Blumenthal, Shaheen Reiterate Call for Review of Flynn's Security Clearance

Senators write top officials at DOD and CIA raising concerns regarding Flynn’s continued access to classified material

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo today requesting a review of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s security clearance. Today’s request follows news reports that Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions policy with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to President Trump’s inauguration.

"Recent reports that Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador regarding U.S. sanctions on Russian persons and interests prior to President Trump taking office creates significant national security concerns,” Blumenthal and Shaheen wrote. “This disclosure highlights just one in a series of decisions made by Flynn both during his military service and as a private citizen that give rise to questions concerning his suitability for continued access to classified information. Given these troubling revelations, a review of the clearance provided to Flynn is necessary to ensure the continued integrity of your respective clearance adjudication standards.”

The Senators made a similar request in December, referencing Flynn’s reported record of mishandling classified intelligence – as first reported in the New Yorker – and his conduct following his military service, including a paid trip to Russia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Russian government’s propaganda arm, Russia Today. In a letter to the nation’s top intelligence officials, the Senators wrote that Flynn’s “conduct in positions that require access to national defense information, and his subsequent private practice, appears inconsistent with the professionalism such access requires.”

The full text of the Senators’ letter today is below:

Dear Secretary Mattis and Director Pompeo:

We write to request that you initiate a review of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s suitability for continued access to highly classified national security information.

Recent reports that Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador regarding U.S. sanctions on Russian persons and interests prior to President Trump taking office creates significant national security concerns. This disclosure highlights just one in a series of decisions made by Flynn both during his military service and as a private citizen that give rise to questions concerning his suitability for continued access to classified information. Given these troubling revelations, a review of the clearance provided to Flynn is necessary to ensure the continued integrity of your respective clearance adjudication standards.    

We also remain concerned by Flynn’s prior unresolved contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On December 10, 2015, Flynn was paid to attend an event in Moscow celebrating the tenth anniversary of Russia Today, a propaganda arm of the Russian government. Although he has not disclosed how much he received in speaking fees or who paid for the travel expenses, he dined with Putin, just 18 months after leaving his position leading the Defense Intelligence Agency. As a retired general, he is prohibited from receipt of consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria, or any kind of salary from a foreign government without Congressional consent.

We thank you in advance for your consideration of our request. Please keep us apprised of any decision regarding the status of National Security Advisor Flynn’s security clearance going forward. We look forward to your timely response.