By Michael Hernandez
When President-elect Donald Trump tapped retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to be his closest advisor on national security he chose a weathered intelligence officer with more than three decades of military service.
The retired three-star general ended his career at the helm of the Pentagon’s intelligence arm after serving in the post for two years.
Flynn was relieved of command by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2014.
Some reports tie his dismissal to his leadership style, but Flynn denied the claims in a New York Post op-ed and said he was fired because of his stances “on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements.
“I would not change a lick how I operate. Our country has too much at stake,” he wrote.
Earlier this year he tweeted a video that claims Islamophobia is an oxymoron with the accompanying message: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions …”.
Beyond his views on Islam, the contentious general is facing criticism for continuing to advise foreign clients at his private consultancy firm while receiving intelligence briefings as part of Trump’s advisory team.
The registered Democrat “began sitting in on U.S. intelligence briefings for Trump in August while working for foreign clients”, according to Yahoo News.
Still, many of Flynn’s views do seem to mesh well with those of the president-elect, including on Russia where Flynn has been cozy with the government there.
Flynn spent time with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow after delivering a paid speech for Russia’s state-run broadcaster Russia Today in Moscow last year. During the gala, Flynn was seated next to Putin.
Flynn has also advocated for a stronger relationship with Turkey, calling on Washington to extradite alleged FETO ringleader Fetullah Gulen.
“The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven,” he wrote in the Hill political newspaper. “In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.”
Trump previously sought to make Flynn his Pentagon chief, according to reports, but a legal regulation mandating a seven-year gap between leading the agency and active duty makes Flynn ineligible.