Witt: Americans entitled to truth in case of Flynn’s firing

Published 11:35 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017


A powerful word, especially when used to describe behavior concerning relations between men and women.

But, perhaps the word took on new meaning June 7 in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee (a possible oxymoron) when Dan Coats, the National Intelligence director; Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the NSA; Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, and Rod Rosenstein, deputy Attorney General, all testified (or more accurately, declined to testify) that day regarding possible administration interference or coercion in the ongoing investigation of fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

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Watching the proceedings was akin to watching a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire cat, a nonsensical repartee leading nowhere.

In non-answer to question after question, the respondents routinely stated they felt it was “inappropriate” to answer in an open forum, despite the fact the questions were obviously not related to classified information and their own admissions that security was not the issue.

As some of the questioning Senators pointed out, stating one felt it was inappropriate to answer was not a legal grounds for refusing to answer.

In fact, Coats, when asked what his legal reason was for not answering, stated he had none.

Not one of the four ever claimed Fifth Amendment privilege nor could any provide any sound legal basis for declining to answer. Yet the committee never received the answers it sought or deserved.

This was a sad state of affairs which showed the effrontery of the panel called to testify.

Since that panel was choosing to rely on the exposure of the open forum as a reason for not answering so many questions, perhaps a closed session of the committee will evoke more honest dialogue and more fruitful answers.

A dismal cloud continues to hang over the outcome of the 2016 election with allegations of Russian interference and connivance of the president’s coterie, and only sunshine and transparency will be able to disperse that cloud, something that was not made available at the hearing.

These four gentlemen have clearly demonstrated they owe allegiance, not to their country, but to either an individual or an ideology. This is a particularly despicable position when taken by an active-duty service person, one who has risen to the rank of admiral in service to his country. His position of refusing to answer is no better than that of Colonel Oliver North, whose allegiance to President Ronald Reagan apparently took precedence over his sworn oath to serve his country.

Whatever these four men reveal in a closed session is going to eventually become public knowledge anyway. Our government leaks like a 40-year-old bass boat and their testimony, even behind closed doors, is likely to show up on CNN the next morning.

And that is as it should be.

The American people are watching a badly-written crime drama play out in the halls of government and they are entitled to know who the players really are, the good, the bad and those caught in the middle.

The sooner this information is made public, the sooner something can be done to remedy the stench that is settling in over Washington, D.C. these days, abetted by the secrecy and unmitigated deceitfulness among those holding the reins of government right now.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.