The move, which was reportedly approved by President Trump’s CIA director Mike Pompeo, angered Flynn and his deputies, who speculated that the snub was an act of retaliation aimed at their skepticism over the intelligence community’s leadership, sources said.
“They believe this is a hit job from inside the CIA on Flynn and the people close to him,” one source told Politico. “Townley believes that the CIA doesn’t run the world.”
The CIA did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News, and White House press aides didn’t respond to several emails.
A second source said a number of Trump administration officials are critical of Flynn, and view him as actively waging a “jihad against the intelligence community.”
The same person claimed officials are blaming Flynn for Trump’s fraught relationship with U.S. spy agency heads. The President still refuses to accept the intelligence community’s consensus that Russia intervened in the election to help him get elected.
The apparent rejection of Townley’s clearance comes amid reports that Flynn discussed Russian sanctions with the country’s U.S. ambassador ahead of Trump’s inauguration.