The Rise of Michael Flynn and his Very Fast Fall

FILE- In this Nov. 17, 2016, file photo, retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn gestures as he arrives with his son Michael G. Flynn, left, at Trump Tower in New York. Flynn was fired by one American commander-in-chief for insubordination, Now he may removed by another. Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

President Trump’s national security adviser didn’t last a month on the job.

Retired Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn helped shape Trump’s views on combatting terrorism and the president appointed him to one of the most influential positions in his administration. But questions about Flynn’s ties to Russia eventually led to his resignation.

Here are the key elements to Flynn’s rise and fall:

A leader in military intelligence

Flynn, who was highly regarded by many in the military and intelligence communities, developed a reputation as being an innovative thinker who sometimes fought against an entrenched military bureaucracy. He was the top intelligence official in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the American involvement in the wars there. He is credited with helping develop a system to effectively use battlefield intelligence to hunt down terrorists and destroy their networks.

Hired and fired as director of the DIA

In 2012, then-president Barack Obama appointed Flynn director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official. He was dismissed from the job in 2014 for his combative style, including reported clashes with former director of national intelligence James Clapper.

A fierce Obama critic

Flynn became an outspoken critic of Obama and his administration’s anti-terrorism efforts. Flynn said the U.S. is at war with “radical Islamic terrorism” and was highly critical of the president’s refusal to use the term. Obama said he did not wish to frame the war on terror along religious lines. His critical view of Obama’s approach to national security and his hardline stance on terrorism meshed with Trump’s views, leading him to become a trusted Trump adviser on national security issues.

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SOURCE: William Cummings
USA TODAY