Michael Flynn blocked plan to retake Raqqa that Turkey opposed, say reports
Former US national security adviser, Michael Flynn, reportedly blocked a military plan against the Islamic State that was opposed by Turkey just days before President Donald Trump was sworn in.
The plan, to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State group, was to be carried out by Syrian Kurdish forces in Raqqa, a measure Turkey has long opposed, reported McClatchy newspapers on Wednesday.
Flynn, who was fired from his position in February, registered as a foreign agent shortly afterwards. Flynn reportedly disclosed himself in a declaration to the Foreign Agent Registration Unit of the Justice Department in early March.
According to Flynn’s paperwork, he was paid $530,000 for work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.” The contract ended last November, reported American media at the time.
Former US president Barack Obama’s national security team asked for Trump’s approval on the plan to retake the IS’s de facto capital of Raqqa, because it was more than likely to be carried out under his presidency.
According to McClatchy newspapers, Flynn told then national security advisor Susan Rice to hold off, delaying the operation for months. Some members of Congress have used the word “treason” to describe Flynn’s intervention and exchange with Rice.
The plan was only approved by Trump after Flynn was fired in February for misleading US vice president Mike Pence and other White House officials about his ties to Russia’s ambassador to the US.
Flynn’s connections to Russia have been widely discussed. In 2015, he was paid more than $33,000 to speak at a gala dinner in Moscow where he was seated next to Russian president Vladimir Putin, reported McClatchy.
News about Flynn's activity comes amid intense scrutiny over his and other Trump associates' potential contacts with Russia.
The new developments follow a week of tumult at the White House after Trump fired then FBI director James Comey and then discussed sensitive national security information about the Islamic State (IS) group with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
On Wednesday, sources close to Comey said that Trump asked Comey to end the agency's investigation into ties between Flynn and Russia.