Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has a well deserved reputation for conspiracy thinking. Presumably he will assume that the U.S. intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the former director of National Intelligence, conducted a campaign to force his removal from the Trump administration. Ironically, the Kremlin, which has lived historically in a world of conspiracy thinking, will view the ouster of Flynn as part of a campaign by the U.S. establishment to prevent any improvement in Russian-American relations.
In this conspiratorial realm, it’s important to acknowledge at the outset that Flynn was probably the least qualified and the most questionable individual in the 70-year history of the National Security Council to be selected as the president’s sherpa for national security policy. His behavior during the presidential campaign was thoroughly unprofessional and a source of embarrassment to the military establishment and the Republican Party. His retirement from the military several years ago was engineered by the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff because of his failed stewardship at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He had a reputation at DIA as a polemicist, and many of his pronouncements there were derided as “Flynn facts” because they had no basis in actual fact.
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Breaking the Addiction to Secrets and Secrecy
There is no question that the government must protect its sources and methods in the collection of intelligence. Regarding substance, however, I believe that, with the exception of details on weapons systems as well as on sensitive negotiations, there are few legitimate secrets and almost none that must remain classified for more than ten years at most. The secrecy that surrounded the Iran-Contra affair probably saved the Reagan presidency over the short term, but greater transparency would have prevented Iran-Contra from ever getting off the ground in the first place.
Harvard’s Kennedy School: Key Part Of The Military-Industrial Complex
Harvard’s Kennedy School’s denial of a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch, because of his criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza is only the latest example of the corporate role played by Harvard’s most prestigious think tank on public policy. Roth, who has spent the last three decades at HRW defending human rights around the world, was offered a senior fellowship at the School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. It was quickly withdrawn.