Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at Trump Tower, Nov. 17, 2016. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and high level positions for the new administration. 
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty

Dem senators question Michael Flynn’s security clearance

It stands to reason that retired Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice to be the White House National Security Adviser, would feel some embarrassment about his recent record, but if he thinks he can simply erase it, Flynn is going to be disappointed. CNN reported the other day:
Incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has quietly deleted a tweet with a link to a fake news story about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in sex crimes with minors.

In the since-deleted tweet from Nov. 2, Flynn linked to a story on that falsely claimed the FBI investigation into Anthony Weiner had turned up evidence “to put Hillary (Clinton) and her crew away for life.”
Yes, we apparently live in a time in which a major national news organization can publish the sentence, ” Incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has quietly deleted a tweet with a link to a fake news story about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in sex crimes with minors,” and no one seems all that surprised by the report.

Flynn’s deletion will not, however, have the intended effect – because we’ve all already seen it, and it’s still readily available through various archives. In fact, efforts like these tend to be counter-productive since they draw additional attention to the fact that Flynn has embraced crackpot nonsense in the very recent past.

The entire mess, coupled with reports that Flynn shared sensitive information with foreign countries without permission, has contributed to questions about whether his security clearance deserves another look.

Politico reported this week that two Democratic senators have asked federal officials to review Flynn’s clearance level.
Flynn, who as a Trump surrogate during the campaign led the charge against Hillary Clinton over her private email server, would be privy to some of the nation’s most heavily guarded secrets as the top security adviser to the president.

But Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire are asking the current administration to look into Flynn’s record of safeguarding secrets during his career in the Army, which culminated in him leading the Defense Intelligence Agency.
“He was investigated for leaking highly classified information to several other countries and recently made public comments defending and encouraging such illegal practices,” Blumenthal and Shaheen, both members of the Armed Services Committee, wrote. “He is also reported to have knowingly provided highly sensitive compartmented information and code word classified information about the Haqqani terrorist network to Pakistan.”

It’s hard to blame the senators for raising concerns. Flynn has an odd affinity for conspiracy theories and fake news; he has controversial ties to Russia and other foreign governments; and in recent years, Flynn has racked up quite a record of alarming controversies.

Senate Democrats can’t stop Trump from making Flynn his NSA – the position does not require Senate confirmation – but they can urge the relevant agencies to review his security clearance.