- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

President Obama’s former top intelligence official said Tuesday that “political incompetence” when it comes to the Islamic State group is putting Americans in danger.

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who now advises Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, told the Washington Free Beacon that the White House downplays the extent to which ISIS has infiltrated the homeland.

“There should be more publicity about what we’ve discovered,” Mr. Flynn, co-author of the book “Field of Flight: How We Can Win The Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” told the website. “We ought to expose it, expose its [ISIS’s] weaknesses, expose its dangers to the American public. We’re a tough crowd. The American public is tough. We can take the truth. […] Warfare 101 is know your enemy, know yourself, you’ll win 1,000 battles. This president, who is also wearing the hat of commander-in-chief, has shown really a level of incompetence when it comes to clearly understanding and clearly defining the enemy we are facing. This is a political problem. We face political incompetence at this point.”

The retired officer said that in additional to traditional attacks, terrorists are surreptitiously finding ways into the “bloodstream of main street America.”

“The director of the FBI has said it,” Mr. Flynn told the Free Beacon. “There are dozens and dozens and dozens, and I think the number I’ve heard is 1,000, but I don’t know the exact numbers.”

Mr. Obama recently addressed the difficultly of protecting the nation from Islamic terrorists after the June 12 attack in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub.

“These lone actors or small cells of terrorists are very hard to detect and very hard to prevent,” the president said on June 14. “But across our government, at every level — federal, state and local, military and civilian — we are doing everything in our power to stop these kinds of attacks. We work to succeed a hundred percent of the time. An attacker, as we saw in Orlando, only has to succeed once. Our extraordinary personnel — our intelligence, our military, our homeland security, our law enforcement — have prevented many attacks and saved many lives. And we can never thank them enough. But we are all sobered by the fact that, despite the extraordinary hard work, something like Orlando can occur.”

Former security guard Omar Mateen, 29, pledged allegiance to ISIS just before his rampage at Pulse, a gay nightclub. He was killed by a SWAT team that responded to the attack.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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