The New York Times reports: More problematic [than his criticisms of the U.S. intelligence community] from the military’s perspective was Mr. Flynn’s willingness to share intelligence with other countries. He returned to Washington at the end of 2010, and found himself under investigation for sharing sensitive data with Pakistan about the Haqqani network, arguably the most capable faction of the Taliban, and for providing highly classified intelligence to British and Australian forces fighting in Afghanistan.
His superiors eventually concluded that he was trying to prod Pakistan to crack down on the Haqqanis (they have yet to do so), and the general remains unapologetic about sharing intelligence with British and Australian forces. “They’re our closest allies! I mean, really, we’re fighting together and I can’t share a single piece of paper?” he said in an interview last year.
Around the same time, he was also getting to know Michael A. Ledeen, a controversial writer and former Reagan administration official. The two men connected immediately, sharing a similar worldview and a belief that America was in a world war against Islamist militants allied with Russia, Cuba and North Korea. That worldview is what Mr. Flynn came to be best known for during the presidential campaign, when he argued that the United States faced a singular, overarching threat, and that there was just one accurate way to describe it: “radical Islamic terrorism.”
He has posted on Twitter that fear of Muslims is rational, written that Islamic law is spreading in the United States, and said that Islam itself is more like a political ideology than a religion. The United States, he wrote in “Field of Fight,” a book about radical Islam he co-wrote with Mr. Ledeen, is “in a world war, but very few people recognize it.”
Mr. Flynn saw the Benghazi attack in September 2012 as just one skirmish in this global war. But it was his initial reaction to the event, immediately seeking evidence of an Iranian role, that many saw as emblematic of a conspiratorial bent. Iran, a Shiite nation, has generally eschewed any alliance with Sunni militants like the ones who attacked the American diplomatic compound.
For weeks, he pushed analysts for evidence that the attack might have had a state sponsor — sometimes shouting at them when they didn’t come to the conclusions he wanted. The attack, he told his analysts, was a “black swan” event that required more creative intelligence analysis to decipher. [Continue reading…]