General: US Spy Effort in Afghanistan ‘Ignorant’ and ‘Disengaged’

Intelligence Community 'Only Marginally Relevant' in War

A report was issued today by the thinktank Center for a New American Security (CNAS) regarding the ongoing US intelligence effort in Afghanistan, delivering a bleak overall assessment that included quotes from several high profile military figures.

Some of the most scathing criticism came from Major General Michael Flynn, the deputy chief of staff for the NATO spy effort. Maj. Gen. Flynn slammed the intelligence officials as “ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influence, and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers.”

Flynn added, in a report to his top adviser, that “eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the US intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy.”

The report concluded that spy agencies were too focused on gathering information about the assorted insurgent groups and that it left them unable to answer even the most basic questions about the environment in which the troops are operating. As one officer noted “I don’t want to say we’re clueless, but we are.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.