Thread Reader: Are Flynn’s network of spooks taking down corruption in the DOJ and FBI? 

From Thread Reader

1) Long read forthcoming. Topic: Are Flynn’s network of spooks taking down corruption in the DOJ and FBI? Much credit to @Thomaswictor for his brilliant work. This is an analysis of what he proposes – which lines up nicely with what we discovered with our own work.

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3) This is important because Cattler was approved and granted TS/SCI clearance along with the other senior NSC staff hand picked by Flynn – this allows him access to see raw SIGINT without violating national security – something denied to many other Trump appointees in Jan/Feb:

4) “The denial of the Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance, the high-level security clearance known as TS/SCI, was widely viewed as a bureaucratic power play by opponents of both Flynn and Townley inside intelligence agencies.”

5) “Angelo Codevilla, an intelligence expert, said the denial of clearances was engineered by the CIA and came despite Townley’s holding of the high level clearance for many years when he worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

6) “The clearance denial drove Townley out of the White House National Security Council staff…The TS/SCI clearance grants a holder access to special intelligence, such as information obtained from foreign recruited agents and electronic communications intelligence.”

8) Cattler was hired February 2, 2017 – 11 days before Flynn would resign, less than a week after Flynn’s interview with the FBI where he lied, and thirty two days after Flynn’s phone call was leaked to the press.

9) Flynn steps down February 13th. February 20th, McMaster is hired and he immediately begins reassigning Flynn’s NSC senior staff and eliminating positions Flynn created, including Cattler’s:


President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, is taking steps to streamline the National Security Council — starting by eliminating positions created by his short-lived predecessor Michael Flynn…

11) “McMaster did away this week with two deputy assistant spots, one overseeing the NSC’s regional desks and another overseeing transnational issues, according to a senior White House aide.”

12) Cattler was not fired, he was reassigned: 

“Dave Cattler, who was named deputy assistant to the president for regional affairs, will return to the office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he worked during the Obama administration…”

13) Excluded from this article is the fact that Cattler returned to his former post while retaining his TS/SCI clearances, clearances he did not hold previously.

14) “Cattler and Hansell are generally well-regarded, according to a person familiar with the current NSC…. Cattler was a Flynn pick, the person said. According to his LinkedIn page, Cattler worked under the former NSC boss at the Defense Intelligence Agency…”

15) “…Flynn was forced out of the DIA in 2014.

According to the person familiar with the NSC, some career intelligence professionals regarded Cattler with suspicion because of his connection to Flynn, a vocal critic of the CIA and its tactics.”

16) Those of you paying close attention might already see where this is going… But before we go on, let’s stop for some Q type questions about Flynn:

What did Flynn do professionally before joining Trump’s team?
What specifically did Flynn and the previous administration have a falling out over? 
Which IC chief did Trump retain? 
Did Trump meet with that IC Chief in an unconventional way?
Why is that important?

What was THAT IC Chief’s relationship with the previous administration?
What specifically did that IC Chief and the previous administration have a falling out over? 
How does that relate to Flynn’s falling out with the previous administration?
Who has everyone’s secrets?

19) And with those questions in mind let’s reexamine the entire Flynn timeline because it’s important:

20) December 28, 2016 – 44’s administration sanctions Russia for Russian “meddling” and expels over 30 diplomats.

21) December 29, 2016 – Flynn, acting as a member of the transition team, called the Russian Ambassador and asked him not to escalate the situation in response to 44’s sanctions.

22) This call was made on an open line, not a secured one. It’s safe to assume Flynn, with his 33 year career as a spy, was aware that the call was being monitored and recorded by many different parties, including the USIC and FBI.

24) January 15th, 2017 – Pence goes on Face the Nation and describes the Flynn Kislyak call as coincidental and not prompted by 44’s sanctions the day prior. He bases this on a conversation Pence had with Flynn days before.

25) The firestorm of speculations in the media intensifies, as pundits breathlessly write about just what might have been said in the call between Flynn and Kislyak. Pence is in the spotlight and dragged through the mud as op-eds claim he’s covering for Flynn and Trump both.

26) January 20th – 21st, 2017 – 45 sworn into office. Flynn’s senior staff begins to get deployed and granted TS/SCI clearances while Trump immediately begins to fire swaths of people at both State and CIA…

27) … going as far as to give a speech at Langley wherein he joked about building a new CIA “without any columns”. Columns in intelligence speak is defined as such: any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation.

