unaware it was an official interview and did not have an attorney present. A man who is used to working with people who are honorable and are able to keep secrets can easily be trapped by people who are neither. And worst of all, the Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, told Flynn not to have a lawyer present.

No, there is something even more troubling. Reportedly there are different versions of the report of the Flynn interview. Why? Did earlier versions contain things the prosecutors didn’t want? Did they fail to contain things the prosecutors did want? Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the Mueller team to turn over all documents relevant to the interview. This reminds me of Murphy’s Law of Fabrication:

If you are manufacturing something out of whole cloth, make sure to do it right the first time, or at least to destroy all other versions of your phony concoction.

Gen. Flynn already has been impoverished by legal fees. Unless Judge Sullivan throws out the indictment, and even if no prison time is required, he will remain a convicted felon all his life, unable to hold a corporate office, unable to get a security clearance or be bonded, unable to work for a government contractor, unable to touch a firearm, unable to vote (depending on state law), and perhaps even unable to collect the pension he earned by his 33 years of service. Merry Christmas to the Flynn family!

Question: The government had tapped the Russian ambassador’s phone. Then why question Gen. Flynn about those conversations, if not to trap him into a misstatement? The feds already knew exactly what was said.

Question: If talking to the feds can land you in prison even if there is no underlying crime, why is not a Miranda warning required before every interview?

Question: If even small police departments videotape interviews, why does the FBI not even use audiotapes, but instead continues to write up reports of interviews ‒ which, of course, contain only what the FBI wants them to contain, nothing more, nothing less.

Question: If the deep-state bureaucrats can destroy the life of the former National Security Advisor, what can they do to ordinary people like you and me? Their motive was not only to bring down Gen. Flynn, but also strike fear into the hearts of ordinary citizens: “Challenge us? This is what you get.”

What can we learn from all this?

  • Even if the crime itself cannot be proved, or even if there is no crime in the first place, you can still go to prison for making false statements to federal officers.
  • Even if there was no crime in the first place, and even if there was no intent to deceive, you can still go to prison if your statements differ from the statements of others.
  • Even if the possibly criminal act was committed by the other political party, you can still be convicted of a felony for making incorrect statements to federal officers.

I am not qualified to tell anyone what to do. I am not a lawyer. But I’ll tell you what I intend to do. If I find evidence of a local crime, I will call the police while remaining anonymous. But if I find evidence of a federal crime, I’ll be doubly careful. I may not report it at all, unless it involves national security. Even then, I’ll do so using a disposable cell phone I bought for cash, and disguising my voice.

And if federal agents come to question me about anything at all, I will politely refuse to say a word, invoke my Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate myself, and repeat “lawyer” interminably, perhaps to music. If I am lucky, they may consider me demented and go on to the next “person of interest.”

Saying something to a federal agent that contradicts what someone else says can constitute a crime in itself. Therefore, my right not to incriminate myself must apply to any statement at all. What the feds taught me with the Flynn case is keep your mouth shut.

Making people reluctant to talk to federal agents is an incredibly stupid thing to do in a time of international terrorism. Instead, we should encourage people to cooperate. But in our zeal to bring down the politically powerful, we are doing precisely the opposite.

Look at the two photos at the top of this column. Do you believe that this is the proper way of saying, “Thank you for your 33 years of service to our country”? Do you believe that this is the way to encourage young people to join the military and risk their lives for our country? Do you believe that it is permissible for law-enforcement machinery to entrap a subordinate and destroy his life in an attempt to force him to implicate the President in a crime that may not have occurred? Do you believe that this is compatible with our remaining a free nation? Do you believe that those involved care one iota?

The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten. − Calvin Coolidge

Flynn had committed no provable crimes until the investigators arrived. Back where I come from, officials investigate crimes that have already occurred; they don’t manufacture new ones. Back where I come from, officials investigate crimes to discover who committed them; they don’t investigate people to see if they can discover a crime – or fabricate one.

I come from America. It’s a nice place to visit, but it’s a really great place to live. One day I hope to live there again. A good way to make that day come sooner is to end politically motivated prosecutions.

Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime. ‒ Marshal Beria, head of the Soviet Secret Police

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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