Soon, in the United States, it will become illegal to speak with anyone of Russian descent.
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal showed concern and panic after ‘discovering’ that General Michael Flynn never reported on a 20-minute conversation he had with Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-British national and graduate student, at a security conference in the UK in 2014.
The WSJ criticized Flynn’s failure to disclose the ‘interaction’, implying that this was a violation of procedures in the US intelligence community. At the time of the conversation, Flynn was serving as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency…and, in the eyes of the WSJ, means he was prohibited from speaking with Russian students.
Price Floyd, a spokesman for Flynn, called WSJ’s aspersions a “false story.” “The inference that the contact between Gen. Flynn and a Russian national described in this story should be seen in any light other than incidental contact is simply untrue,” he said.
Interestingly, a cursory search for details about the conference in question reveals just how thin the newspaper’s ‘story’ actually is. It turns out that the seminar took place in February 2014, just days after the coup in Kiev, weeks before the Crimean referendum, sanctions and the general crisis in relations between Russia and Western countries. Before the crisis, US officials, including the Clinton family, seemed to have had no qualms in speaking to Russian officials, much less some graduate student.
Furthermore, Ms. Lokhova, the former graduate student at the heart of the latest Flynn ‘scandal’, is a dual citizen, as WSJ’s story itself admits. According to Russian statistics, at least 817,000 Russians have dual citizenship, with millions more living outside Russia who haven’t renounced their citizenship. With so many Russians around, perhaps Flynn should have filed a report on every possible Russian he ever came in contact with anywhere, under WSJ’s logic.
Social media users were a bit shocked and surprised that speaking with Russians is now off limits for American citizens.
Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov tweeted at the out of control paranoia gripping US media…
“In the US, Flynn, who resigned earlier, is being accused of ‘contact’ (!) with a Russian citizen; he talked to her at some reception. A new level of paranoia.”
В США ушедшего в отставку Флинна обвиняют в “контакте” (!) с гражданкой России: он с ней поговорил на каком-то приеме.Новая ступень паранойи
— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) March 18, 2017
Geopolitical analyst, Nina Kouprianova, sarcastically noted the WSJ – Flynn story was not something out of The Onion, while other Twitter users pointed out the WSJ’s absurdity, in pushing its fake news, Russia bashing agenda.
— Nina 🕵🏻 Byzantina (@NinaByzantina) March 19, 2017
Flynn talks to student at security conference. Punish Immediately, Crime of the year https://t.co/QP1iC615Nr
— J.C. ΜΟΛΩΝΛΑΒΕ (@Conservatinized) March 19, 2017
@BillKristol Not a Trump/Flynn….but let’s not broad brush…”OMG he went near a UK/Russian national grad student, heaven me!”
— Henry (@Fdr1942) March 18, 2017