Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn
Victoria Burke/AP Photo

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn installed a secret internet
connection into his office at the Pentagon even though it was
“forbidden,” according to a profile in The New Yorker by
Dana Priest.

The network connection was among other rules the former chief of
the Defense Intelligence Agency broke because he found them to be
“stupid,” including sometimes sneaking out of a CIA station in
Iraq without authorization and sharing classified information
with NATO allies without approval, according to The New Yorker.

While Flynn — who was recently tapped to be President-elect
Donald Trump’s national security adviser — apparently had his own
private connection, the New Yorker profile doesn’t provide a
clear picture as to why.

It’s likely his Pentagon office already had an authorized,
unclassified connection to the internet called NIPRNet, which is separate from classified networks
such as SIPRNet and JWICS, a former DIA analyst told Business Insider.

All of those networks are monitored in some way. A separate,
unknown network would not have had the same — or possibly any —
level of monitoring. If it were implemented in secret, it would
also not have the same protections from hackers that a known
connection would have.

It’s also possible that Flynn’s Pentagon office was known as a
SCIF, or sensitive compartmented information facility — a secure
facility in which intelligence can be discussed without fear of
it being compromised. Network connections in SCIFs are closely
controlled, and outside electronics such as mobile phones are not
allowed inside.

“If his office was an SCIF, then that would be really bad,” the
DIA analyst said. “But there are so many unknowns.”

Whether or not his office was an SCIF, the possibility of an
external internet connection installed in violation of facility
rules drew parallels to former presidential candidate Hillary
Clinton, who was often criticized by the general on the campaign
trail for using a private email server while she was
secretary of state.

“So there seems to be a standard for the Clintons that’s not the
same standard for the rest of America,” Flynn told The Heritage Foundation.

Spokespersons for DIA and the Pentagon did not immediately
respond to a request for comment. A Trump campaign spokesperson
also did not respond.

Read the full New Yorker profile »