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Flynn's access to classified information suspended

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Trump's White House is nearly paralyzed by crisis, divisions and dysfunction. Virtually all policy announcements have slowed to a crawl. Aides are undercutting each other in leaks (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Trump's White House is nearly paralyzed by crisis, divisions and dysfunction. Virtually all policy announcements have slowed to a crawl. Aides are undercutting each other in leaks (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON — The Defence Intelligence Agency has suspended ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn's access to classified information pending a review, a defence 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 defence 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 Defence 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 Defence Intelligence Agency has suspended Flynn's access to classified information, not his security clearance.