Who is Michael Flynn, Trump's national security adviser pick?

Michael Flynn in 60 seconds
Michael Flynn in 60 seconds


    Michael Flynn in 60 seconds


Michael Flynn in 60 seconds 01:59

Washington (CNN)The man President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to be his national security adviser was once fired from a key military intelligence role by President Barack Obama.

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn will become Trump's point person on advice for how to handle national security issues once he enters the White House, but he'll be one of the more controversial members of Trump's team; Flynn has peddled debunked conspiracy theories and takes a hard line approach to American security.

What makes Flynn right for the job?

Flynn undoubtedly has a lot of experience in national security.
    He held a number of military intelligence leadership posts while in the Army, including commander of a military intelligence battalion in Afghanistan and director of intelligence for United States Central Command, which oversees all U.S. military operations in the Middle East. His final active duty role was as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency until 2014.

    What do Flynn's critics say?

    In 2014, he was pushed out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn said it was because he raised alarm bells on Islamic terrorism, but four US officials serving at time told CNN it was because of his contentious management style
    "I was asked to step down," Flynn told Foreign Policy. "It wasn't necessarily the timing that I wanted, but I understand."
    And most recently, he's faced opposition from progressive organizations including MoveOn.org and J Street, a Jewish activist group, which both signed onto a letter with another 51 other nonprofit groups asking Trump to dump Flynn as his national security adviser because of his controversial past.
    "While deserving respect for the time he has served our country in uniform, we feel General Flynn is unfit for serving in this critical post," the organizations wrote in a statement. "His appointment will damage America's standing in the world and pose a threat to our national security."

    International business, fake news and the other Michael Flynn

    Trump's transition team has also attempted to distance themselves from Michael G. Flynn -- the son and former top aide to his father. Government sources told CNN that the Trump transition team had requested a security clearance for the younger Flynn.
    General Flynn is also known to have also spread false stories and retweeted anti-Semitic threats. He's been criticized for dabbling in conspiracy theories and Islamophobia. He once tweeted in February, "Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions..."
    And Flynn has also had financial ties to Russia. He had a paid speaking gig with Russia Today, a TV network founded by the Kremlin. And in sharp contrast with the current administration, Flynn wants to build closer cooperation with Russia.

    What made Flynn who he is?

    He's a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, has an MBA and a degree from the U.S. Naval War College.
    After leaving the DIA, Flynn became a harsh critic of the Obama administration's military and foreign policy.
    Flynn told Al-Jazeera that he thought the Obama administration's drone policy was a failed strategy and told CNN that the White House ignored reports predicting the rise of ISIS in 2011 and 2012 because it did not fit its re-election "narrative."
    He was a key Trump adviser during the 2016 campaign and once told CNN's Jake Tapper that he thought Hillary Clinton should withdraw from the presidential race while the FBI investigate her use of a private email server during her tenure at the secretary of state.
    "If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail," Flynn said, adding that Clinton showed a "lack of accountability, frankly, in a person who should have been much more responsible in her actions as the secretary of state of the United States of America."
    Flynn added later, "I don't have any personal evidence" of any wrongdoing on behalf of Clinton.

    Anything else?

    Trump is receiving a lot of pressure to dump Flynn in the wake of the "pizzagate" controversy. Michael G. Flynn pushed a fake news story about an internet rumor concerning a Washington, DC, pizza restaurant. Flynn continued to suggest the rumor could be real even after an armed man tried to begin his own vigilante investigation.