Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, told CNN’s Jake Tapper Tuesday that Obama ignored the rise of ISIS because it did not fit the campaign “narrative” for Obama’s 2012 re-election.
Intelligence reports in 2011 in 2012 were neglected because “I think that they did not meet a narrative the White House needed. And I’ll be very candid with you, they just didn’t,” Lt. Gen. Flynn said. “I think the narrative was that al Qaeda was on the run, and (Osama) bin Laden was dead…they’re dead and these guys are, we’ve beaten them.” However, they “continue to just multiply.”
Lt. Gen. Flynn’s criticism reinforces similar allegations regarding the Benghazi scandal. Republicans have alleged that the Obama administration failed to intervene during the attacks of Sep. 11, 2012, and lied to the public about a YouTube video, because of concerns the attack would interfere with the campaign message that “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
After an extensive career in military intelligence, Lt. Gen. Flynn joined the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2011, and was appointed by President Obama to be Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012. However, he left in 2014, a year early, amidst reports that he had been forced out of the job because he was not telling the White House what it wanted to hear.
Over the past year, Lt. Gen. Flynn has become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s policy towards ISIS, radical Islam, and the world in general. In a recent appearance on Hannity, he criticized “our amateurish foreign policy” for “letting the world go to hell.” CNN notes that he has also criticized the Bush administration for removing Saddam Hussein from Iraq. He has also said that Obama “squandered an enormous opportunity” by abandoning a relatively peaceful Iraq prematurely in 2011.
Lt. Gen. Flynn’s criticism also comes in the midst of investigations that intelligence officials were pressured to minimize the threat of ISIS.
In 2012, the Government Accountability Institute found that Obama had missed half his daily intelligence briefings.