Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

GENERAL FLYNN’S FATAL MISTAKE

DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

The minute Gen. Mike Flynn decided he could fly solo in his interaction with Russian officials, his fate was sealed. This happened before President Donald Trump selected him to be his national security advisor or when he lied to Vice President Pence about his phone conversation with the Russian ambassador. It likely began in 2015 when he traveled to Russia to participate in a forum and he met with Vladimir Putin .

As a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency it’s not as if Gen. Flynn doesn’t have plenty of experience dealing with foreign intelligence officials (friendly and not so friendly), although I doubt he met with them alone. Furthermore, his career in U.S. Army military Intelligence wasn’t in counter-intelligence or counter-espionage. Why is that important? Because counter-intelligence trained people never forget that practically every Russian or Chinese government official, especially diplomats, are always spotting and assessing individuals susceptible to recruitment, people they can elicit information from or useful idiots they can use.

Understanding the breadth and depth of their efforts and the measures the United States uses to counter them makes one far more sensitive to the danger that exists when you appear on their radar. I suspect Gen. Flynn didn’t fully appreciate the risk he was taking, or he just became overconfident in himself. He should have known that any phone conversation with the Russian ambassador would be tapped by NSA and made available to the Department of Justice. If he had, he never would have kept the Vice President in the dark. I heard in a news report today that Gen. Flynn knew he was under surveillance. If that’s true, the first thing he should have done was immediately make the President and Vice President aware of what he was doing and saying, but apparently he didn’t.

Throughout my 43-year career in the military and as a Department of Defense civilian I’ve seen this happen too many times. A military officer or civilian official decides he has the skills or rank to meet with Russian or Chinese officials on his own for the purpose of improving U.S.-Russia or U.S.-China relations. He allows himself to believe that there is no requirement to take someone else along or report his contact to the FBI or his superior to ensure that nothing in the meeting or conversation comes back to bite him.

Three individuals I know were convicted and went to jail because of their contacts with Chinese officials. Others were harshly counseled or their careers were ruined. As the senior country director for China in the office of the Secretary of Defense, I met with Chinese attaches and diplomats on a regular basis. I even had one defect to me in my office. I either took someone along to lunches and meetings with them, or I reported my contacts to the FBI. I knew never to say anything to a Chinese official I didn’t want my boss reading back to me.

I have no doubt that Gen. Flynn is a patriot and had nothing but the best intentions. His service to America has been exemplary. We have not yet seen a transcript of the phone conversation between Gen. Flynn and the Russian ambassador, and I doubt we ever will given how it was obtained, so we don’t know if he gave the ambassador assurances about what the Trump Administration might do after the election on U.S. sanctions on Russia or if the subject only came up tangentially. Personally, I would be surprised if it was the former. Gen. Flynn has enormous staff experience and knew that staff officers don’t make such commitments to foreign governments. Despite accusations by Democrats, it’s also highly unlikely that President Trump told him what to tell the Russian, otherwise, there would have been no reason to lie to the Vice President.

Serving at the highest levels in the national security establishment is a high honor and rare opportunity to serve your country. In that sense, it can be extremely rewarding. At the same time it often is like walking on a wire over an alligator pit. When you slip and fall there is no forgiveness and there are no second chances.

Filed under: China-Taiwan, Military, National Security, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

15 PHOTOS: VIETNAM 1966-1967

It is hard to believe all this took place 50 years ago..

http://ewross.com/A_Soldiers_Journey.htm

Filed under: Military, , , ,

IRAQ – Déjà vu

arlington_national_cemetery

It sickens my heart as a Vietnam War combat veteran to watch Iraq fall apart like South Vietnam did. We may not have to watch American helicopters evacuating the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist army takes over the city, but again we are watching the disintegration of a government and the loss of territory U.S. warriors fought and died for. Were their sacrifices in vain as some now say they were?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, National Security, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE AT THE VA

 

va

How many veterans that lingered on secret waiting lists at Veterans Affairs hospitals gave their lives so hospital administrators could receive bonuses and promotions? (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

 

Filed under: Healthcare, Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RESTRUCTURING THE MILITARY

defense-spending

Like most conservatives, President Obama’s proposed reductions of the U.S. armed forces disturb me. Since after World War I, every time we have reduced our military strength after a war, we’ve regretted it. Nevertheless, it’s time to rethink the mission, size and composition of the U.S. military, preparing for the next war, not a repeat of the last one. It all comes down to the correct assumptions.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: WORSE THAN VIETNAM?

