My good friend, the writer Ben Leiter, shared this with me. He spent 18 years in Washington, immediately outside the corridors of power. He knows people who know people.

Here’s what he told me.

He said, ‘What if?”

Most people, when they say that, you ignore them. They’re making conversation, or want you to go along for a ride. Not this guy — his way of telling me something he was not supposed to know or talk about.

So, why am I talking about it? Because I want something to happen . . .now.

Ben Leiter, he’s different. He wants to stick around and write more of his third-rate trash, bleating about life’s betrayals by politics, religion and romance. Idiot. He’s had a pretty good life. He’s being cautious so he’s not subject to any violations of the Official Secrets Act; or a mysterious late night auto accident, when he makes a point to not drive at night. Me, don’t care. Had a good run.

Anyhow, Ben said, “You know the hallmarks of a dealmaker like Trump are no-loyalty; pull-surprises; betray whenever it’s in your self-interest.

“You think a Lieutenant-General like Mike Flynn would commit treason against his country . . . for mere money? He was fearless in defense of his country and his men. Look at his face, eyes barbwired for combat — Hollywood casting for an American general.

The internet will confirm Flynn is awash in medals: “His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters), the NATO Service Medal, and several service and campaign ribbons. Lieutenant General Flynn also has earned the Ranger Tab and Master Parachutist Badge, and the Joint Staff Identification Badge.”

My friend Leiter continued: “I heard things from friends who use the Langley exit on the George Washington Parkway. Didn’t think too much about it. Then, this past week, I happened to view the old movie PATTON and a number of episodes of HOMELAND. I put them together.”

“Put what together?’ I asked.

“HOMELAND suggests a ‘triple play’ — triple agent. In PATTON, there’s a scene where the American General George Patton has defeated German General Rommel in an epic tank battle in Tunisia during World War Two. Patton exclaims, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!”

I must have had a blank look, because Leiter then said, “Dan, Trump’s book. THE ART OF THE DEAL. Study it. He’s doing a deal; a huge, really HUGE espionage deal.

So, continuing with Ben Leiter’s “what if” — what if Flynn was a triple agent and only he, Trump and the CIA Director know about it?

I have to pick up the story at this point to let Ben off the hook because it’s easy for me to say we drank too much and I’m merely repeating hearsay and I don’t hear so well these days.

Flynn had good cover for the operation. On December 10, 2015, Flynn attended a gala dinner in Moscow in honor of RT (formerly “Russia Today”), a Russian government-owned English-language media outlet on which he made semi-regular appearances as an analyst after he retired from U.S. government service. Before the gala, Flynn gave a paid talk on world affairs. At the dinner, he sat next to Vladimir Putin.

The contact was made when they both left to use the mens’ room and instead swerved to the outdoor patio for a cigarette, waving away the security detail. Neither man smokes.

So, one year later, Trump sent Flynn over to meet personally with Putin; to have a conversation somewhere where it again could not be overheard. Flynn took a small device, the size of a cigarette lighter, to make sure Putin wasn’t wired.

The ostensible reason for the meeting that Putin gave to his inside advisors, so the FSB wouldn’t be suspicious of Flynn’s completely private, secret conversation — Putin said he was negotiating the amount to pay Flynn to get sanctions lessened or removed on Russia.

The sanctions hurt Russia badly. American intelligence estimates a 50 percent drop for both Russia’s currency and gross domestic product since 2014 . . . big bucks.

Which leads to the other piece. Putins’ oligarch friends are very unhappy. These U.S. sanctions are costing them money, big-time. Worse, they’ve become personally insecure. Putin exercises a nasty habit of taking out people who cross him. “Taking out” doesn’t mean dining at the best Moscow restaurant and the Bolshoi ballet afterwards.

His Russian oligarch buddies are after him. He suspects it, but doesn’t know for sure. Trump and Flynn and the CIA know for sure and it’s Flynn’s job to convince Putin.

Putin and his family will be guaranteed their safety in Russia and abroad by the U.S. Putin will retire within the next year and become a world-ambassador-at-large for Russia, spending most of his time outside of Russia.

His and his families’ physical safety will be guaranteed by the information he will give the CIA on all the secret accounts where his oligarch friends have their money stashed. If they screw with Putin, the U.S. confiscates the funds.

There is nowhere the thieving oligarchs can hide the funds. The CIA techno-boys, with help from their black-ops section, can get to all of it. U.S. operatives always complain about how their hands are tied, yada, yada. Disinformation . . . designed to camouflage covert U.S. capability, for when the stakes are high enough. These stakes are now worth unmasking true U.S. electronic warfare capabilities.

Anyhow, with this financial-account information, the U.S. holds the Russia oligarch-team by their middle-portions and they will dance to the American tune. If they refuse, the U.S. will reveal their nefariousness to the Russian people and confiscate the money as well.

So, Putin worries that his buddies will try to make his demise look like retribution from a family member of someone he eliminated, or they’ll blame it on the Chechens. That’s why the Russians keep the Chechens around — to take the blame for everything.

Here’s the catch — once Putin “comes over” i.e. has resigned and starts traveling at-large, Trump is going to confiscate the wealth anyhow. How can a thief complain when you steal what they have stolen? Who does the thief complain to?

So, as Ben Leiter says, kudos to Trump for pulling off the biggest espionage coup in American history. The U.S. will have Putin and the oligarchs working for us.

Ben sounded disappointed in the Trump psychology behind the big play. When I asked why, he had heard that Trump had complained Putin was the second richest man in the world. That meant he had more money than Trump. Plus, Putin’s hands were smaller. (?) Not sure what that meant.

Stay tuned for unfolding events.

Oh, in case you’re worried about Flynn, don’t be. He already owns a secret, signed Presidential Pardon, and if this all becomes public someday, he’ll be in the history books. Trump also promised him a .001% finders fee of all confiscated funds.

Flynn and The Donald. What a team! My hat is off to you.

My friend Ben Leiter, knowing I can’t keep a secret for shit, told me I can’t reach him for a while. He’s going to be incommunicado in the Caribbean, sailing, drinking margaritas, and hanging with senoritas. Return date, open.

Ben asked me to mention his books available at Amazon/Kindle.