Of Leaks and Whistles

Continuation of the Flynn flap takes us into an interesting public quarrel about leaks, what is good for the U.S. and what’s good for the Administration. Are they the same or different, and is it a leak if it’s blowing a whistle on actions placing the U.S security in jeopardy?

A look back before joining the public narrative has clarified my perspective. Beginning with Mr Flynn’s actions during the campaign we see he passed on completely false news via Twitter about Ms Clinton. 

Couple this with his being an intelligence professional, his leading “Lock her Up” chants at political rallies and we have a clear public case (not a leak) of deliberate lies promoted by Mr Flynn during his support on the campaign trail. He was dirty before his selection as National Security Adviser, yet selected by the Administration anyway.

We also know (not a leak) that the Russians worked to influence the 2016 election. They hacked DNC computers and released pilfered documents to media sources. This action by the Russians was encouraged by the GOP candidate during a televised debate and at multiple public rallies. Again not a leak. So we know of Russian involvement in the election and DNC hacking, and we know the GOP campaign team sent public adulation to the Russians and Wikileaks for doing so. There was also no doubt Mr Flynn was unreliable and untrustworthy, something already clear to the prior Administration. He was put into the position of National Security Adviser by this administration anyway. We saw this train coming.

We now know the the acting Attorney General (Yates) had advised the Administration of the event and associated risks weeks ago and no action was taken by the Administration in spite of already public knowledge of Flynn’s character and his being in a self inflicted compromised position. Was this a leak? Or when a public official has knowledge placing the public  (and the nation) does it become a duty to protect he public they serve? Add another public servant, the President, now having the same knowledge and failing (perhaps refusing) to take action. A leak, or whistle blowing?

The White House is framing this as Flynn mislead Pence verses the security risk and legal violation. In essence the Administration hired a guy to lie for them and didn’t like it when he lied to them.  Way too simple an explanation. Never mind the security of the nation and the likely illegality, the issue is being carefully boxed in as a Flynn-Pence issue coupled with a critique of leaks.

Directing focus toward the leaks does little to establish credibility for this Administration. In realty it detracts credibility given their support for and encouragement for leaks when the leaks detracted form others’ credibility.

But the real questions are yet to be answered. While we see no direct evidence supporting the Presidents knowledge of Mr Flynn’s calls, it is hard to perceive a senior official, long-time friend and supporter, interacting with a foreign power in complete isolation. So who else? And to what level? How many more fall guys before we see the full breadth and depth of this…There is certainly much more to come…

Meanwhile in the circle of leaks and whistles there is a balance. If information is damaging for the country it must be protected. If the information is damaging for the Administration in disclosing illegal activity or security risks for the country, of course the Administration would like it protected. In this case we have verified information of Administration acts which place the nation at risk of blackmail by an adversary like Russia. To use a line from candidate Trump in the clip above, the leakers performed a public service by revealing a scandal with no rival in United States history. It becomes the duty of any public servant to disclose.  First to the responsible party, in this case the President which Ms Yates did. If there is no action taken, then to the public. That is what I call whistle blowing, and I applaud it.

 

 

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