Flag-Pins-Iraq-Afghanistan

The way things are going in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prospects for lasting victory are fading with worse long-term consequences than Vietnam. The human cost of the Vietnam War was far greater than it has been in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I choose to believe that our warriors did not die in vain in Vietnam because we ultimately won the Cold War of which the wars in Korea and Vietnam were part. Still, we lost the Vietnam War and suffered lasting consequences as a result. What’s at stake in the Middle East is greater than what was at stake in Vietnam. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com

 

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

REDUCING MILITARY BENEFITS

hagel_benefits

Reducing military benefits threatens U.S. national security as surely as deep cuts in operations, maintenance and acquisition spending. A high-quality, all-voluntary U.S. military is unsustainable without sufficient benefits and incentives to attract and retain top-quality warriors.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

 

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HONORING OUR VETERANS BY PRESERVING THEIR LELGACY

Veterans-Day

The legacy of America’s veterans from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan is the U.S. armed forces they created and sustained. We can best preserve that legacy and honor our veterans by concerning ourselves with the plight of America’s warriors on active duty.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE POW/MIA DILEMMA

bowe-bergdahl

The Pentagon’s activities to account for over 80,000 Americans missing in action from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War was back in the news last week. This time it was about an internal report by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) employee Paul Cole. In it, Cole asserts that DoD’s POW/MIA accounting is so inept, mismanaged and wasteful that it risks descending from “dysfunctional to total failure.” When I read this, it was déjà vu all over again. (Read the full column at EWRoss.ccom)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VIETNAM, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: LESSONS AMERICA NEVER LEARNS

vietha,_iraq_afghanistan

The United States has fought three counterinsurgency wars in the past half century, all of which have or are about to turn out less than resoundingly victorious, to say the least. You would think America would get the hang of counterinsurgency warfare, getting it right eventually; but there are lessons American political leaders never learn.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WELCOME HOME VETERAN: AND BY THE WAY, YOU MAY NOT POSSESS A FIREARM

disvet

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has sent out letters to an unknown number of veterans with mental and physical disabilities informing them that they may be prohibited from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WOMEN IN COMBAT: THE FINAL OBSTACLE

 

women in combat

Is outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s decision to assign women to frontline combat units a bad decision or the logical extension of equality for women?  (Read the full column at EWRosss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

In the wake of investigations of former CIA Director David Petraeus, (Gen., U.S. Army Ret), and ISAF Afghanistan Commander Gen. John Allen (USMC), Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has ordered the Pentagon to find out why so many generals and admirals have become embroiled in legal and ethical problems. Allow me to suggest what such a review is likely to find.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE ALL-IMPORTANT 0.45 PERCENT

Americans know about Occupy-Wall-Street’s 99 percent vs. the 1 percent. Most have heard about the secretly recorded “47 percent will vote for Barack Obama no matter what” remark Gov. Romney made at a fund-raiser. Those that follow the presidential election campaigns know about presidential daily tracking poll percentages. How many Americans know about the all-important 0.45 percent?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MILITARY VICTORY IS NOT AN OUTDATED CONCEPT

Deep cuts in the U.S. defense budget will have a negative impact on U.S. national security. Equally, if not more worrisome, are the effects of the strain we are putting on our warriors by endlessly placing them in harm’s way with no clear victory they can tell themselves was worth their sacrifice. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,