28) …This is an incredibly audacious “joke” for a newly elected president to make while standing in front of the CIA’s wall of honor.

29) During the same speech, 45 specifically calls out Flynn. This is significant because he’s standing in Langley. Flynn was once head of DIA – DIA and CIA do not get along and it was Flynn’s clash with the CIA which lead to him losing his position…

30) …The subtext here is perhaps more than just Trump standing behind Flynn amidst the fire storm, it’s more a “game on” statement:

31) The columns comment comes immediately after 45 “rambles” about “liking honest reporting” @ the 15:09:

32) “We’ll get rid of the columns.” !!!! The columns in this could possibly mean those in CIA and other USIC agencies who have been leaking classified intel damaging to the administration to the “dishonest” press.

33) January 24th, 2017 – Flynn has his meeting with the FBI. Flynn had the legal right not to answer the question, yet rather than do that he knowingly lies to the FBI about a call which a) he knows to have been legal, and b) he knows the FBI has a complete transcript of already.

34) January 26th, 2017 – Sally Yates (per her congressional testimony in May) informs White House Counsel that Flynn is now vulnerable to Russian blackmail because he lied to the FBI and to Pence about the contents of the call.

35) It’s important to note here that Sally Yates did not have TS/SCI clearance and thus could not legally read the contents of Flynn’s call unless Flynn’s name had been unmasked and shared with her by 44’s administration.

36) Also note that Flynn was cleared of any illegalities with regards to the contents of the call itself – meaning, there was nothing illegal or treasonous in the transcripts for which Flynn could be charged. This is why he only got hit with Process Crimes.

37) “We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this, that the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done and the Russians also knew that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others,” Yates said.…

38) February 2nd, 2017 – In the midst of a media firestorm and leaks causing the Administration headaches and twitter tantrums, Flynn who knows he’s on borrowed time, creates a new deputy assistant position in the NSC senior staff and appoints Cattler to fill it.

39) February 8th, 2017 – Flynn denies the story to the Washington Post, saying the topic of sanctions never came up on his call with Kislyak. This sets off another media firestorm.

41) February 13th, 2017 – Flynn resigns, officially for lying to Pence and the FBI.

42) February 20th 2017 – McMaster is hired as National Security Advisor and recycles Flynn’s staff. McMaster eliminates the two new deputy positions Flynn created, transfering Cattler back to the office of the DNI, though he is now armed with TS/SCI clearance good for 12 months.

43) Why is this timeline important?

44) Because by January 24th we know Flynn knew three things for certain:
1) His phone call to the Ambassador was not illegal, nor was discussing sanctions.

(2) His phone call to the Ambassador was being monitored and recorded. (3) The administration was trying to plug leaks of classified intelligence to the media by members of the USIC:

46) Now, it’s entirely possible Flynn knowingly lied to the FBI about something he knew they’d know was a lie (and wasn’t legally compelled to answer in the first place) because he didn’t trust the FBI to keep his answer confidential.

47) Had he answered yes, and the FBI leaked it, in that environment (which was even more hysterical than it is now) this news would have SUNK Trump’s administration in Russian scandal to the point of crippling it less than two weeks after being sworn in.

48) 45 might never recover from Flynn answering honestly about a conversation he knew was in no way illegal or treasonous. With that in mind, Flynn, being a patriot, fell on his sword to protect the administration from undue and unfair scrutiny…

49) Can’t rule that out. 

But there’s another possibility… 

It’s also possible that a career master spook was doing something else entirely. That’s where this gets fun:

50) Cattler’s career in the USIC is flawless. His specialty? Counter terrorism. He and Flynn go way back. He’s a field spook who specializes in finding terrorists using SIGINT and HUMINT.

51) He’s an expert at finding Terrorists who hide in population centers and build networks and cells in secret… Kind of like spies or people leaking classified intel to the media would do…

52) It’s possible – if not likely – that Flynn brought on Cattler (and others) to hunt for the leakers inside the USIC feeding the media as well as to root out CIA corruption/influence in both the FBI and DOJ.

53) Remember, National Security Advisor is not confirmed by the Senate, Flynn was an outsider who had just been torched by the outgoing administration at the time he was picked for the job – he was already a target before he took the job.

