Michael Flynn: Everything You Need to Know About the New National Security Adviser

Flynn was a prominent Trump campaign surrogate.

ByALANA ABRAMSON and ADAM KELSEY
November 18, 2016, 7:54 AM

— -- President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser today, a major appointment for a new administration which Trump has promised will be both strong and unpredictable when it comes to keeping the country safe.

Flynn was a prominent campaign surrogate for Trump throughout the election cycle, often introducing the candidate at rallies and appearing on television in support of Trump. The outspoken Flynn reportedly made Trump’s short list for running mate over the summer.

Here’s everything you need to know about Flynn:

Name: Michael Thomas Flynn

Party: He was registered as a Democrat in North Carolina, where he lived for a time, and served in the Obama administration. However, he has advised only Republican candidates this election cycle and said during the campaign that Hillary Clinton should aside as nominee because of questions related to her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Date of Birth: December 1958

Age: 57

What He Does Now:

Flynn is Chairman and CEO of the Flynn Intel Group, located in Alexandria, Va. He is a retired lieutenant general and government official, author and was an informal political adviser to some of the Republican 2016 presidential campaigns, including Trump's, on national security issues. His book, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” co-authored with Michael Ledeen, came out July 12.

What He Used to Do:

  • 2012 to 2014: Head of Defense Intelligence Agency
  • 2009 to 2010: Director of Intelligence, International Security Assistance Force
  • 2008 to 2009: Director of Intelligence, Joint Staff
  • 2007 to 2008: Director of Intelligence, United States Central Command
  • Hometown: Middletown, RI

    Family Tree:

  • Married with two sons
  • Wife: Lori Flynn
  • Son: Michael G. Flynn (acts as his chief of staff, per Reuters)
  • Key Life/Career Moments:

  • In 2004 to 2007, Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command under Gen. Stanley McChrystal, with stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was a key figure in dismantling insurgent networks.
  • In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, he was deployed as a platoon leader in Grenada in 1983 and was Chief of Joint War Plans in Haiti in 1994.
  • What You Might Not Know About Him:

  • Flynn resigned as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency a year earlier than he was supposed to under pressure from former director James Clapper, according to The Washington Post.
  • In a 2010 "Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan," Flynn said the U.S. is too focused on insurgent groups in Iraq and Afghanistan and lacks concentration on future threats. He called for more analysts abroad to gather and streamline this information.
  • Flynn's final thoughts upon retirement from the Defense Intelligence Agency, as posted on Department of Defense website, were: “As you walk away from my retirement ceremony today, if you consider anything that I say, it is that we had better be prepared for and ready and willing to use every fiber of our being to maintain the kind of life that we enjoy in this country.”
  • In February, Flynn tweeted, “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”
  • He has consistently maintained that Hillary Clinton should recuse herself from the race for president because of questions surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
  • What He Has Said About Trump:

  • Flynn originally declined to comment in great detail about his meetings with Trump. In a Feb. 12 interview on CNN, he said Trump was one candidate he had advised, but that he is “advising any candidate that has asked me for advice on a range of issues, national security, foreign policy.” He told The Daily Beast via text message in January that he and Trump had “met informally,” but did not expound on this. He also did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment for a March article.
  • In May, he did not condemn Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, but said he was working with Trump to be more conscious of his remarks: "There must be more precision in the use of the language that he uses as the potential leader of the free world," he told Al Jazeera English’s Mehdi Hasan. “There has to be more precision and those are the types of advice I am trying to get into him. Be more conscious about what you say about foreign policy issues because they are complicated.”
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