A top aide picked by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was rejected for a critical security clearance, effectively ending the aide’s ability to serve in a position on the National Security Council, multiple outlets reported Saturday.
Robin Townley, Flynn’s pick for the NSC’s senior director for Africa, was denied for a “Sensitive Compartmented Information” clearance, unnamed sources told Politico and ABC News. Without that clearance, Townley cannot serve on the NSC post, according to the reports.
It’s reportedly been made even messier because the rejection was approved by CIA director Mike Pompeo. Because Townley is a close ally of Flynn’s, the reported rejection only served to deepen the tension between Flynn and others in the Trump administration and the intelligence community.
The unnamed sources did not give much of any explanation about the reported rejection, but told Politico that Flynn and those close to him feel it may have to do with Townley’s “skepticism of the intelligence community’s techniques.”
This comes just days after reports came out that Flynn spoke about sanctions in a call with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. before inauguration.
NSC and CIA spokesmen declined to comment to Politico. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, dismissed claims to Politico that the reported rejection was meant to be a statement from the intelligence community about Flynn.