Is Michael Flynn Rewriting the Presidential Daily Briefing?

WASHINGTON, February 6, 2017—Retired general Michael Flynn and his staff is rewriting the Presidential Daily Briefing (PBD) before Donald Trump reads it, according to recent reports. As questions regarding Flynn’s fitness for the position of Donald Trump’s national security advisor continue to arise, there are now questions regarding how Flynn is presenting national security information to Trump.

The New York Times reported last week that Flynn “and his staff has been assembling a version of the Presidential Daily Briefing for Mr. Trump, truncated but comprehensive, to be the president’s main source of national security information.”

There is no information on the extent that the original PBD–prepared by the intelligence community–is being altered and abbreviated by Flynn, what information (if any) is left out, how information is prioritized or what information (if any) is added that was not originally included by the intelligence community.

It appears that Michael Flynn has unfettered ability to decide how and what kind of information is included in Trump’s PDB, which is worrisome, given Flynn’s track record.

In 2015, Flynn appeared at a paid gala event in Moscow hosted by Russia Today, where he was photographed dining with Russian President Vladimir Putin (and 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein).

 

In early December 2016, Flynn’s son, Michael Jr., posted a series of tweets regarding the “pizzagate” conspiracy that were heavily criticized after a gunman appeared at the D.C. pizzeria. As a result Trump ordered Flynn to fire his son, who had been hired to work for the Trump transition team.

In January 2017, it was reported that Flynn was under investigation for his ties to Russia, including several December 2016 telephone calls to the Russian ambassador to the U.S. shortly after the Obama administration levied sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 elections.

It is unclear how and to what extent Flynn and staff are altering the original PDB prepared by the intelligence community. However, there are real questions as to what kind of information Flynn consumes and choses to believe. For one thing, Flynn said to the Washington Post recently that CNN and MSNBC were “just like” state-run Russia Today.

 

Featured image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

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