- REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn was paid $11,250 by Russia’s top cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky, in 2015, according to new documents obtained and published by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday. Flynn was also paid $11,250 by the Russian charter cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Airlines, according to the documents.
Flynn was paid for his work with both companies while he still had top-secret-level security clearance, a year after he was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris reported.
Kaspersky said in a statement provided to Business Insider that the company had “paid Gen. Flynn a speaker fee for remarks at the 2015 Government Cybersecurity Forum in Washington, DC.”
Another keynote speaker, Rep. Michael McCaul, was not paid by Kaspersky to speak at the event, his representative confirmed to Business Insider on Thursday. Kaspersky said that was because Flynn was a member of a speakers bureau that required a speaking fee, whereas McCaul was not.
Chris Haddad, another keynote speaker at the forum, told Business Insider he can’t remember if Kaspersky paid him to speak at the event.
Flynn – who was forced to resign as national security adviser in early February after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak – was also paid $33,750 to speak at a gala celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia’s state-sponsored news agency, Russia Today, in December 2015.
- Screenshot/House Oversight Committee
The oversight committee received the documents earlier this month from Flynn’s speakers bureau, Leading Authorities, after requesting information from the bureau relating to Flynn’s speaking engagements or appearances “in connection with RT, any agent or affiliate of RT, or any agent or instrumentality of the Russian government.”
Leading Authorities redacted information about Flynn’s other speaking engagements in 2015 that were presumably not connected to Russia.
The oversight committee had previously called on the Defense Department to investigate whether Flynn had run afoul of the US Constitution by being paid to speak at the RT gala. The lawmakers pointed to a report released in January by the US intelligence community concluding that RT, as part of Russia’s “state-run propaganda machine,” served as “a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”
The conclusion was in the community’s report about Russia’s attempt to influence the US election.
Flynn told The Washington Post last year that he had been paid to speak at the gala, but he would not disclose the amount. He also did not disclose the paid work he had done for Kaspersky and Volga-Dnepr Airlines, which transports military aircraft, in the summer of 2015.
Email correspondences between RT employees and Leading Authorities reveal that RT wanted Flynn to talk about the “decision-making process in the White House – and the role of the intelligence community in it” with regard to US policy in the Middle East over the last decade.
- Screenshot/House Oversight Committee
Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who the Obama administration had said should step down, in the months before the gala.
The oversight committee’s findings come just over a week after Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department for his lobbying work in the latter half of 2016 on behalf of a Turkish businessman connected to the Turkish government.
“I cannot recall any time in our nation’s history when the president selected as his national security advisor someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday.
“I also cannot recall a time when the president and his top advisers seemed so disinterested in the truth about that individual’s work on behalf of foreign nations – whether due to willful ignorance or knowing indifference.”
The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment.