President-elect Donald Trump has offered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn the position of White House national security adviser, according to a report by the Associated Press citing a senior official.
An executive at Flynn Intel Group, a private intelligence firm founded by Flynn, confirmed to VICE News that the position was offered to him, but it was not clear whether he will accept.
Flynn, a staunch Trump supporter who railed against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and led a chant of “Lock her up!” during the Republican National Convention, has solid national security credentials. He spent more than three decades in Army intelligence and has served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and assistant director of National Intelligence, both under President Obama.
Flynn was also an intelligence adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command, the military’s lethal black ops force.
The national security adviser position is an executive branch job that does not require Senate confirmation. The adviser provides the president with a daily national security briefing, oversees the National Security Council staff, and will likely be hugely influential in shaping Trump’s foreign, military, and intelligence policies.
His selection does not come without controversy. Flynn was fired from the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 over what was called his “chaotic” management style. He has called Obama “weak” and “spineless” on national security, and has criticized the president’s military campaign against the Islamic State. He is also a proponent of coercive interrogation methods.
Last year, he dined with Vladimir Putin, and he has regularly appeared on the Russian state news channel RT as an analyst.
In emails that were hacked from Colin Powell’s email account and leaked online in September, the former Secretary of State lambasted Flynn as a right-wing nut who was fired from his job because he was abusive to his staff.
“I spoke at DIA last month,” Powell wrote in a July 19 email he sent to his son, Michael, recounting a story he was told by the current director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart. “Flynn got fired as head of DIA. His replacement is a black Marine 3-star. I asked why Flynn got fired. Abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc. He has been and was right-wing nutty every [sic] since.”
Flynn, a registered Democrat, had long been rumored to be in the running for a top national security position in the Trump administration. His first order of business will likely be advising Trump on military action against the Islamic State. Flynn is the author of the book Field of Flight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.