Sunday, November 12, 2017

Two Things That Were Never Going To Mesh: Trump And Intelligence


Were Trump national security chief Michael Flynn and his crackpot son, Michael Flynn Jr, going to break into Fethullah Gulen's heavily guarded compound in Stroudsburg, kill all the guards, and put a bag over Gulen's head and bundle him off in a private jet to the tiny island where Billy Hayes of Midnight Express fame was put? All to collect $15 million from Turkey's fascist dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Sounds far-fetched even for Trump's 3 Stooges kakistocracy. But... it was Murdoch's stuffy Wall Street Journal that broke the story of how the 2 Flynn's were to be paid millions to forcibly remove Fethullah Gulen from U.S. and deliver him to Turkish custody. Luckily, Bob Mueller is on the case.
Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed the U.S. to extradite him, views the cleric as a political enemy.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have asked at least four individuals about a meeting in mid-December at the ‘21’ Club in New York City, where Mr. Flynn and representatives of the Turkish government discussed removing Mr. Gulen, according to people with knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries. The discussions allegedly involved the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali, according to one of the people who has spoken to the FBI.

...[F]ederal investigators’ interest in whether Mr. Flynn was pursuing potentially illegal means to forcibly deal with Mr. Gulen indicates that the former Trump adviser faces another investigation stemming from his work on behalf of Turkish government interests, both before and after the presidential election.

...Before entering the Trump administration as the president’s national security adviser, Mr. Flynn was lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests in the U.S., including on the Gulen issue. He didn’t disclose that work until March of this year, after he was forced out of the White House for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Mr. Flynn served as national security adviser for just 24 days.

He is now facing military, congressional and criminal investigations into allegations that he improperly concealed his financial ties to Turkey and Russia, and into whether the ties played any role in his decisions as the president’s adviser, the Wall Street Journal has previously reported.

One person familiar with the alleged discussions about Mr. Gulen said Mr. Flynn also was prepared to use his influence in the White House to further the legal extradition of the cleric, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Gulen’s legal residency in the U.S. became a major irritant in American and Turkish relations during the Obama administration, and Turkish officials pressed for Mr. Gulen’s extradition so that he could face charges. Mr. Erdogan’s government has accused the cleric of masterminding a failed coup and have called him and his supporters a terrorist network. Mr. Gulen denies both accusations.

The alleged meeting in New York in December, which came after Mr. Flynn was tapped as national security adviser, was a follow-up to an earlier discussion, on Sept. 19, where Turkish officials first raised the possibility of forcibly removing Mr. Gulen. That September meeting, held in a hotel and attended by former CIA Director James Woolsey,was reported earlier by the Journal.

Mr. Gulen’s removal was discussed as “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away,” according to Mr. Woolsey, who said he attended the meeting at the request of one of Mr. Flynn’s business associates.

Also present at the September meeting were Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s foreign minister, foreign-lobbying disclosure documents show. The Turkish Embassy has previously acknowledged that Turkish officials met with Mr. Flynn but declined to discuss the conversation.

...In Mr. Flynn, the Turks found a more sympathetic ear. Mr. Flynn wrote an op-ed published in The Hill on the day of the presidential election in which he praised Mr. Erdogan’s government and called the cleric “a shady Islamic mullah” and “radical Islamist” who may be running “a dangerous sleeper terror network” in the U.S.

“We should not provide him safe haven,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

Mr. Woolsey said he informed the U.S. government about the September meeting by notifying Vice President Joe Biden through a mutual friend.

The mutual friend confirmed to the Journal that he told Mr. Biden about the meeting. Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter, other than to say Mr. Biden felt the Gulen matter should be handled through the courts.

Mr. Woolsey, who served briefly as an adviser to the Trump campaign, said he turned down a consulting fee from Mr. Flynn’s company because of what he heard at the meeting.

Federal records show that the company, Flynn Intel Group, was paid $530,000 for advocacy work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”

Federal investigators are currently looking at whether Mr. Flynn’s work on behalf of Turkey violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires people to disclose when they are acting in the U.S. on behalf of foreign powers, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

...The Journal reported in March that Mr. Flynn had sought immunity from investigators probing Russia’s interference in the presidential election in exchange for his testimony. Mr. Flynn’s attorney, Mr. Kelner, wouldn’t comment at the time on details of his discussions involving Mr. Flynn, but said “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”

Over the weekend, Trump was, once again, making a case for ending the investigation, telling the press that Putin-- a murderer, a tyrant, a rapacious kleptocrat and a former KGB agent practiced in deceit and manipulation with an abiding and motivational hatred for America-- had told him that Russia didn't interfere in the U.S. elections and that he's insulted at the inference. Bad enough that Trump would say it (and claim to believe it)... but the Russian government denies Putin and Trump exchanged any words on the topic at all. Trump just made the whole thing up! And, making Trump look even worse, his beloved CIA director, Mike Pompeo, released a statement right after Trump's latest nonsense backing up the U.S. intelligence findings that Russia did indeed meddle in the elections.

Labels: , , ,


At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real spies laugh at these James Bond-wannabees.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started reading and then this gave me chills:

"Luckily, Bob Mueller is on the case."

I'm not sure why, but I have nearly zero confidence that this guy will do much, if anything. So much has already been proven and affirmed... why has he not already arrested 50 people? Where are his arrests of Kushner, junior, and so on? Where is his news conference outlining trump's violation of emoluments, money laundering and fraud?

I think Mueller's job is to drag this on, only touching low-level and irrelevant patsies, until after 2018 or 2020 depending on the results of the election. If 2018 affirms the Nazis, he'll be fired. If it results in a D wave, he'll wrap it up and claim he can't prove anything.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous benjoya said...

why do they say "remove" Gulen to Turkey when they mean "kidnap"?

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

benjoya, because 'rendition' is not a proper verb?


Post a Comment

<< Home