WASHINGTON — Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton should “never” have a security clearance again nor should she receive classified intelligence briefings.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) wrote a letter to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper requesting that he deny Clinton classified intelligence briefings given her history with using a private email sever to transmit classified information. Clapper denied the request.
“I do not intend to withhold briefings from any officially nominated, eligible candidate,” Clapper wrote back to Ryan.
PJM asked Flynn, who was among Republican nominee Donald Trump’s top choices for vice president and will be speaking at the Republican National Convention, if he thought Clinton should be able to receive classified intelligence briefings.
“I mean, no, look, she was so careless with our national security secrets, c’mon. I mean, no, so I do not think so,” Flynn responded during an interview after a Heritage Foundation event focused on Fields of the Fight, the new book he co-authored with Michael Ledeen.
“She should never have a security clearance again. I would not approve that. If it were me, I would not have given that permission,” he added.
Flynn was also asked what would happen at the DIA if an employee had a private server in their home containing classified information.
“I would revoke their clearance. We would have some sort of investigation and likely refer charges and it would be potential for someone to go to jail over something like that, and I’ve even been part of those kinds of decisions in my career,” Flynn said. “So there seems to be a standard for the Clintons that’s not the same standard for the rest of America.”
From the group of 30,000 emails returned to the State Department, FBI director James Comey said that 110 emails in 52 email chains “have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.” Comey announced that eight of those chains contained information that was “top secret at the time” they were sent and 36 chains contained “secret” information at the time.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” he said on July 5 when announcing that Clinton would not be charged.
During the event at Heritage, Flynn echoed a reoccurring theme of Trump’s campaign, telling the audience the U.S. government has “forgotten how to win wars.”
Trump has often said the U.S. does not “win anymore,” citing trade policy, illegal immigration, the spread of ISIS and other issues.
“There is a real weakness in our own ability to go in and use our, from a pure military perspective, and go in and truly crush our enemies and win and what we do, it’s kind of what we are seeing right now, I mean, two years ago we had 175 soldiers in Iraq. So over the last two years we’ve been creeping up and adding more and more people to the battlefield of Iraq,” Flynn said at the event.
“What is it that’s happening that we can’t understand that it takes a different path to actually win? I think our weakness is understanding that when we go to war you go to war to win. You don’t go to war to protect Pizza Hut or Burger King or some of the nonsense I’ve seen on our battlefields and this goes back — way back,” he added.
Flynn said the overall U.S. war strategy has changed fundamentally, which is a “big weakness” that terrorists exploit.
“They study us. This is not a bunch of guys who, I facetiously have said, are in shower shoes and bathrobes because twice they were beating us on the battlefield, the most modern military formed, on the battlefield — 2006 in Iraq and 2009 in Afghanistan,” he said. “They have a global strategic initiative.”
Flynn urged the Obama administration to “recognize” that radical Islamic terrorists now have a global footprint.
“The strategy they have assumed is a global strategy, and the strategy we have assumed and taken on is a very narrow tactical strategy. We have to be more strategic and they understand that weakness in our system – and they fully, fully exploit it,” he said.