The New McCarthyites

The New McCarthyites, PJ MediaMichael Ledeen, May 10, 2017

(I agree that General Flynn should not have been fired. As I noted here, he was making good progress in restoring American-Russian relations to the end that Russia be weaned from Iran in Syria and elsewhere. For example, I cited a DEBKAfile article stating,

Even before his inauguration four weeks ago, he had arranged to reach those goals by means of an understanding with President Vladimir Putin for military and intelligence cooperation in Syria, both for the war on the Islamic State and for the removal of Iran and its Lebanese surrogate Hizballah from that country. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

The exit of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, the prime mover in the US-Russian détente, sent the Kremlin a negative signal. The Russians began unsheathing their claws when they began to suspect that the US president was being forced back from their understanding. The SSV 175 Viktor Leonov spy ship was ordered to move into position opposite Delaware on the East Coast of America; Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Before these events, Washington and Moscow wre moving briskly towards an understandingdebkafile’s intelligence sources disclose that the Kremlin had sent positive messages to the White House on their joint strategy in Syria, clarifying that Moscow was not locked in on Bashar Assad staying on as president. [Emphasis added.]

They also promised to table at the Geneva conference on Syria taking place later this month a demand for the all “foreign forces” to leave Syria. This would apply first and foremost to the pro-Iranian Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan militias brought in by Tehran to fight for Assad under the command of Revolutionary Guards officers, as well as Hizballah. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

What the leak did reveal was that some Washington insiders were determined at all costs to torpedo the evolving understanding between the American and Russian presidents. The first scapegoat was the strategy the two were developing for working together in Syria. [Emphasis added.]

Defending his policy of warming relations with Moscow, Trump protested that “getting along with Russia is not a bad thing.” He even warned there would be a “nuclear holocaust like no other” if relations between the two superpowers were allowed to deteriorate further.

— DM)

UNITED STATES – APRIL 18: Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, prepares to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled “Current and Future Worldwide Threats,” featuring testimony by he and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Watching former acting attorney general Sally Yates and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, sliming away at General Mike Flynn took me back to reminiscences of Wisconsin’s infamous Senator Joe McCarthy and his lists of Communists. He used to brandish sheafs of paper, on which he claimed to have the names of enemy agents operating within the government. We rarely got any real names, but we were assured there were hundreds of them. Finally a brave Massachusetts attorney asked the senator “have you no shame?” — and the air went out of the balloon.

No such brave soul was in action Monday as Yates and Clapper ruminated on the deeds of Mike Flynn, arguably the most creative and effective intelligence officer of his generation. Anyone who knows Flynn well will tell you that he is a rare man, a straight talker who tells his superiors exactly what he thinks, a 3-star general who has often preferred the input of junior officers and/or enlisted men and women to that of senior officers. These habits unsurprisingly annoyed his superiors, who were taken out of the decision-making loop. And, with the success of his methods, Flynn became a pariah to the intelligence establishment, perhaps above all to the CIA.

In short, as so often in life, his very success generated powerful enemies. You can safely assume that several of them first engineered Flynn’s purge as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, then participated eagerly in his elimination as national security adviser.

The testimony of Yates and Clapper comes right out of the intelligence community’s primers, including the preposterous claim that Flynn had made himself super-vulnerable to recruitment by the Russians. How? In the period following his purge from DIA, Flynn had been paid for speeches, including one in Moscow. This is common among retired officials, yet in Flynn’s case it became inflated to a presumed matter of great significance. Maybe even some sort of crime. Maybe even treason. That was the implication of remarks from Yates and Clapper. Yet, when asked for any empirical reason why anyone should believe any of it, they retreated to McCarthy’s methods: sorry, cannot tell you ‘cause it’s classified.

That’s when some committee member was supposed to ask, “Have you no shame?” But none of them was up to it.

McCarthy would have loved it, since the demon of the piece was Russia. But there is at least one difference. McCarthy’s targets could always demand that they be permitted to testify to his committee, to refute charges made there. But Flynn is trapped in the “Scooter Libby trap.” If he were to make an error in his testimony, no matter how trivial, he could be prosecuted for the error. No decent lawyer would advise his client to step forward under such circumstances. Ergo, Flynn is locked in a Catch 22 box. He must stay silent while he’s slandered by his McCarthyite attackers, who have no evidence for their slimy accusations. No matter that the FBI has said it has no basis to move against Flynn, but Yates and Clapper—yes, the same Clapper who spoke falsely to Congress within our memory—ask us to take their word for it.

I’m one of those who believe Mike Flynn to be an extraordinary talent who is being massacred by people still very angry that he showed them up by creating a better intel system in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also believe that President Trump made a big mistake by firing Flynn. Their common enemies concluded, predictably enough, that if they could get Flynn, they could get anyone, from Bannon and Gorka all the way to the Oval Office.

Indeed, the same sort of McCarthyite campaign waged ceaselessly against Flynn is now aimed at Trump himself. There’s still no evidence of collusion between Trump, or his aides, and the Russians. Yet the accusation is omnipresent in the Democrats’ ranks, and among some Republicans.

As one of those, Senator McCain, rightly said, it’s going to continue. I suspect before it dies of exhaustion, we’ll be more than a little nauseous.

Explore posts in the same categories: General Flynn and Russia, Trump and Russia

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