Former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, who stepped down in February, has been under fire for his unreported relations and communications with Russian companies and officials. But the controversy dates back prior to his short time working under the Trump administration.
In 2014, while working as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Flynn attended a U.K. security conference where he met Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian and British graduate student, the Wall Street Journal reported. Flynn never reported the meeting to the Department of Defense (DoD), which is standard procedure in the U.S. intelligence community.
As the director of the DIA at the time, Flynn would have been expected to report any contacts with foreign nationals he did not know.
In recent weeks, Flynn has been at the center of various controversies involving relations with Russia. It was revealed that he received $45,386 from Russia Today (RT) to fly to Moscow to speak at the network’s 10th anniversary celebration.
He also received over $11,000 from Russian air cargo carrier, Volga-Dnepr in August of 2015. The company had been blacklisted by the Pentagon at the time.
According to the Wall Street Journal‘s report, in his position at the DIA, Flynn would have been instructed to treat contacts from foreign nationals he did not already know as a potential effort to gain sensitive information or for recruitment.
“A senior official like him definitely ought to be expected to detect that and report it,” a former official told the outlet.
Flynn’s spokesman, Price Floyd, commenting on the matter, said, “This is a false story. The inference that the contact between Gen. Flynn and a Russian national described in this story should be seen in any light other than incidental contact is simply untrue.”
Dan O’Brien, the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the time, added that nothing “struck him as improper,” regarding Flynn’s interaction with Lokhova. Lokhova declined the Wall Street Journal’s request for comment.
One security expert who spoke with the outlet did add that Flynn should have been cautious with his meeting and notified the DoD. “He certainly knows better,” the person said.