Another White House Scandal: Dumbed Down Intelligence
"Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House," Lt. General Michael Flynn gruffly exclaimed in response to a question posed by Megyn Kelly on The Kelly File. "The president sets the priorities, and he's the number-one customer. So if he's not getting the intelligence that he needs, and if he's not paying attention to what else is going on, then something else is wrong there between them and the advisers that he has."
With that, General Flynn, the personification of a bald eagle, is discussing an issue that's near and dear to his heart: military intelligence and how it's being manipulated. It's the latest Obama administration scandal, and it's being whisked along on an assembly line chock-full of them. The nature of this one, however, is far worse than "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan." Dumbed down intelligence at the insistence of someone in the military or the administration is a clear and present threat to our national security.
Flynn, a no-nonsense, intensely bright, and "ground-truth" general, has been an intrepid and stormy critic of the Obama administration, its "whack a mole" air campaign against ISIS, and its mealy-mouthed narrative about terrorism in general. He is the tip of the spear of a growing vanguard of those in the intelligence sector who fiercely defend their craft and the solid information they provide. Top-notch analysts have been appalled to learn that the intel they've been supplying has been watered down like a glass of cheap wine in a cheesy bar.
What they learn goes directly to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which Flynn ran from 2012 to 2014, and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the military component overseeing the Middle East, where he was director of intelligence from 2011 to 2012. When he was in charge, the notion of intelligence being manipulated in any way would be complete anathema. He explained to Megyn Kelly what he sees as the problem.
KELLY: "You know what President Obama saw every day from 2011 to 2014. You tell us what was said about ISIS."
FLYNN: "There are 16 intelligence agencies, there's five large ones and there's two that provide what we call all-source intelligence assessments. Those are the most important ones that go into the White House. And I will tell you that accuracy and the warnings that have been provided on the rise of radical Islamists over the last few years have been very, very clear. So what the President has actually received from the national intelligence system is pretty good intelligence. And I would say it's very accurate. So what he's done with that intelligence, you know, from what we can tell right now is…he's taken on this really lousy policy."
Interestingly, this new scandal finds its roots in an unlikely place: The New York Times, which has written several stories, one dating back to August, about this potentially ruinous opprobrium here, here, and here.
The apparent goal of the brass hats and/or administration officials now under investigation is to make a size-20 intel package fit into Obama's size-2 anti-terror narrative and policy, plus an air campaign that completely redefines "pinprick." Our disheartened and angry pilots in theater, buffeted by plunging morale, have been frustrated by rules of engagement so micromanaged that 75% of all eight to fifteen sorties a day have our fighter jets returning to base with their full ordnance still on board. If pilots spot a target of opportunity, they have to radio the information in and then circle for an hour or more, waiting for a "go" sign to fire their missiles. It rarely comes before the target has disappeared somewhere in the Syrian or Iraqi desert.
In addition, since the terrorist attack on Paris, the Russians and French have been bombing ISIS oil trucks and oil facilities. When pressed about why we haven't taken those targets (and many others) out since our air campaign started a year ago, the answers from Obama's mouthpieces have been painfully absurd. First, we're now told, is that Obama didn't want to do any damage to the environment. Second is that he doesn't want any civilian casualties.
The man is both delusional and obsessed with ecology, clearly putting the environment above ISIS on his priorities list. He has to know that the wells destroyed can be capped with limited damage to the environment. Second, Obama has had no apparent remorse about the countless numbers of civilians he's killed with his infamous drone strikes. Why the sudden reticence?
The discrepancies are breathtaking. But the diddling with intelligence has the Pentagon inspector general and congressional committees honing in on how it is being massaged, and more importantly who is diminishing the reality enough to allow Obama to continue his "happy talk," as Steve Hayes writes in an excellent article about this scandal in The Weekly Standard.
As Flynn and a growing number of other military luminaries point out, until we name the enemy and what it is, and define what it does, defeating it is infinitely more difficult. Without definition of its nefarious existence, ISIS could expand its sharia law-governed caliphate in frightening ways.
The frontline intel sleuths on whom top military brass in the intelligence arena rely are people who have been "in country" in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria for many years and know better than anyone who our enemy is and the increasingly desperate need to defeat them.
If intelligence is being altered to fit Obama's indolent anti-terror policies, it could well be a criminal matter, but then there have been a countless number of times we've heard members of this administration promise to tirelessly search for the "bottom" of all of these scandals. So far, that has proven frustratingly elusive, a convenient canard. We still haven't resolved Fast and Furious, the IRS imbroglio, the V.A. outrage, Benghazi, and other unacceptable and shocking administration misconduct.
This time, however, when the inspector generals submit their reports and Congress completes its investigations, if the consensus is as bad as expected, Obama will be caught crossing the Islamic Rubicon and putting the security of this nation in extreme peril. He screwed us over with "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor," but with this scandal, we're talking about Obama's paintball war with ISIS and just how ineffective it has been.
The intelligence scandal and Benghazi cover-up together make Watergate look like a pimple on the face of the nation. This and all of the other scandals spawned from this reckless president would have had a Republican impeached and convicted a long time ago. It's time to stop Obama before he can implement any more of his ideological "change," and to those who say we can't, we'll use Obama's own words: "Yes we can" – if Congress steps up and un-gelds itself, as the American people clearly demand that it do.