In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, retired Lt.
Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and one of the authors of the ‘Plowshares’ dossier, has said that the dossier is based on intelligence information from Russian intelligence.
The document was part of the FBI’s counterintelligence operation against Russia.
Flynn’s comments are significant because he was one of three former intelligence officers who testified before Congress about the dossier.
Flynn said that he “was not aware” of its existence before he left the Defense Department in February.
He also told the committee that he did not know that the intelligence was “entirely fictitious.”
But a former intelligence officer told NBC News that Flynn’s statement is “pretty damning.”
The former intelligence official said Flynn’s account makes him “extremely vulnerable” because he is trying to deflect attention from the fact that the document contains false information.
The retired general has repeatedly denied that the “Dossier” is a “forgery” and has said it is “a collection of unverified and unverifiable documents.”
Flynn testified to the committee on March 6 that he is “confident” that “anyone who has information that would compromise our national security” would come forward and provide it to the intelligence community.
“I am confident that there is no question whatsoever in anyone’s mind,” he said.
In a statement issued Friday, the National Security Council said Flynn “was referring to the fact the dossier contained unverified information and false claims.”
Flynn was also asked about the “Plowshare” dossier, which was prepared by Fusion GPS, a Washington firm founded by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Flynn replied that the group “does not have any connection whatsoever to the Democratic Party or the Trump campaign.”
Fusion GPS is the same company that produced the “Trump Dossier” that was used by Trump to discredit Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
The firm hired Fusion GPS in March 2017, days after the FBI was briefed about the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other organizations.
Flynn told the Senate intelligence committee that Fusion GPS did not work on the dossier, but did work on “a dossier of opposition research that was funded by the Russians.”
“It is true that the firm paid for some of the opposition research and the opposition material was paid for by a foreign government, but the information was obtained independently,” Flynn said.
He said that Fusion was “not connected” to the Steele dossier.
But Fusion’s director of strategic communications, Jason Maloni, told the Intelligence Committee that Fusion “did work on opposition research, and we did work in cooperation with the Russians on the opposition-research material.”
Fusion also did work with Steele to “analyze the opposition dossier, and provide some of its conclusions to a foreign intelligence agency that the Russians were trying to penetrate,” Maloni said.
Fusion also provided Steele with information on “political operatives, and their ties to the Trump administration,” according to Maloni.
Maloni added that “we did work to identify Russian intelligence services who were working to influence American politics,” including “the Russian Ministry of Intelligence.”
Maloni also said that Steele had “unmasked a number of Americans” in the course of his work with the “dossier.”
The committee is currently investigating Russian interference in the election and potential coordination between the Trump team and the Kremlin.
Flynn was asked to provide evidence of that alleged coordination in his testimony.
In his remarks Friday, Flynn denied that he was aware of any Russian involvement in the “election.”
“I’m very confident that nobody who has intelligence that would jeopardize our national-security interests would ever speak to the press or to anyone else in the United States, and I don’t believe that anyone who has that kind of information would ever come forward,” Flynn told reporters.
“Anybody who has a secret intelligence source or a secret source who has access to that source would never tell anybody, and that’s the kind of person I am.”