Afghan war intelligence chief to be promoted

By Greg Jaffe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 10, 2010

The top U.S. military intelligence officer in Afghanistan, who has led an aggressive and controversial push to change what kinds of intelligence the military collects, will be returning to Washington, a defense official said.

Army Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn is expected to be promoted to lieutenant general and to take a job with James R. Clapper Jr., the new director of national intelligence, who had pushed hard to have Flynn work for him, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Flynn arrived in Afghanistan in June 2009 with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the previous top commander in Afghanistan. The two officers worked together on several other occasions and had a close relationship.

McChrystal resigned under pressure in June after the publication of a Rolling Stone article in which some of his staff members made derogatory remarks about top Obama administration officials. Several senior officers from his staff have left their positions in recent months.

Still, McChrystal's successor, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has retained many of McChrystal's key advisers. Petraeus has also recruited many senior officers who played prominent roles for him in Iraq in 2007.

In Afghanistan, Flynn produced a controversial report titled "Fixing Intel," which criticized military intelligence as being too focused on gathering information about the Taliban and not understanding the cultural, economic and tribal dynamics that influence security and governance throughout Afghanistan.

Flynn published the article through the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, instead of releasing it through official channels. The move drew a mild expression of disapproval from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said he largely agrees with Flynn's assessment.

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