WASHINGTON (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - US President-elect Donald Trump has offered retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn the position of White House national security adviser, a senior Trump official said on Thursday (Nov 17).
Asked if Lt-Gen Flynn is expected to accept, a person familiar with the offer replied: “When the president of the United States asks you to serve, there is only one answer.”
Lt-Gen Flynn, a former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), advised Mr Trump during the campaign on national security issues and often served as an introductory speaker at campaign rallies.
The 57-year-old was an early backer of Mr Trump, helping organise support from current and retired officers throughout his campaign. A career intelligence officer who led the DIA for two years through August 2014, he emerged as a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s strategy to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), telling Congress last year that the US had “failed to understand the threats that we face” from Islamic extremism.“
"That failure is leading to a mismatch in strategy and resources that we are applying to these threats,” he told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee. “We have to not just throw military resources at this thing, we have to be far more sophisticated.”
As national security adviser, he wouldn’t require Senate confirmation to join the Trump White House. He would succeed National Security Adviser Susan Rice, overseeing an office that has gradually absorbed more of the decision-making power on foreign affairs from Cabinet-level departments such as the State Department and Pentagon.
Lt-Gen Flynn’s role in the Trump campaign drew criticism from some former colleagues, as well as Democrats, who questioned his management chops and temperament. At the Republican National Convention in July, he helped lead chants of “Lock her up” in reference to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The concern I have about General Flynn quite frankly is, he seems to have much the same temperament as Donald Trump,” Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview on CNN this week. “I would be worried about an impulsive president with an impulsive security adviser.”
Mr Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, called Lt-Gen Flynn a “right-wing nutty” in e-mails posted by the website DCleaks.com and reported by BuzzFeed News. Mr Powell’s office confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails.