The US media is “losing its mind” over a totally common and transparent practice, RT’s head of communications has said, commenting on disclosed details of Michael Flynn’s paid appearance at a conference in Moscow which was never a secret in the first place.
“This isn’t just a standard practice, this is a standard practice that is entirely transparent. It’s commonplace not just in the United States, but in Washington, DC, in particular,” Anna Belkina, said, adding there are scores of agencies in the US that specialize in connecting public figures with events such as the international conference hosted by RT in Moscow in December 2015.
The email exchange and attached documents, obtained by the House Oversight Committee and shared with the US media, include details of RT’s negotiations with Flynn’s speakers bureau — Leading Authorities— over the fee for his appearance.
“The agency we reached out to specifically and very publically specialized in connecting Washington DC public figures and civil servants, officials with opportunities like that,” Belkina explained.
But despite the documents being a standard of contract negotiations, the US media are “losing mind a little bit” over the alleged Russia-Flynn “ties,” making it a top and breaking news story, Belkina noted.
However, what is more disturbing is that the partially blacked out papers, published by the Washington Post, still feature some RT employees’ names and other private data in blatant breach of the common expectation of privacy, Belkina noted.
“Obviously it is a bit disconcerting, because from an RT perspective, there was an expectation of privacy, expectation of confidentiality involved in these kind of exchanges and negotiations,” she said. “The label ‘confidential’ is still actually preserved on those emails that are there and yet they are public, there are names of our employees that are published… So, of course we will be looking into this situation in greater detail.”
Neither Flynn nor RT ever made a secret of his paid appearance at the conference, but on the contrary, widely publicized the event that brought together several hundred public figures, experts, analysts and journalists from all over the world.
“I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity. I get paid so much. The speaker’s bureau got paid so much, based on our contract,” Flynn told the Washington Post back in August, rightfully refusing to name the exact sum he received.
“General Flynn has appeared as a guest on our award-winning news network, alongside many international experts who respond to our invitation to share their views,” RT’s Press Office had said earlier, emphasizing that “at no time has General Michael Flynn ever been a paid contributor to RT.”
Flynn admitted and always displayed total transparency over the paid appearance at the RT-hosted event, even though as a private citizen at the time, he had no obligation to do so, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof believes.
“I think what the Democrats are angling at is Michael Flynn having been national security advisor, and the fact that he was on RT which they perceive to be a Russian government entity that he should have registered as a ‘foreign agent,’” Maloof told RT.
“I think that’s what they are angling at, and even there it’s questionable, even though he was paid for speaking, we have 1st Amendment rights. I might also add that Flynn at the time when he appeared at RT in Moscow was a private citizen, and he’s allowed to do whatever he wants.”
Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, had to step down amid mounting pressure on the new US presidential administration; caused by accusations that he was not fully sincere about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
The latest speculation over Flynn’s alleged ties with Moscow is yet another “bogus, unfounded accusation,” believes retired US Army Major General Paul Vallely.
“A normal common business practices in inviting a guest and paying him is not out of the ordinary,” Vallely told RT. “So, what you have is a false accusation, unfounded, by the members of Congress even, who fall prey to this deception and accuse General Flynn of wrongdoing.”
Source: Word News