The Corner

It Turns Out It’s Not Illegal for an Incoming National Security Advisor to Talk to a Foreign Ambassador

This Wall Street Journal story on a FBI investigation of Gen. Flynn’s contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the transition got a lot of buzz yesterday.

I was wondering how conversations between Flynn and the ambassador could possibly constitute a crime — were they plotting a bank heist together? As it happens, there was nothing to it. Per a NBC report last night:

Confirming a report in the Washington Post tonight, a U.S. intelligence official tells NBC News there never was an “investigation” of calls to the Russian Ambassador by National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. The calls were briefly examined only because they were picked up incidentally as part of routine eavesdropping on the ambassador, said the official, who added that nothing improper was found.  Separately, a former U.S. counter intelligence official told NBC News it is not uncommon for diplomats or other U.S. officials to draw the scrutiny of FBI counterintelligence agents if they are recorded talking to foreign counterparts, but rarely does anything come of it, because US officials have wide latitude in how they communicate as part of their jobs.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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