On the Road to Another Watergate?
Michael Flynn’s sudden resignation from the National Security Council may seem unprecedented. It’s not. But the consequences of his conduct may lead the United States into uncharted waters.
迈克尔·弗林(Michael Flynn)突然从国家安全委员会(National Security Council)辞职似乎是史无前例的。但其实不是。不过，他的行为的后果可能导致美国进入未知领域。
Two of President Ronald Reagan’s national security counselors, Robert McFarlane and John Poindexter, left in disgrace. They were schemers in the secret sale of arms to Iran and the skimming of profits for rebel forces in Central America, violating American foreign policy and common sense.
罗纳德·里根总统(Ronald Reagan)的两名国家安全顾问罗伯特·麦克法伦(Robert Macfarlane)和约翰·波因德克斯特(John Poindexter)也曾不光彩地离职。他们秘密向伊朗销售军火，并将部分利润转用于资助中美洲叛军，违背了美国的外交政策和基本常识。
Nor were Mr. Flynn’s now notorious private conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak an unheard-of event. The most famous national security adviser of all, Henry Kissinger, met a K.G.B. spy at the Soviet Embassy in Washington 18 days before Richard Nixon’s inauguration in 1969. The Kremlin wanted “open channels of communication,” he told the president-elect. Nixon, at his swearing-in, addressed Moscow thus: “Our lines of communication will be open.”
弗林和俄罗斯大使谢尔盖·基斯利亚克(Sergey Kislyak)的那些如今已经臭名昭著的私下谈话，也不是前所未闻的。1969年，在理查德·尼克松(Richard Nixon)就职18天前，史上最著名的国家安全顾问亨利·基辛格(Henry Kissinger)在华盛顿的苏联大使馆会见了一名克格勃间谍。他转告候任总统，克里姆林宫想要“开放的沟通渠道”。尼克松在宣誓就职时这样对莫斯科说：“我们的沟通渠道是敞开的。”
Here the stories diverge. Say what you will about Mr. Kissinger and his less illustrious successors, they were only following orders. In Mr. Flynn’s case, though, these questions arise: Has he been working with a Russian script? He has a reputation for straying off the reservation — how far did he stray?
Two men have the power and the will to compel his testimony under oath. One is Senator John McCain, a Cold Warrior who dislikes the idea of cozying up to the Kremlin and is preparing for hearings on Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Flynn should expect a subpoena any day now.
The other is James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mr. Kissinger, no fool, cleared his talks in 1969 with Moscow’s man in Washington beforehand with the highest authority, J. Edgar Hoover, the F.B.I. director. Mr. Flynn, needless to say, did not check in with Mr. Comey before his conversations with Ambassador Kislyak seven weeks ago. He had good reason for that.
1969年，明智的基辛格在与华盛顿的莫斯科人士会谈之前，向最高主管官员、FBI局长J·埃德加·胡佛(J. Edgar Hoover)澄清了此事。弗林自不必说，他在7周前与基斯利亚克大使交谈之前，没有告知科米。他这样做是有原因的。
The F.B.I. has been looking into Mr. Flynn‘s relationships with Russians, which include his accepting payments from the Russian news organization RT, President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine, and appearing as Mr. Putin’s honored guest at a televised banquet in 2015. A few months later, he signed on with the Trump campaign. As Election Day neared, he was tweeting lies about Hillary Clinton and chanting, “Lock her up!”
FBI一直在调查弗林与俄罗斯人的关系，包括他接受弗拉基米尔·普京总统(Vladimir Putin)的宣传机器、俄罗斯新闻机构今日俄罗斯(RT)的报酬，以及2015年在有电视转播的宴会上以普京贵宾的身份亮相。几个月后，他加入特朗普的竞选团队。随着选举日的临近，他在Twitter上发布关于希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)的谣言，还号召：“把她关起来！”
At the same time, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. have concluded of late, the Kremlin was undertaking a sophisticated clandestine operation to promote Mr. Trump and destabilize Western democracies.
Evidently, F.B.I. counterintelligence agents were alarmed when they read the wiretap transcripts of Mr. Flynn’s Christmastime chats with the Russian ambassador. He appeared to reassure the Kremlin not to worry about the Obama administration’s sanctions, and that once Mr. Trump was in office and Mr. Flynn took over at the N.S.C., the nerve center for secret intelligence at the White House, things would be better for the Russians.
After President Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, Mr. Comey pondered the possibility that the Russians could blackmail the new national security adviser. He took his concerns to his immediate superior — the acting attorney general of the United States, Sally Yates — and she, in turn, went directly to the White House and relayed that warning. You remember Sally Yates. President Trump fired her on Jan. 30. Now he has had to fire Mr. Flynn.
We know that Mr. Flynn has had some troubles with the truth before. He became infamous while running the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014 for what his subordinates called “Flynn facts” — statements with a shaky basis in reality. He has lied to superiors, including Vice President Pence, more than once, in particular about his talks with Moscow’s man in Washington.
我们知道，弗林此前就有过跟事实过不去的情况。2012年至2014年，他掌管国防情报局(Defense Intelligence Agency)期间因下属所称的“弗林事实”——基于不牢靠的事实的陈述——而臭名昭著。他不止一次向上司撒谎，包括副总统彭斯(Pence)，尤其是在他与华盛顿的莫斯科人士的谈话方面。
And we now know that F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Flynn about those same talks shortly after Inauguration Day. Lying to the F.B.I. is punishable by five years in prison. Mr. Flynn may be guilty of no crime beyond bad judgment. But this case is no longer about him and his relationship with the truth. The bureau wants to know whether members of the Trump campaign were in cahoots with the Kremlin in a covert crusade on behalf of their candidate, and so does Senator McCain.
Meanwhile, the president is preoccupied with another issue. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” he tweeted on Tuesday.
It’s been a long time, but remember this: The road to Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon began in April 1969, three months after his inauguration, when the president ordered Mr. Kissinger to wiretap members of his own staff in an effort to stop embarrassing leaks of secret information. One thing led to another until the commander in chief was athwart the Constitution.
It’s been barely three weeks since the Trump team took office, and a distinct aroma has started wafting out of Washington, what Mr. Kissinger is said to have called “the odious smell of truth.”