It's become something of a parlor game in some political circles: of all the people Donald Trump has chosen for key government posts, which one has you the most frightened? Which nominee/appointee is likely to do the most harm?For what it's worth, my vote would go to Michael Flynn. To understand why, consider this
new report from CNN's Andrew Kaczynski.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's pick to be his national security adviser, claimed in an August radio interview that Arabic signs were present along the United States border with Mexico to guide potential state-sponsored terrorists and "radicalized Muslims" into the United States.Flynn further said in the interview he had personally seen photos of such signs in Texas.
All available evidence suggests no such signs exist in reality. In fact, no one, anywhere, has been able to substantiate such bizarre claims, which Flynn appears to have either made up out of whole cloth, or learned from one of his weird sources, who made it up out of whole cloth.Either way, this isn't the sort of thing we'd expect from a White House NSA -- though increasingly, it's exactly
the sort of thing we'd expect from Michael Flynn, who's embraced all kinds
of bizarre theories and conspiracies, both before and during his tenure as a leading Donald Trump ally.As we talked about
the other day, when the president of the United States has a chief national security advisor who struggles to separate fact from politically satisfying fiction, but who nevertheless is responsible for identifying key information that should matter to the man in the Oval Office, there's a real problem.A Politico piece
added, "[S]ome say Flynn's fondness for spreading fake news casts doubt on his fitness to serve as the White House's national security adviser, suggesting that he either can't spot a blatant falsehood or is just ideologically bent to believe the worst of his perceived enemies."Indeed, even some of his allies
are starting to come to the same conclusion.Former Gen. Barry McCaffrey, for example, told
NBC News the other day that he endorsed Flynn for NSA when Trump first made the announcement, but that was before McCaffrey learned more about the sort of garbage Flynn has peddled via social media.
"You know, I was very strong of my endorsement of him when he was first announced for the NSA position. I said he was correctly probably the best intelligence officer of his generation. But I must admit I'm now extremely uneasy about some of these tweets, which don't sound so much like political skull drudgery, but instead border on being demented. I think we need to look into this and sort out what is going on here."More McCaffrey: "I think that we need to aggressively examine what was going on with Gen. Flynn and his son dealing with these transparent, nearly demented tweets that were going out. I think it needs closer scrutiny."
Remember, this isn't altogether new. When Flynn briefly led the Defense Intelligence Agency before getting fired, he
"alienated both superiors and subordinates with ... what his critics considered a conspiratorial worldview."The New York Times reporting
on this added that some of Flynn's colleagues described him "as a Captain Queeg-like character, paranoid that his staff members were undercutting him and credulous of conspiracy theories."I shudder to think what kind of ideas he and Trump will come up with once they're in office.