Earlier this year, it became clear that Michael Flynn’s disclosures of his meetings and lobbying work prior to becoming national-security adviser were incomplete. On reflection, maybe the retired general would have been better off just disclosing who he wasn’t working for.
Wednesday brings new details in the bizarre story of Flynn flogging a private-sector plan to build a slew of nuclear reactors across the Middle East. The idea, first revealed by Newsweek in June, was that the U.S., along with Russia’s state-run nuclear-energy agency, would build a series of nuclear power plants across the Middle East. This would assuage the desire of Arab countries to acquire their own nuclear programs, helping to keep the peace. Even better, it would be funded by Saudi Arabia, meaning that U.S. business would prosper but taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay a cent. The Arab countries would have also purchased military hardware from Russia under the agreement.
The geostrategic logic here is debatable at best—its backers included other high-profile retired military brass—as is the rather grandiose nickname of the “Marshall Plan,” but whether the idea was wise or not, Flynn was supposed to disclose the trip he took to Egypt and Israel in summer 2015 in support of the plan. House Democrats say that Flynn did not disclose his travel or contact with foreign nationals, as he was required to do when he applied for a renewed security clearance. Politico adds that Flynn continued to push the project to the Trump administration during the presidential transition, after he had been named national-security adviser to President Trump, but he did not disclose that he had been paid by the plan’s backers, with whom he remained in contact. According to The Wall Street Journal, Flynn instructed National Security Council staffers to meet with the project’s principals, though it’s unclear whether this continued after Trump’s inauguration.