The Daily Beast reports: As Donald Trump inches closer to the Republican nomination for president, he has faced repeated calls from rival candidates and the press to name the national security and foreign policy experts who advise him and who are helping to shape his views on critical questions that he would confront as commander-in-chief.
Last week, Trump — who has called for banning foreign Muslims from entering the U.S., killing the families of terrorists, and using torture — said in an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he would identify the members of “the team” he consults “very shortly,” and that, “I don’t think there’s any rush… I just don’t want to do it now.”
But in interviews with current and former U.S. defense and intelligence officials, one name continues to surface as a trusted Trump adviser and go-to man on intelligence and national security: Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a well-known and outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s campaign against ISIS and its foreign policy.
In Trump, Flynn may have found a kindred spirit—a brash, candid provocateur who seems more interested in upending whole systems than in fine-tuning them. He is also the most prominent name to emerge of those who could help shape the nascent Trump doctrine. And that has made some current and former officials who know Flynn nervous.
They question why the retired general, who has earned criticism for his leadership style but has generally been regarded as a well-intentioned professional, would assist a candidate who has called for military actions that would constitute war crimes.
“I think Flynn and Trump are two peas in a pod,” one former senior U.S. intelligence official who knows Flynn told The Daily Beast. “They have this naive notion that yelling at people will just solve problems.”
Flynn, who was forced out of his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in August 2014 after clashing with other senior officials, has said that “political correctness” has prevented the U.S. from confronting violent extremism, which he sees as a “cancerous idea that exists inside of the Islamic religion.” Flynn has authored a forthcoming book that argues the U.S. government “has concealed the actions of terrorists like [Osama] bin Laden and groups like ISIS, and the role of Iran in the rise of radical Islam…” His co-author, Michael Ledeen, is a neoconservative author and policy analyst who was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair. [Continue reading…]