Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is the first real casualty resulting from nearly constant leaks currently plaguing the Trump White House.
Flynn resigned Monday night following revelations that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kisilyak.
“It is obvious that certain civil servants in the intelligence community and defense community are working with reporters to commit crimes.”
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has seized the story with gleeful viciousness, holding it up as incontrovertible proof of the Trump administration’s historic incompetence and nefarious connections to Russia.
But as President Donald Trump himself tweeted on Tuesday morning, the “real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington.”
In the case of Gen. Flynn, as with the other leaks which have occurred, there appear to be two main possibilities as to the source. The first is one of the remaining Obama appointments still at the White House who have yet to be replaced by the Trump administration.
When Trump took office, press secretary Sean Spicer said at least 50 Obama appointees would stay on in key, senior positions as the new administration looked for replacements. It is unclear the metric the incoming administration used to determine senior and it is possible more than 50 of the roughly 4,000 total political appointees remained in the government — some of whom likely stay to this day.
One of those senior Obama appointees who stayed for the start of the new administration was former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Yates not only proved herself a partisan figure by instructing Justice Department attorneys not to defend President Trump’s immigration executive orders, but she is also directly connected to the Flynn incident. Yates reportedly first alerted White House officials Flynn may have misled them on the content of his conversation with the Russian ambassador and Yates suggested Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail.
If not Obama appointments, anti-Trump Establishment career bureaucrats are the other possibility. “If I were forced to speculate, I’d say the leaks probably came from career workers who don’t like Donald Trump,” Eddie Zipperer, a political science professor at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette.
There are few things on this earth more terrifying to neoconservatives and globalists than the thought of an America pursuing an America-first foreign policy. Flynn, being one of the lead members of the Trump administration tasked with shaping such a policy, would have been an inviting target.
It would seem that some within the Trump administration believe this to be the case. "There are a number of different people on Capitol Hill and in the administration who I have talked about who are concerned that there is, in fact, this intelligence industrial complex that is trying to take out Donald Trump or somehow discredit him, or get under and disqualify him or some of his officials that are working for him," Bret Baier told Melissa Francis on Fox News Tuesday afternoon. "It's a real issue," he said.
This is certainly the explanation favored by conservative radio host and former Claremont Institute fellow Chris Buskirk. "In this case, representatives of the foreign policy establishment of both parties are unified against President Trump and they are focused on taking out General Flynn," Buskirk writes.
"The same people who brought us the failed wars for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the implosion of Libya, the Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIS, and the concomitant international refugee crisis want Flynn's scalp so they can reassert some control," he continued.
Regardless of the source of the leaks — it is entirely possible that different sources were responsible for different leaks and acted on different motivations — they represent a very real security threat that needs to be addressed, and the Trump administration is right to chastise reporters for focusing on the hypothetical content of the Flynn leak instead of the leak itself.
"The series of leaks that have occurred during both the transition and since the inauguration involve the release of highly classified information in an unauthorized manner," Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., told LifeZette.
"These disclosures constitute felonies under the Espionage Act and other statutes," said diGenova. "The Justice Department should immediately impanel a grand jury and start investigation where the leaks came from," diGenova continued.
"During the Obama administration, Obama's Justice Department issued more subpoenas to reporters than all other previous presidents combined," noted diGenova. "It is obvious that certain civil servants in the intelligence community and defense community are working with reporters to commit crimes through the unauthorized release of classified information."
"In order to hold accountable people who have violated their oaths of office, the Justice Department should waste no time in impaneling a grand jury to investigate these crimes," he said.