Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, blasted the Obama administration’s approach to the War on Terror in a hard-hitting speech to a meeting of intelligence professionals. “The dangers to the U.S. do not arise from the arrogance of American power, but from unpreparedness or an excessive unwillingness to fight when fighting is necessary,” Flynn said, in an unsparing critique first reported by the Daily Beast.
One key fight came over the analysis of the documents captured during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The CIA was responsible for the first scrub of the collection of more than 1 million documents and retained “executive authority” over the cache when it was completed. But the CIA stopped analyzing or “exploiting” the documents after that first quick and incomplete assessment and the Agency made no attempt to systematically examine and codify all of the intelligence included in the intelligence haul.
Flynn assembled a team at the DIA to do exactly that, but the CIA initially refused to share the documents. After a lengthy bureaucratic battle, DIA analysts were given limited access to the bin Laden documents and undertook an exhaustive exploitation. The documents provided the U.S. government with its best look at al Qaeda and its operations and challenges—from the inside. There were letters between Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders, plans for future attacks, details about fundraising successes and failures, descriptions of relationships between al Qaeda and governments in the region. The documents remain unexploited to this day.
Derek Harvey, a senior DIA official and former director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at CENTCOM, led the DIA team that exploited the documents. He recently told TWS that the U.S. government hasn’t “done anything close to a full exploitation.”
“A full exploitation? No. Not even close. Maybe 10 percent,” he said.
The Obama administration is choosing ignorance.
Phi Beta Iota: While we continue to question the reality of the raid that killed the seventh (or so) Bin Laden (and subsequently, all too many of the participating SEALS], and there is no certainty that CIA actually has documents in this quantity that require exploitation, the over-all message from Mike Flynn is clear. To this we would add the failure of the DNI above CIA, and the failure of USDI. What we have today is institutionalized fraud, waste, and abuse.