We Can't Let Intelligence Agencies Undermine American Democracy

Michael Flynn
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn in Washington. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

In the closing months of the Obama administration, Secretary of State John Kerry, at the direction of President Obama, negotiated a Syrian peace pact with Russia, over the well-publicized objections of the CIA and the Pentagon.

A few days later, the agreement was dead after a U.S. air strike on a Syrian army base killed 100 soldiers. President Obama should have cleaned house over that chilling episode of insubordination.

Now, some unnamed, rogue, intelligence officials, allegedly fearing leaks, are reportedly withholding secret information from the new president, while their own unsubstantiated leaks promote a narrative that Russia hacked the U.S. election, colluding with Trump aides.

A major reason for the election's outcome may be closer to home. The FBI's extraordinary election-eve announcement of the discovery of more (supposedly illegal) Clinton emails set off a media firestorm, without regard to the truth, derailing the Clinton campaign.

President Obama took no disciplinary action against the FBI director, indirectly conferring legitimacy upon the intrusion, while Russia was sanctioned for alleged political interference. The new president's stated desire to cooperate with Russia was then cast in a sinister light.

The military-industrial-intelligence complex has pushed confrontation and encirclement of Russia for years, promoting "color" revolutions on Russia's border, and hailing NATO's saber rattling and emplacement of "defensive" missiles in Romania and Poland. General Michael Flynn was a casualty of this behind-the- scenes struggle for control of foreign policy. Flynn resigned as national security advisor, following charges by some anonymous intelligence sources, who asserted illegal contact with their reviled Russia.

After his resignation, anonymous sources opined there was no evidence Flynn violated laws, with the New York Times reporting :"The [intel] officials interviewed in recent weeks (emphasis mine) said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation," said the third paragraph of the story, whose headline implied cooperation. The president has emphasized it was Flynn's failure to properly brief Vice President Mike Pence which prompted his departure.

We now learn General Flynn allegedly told the FBI sanctions were not discussed in the phone call with the Russian Ambassador. Unredacted transcripts of the discussion with the Russian ambassador and the FBI's interview must be released to clarify content and context.

I have relevant experience in dealing with agencies. I led the effort in Congress to try to stop several wars, including the one against Libya. A Libyan official called me, in my congressional office, in an urgent attempt to head off escalating military attacks planned by British, French and the U.S. I immediately notified, in writing, the White House and the State Department, which had refused to return his calls.

My in-office conversation was intercepted, a transcript made, and later given to the media, in a clear attempt to undercut my opposition to the war.

Intelligence agencies play politics. Given the separation of powers doctrine, they have no legal right to monitor Congressional phone calls, and are to discontinue the monitoring if it accidentally occurs.

Then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) addresses the South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention in Columbia, May 3, 2003. Reuters

I understood the negative State Department policies toward Russia, so I formed the bipartisan Congressional U.S.-Russia Caucus. I was later contacted by the FBI, who inquired if I met with anyone from Russia and what was said. I invoked the Speech and Debate clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 6) which shields members of Congress from such intrusion.

Through the years, I have challenged Democrat and Republican administrations alike about wars in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, wars which have sacrificed countless lives and cost trillions of dollars, with no discernible improvement in U.S. security.

Our nation is endangered by never-ending attempts to engineer coups abroad. We also face dangers from within by unquestioned acceptance of stories peddled by some past or present anonymous, "official" US sources.

Some Americans support President Trump, some oppose him. I have challenged the Trump administration on immigration, fracking, the Standing Rock decision, its pronouncements on Afghanistan and Iran. I disagree with them on deregulation.

I well understand the disappointment of Democrats over the election. But we must not let our disappointment cause us to align with those who would imperil our country by either stirring passions for war or using covert, unconstitutional means to oust a President.

The consequences of the behind-the-scenes machinations of anonymous intelligence officials goes way beyond the personality and policies of one president. This is about our nation. It is about our Constitution and the rule of law.

We are witnessing an attempt by some shadowy intelligence operatives to further divide us, to destabilize America for ideology, money and power. People need to look carefully at every headline and media report to discern the underlying motives, so in our efforts to challenge this administration, we do not fall prey to those who can, with insidious anonymity, destroy our democracy and our freedoms. We must look beyond partisanship.

Dennis Kucinich is an author and was a presidential candidate, member of Congress, and mayor of Cleveland. He is also a Fox News contributor.

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