Right-wing media rips intelligence agencies over Flynn

Several conservative media outlets have published stories critical of intelligence agencies that argue leaks from the community led to the resignation of President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Breitbart News, the right-wing populist outlet once helmed by Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, described the effort to oust Flynn as coming from “the Deep State,” or the entrenched bureaucrats “who were here in DC when Trump arrived, and who look forward to seeing him leave—as soon as possible.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported this week that allies of former President Obama still working for intelligence agencies are working to undermine Trump.

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“The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBolton: Trump won’t solve Israel, Palestinian conflict Report: Trump to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy German foreign minister: Trump has weakened the West MORE's national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran,” the Free Beacon wrote.

The Daily Caller in a Wednesday night report cast Flynn as “the victim of a hit job launched by intelligence operatives, Obama government holdovers and former Obama national security officials.”

The conservative-leaning editorial board of the Wall Street Journal also wrote two opinion pieces this week demanding an inquiry along these lines.

“Did U.S. spooks have a court order to listen to [Flynn’s] conversations? Why?” read the sub-head of one editorial.

Trump has repeatedly blasted leaks from the intelligence community, more recently with regards to Flynn’s dismissal. The White House is reportedly appointing a close Trump ally, Stephen Feinberg, the co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, to lead a broad review of intelligence agencies.

Conservative news outlets are offering support for Trump’s argument that the real story of Flynn’s resignation is of illegal leaks by government workers.

The Free Beacon described a “behind-the-scenes effort” to plant damaging stories about Flynn, who is a critic of the Iran nuclear deal.

It singled out former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes as “the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber.”

“The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration's efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration,” the Free Beacon reported.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board railed over how intelligence agencies had recorded Flynn’s call with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and then leaked information about it. Flynn was a private citizen at the time.

“U.S. intelligence agencies are supposed to “protect the identity and speech of innocent Americans,” the Journal argued, “yet the Washington Post, which broke the story, says it spoke to multiple U.S. officials claiming to know what Mr. Flynn said on that call.”

In a follow-up editorial, the Journal demanded Congress and the FBI investigate Flynn’s leaked phone call and transcript in conjunction with existing probes into Russian interference in the U.S. election and Trump allies’ connections to Moscow.

Criticisms also appeared on Bloomberg, where the news service’s Eli Lake, who once wrote for the conservative Washington Times, wrote a blistering piece called “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn.”

Lake wrote that “it's very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens.”

In the past, it was “scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government,” let alone to leak that information to the press, Lake argued.

“Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason,” he wrote. “Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.”

Lake said Flynn was “a fat target” for the national security state and for Democrats because he had been a fierce critic of the Intelligence community in the past.

Conservatives are also casting liberals as hypocrites on the issue of mass surveillance, saying they claim to be against the practice — except for one it takes out one of their political opponents.

Even some liberals have made this case.