Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is not under consideration for secretary of defense, according to sources working with the transition team for GOP President-elect Donald Trump.
Although Trump implied in a tweet back in July that he was considering Flynn as a possible pick, Flynn is not actually eligible to accept the post, as federal law mandates a seven-year gap between active-duty and taking on the position of secretary of defense. The reason for the gap is because the appointment head of the Department of Defense is supposed to be a civilian position.
Before 2008, the National Security Act of 1947 mandated a 10-year gap, but that figure has been reduced to just seven years, which means Flynn has a long way to go; he retired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.
The story of his retirement, however, is what attracted Trump to Flynn in the first place. In an op-ed for the New York Post in July, Flynn alleged he was fired for referring to enemies of the United States as radical jihadis.
“I asked the DNI (James Clapper) if my leadership of the agency was in question and he said it was not; had it been, he said, they would have relieved me on the spot,” Flynn wrote.
“I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements,” he added.
Granted, it’s still possible for Flynn to serve if Congress grants a waiver. The last time Congress granted a waiver was in 1950 for George Marshall.
So, Trump could seek that waiver, but transition sources did not give off the impression he intends to do so.
Instead, Trump may slot Flynn into the position of National Security Council head at the White House, or even director of the CIA.
Transition team sources recently told Politico they’re looking into GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions for the position, as well as former Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. Defense expert Jim Talent is also on the list.
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