When General Michael Flynn stepped down from his position as National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump, the rumors immediately began to swirl regarding the events that led to his resignation.
While Politico reported that it was Trump adviser Steve Bannon was the one who actually asked Flynn to tender his resignation, scuttlebutt addressed everything from Flynn's alleged conversations with Russia to which parties were keen to oust Flynn and why.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, who told the press that he had also been invited to join the Trump administration in a senior intelligence role, appeared on Fox Business Network to discuss the issue — and he blamed the Obama administration:
"I lay this at the feet of John Brennan, and Jim Clapper, and I would even go so far as to say that the White House was directly involved before they left in the form of Ben Rhodes and those folks.
Let's be clear on this. I'd watch this very carefully, the coverage. When you have NBC reporting that they've talked to 6 officials who have seen the transcript, someone is basically giving away both the methods — the fact that they read a communication that was intercepted by sensitive methods, and more importantly, that they're saying that they saw this information which was beyond 'Top Secret'."
And Shaffer isn't the first to suggest that former Obama staffers and intelligence officers might be doing their level best to undermine the new administration. Yahoo! News reported in early February:
“There are more than a few of us who believe deeply in holding this administration’s feet to the fire — especially when they offer falsehoods to the American people and distort our record,” a former senior administration official tells Yahoo News. “We have an email chain going where we share impressions, etc.”
The latest to enter the fray is Colin Kahl, a Georgetown University professor who served as a national security official under Obama. Angered by the current administration’s attempts to blame Obama for the first counterterrorism misstep to occur on Trump’s watch — a botched Jan. 29 raid in Yemen that left one American commando dead — Kahl on Thursday fired off a flurry of tweets explaining that Obama neither planned nor approved the mission and that any reports saying otherwise were “totally false.”
Kahl isn’t alone. Former senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, speechwriting directors Jon Favreau and Cody Keenan, speechwriter Jon Lovett, longtime Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and many others are flaming and fact-checking the new president up to a dozen times a day.
In the wake of Flynn's departure, the Washington Free Beacon cited several anonymous sources who suggested that there was a very specific reason that Flynn was targeted — his opposition to the Iran deal:
“It's actually Ben Rhodes, NIAC, and the Iranian mullahs who are celebrating today," said one veteran foreign policy insider who is close to Flynn and the White House. "They know that the number one target is Iran … [and] they all knew their little sacred agreement with Iran was going to go off the books. So they got rid of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”
Flynn had been preparing to publicize many of the details about the nuclear deal that had been intentionally hidden by the Obama administration as part of its effort to garner support for the deal, these sources said.
Flynn is now “gone before anybody can see what happened” with these secret agreements, said the second insider close to Flynn and the White House.
One source noted that the problem is much bigger than Flynn:
“Put aside the issue of Flynn himself; that nameless, faceless bureaucrats were able to take out a president's national security adviser based on a campaign of innuendo without evidence should worry every American.”