I ran a story here yesterday about Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and his long time desire to gin up a war with Iran.
As I wrote, I’ve heard that Flynn was fired from his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency because, among other things, he spotted Iranian involvement in just about every problem around the world, even the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Flynn would demand DIA employees find proof to back up his farfetched stories and when, inevitably, they’d come back empty handed he’s berate them for their failure and demand they try harder.
There’s a new story in Foreign Policy by Joshua Manning, who worked with Flynn at the DIA, which backs up my story. Here’s part of what he wrote:
Later in my career at DIA there was a major terrorist attack outside the United States. Flynn brought our senior analysts into his office and asked them what happened. They explained how we were certain a local terrorist group carried out the attack and it was a solid connection. But Flynn wondered aloud to them if it was “black swan” event, which was his way of “dog whistling” us toward Iran being involved.
This “black swan” theory of his intensified concerns among my DIA colleagues that he was pushing raw intelligence — known as “stove piping” — to the White House. His fondness for spurious conspiracy theories put him at odds with the national security team at the White House. Sure enough, within a months of this chatter Flynn was out.
He “resigned,” but the reality is that the intelligence hierarchy, led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, fired him…In choosing Flynn as his national security advisor, the president-elect has elevated a man who leans toward conspiracy theories as justification for action. Flynn wants to take assertive action in the Muslim world and I think he will push for that no matter what the facts may be.
My worry is that Flynn will start laying a path for conflict or war against Iran. He will have the ear of President Trump, not known as a reader, so Flynn will have a dominant role in telling the president what is going on.
As I noted yesterday, this sounds all too familiar to the George W. Bush years, when intelligence agencies were used to find bogus information and sources needed to sell the Iraq War to journalists and the public.