Regardless of our political leanings, what happened to Michael Flynn should concern every American. While we should insist on details about his case, a more important question needs to be answered:
How many other people have been treated similarly by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies?
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who served briefly as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, seemed destined for prison until his handling by the FBI and federal prosecutors was revealed. In essence, what happened is this: Unable to find a shred of evidence about accusations he endangered national security, the FBI cajoled him into lying to its agents, then charged him with that.
Further, he was threatened that if he did not plead guilty, the Justice Department would charge his son with crimes.
Attorney General William Barr wants the case dropped. A federal judge has balked at the recommendation and has it under consideration.
Of course, Flynn’s case has enormous political ramifications. But even more important is the strategy used against him. Again, the FBI was unable to find evidence the initial accusation was true. But someone in the agency — that will come out at some point — decided Flynn ought to go to prison anyway. So the agency used tricks to pull a lie out of him, then threats to get a guilty plea.
That is not how justice in this country is supposed to work.
Flynn’s case may not be unusual. Clearly, once the federal government decides to go after someone, it will find ways to nail its quarry.
How many times has that occurred? Who has been victimized? Why did the government decide to go to great — some would say unethical — lengths to convict them?
An investigation has been mounted into how the Flynn case was handled. It needs to be broadened and pursued with the same doggedness the FBI displayed with Flynn.