The assumption is that someone in the U.S. government leaked the contents of Michael Flynn’s conversation with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. It’s a clever, but probably highly flawed assumption.
But Before We Go There
Let’s first look at what we know for certain:
• Unlike Obama’s administration, in asking for Flynn’s resignation President Trump has proven that his administration is one in which ethics and the rule of law matter.
• Michael Flynn has proven that he is an ethical man for stepping down in the face of controversy, rather than allowing it to fester unnecessarily.
• Obama was President when Flynn’s phone calls were recorded.
So, If It Was the U.S. That Did It
If a source in the U.S. government, as the media insists, recorded and leaked Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak, by law that source had to have authorization from very high up in the Obama administration. In fact, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 (which lion of the left Senator Ted Kennedy introduced in 1977) normally requires a court order to record the phone conversations of U.S. citizens. If such a court order exists, it ought not be hard to find it.
But what if there was no court order? According to the FISA, the President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for a period of one year as long as it is only used to collect foreign intelligence information.
Without a doubt Barack Obama’s interpretation of U.S. law was unfortunately elastic. So, it’s not hard to imagine President Obama ordering Attorney General Loretta Lynch to tap Michael Flynn’s phone under a very flexible interpretation of the FISA. Such an order would be protected by executive privilege and wouldn’t be easy to find – if it was ever written down to begin with.
There are any number of reasons why Obama might have done this. His administration after all were the ones that didn’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Back in December, Democrats were still grasping for anything – recounts, court challenges, claims the Russians hacked the vote – to try and overturn election day 2016. Wiretaps on members of Trump’s inner circle would have been viewed as potential sources of ammunition to use on Hillary Clinton’s behalf. If so, who else’s phone calls were recorded and when should we expect to hear about the leaks?
Why, though, are we to believe that it must have been a U.S. source that leaked Flynn’s phone conversations to the media. The assumption makes for a nice, safe but frightening, and typical narrative. The assumption ignores another more frightening possibility.
When Flynn and Kislyak spoke by phone, most likely there were four people involved in the conversation. Michael Flynn would have spoken with someone, possibly a U.S. government employee, fluent in English and Russian. That person would have spoken with someone, probably a Russian government employee fluent in Russian and English. And that person would have spoken to Kisylak. In other words, when Flynn said “How are you?”, the American interpreter translated it “kak vy pazhivaite?” and conveyed it to the Russian interpreter on the other end who passed it along to Kisylak. When Kisylak replied “ochen khorosho a ty”, his interpreter passed “very well, and you” to Flynn’s interpreter who in turn conveyed the message to Flynn.
Remove Flynn, his interpreter, and some nameless faceless U.S. government operative from the list of leakers, and who is left with?
What If the Russians Have Been Feeding Info to The Media?
What if all along the media, either knowingly or unwittingly, has been pushing information given to them by Russian sources? Think about the media’s narrative: the Russians released unfavorable items from Hillary Clinton’s illegal server in order to help their friend Donald Trump get elected and sow seeds of doubt about our system of government among our own citizens. When the Russians released those unfavorable items, who turned them into news? Who continues to try and sow seeds of doubt about the integrity of the U.S. government every single day?
And now, all the sudden, the contents of Michael Flynn’s phone conversations emerge out of nowhere. The media didn’t miss a step in picking the story up and running with it. After all, it fits into their narrative and it discredits a President they hate. And it helps sow seeds of doubt in the integrity of our government in general and the intelligence agencies in particular.
How Can We Know for Sure?
The media can prove their innocence in all this very easily. Whichever media organization first received the Flynn phone calls can simply out their source. If that source is some nameless, faceless U.S. government source, then we know our media isn’t wedded to Moscow. If the media can’t out that source, how can we know it isn’t a Russian operative pushing selective information to try and weaken our country?
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