Major General, US Army. Chief of Intelligence for both NATO's ISAF efforts and the US side of the house in Afghanistan. Such creatures do not speak out of turn or just to get grins. Even stranger is that the statement came from that Democrat "Shadow Pentagon" at the end of the GWB era, and now Obama DOD bull pen, the Center for New American Security.
America's deputy chief of military intelligence in Afghanistan has issued a damning indictment of the work of US spy agencies, calling them clueless and out of touch with the Afghan people.Eeek. But ... the good MG is absolutely 100% correct. I would also add that USAID and State Dept. people will gobsmacke you with their narrow-focused understanding of the country. I can't comment on CIA from first hand experience - but I will say that his comments smell right.
Major General Michael Flynn described US spies as “ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced... and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers”.
The bleak assessment of the intelligence community’s role in the eight-year-old war came in a report issued by the Center for New American Security, a US think tank. It comes less than a week after the CIA suffered one of the most damaging blows in its history, when a suicide bomber killed seven of its operatives at Camp Chapman, a high security CIA base near Khost in eastern Afghanistan.
Major General Flynn's report blames what he calls America's "vast intelligence apparatus" for focusing too much on gathering information on insurgent groups, while remaining “unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which US and allied forces operate and the people they seek to persuade”.
I am still perplexed with the person and the venue - and I am not alone.
"I think it struck everybody as a little bit curious, yes ... My sense is that this was an anomaly and that we probably won't see that (in the future)," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.Understatement.
"It was an unusual and irregular way to publish a document of this nature."
Other defense officials at the Pentagon privately expressed surprise at how the report was released.
However - with a little running room for poetic license - let me say this. If Flynn is running from a "Dereliction of Duty" point of view of our present war - then Bravo Zulu to him. Fully knowing how the bureaucracy will do everything it can to protect itself, perhaps he had no other option to start the conversation going.
Want to know more about MG Flynn? Me too. Here is a two part interview via NATO from last month. Worth your viewing.
UPDATE: Over at InfoDis, Galrahn smells more funny stuff from CNAS.
Major General Michael T. Flynn's intelligence capabilities are clearly really good, because it has already led to a new discovery.I am writing as a guy who both served as a volunteer advising the Obama Campaign on defense policy issues and as a guy who served a volunteer advising Gen. McChrystal on operations in Afghanistan.Really? In an official capacity for CNAS beginning in February or as a side project? I would have thought the press would have previously covered this detail, or perhaps Andrew Exum would have mentioned it before. Nope.