A former NSA employee has accused Donald Trump’s selection for National Security Advisor of taking money from both Russia and Turkey and of breaching information security regulations.
John Schindler said Michael Flynn, who Mr Trump has nominated for the senior post, had taken money from the governments of Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan. Mr Schindler claimed on Twitter that Mr Trump would be a “hypocrite” if he stood by his nomination of the former general given his promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington.
“Flynn took money from Putin & Erdoğan AND he broke important INFOSEC laws+regs,” he said. “If Trump stands by him now, he is a monstrous hypocrite.”
Earlier this month, it emerged that Mr Flynn had indirectly been working on behalf of Turkish companies linked to the country’s leader. The Intercept said that while he is not a lobbyist himself, his company, Flynn Intel Group, is registered with Congress as a lobbying organisation.
One of the company’s clients, Kamil Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman close to Turkey's leader and who has real estate, aerospace, and consulting interests, told The Intercept that one of his companies, Inovo BV, paid Mr Flynn’s company “tens of thousands of dollars” for analysis on world affairs.
Meanwhile, on election day, Mr Flynn published an opinion piece for The Hill urging US support for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognise Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective,” he wrote.
Nobody from Mr Trump's campaign immediately responded to questions on Thursday. Mr Flynn could not be immediatley contacted.
Mr Flynn, 57, who was a registered Democrat before backing Mr Trump, was named by the New York tycoon as an adviser in February. The retired soldier caused widespread controversy after sharing a video on Twitter along with a comment stating: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions…”
Mr Flynn served in Iraq and Afghanistan before being appointed director of the Defence Intelligence Agency in 2012. He was fired by President Barack Obama in 2014 following continued complaints over his leadership style.
The former general said he was ousted because of his uncompromising approach to the threat of radical Islam. He resigned from the military shortly afterwards and set up the private consultancy firm.
Mr Flynn, whose appointment will not require Congressional approval, has also been criticised by some for his views about Russia. His relationship with the Cold War foe was questioned after he was paid to attend a Moscow gala hosted by the state-run Russian news channel RT. He was pictured seated next to President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Flynn later said he used the trip to urge Mr Putin to moderate his aggressive foreign policy. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein also attended the dinner.
In a statement issued when Mr Trump announced his pick of Mr Flynn, the tycoon said he hoped he would be “by my side as we work to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, navigate geopolitical challenges and keep Americans safe at home and abroad”.
Mr Flynn said: “I am deeply humbled and honored to accept the position as National Security Advisor to serve both our country and our nation’s next President, Donald J Trump.”
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