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The Curious Case of Michael Flynn

Who is Michael Flynn? And why does he stand trial for a lobbying contract he signed some 3 years ago?

Michael Thomas Flynn was the first National Security Advisor under the Trump administration.

Prior to taking office as the 25th United States National Security Advisor, Flynn was running a commercial lobbying firm.

By the end of September 2016, his lobbying firm signed a 3-month contract with Inovo BV, a company owned by Ekim Alptekin, the then Chairman of the Turkey-U.S. Business Council.

The contract involved conducting research on the activities of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the cult responsible for the bloody 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, who still resides in Pennsylvania with impunity.

In November 2016, Donald Trump won the United States presidential election and General Flynn accepted his offer for the position of National Security Advisor to the White House.

However, Flynn did not receive a warm welcome from the U.S. bureaucratic circles.

Previously in 2014, he was forced to resign from his post as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Hence, for a certain group of people, the black sheep of the U.S. bureaucracy was back at it, leading his country’s national security strategies once again.

Just one month after taking office as the National Security Advisor under Trump administration, he was forced to resign once again due to his alleged ties with Russia, which escalated following a visit to the country, approved by the White House in August 2015.

At that very point, Flynn’s then terminated contract with the Turkish businessman played an excellent role in supporting his public image as a “foreign agent”.

Flynn was claimed to be hired by the Turkish government, which was using a private company to bypass the United States Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Allegedly, the main goal was buying influence in the upcoming U.S. administration.

Thus, Flynn is now standing trial for violating FARA.

To address the issue, Ekim Alptekin further emphasized that he would have hired someone in Hillary Clinton’s team instead, if he were acting on behalf of the Turkish government with the aforementioned goals, given that 85% of the polls showed Clinton as the winner of the presidential race back then.

Additionally, there was nothing secret about the nature of Flynn’s work.

Shortly after Trump’s election, Flynn’s lawyers notified the transition team and informed the White House about the nature of his work, asking if he should register as a foreign agent.

Opening a case against Flynn despite the transparent nature of his work can be construed as an “aggressive use” of FARA.

As Foreign Policy magazine so aptly puts, FARA was nothing more than an “obscure piece of legislation, long widely ignored or skirted”, yet it was revitalized for some reason to be used against certain members of Trump’s team like Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.

So, would it be wrong to say that Turkey was essentially caught up in a power play within Washington, D.C.?

 

Ömer Erkut Bulut