The Disruptive Career of Michael Flynn, Trump’s National-Security Adviser

In Afghanistan and Iraq, Flynn ordered jsoc commandos to collect and catalogue data from interrogations, captured electronic equipment, pocket trash—anything that could yield useful information. By analyzing these disparate scraps of intelligence, they were able to discover that Al Qaeda was not a hierarchical group after all but a dynamic network of cells and relationships. As I learned while doing research for my book “Top Secret America,” Flynn and McChrystal dramatically increased the pace of jsoc attacks on enemy hideouts by devising a system in which commandos on missions transferred promising data—cell-phone numbers, meeting locations—to analysts, who could then quickly point them to additional targets to hit. Multiple raids a night became common.

.. Flynn was one of the few high-ranking officers who disdained the Army’s culture of conformity. But McChrystal also knew he had to protect Flynn from that same culture. He “boxed him in,” someone who had worked with both men told me last week, by encouraging Flynn to keep his outbursts in check and surrounding him with subordinates who would challenge the unsubstantiated theories he tended to indulge.

.. But they described how he lurched from one priority to another and had trouble building a loyal team. “He made a lot of changes,” one close observer of Flynn’s time at the D.I.A. told me. “Not in a strategic way—A to Z—but back and forth.”

.. But, without loyal junior officers at his side to vet his facts, he found even more trouble. His subordinates started a list of what they called “Flynn facts,” things he would say that weren’t true, like when he asserted that three-quarters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans or, later, that Iran had killed more Americans than Al Qaeda. In private, his staff tried to dissuade him from repeating these lines.
..Flynn’s temper also flared. He berated people in front of colleagues. Soon, according to former associates, a parallel power structure developed within the D.I.A. to fence him in, and to keep the nearly seventeen-thousand-person agency working. “He created massive antibodies in the building,” the former colleague said.
.. He wrote a book with Michael Ledeen, a controversial neoconservative foreign-policy analyst, about defeating terrorism. Islam is not a religion, Flynn and Ledeen wrote, but a political ideology bent on destroying Judeo-Christian civilization.
Flynn began saying that he had been fired because President Obama disagreed with his views on terrorism and wanted to hide the growth of isis. I haven’t found anyone yet who heard him say this while he was still in the military. In the past, I’ve asked Flynn directly about this claim; he has told me that he doesn’t have any proof—it’s just something he feels was true.
..He led the crowd in chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” His former colleagues say they were shocked by what they saw.

What Flynn saw was corruption: Clinton, the media, the Justice Department, the intelligence community—they are all corrupt.

.. He led the crowd in chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” His former colleagues say they were shocked by what they saw.

What Flynn saw was corruption: Clinton, the media, the Justice Department, the intelligence community—they are all corrupt.

Michael Flynn, the retired general on Donald Trump’s VP shortlist, explained

At JSOC, Flynn was tasked with dismantling insurgent networks in Iraq and Afghanistan — an experience that seems to have informed his later view of of jihadists as the greatest and most significant threat America faces.

.. Flynn was often accused of being disruptive, and not in the good Silicon Valley sense of the term. According to the Washington Post, he frequently butted heads with the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Michael Vickers. Vickers wanted the DIA to focus on doing analysis and traditional gathering; Flynn wanted its operatives out in hot spots supporting soldiers on the ground.

.. Implying that the US should level the entire city of Raqqa because ISIS controls it: “If we know that their headquarters exist in a place called Raqqa, Syria, we should eliminate, we should destroy Raqqa, Syria.” (Hugh Hewitt Show)

.. The book, according to Flynn, will highlight the “world war” nature of the flight with radical Islam. It’s coauthored with Michael Ledeen, a conservative writer who said in 2002 that “every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”

.. On December 10 of last year, Flynn attended a dinner celebrating the tenth anniversary of RT, the cable network formerly called Russia Today. He sat at the head table, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and had delivered a talk on his view of foreign affairs today beforehand.

.. “Flynn now makes semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst, in which he often argues that the U.S. and Russia should be working more closely together on issues like fighting [ISIS] and ending Syria’s civil war,”

.. Flynn’s argument takes Russia’s claim that it is fighting “terrorists” in Syria at face value, when in reality Russia’s intervention is aimed at propping up dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

.. But it’s possible that Flynn genuinely doesn’t care that Russia’s real aim is propping up Assad, because he thinks that anyone who’s against ISIS — as Assad is, at least nominally — is worth supporting.

.. And that, I think, would be the ultimate significance of a Flynn pick. Trump would be telling the world what his priorities are — and that they aren’t promoting democracy or opposing an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Instead, Trump would be signaling that he believes he needs to 1) project strength/toughness and 2) take a strong stance against jihadist groups. These objectives would be so important, in his eyes, that he’s willing to embrace someone with questionable ties to a hostile power in order to further them.