By Russ Read
Future Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis removed former Army Lt. Gen. and future National Security Advisor Mike Flynn from his intelligence role in Afghanistan, according to Army documents obtained by the Washington Post.
Mattis removed Flynn from his position in 2010 after Flynn was investigated by Central Command (CENTCOM) for sharing classified information with Pakistani officials. Mattis took over as head of CENTCOM in August of the same year, recalling Flynn to Washington, D.C., a month later. Flynn was given a temporary assignment as the special assistant to the chief of Army intelligence.
The U.S. military investigated Flynn a second time in 2010 after an anonymous Navy intelligence specialist claimed the general “inappropriately” shared secret information with “various foreign officers and/or officials in Afghanistan.”
Despite the setback, Flynn would receive a promotion in 2011 and was assigned to head the Defense Intelligence Agency. He retired from the military in 2014 and became a major critic of the Obama administration’s policies in the Middle East. Flynn was also a keen supporter of Trump during the election.
Though Flynn and Mattis will head up two of the most important national security posts in the Trump administration, they are hardly like-minded. Mattis was well known for his willingness and encouragement of alternative viewpoints during his time as a military commander. Flynn was quite the opposite, according to some who worked with him at DIA, and often nullified alternative voices. Members of his staff would sometimes refer to his unfounded assertions as “Flynn Facts.”
Flynn and Mattis also share divergent views on policy, specifically regarding the threat posed by Russia. Flynn maintains a pro-Russia stance and is known to have once given a paid speech to RT, the Kremlin’s state funded news network.
Mattis sees Russia as the “most dangerous” threat in the near term, and referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “delusional.”