54) Flynn appointed Cattler at a period of time when he knew he had lied to the FBI and they had the proof.

55) He knew that proof, which was classified TS/SCI intelligence, was being shared illegally with members of the media with the explicit purpose to undercut the incoming administration’s ability to dictate its own foreign policy agendas.

56) Flynn created a new position within the NSC senior staff to bring Cattler on, assuring he would get TS/SCI clearances above his existing clearances, which Cattler would then retain for the next 12 months even after his transfer out of the NSC.

57) This would allow the NSA to share raw SIGINT with Cattler even after Flynn’s resignation without violating the law.

58) For those of you unaware, the raw SIGINT that would be most useful for someone hunting leakers would be the same SIGINT that would be useful to a terrorist hunter: cell phone records, conversations and all and all electronic communications – encrypted or not.

59) Who holds the keys to that particular kingdom?

60) That’s right. The person who holds the keys to that kingdom, the agency that knows everyone’s secrets and has them on file, is the only USIC chief 45 retained…

61) Curious, isn’t it? Why would Trump retain Rogers? You can start to answer that by remember what Rogers has in common with Flynn.

62) Both were Obama appointees who had serious falling outs with the administration. So much so that 44 warned 45 that both Flynn and Rogers should be viewed with caution. Dig into what specifically Flynn and Roger’s clashes with the administration were all about.

64) Others have speculated (with solid evidence) that Rogers was not there to beg for his job but instead there to warn Trump about leakers and the coup attempt by elements within the USIC.

65) Which one is the truth? Perhaps both? Whatever was discussed, Rogers was retained as head of NSA and in that position he has the keys to the world, as well as everyone’s email and phone conversations.

66) Information he could share with men like Cattler once he got his TS/SCI clearance.

Information and intelligence that a master mole hunter can deploy to locate and oust leakers.

67) To recap: Flynn brought counter intel spooks into the NSC (more than Cattler), got them TS/SCI clearances which they retained after Flynn’s resignation in order to assist the administration in tracking down the leaks coming from within the USIC.

68) And they’ve been at work since February 13th… Has it worked?

Well… let’s go back to a story which broke last week and one which broke yesterday:

70) The initial reports attempted to paint Strzok as a middling level agent involved in the investigation. This is a lie. He was running the investigation into Clinton’s emails and was heading up the FBI’s Russia investigation before Mueller was hired as special prosecutor.

71) Why specifically was Strzok reassigned off the investigation and into human resources (which is about as humiliating of a demotion a senior agent can get in the FBI)?

73) In other words, precisely the kind of raw SIGINT that the NSA collects on every one of us every day. Precisely the kind of SIGINT Flynn’s spooks like Cattler were given clearances to see and analyze.

75) Yet, the Strzok news did not leak until after Flynn signed his plea deal. Why is this significant?

Remember back to the speculations revolving around Papadapoulos, he was arrested in July:

76) “The next day, in the motion to seal the filings associated with his arrest, the office of the special counsel argued that “public disclosure of the defendant’s appearance” would “significantly undermine his ability to serve as a proactive cooperator.”

77) Popodopoulos wasn’t formerly incited until October because they did not want to expose to the world that he’d been caught and ruin his ability to gather intelligence for the special investigation.

78) Why didn’t the news of Strzok’s reassignment leak until after Flynn signed his plea? Could it be because the Strzok texts were given to Mueller by Flynn’s leak hunters and announcing that in July would have exposed Flynn’s network? A network run by men like Cattler.


And if that’s true, now that Flynn has come in from the cold, it could mean that Strzok is just the beginning. We are perhaps about to see the results of the network Flynn deployed before resigning.

79) Which brings us to the story which broke yesterday:…

80) What makes this noteworthy, and related to my above longer post, is that IG investigators don’t usually talk about investigations when they’re in the middle of them. They discuss them when they’re wrapping up.

81) Which might explain the timing of the Strzok revelation (he flipped on others inside the FBI possibly). And it wouldn’t surprise me to find out Flynn’s network had a lot to do with it.

The results of this investigation could actually be quite major.

Here’s the announcement of the investigation, almost 11 months ago – while Flynn was still National Security Advisor and filling out his staff / deploying his network:…

83) Just sharing knowledge and building off the work others have done before us. #TheGreatAwakening

84) END

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