Tags: Barack Obama | Donald Trump | Exclusive Interviews | Michael Flynn resignation | Newsmax TV | Pete Hoekstra | intelligence

Pete Hoekstra: Flynn Felled By Intel Leaks From Obama Admin. Holdovers

Newsmax TV's "America Talks Live"

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Feb 2017 05:08 PM

Gen. Michael Flynn was the victim of leaks by intelligence workers left over from Obama administration — and their ranks must be weeded out before they undercut President Donald Trump's leadership, Pete Hoekstra, former chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Newsmax TV.

"What Trump needs to do is he needs to drain the swamp . . . [which is] going into the State Department, into the intelligence community, and get rid of the Obama appointees," Hoekstra, R-Mich., told host Steve Malzberg on Tuesday's "America Talks Live."

"Get your friends, get your allies, your competent people into these appointments, fill out your administration, and get a hold of this bureaucracy; otherwise, they're going to fight you and undercut you just about every single day. Flynn is just the first victim of the swamp."

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Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser late Monday following reports he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia and whether he discussed sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama.

Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition and gave "incomplete information" about those discussions to Pence.

Hoekstra told Malzberg he believes Flynn would have lasted had he been transparent and truthful from the beginning.

"I think they kind of started this whole thing off badly . . . He [should] have said, 'Of course I talked about the sanctions, I talked about Syria, I talked about a whole other series of events that are important to our national security and our national security interests,'" Hoekstra said.

"'I covered all of those issues, and of course the Russians know I'm not negotiating for the president, but my boss will be the president on Jan. 20 at 12:01' . . . I think he would have been fine. It's always the best to tell the truth."

Hoekstra said the "real scary thing" involving Flynn was his conversations with Russia apparently were captured by the National Security Agency.

"As they're sweeping up as much communications and electronic data that they can get, they swept up this conversation between the Russians and America, and that stuff is supposed to be minimized, it's supposed to be hidden, it's supposed to be put away because the NSA cannot collect that kind of information," he said.

"That's not what happened here. It appears that instead of minimizing the information, they maximized it. They dug down, they offered transcripts, they spread it through the intelligence community.

"And it found its way to someone who said, I don't like Flynn, I don't like the Trump agenda, and you know what, I think I may screw them. I'm going to send this over to The [Washington] Post or to The New York Times or whatever."

Hoekstra called the leak "very, very troubling" because it gets at the "heart" of the intelligence community's integrity.

"Remember we've had this debate for the last four or five years, the sweeping powers of NSA and, when used inappropriately, the damage that they can do to American citizens," Hoekstra told Malzberg. "This is a glaring example of them potentially doing exactly that."

As to whether the Flynn scandal will hurt long-term U.S.-Russia relations, he said, "This is nothing more than a bump in the road."

Hoekstra also believes it would not take long for Trump to clean house of Democratic appointees in the State Department and U.S. intelligence community.

"If he started today and put a whole focus on it, number one it shouldn't' take him more than two to four weeks and ferret out the Obama people," he said.

"It takes a while, he's got 5,000 positions that he can fill. But that's the kind of focus and effort that I believe Team Trump needs to put in place."

Meanwhile, the fallout from Michael Flynn's resignation has prompted top members of the Republican-led Senate to call for investigations of Russia and President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Flynn, CNN reported.

Hoekstra, a senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, is the author of "Architects of Disaster," co-written with Teri Blumenfeld and published by The Calamo Press.

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Gen. Michael Flynn was the victim of leaks by intelligence workers left over from Obama administration – and their ranks must be weeded out before they undercut President Donald Trump's leadership, Pete Hoekstra, former chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Newsmax TV.
Pete Hoekstra, intelligence, leaks, national security
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2017-08-14
Tuesday, 14 Feb 2017 05:08 PM
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