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.

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

My Novel The Transplants Available at Amazon.com

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My novel, The Transplants, now is available as an e-book on Amazon.com. It’s a story about the lone surviving couple of a doomed planet who travel across the galaxy to save their species and across two continents to save themselves. It’s a science fiction story, an action adventure story, a love story and the eternal story of intelligent life’s relationship with the Universe. You can find it at the link below or just enter “The Transplants by Ed Ross” in the Amazon.com search bar.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QEMK7FQ

If you don’t have a Kindle device or the Kindle app already installed on your smartphone/iPhone, tablet/iPad, or computer, you can download the free app from the book page.

If you like The Transplants, a positive review on Amazon.com and recommending the book to friends and family by forwarding this email is greatly appreciated. Also feel free to email me with your comments.

Thanks much, and I hope you enjoy the book.

Ed

Filed under: Books, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AN ISRAEL-IRAN WAR AND THE U.S. ELECTION

 

Will the 2012 presidential election’s October surprise be an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program; and how would it affect the outcome of the election?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: National Security, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

INTELLIGENCE LEAKS AND A DOJ COVER-UP: WILL THEY TOPPLE THE PRESIDENT?

Did top national-security officials, with or without President Obama’s approval, leak sensitive and highly classified national security information to make President Obama look like a strong, decisive leader? Is Attorney General Eric Holder withholding information from Congress that might implicate him and other high Justice Department officials in a “gunwalking” cover-up? If one or both are true it could mean defeat for President Obama in November.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: National Security, Politics, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THEY’RE RIOTING IN GREECE, THEY’RE OCCUPYING AMERICA

To paraphrase an old Kingston Trio song:

They’re rioting in Greece, they’re occupying America.

There’s unrest in China, and Middle East hysteria.

The whole world is festering with unhappy contrarians

The Islamists hate everyone, everyone hates Americans

Palestinians hate Israelis, someone hates the Dutch.

And no one likes anybody very much.

Amidst all this chaos, Americans want a president and legislators that will restore order, prosperity, and national security. It’s difficult to imagine how we can elect the right people, however, when we spend more time focusing on form than substance. (More)

Filed under: Politics, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE ULTIMATE EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO AMERICA: A NEW WORLD ORDER

America as we know it faces the ultimate existential threat—a new world order (not the conspiracy theory) at which America is no longer the hub—and it will take much more than a change of the occupant in the White House to stem the tide.

America has faced many existential threats in its 335-year history. In every case, it has emerged stronger, more prosperous, and better prepared for the next one. Politically, economically, and militarily we have become the hub of the modern world order. That order is now threatened by the confluence of our monumental national debt, a global economic crisis, political upheaval in the Arab and Muslim worlds, the rise of China, and the desire by many countries that have benefited from the current order to change it.  (More)

Filed under: China-Taiwan, Climate Change, National Security, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE 2012 ELECTION

The state of the U.S. economy and jobs are the overwhelming issues that will determine the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. Still, in a close race, national security issues could play the decisive role.

Given the inherent advantages President Barack Obama has on national security as an incumbent president and the likelihood that Republicans will nominate a candidate better suited to challenge Obama on domestic issues, Mr. Obama will have an advantage. Insufficient attention by the Republican nominee to national security issues could be a politically fatal mistake.  (More)

Filed under: National Security, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RONALD REAGAN: What You Saw is What You Got

President Ronald Reagan speaking at a Rally fo...

Image via Wikipedia

Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday Sunday provides an opportunity for people who respected and admired him to talk and write the President and his legacy. Some recall his great achievements—his role in ending the Cold War, Reganomics, and the revival of conservatism. Others reminisce about his acting and political careers before he became president. Others remember his storytelling, his boundless sense of optimism, and his deep and enduring love of America.

As someone who arrived in Washington, D.C., the year before President Reagan and who worked in the Department of Defense during his eight years in office, I remember a president who inspired and empowered the people that worked for him, didn’t require or create a bloated national-security bureaucracy, and who you didn’t have to analyze to understand. What you saw is what you got. (More)

Filed under: The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WIKILEAKS WAR ON AMERICA: Obama, CINC or Conscientious Objector?

Barack Obama holds first cabinet meeting 4-20-09

Image via Wikipedia

Wikileaks has declared war on America. Will President Obama be our Commander-in-Chief or a conscientious objector? With the third and most recent release by Wikileaks of classified information—sensitive State Department communications—Attorney General Eric Holder “opened an investigation.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was “an attack on America’s foreign policy interests” and an attack on the “international community.” So far, however, President Obama has been AWOL. He has shown little interest in Wikileaks, and he has given little indication how he will respond to this blatant breach of U.S. national security. (More)

 

Filed under: National Security, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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