Mike Licht / Flickr general flynn hand on head...
Mike Licht / Flickr

Democratic Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel have sent a note to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, informing him of yet another unrecorded trip by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

… Michael Flynn failed to disclose a trip he took to the Middle East to explore a business deal with the Saudi government and a Russian government agency. …

Democrats sought information from three American companies in June after Newsweek reported that Flynn traveled to the Middle East in the summer of 2015 to broker a $100 billion deal between the companies, Saudi Arabia and Russia’s nuclear power agency. In response, officials from the US companies provided statements to the Democrats, confirming Flynn’s trip in 2015.

A trip to the Middle East to work out  a deal that involved both the Saudi and Russian governments would definitely seem like something that might have come up when Flynn was disclosing his overseas connections. But the subject of those discussions makes the omission even more serious.

In June 2015, knowledgeable sources tell Newsweek, Flynn flew to Egypt and Israel on behalf of X-Co/Iron Bridge. His mission: to gauge attitudes in Cairo and Jerusalem toward a plan for a joint U.S.-Russian (and Saudi-financed) program to get control over the Arab world’s rush to acquire nuclear power. At the core of their concern was a fear that states in the volatile Middle East would have inadequate security for the plants and safeguards for their radioactive waste—the stuff of nuclear bombs.

Flynn pitched Arab countries on the idea of nuclear plants paid for by the Saudis and operated by a consortium of US companies and Russian agencies. But it wasn’t actually a power plan. It was a power play for a giant international protection racket.

To build the proposed plants would cost the Saudi Arabian government a trillion dollars — far more than they could recoup by selling power. So why would they be interested?

If the Saudis and other Arab states buy in, it won’t be for energy, says Thomas Cochran, a prominent scientist and nuclear nonproliferation proponent involved with the ACU project. “They are buying security,” he tells Newsweek. Under the ACU plan, “they’re buying a security arrangement involving the U.S., Russia, France, and the U.K., eventually.”

Flynn’s plan was actually a cash infusion for the Russian government, the US nuclear industry, and some related companies. It was meant to generate power, all right. Just not the electrical variety.

Rewarding US nuclear companies with a large part of a trillion would go a long way toward saving an industry that’s failed to find willing customers either at home or abroad. But someone else would get a big chunk of the profits from this deal.

The idea was that Russia, facing what Johnson called an “economic and existential calamity” because of low oil prices, could use the income generated from the partnership. The consortium could then purchase “Russian military hardware” to compensate Moscow for losing military sales to Iran.

If the Flynn deal went through, Russia would be encouraged to decrease their support for Iran. In exchange, they’d get massive sums of cash, not only through nuclear deals, but arms sales.

The nuclear industry wins. Russia wins. Iran loses. It seems like a perfect deal … except for how the Middle East ends up being client states to a joint US-Russia protection scheme that has control over their power, and their weapons, and a big hand in their pocketbook. But from Flynn’s point of view, that was probably also considered a win.

None of this happened for a few minor reasons. First off, this was during the Obama administration and Russian sanctions weren’t easily dismissed. Second, the Iran treaty was in the works and this plan would have thrown it badly off kilter. Finally, none of the principles were really that interested. So Michael Flynn came home, cashed his expense check and … never talked about it when reporting on his boring and highly domestic career.

At this point, the phrase “Michael Flynn failed to disclose” is deserving of a macro at every news organization in the country. Flynn’s reporting failures didn’t start or end with the multiple unreported associations with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak that supposedly got Flynn booted from his position as National Security Advisor. Flynn also failed to let people know about his extensive dealings with the Turkish government, failed to get permission for his dinner with Vladimir Putin or the money that he received from Russian state media, or the Russian cybersecurity firm that mysteriously gave him a payment, or about how one of his researchers worked with Russian hackers.

Of course, in those instances where Flynn’s connections were known, the Trump regime ignored them, so he may have felt that reporting his many journeys and paychecks was not a big deal. Until the Special Counsel and the Senate Intelligence Committee both began taking a hard look at Flynn. Then it became a big deal.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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