Three-star US Army general Michael Flynn has ruffled a lot of feathers since he was fired as head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. He has led chants for Hillary Clinton to be “locked up,” dined with Russian president Vladimir Putin and been tacitly rebuked by the head of the joint chiefs of staff for his politicking.
Despite insisting earlier this year that he “could care less” about being offered a job by Donald Trump if the latter were to win the election, Flynn has been named national security adviser to the president-elect.
Flynn was initially rumored to be a candidate for the role of defense secretary under Trump, but that would have required senate approval and a congressional waiver (a former member of the military must be out of service for seven years before taking on a new government role; Flynn has been retired for just two). The national security advisor appointment puts Flynn in a position to influence Trump’s national security policies while side-stepping what could have been a bumpy approval process.
Flynn hasn’t been shy in praising Turkey’s strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. On election day he penned an op-ed lamenting the US media’s lack of “perspective” when “reporting the Erdoğan government’s crackdown on dissidents.” The piece amounted to a hatchet job on Erdoğan’s favorite scapegoat, Fethulla Gülen, a former imam living in exile in Pennsylvania:
“The stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gülen’s statements,” Flynn wrote. “Gülen’s vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network.”
Meanwhile, Flynn’s private intelligence consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, has taken “tens of thousands of dollars” from a Turkish client for “analysis on world affairs,” according to the Intercept. Flynn Intel Group is a registered lobbying group with a lobbyist on staff.