Flynn's access to classified information suspended

DEB RIECHMANN
In this Feb. 12, 2017, photo, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn boards Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., as he return to Washington with President Donald Trump. Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump's national security adviser Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Defense Intelligence Agency has suspended ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn's access to classified information pending a review, a defense official said Wednesday.

Flynn, a former director of the agency who was dismissed from that post, was forced to resign this week after the White House said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. before the inauguration.

Flynn and the Russian appear to have discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia late last year, raising questions about whether he was freelancing on foreign policy while President Barack Obama was still in office and whether he misled Trump administration officials about the calls.

A defense official said the agency suspended Flynn's access to classified information Tuesday evening — a standard administrative action taken when questions arise concerning an individual's compliance with security clearance directives. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, spoke only on condition of anonymity,

Obama dismissed Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Flynn has said he was pushed out for holding tougher views than Obama about Islamic extremism. But a former senior U.S. official said the firing was for insubordination, after Flynn failed to follow guidance from superiors.

Former directors of the agency are routinely allowed to keep their access to classified information so they can advise the current director.

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This story has been corrected to say that Defense Intelligence Agency has suspended Flynn's access to classified information, not his security clearance.