Trump named agent of a foreign power to be National Security Adviser — Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn, Dondal Trump’s top foreign policy and national security adviser during the campaign and transitionwho Trump named as National Security Adviser in his administration, was at the same time working personally and through his company for a firm linked to the Turkish government. He thus appears to have been working as an agent of a foreign government and therefore under a legal obligation to register with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This, it has now been learned, Flynn is attempting to do retroactively.

It makes you wonder what kind of an FBI background investigation, if any, was run on Flynn before he assumed office as National Security Adviser on January 20. If it was, how could the FBI miss the fact that Flynn was working as an agent of a foreign power, while violating the legal requirements for registration as a foreign agent under the FARA? Details on the FARA are found here.


Theodoric Meyer, “Flynn lobbied for Turkish-linked firm after election, documents show,” Politico, March 8, 2017 (8:10 p.m. EST, update).

Amber Jamieson (in New York), “Trump unaware that Michael Flynn was a ‘foreign agent’, Sean Spicer says; Former national security adviser retroactively disclosed that he lobbied for firm linked to Turkish government while working as Trump’s campaign adviser,” The Guardian, The Guardian, March 9, 2017 (16:41 EST).

“Trump bestreitet Kenntnis von Flynns Lobbyarbeit; Ex-Sicherheitsberater Flynn hat sich während des Wahlkampfes gegen Geld für die Auslieferung von Gülen eingesetzt. Trump wusste davon nichts, sagt dessen Sprecher,” Die Zeit, 10. März 2017 (3:24 Uhr).

It appears that “extreme vetting” applies to refugees from war and great trauma and loss in places like Syria, who have already been cleared after extensive vetting by U.S. and U.N. officials, but not to Trump associates at the highest level who are entrusted with the most sensitive intelligence and security information in the country.

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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.