How a Plugged-In DC Think Tank Published a General’s Brutal Intel Critique

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which Ploughshares Fund supports for its work on North Korea nuclear issues, recently published a scathing critique from a top intelligence officer in Afghanistan. Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn chose the publication rather than traditional communication channels “in order to get the report out rapidly, reach the widest possible audience and provoke much-needed debate,” said Flynn. When he published his tough assessment of the military’s spy agencies in Afghanistan, it caught Pentagon officials by surprise although Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said through his press secretary that he thought Flynn’s findings were “spot on.”  

“Obviously, it was an irregular way to disseminate an idea for a serving officer,” CNAS President John Nagl said. “Gen. Flynn decided for his own reasons — you should ask him what they were — to take this step. We were honored that he chose to do it through us. And we believe – I believe – that the issues he raised were of significance to national interest, and of immediate importance to our nation’s success in Afghanistan, so I was happy to publish it.”