Distraction (noun): “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.”
“Obamagate.” It is not the biggest scandal in our lifetimes. In fact, it’s not a scandal at all.
The argument of Trump and his obedient right-wing media is as follows:
Mike Flynn was unjustly targeted by the Obama administration in a politically ploy to take him down for the purpose of hurting the Trump administration. Obama, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, and other high ranking members of the Obama administration asked that the NSA to unmask Flynn’s identity, with the request granted illegally. Once Flynn’s identity was revealed, the FBI questioned him and somehow coerced him to lie to them. And another innocent true American patriot has had their lives ruined by the “deep state.”
Here are the actual facts:
1) Flynn actually worked under the Obama administration as defense intelligence chief, and was fired in 2014.
The Obama administration either distrusted Flynn or thought he was incompetent well before Trump even entered the Republican primary. And later on when the FBI found out that Flynn was meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and lying about it, the Obama administration justifiably thought that Flynn could be blackmailed, compromising American interests.
2) Obama warned Trump outright just several days after Trump’s victory, not to appoint Flynn. This emphasizes the previous point. It wasn’t just some baseless idea created in thin air as a secret plot to bring chaos to the Trump administration. Trump had been made known by Obama himself of the problems that may ensue if he appoints Flynn as national security advisor.
3) Flynn is not a man of good character. Flynn is one of the promoters of “Pizzagate”- a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant. A broader list that briefly describes some of Flynn’s unstable and bizarre behavior can been seen here, appropriately labeling Flynn a “crook and a crackpot:”
But the right-wing make him out to be a martyr, just like the title indicates. Inferences from their spokespeople suggest to their listeners/readers that Flynn was just some innocent freedom loving American that the “deep state” took down for the sole reason to disrupt the Trump presidency.
Yet they fail to talk about Flynn’s disruptive nature, incompetent leadership, ignorant conspiracy theories, and the legitimate security threat that he posed to the U.S. that were all observable even before Trump’s presidency.
4) Sergey Kislyak was not to be trusted. He was viewed by our intelligence agency as a threat to U.S. interests and our national security. It was Kislyak who was the subject of the original surveillance.
5) Mike Flynn originally was not a target of any FBI investigation. If it wasn’t for the fact that Flynn was continuously meeting and speaking with this Kislyac about U.S.-Russian relations, Flynn’s identity would have never been unmasked.
6) Flynn lied to the FBI, claiming that he never spoke to Kislyak about sanctions. Yet they had him on tape doing just that. He also lied to them about his business dealings in Turkey.
This supports the very legitimate concern of the Obama administration that Flynn can be easily compromised or blackmailed. He is willing to lie to U.S. intelligence to keep his meetings with Kislyak unknown. And the Russian’s could have used that to their advantage.
7) Flynn plead guilty for obstruction of justice, “willingly and knowingly” lying to the FBI.
8) “Unmaskings” are not rare. There are thousands of names that go unmasked by the NSA every year. Before his unmasking, Flynn’s identity was unknown in the intel reports, would have simply been referred to as something like “U.S. person #1”.
Anyone with the security clearance to access to the intel reports can request an “unmasking” of an individual. Whether or not the request is granted depends on the NSA’s judgement, evaluating if the request conveys legitimate enough reasoning to which revealing the identity of someone not originally being the target of the investigation is warranted.
And the requests that were granted were more than justified, to investigate this dubious discourse between a private citizen and a Russian Ambassador on matters of U.S./Russian relations.
The NSA did it’s job, ensuring that a private-citizen conversing in secret with a Russian official about U.S. Policy would not be in official position of power for very long. Flynn only served as national security advisor for only a few weeks due to the information that came out about this investigation.
Trump should have listened to the warnings of the prior administration and never appointed Flynn to that position, but I suspect Trump already knew he was a criminal and was fine with it.
9) It wasn’t just “high-ranking” government officials that requested this unmasking. The U.S. Ambassador to Italy, and the deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Rome also made request.
10) There was nothing corrupt nor unprecedented about the FBI’s agreement not to pursue charges of Flynn’s son, on condition of Flynn’s guilty plea.
11) It is not unethical or illegal for FBI interrogators to considering a strategy to catch Flynn in a lie. Flynn could have told the truth, and nobody was forcing him not to. They knew he was guilty, and had the recorded conversations between him and Kislyak. Flynn made that decision to lie.
Once again, right-wing media does not defend the crimes of their criminals, rather they make the case that those crimes should have never been exposed in the first place. And they do so with baseless conspiracy theories without facts.
Since even before this administration took power, those on the right have not defending the indefensible actions of Trump himself, rather they follow willingly in his footsteps, presenting a victimhood mentality.
They decry the whistleblowers, former Trump cabinet members, leakers, and the media and scientists – the very people who have continuously exposed Trump and his administrations unprecedented illicit behavior.
This is the low level of acceptable morality of today’s Conservative leaders and spokespeople.