Biden DOD demands Mike Flynn fork over speech fee even though he helped DIA spy on Russians
Army takes new action despite evidence showing Flynn sought prior DIA approval for December 2015 RT dinner, got briefed in advance and gave U.S. spy agencies a thumb drive of intel he collected on the Russians.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
- confirms source reporting this journalist first published
- part of his case in February 2017
- ran an article in 2017
- claimed on Twitter
The Biden Pentagon recently alerted retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn it plans to recoup from him nearly $40,000 he received for attending a dinner in Moscow in 2015, claiming he didn't clear the speaking fee in advance and therefore violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. But documents from Russia special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation tell a far different story.
The documents, reviewed by Just the News, show Flynn in fact alerted his former agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, ahead of the dinner and got approval to use the trip to spy on Russia's leadership and specifically its GRU military intelligence unit.
The operation was blessed in advance by senior DIA officials, including Vincent Stewart, the Marine general who had succeeded Flynn as DIA chief. The former Trump administration national security adviser was even given tasking orders and a counterintelligence briefing before he departed for Moscow in December 2015.
"The first week of December 2015, General Flynn asked if I was still in the European Center and told me he planned on traveling to Moscow to speak at an RT event and might meet the Director of the GRU," former senior DIA executive David Becker wrote in a sworn declaration that was submitted during the Mueller probe but has never been made public.
You can read that memo here:
"We discussed potential topics of interest for the US intelligence community," Becker explained. "I told him I would arrange a briefing for him to include a Counterintelligence briefing before he departed to Moscow. We agreed that I would call him once it was arranged at DIA HQ.
"I next contacted my supervisor the Director of the Europe Eurasia Regional Center John Sadler, to begin the process. Mr. Sadler immediately contacted the Director of DIA LTG Stewart by email requesting permission to develop this briefing for [LTG] Flynn."
Stewart approved the operation, including telling Flynn what U.S. spy agencies wanted as "current collection requirements for Russia," as well as a defensive briefing to help prepare Flynn not to get tripped up by the Russians at the dinner, Becker wrote in the affidavit.
The intelligence community was so excited by Flynn's opportunity that it sent a total of 10 experts to brief him on everything from what the U.S. wanted to know about "the Senior Leadership of Russia" to "important collection points of the GRU," according to the documents.
They also gave Flynn a "complete briefing on the intelligence potentially directed against him" when he was with the Russians.
Becker disclosed that when Flynn returned from the trip he immediately contacted the DIA.
"DIA sent collectors to his office to pull all the information he was able to collect while on his trip," the former DIA executive wrote.
The retired general "turned over all contact information he obtained on his trip and provided all the information he was sensitized to look for during the initial meeting, including providing a thumb drive of pictures and other information," the affidavit disclosed.
Flynn sat among and gathered information from some of the top players in Russia, including Vladimir Putin (whom he sat next to), his chief of staff Sergey Ivanov, his deputy chief of staff Alexei Gromov and chief Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, according to information reviewed by Just the News.
Becker's detailed description confirms source reporting this journalist first published when he was a columnist at The Hill in 2019. It also significantly calls into question the reporting of numerous major news organizations that portrayed Flynn's visit with RT as a national security threat and betrayal of his country for money.
Liberal commentator Keith Olbermann used the dinner to make part of his case in February 2017 that Flynn "must now be arrested."
Politico, likewise, ran an article in 2017 describing Flynn's dinner this way: "Out of uniform, he accepted a paid speaking gig in Moscow and wound up at an RT dinner seated next to Putin in December 2015, raising more than a few eyebrows."
It turns out, no one in the intelligence world would have raised eyebrows about Flynn's dinner, because the spy agencies were in on it.
The use of the dinner to denigrate Flynn's patriotism continues to this day. Malcom Nance, a former intelligence analyst who frequents MSNBC, got into an online confrontation with Flynn last month and claimed on Twitter the former general "LITERALLY ate Putin's bread SEATED AT HIS RIGHT HAND. He LOVED Moscow's cash & spent years nestled deeply in Vlad's cold, white ."
Beyond the reputational damage facilitated by the misreporting of the occasion, the RT dinner continues to have legal and financial consequences for Flynn.
Flynn originally pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador but then sought to withdraw his plea when belated evidence emerged that FBI career agents had concluded he did not lie and wanted to close down an investigation of Flynn but were overruled by FBI leadership.
The bureau's conduct was so concerning that the lead agent in the Flynn case later told prosecutors he believed his agency was playing a "game of Clue" to "get" Trump and Flynn in the absence of evidence of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the FBI's former counterintelligence chief released notes questioning whether the bureau was engaging in entrapment with Flynn.
"What's our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" Bill Priestap wrote of the bureau's interactions with Flynn in notes that raised serious questions.
Flynn's withdrawn plea never reached a final conclusion because Trump in November 2020 pardoned Flynn, an act that removed any further criminal exposure.
But the Pentagon continued to investigate the RT dinner, and its inspector general concluded Flynn did not seek the Army's approval to accept the money, even though he cleared his dinner in advance with the DIA.
Last week, the Army's Office of the General Counsel sent Flynn a letter revealing the DOD planned to seek collection of more than $38,000 the retired general received as speaking fee and in-kind expense reimbursement through the U.S.-based speaking bureau that arranged Flynn's participation in the RT dinner. RT paid more than $45,000 to the speaker's bureau, which disbursed Flynn's share after deducting its own share.
"The Army has determined that in December 2015 you failed to obtain the necessary approval in accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 600-29 before accepting compensation from an entity substantially owned or controlled by a foreign government in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution," the letter stated, making no mention of Flynn's preclearance from the DIA.
Kash Patel, the former chief of staff to the Defense Secretary and former chief investigative counsel for the House Intelligence Committee when it unraveled the false Russia collusion narrative, said the DIA documents definitively prove that "Mike Flynn didn't do anything wrong on his trip to Russia."
"It's one of those unfortunate tragedies of a man who served his country with honor and distinguished himself and acted appropriately," Patel said of Flynn during an interview Monday on the John Solomon Reports podcast. "And then the media, you know, shredded his career."