The ongoing saga of Michael Flynn and Russia keeps growing stranger – and more disconcerting. Two weeks ago Palmer report brought you the story of how Flynn had met a Russian woman at a security conference in 2014 while he was running the DIA, and he failed to report it as required. Now it’s being reported by The Guardian that the woman is indeed some kind of Russian operative – and that Flynn later attempted to travel back to Moscow with her.
The woman in question is Svetlana Lokhova. She and Flynn first met at conference in the United Kingdom. Intelligence officials in Flynn’s position are required to report incidental contact with someone from a hostile nation, due to the frequency with which foreign operatives try to use such “incidental” interactions as a way of obtaining information or recruiting people. Shortly afterward, Flynn began acting so erratically on the job at the Defense Intelligence Agency that he had to be fired. He then maintained his contact with Lokhova.
Based on the extremely rare access which Vladimir Putin granted Svetlana Lokhova to GRU spy records, which have only been seen by two or three people in recent years, it’s become evident that she’s either a Russian government operative or a Russian spy or she has close connections with Russian spy. What’s not clear is whether Mike Flynn knew she was Russian operative when he invited her to accompany him on his next trip to Moscow, asking her to act as his translator. That never happened. But Flynn did return to Moscow in December 2015 to have a now-infamous dinner wth Putin, and then he joined the Donald Trump campaign just two months later.
The Guardian report on Flynn and Lokhova does not address the question of whether or not there was a romantic element to their interactions (link). However, NBC News security analyst Malcolm Nance tweeted his assessment that “Flynn poss caught in FSB honeypot w/female Russian Intel asset” (link). Our research points to Lokhova being 36 years old (link), making her barely half Flynn’s age. It raises the question of whether Lokhova recruited Flynn into the Kremlin’s arms to begin with. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report