Mike Flynn, Director and Defense Intelligence Agency discussed on 1947: The Meet the Press Podcast


That. How do you answer the. What happened? What's going on with Mike Flynn question, what do you say to that? But first of all, I always do this Chuck when somebody brings up Mike Flynn, you have to salute and acknowledge his decades of military service. And Mike is a great military intelligence officer had all kinds of deployed time in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which I think had an effect on him. Me. I like going down PTSD road or the impact of, I think he got consumed with the threat of terrorism. Somewhat to the detriment of other other concerns that in his positions, the director need to think about anyway. So you have to acknowledge that I was coefficient at his promotion ceremony to three star general. The wonderful ceremony in women's memorial. He worked for me for eleven months on my staff at OD. Anna Elsa director, national intelligence. I supported him to be director of the Defense Intelligence Agency a job I had held in the early nineties for lots of reasons. I had my reasons than his other overseer Dr. Mike Vickers who succeeded me as under secretary of defense for intelligence. We each had our reasons why it wasn't working out as sometimes happens as an agency director. So Mike Vickers and I met with Mike Flynn and said, you know, we're going to end this after two years instead of three, having said that we allowed him to finish his two years as. Rector DIA. So we have a total of three years, which is a requirement. You must have served three years in grade in order to retire and get retirement pay in that in that grade. We had a wonderful ceremony when he left when he retired, and but and I know I lost contact with Mike, and I think after that he became an angry man. I think the termination eight at him and he decided latch onto any Republican candidate. He could as long it was as he was in a position to criticize the Abon ration- which you had great issues. Are you concerned that he may have made mistakes based on sort of blind rage. I don't think he made. And. Maybe got sloppy and with what he did for with the president with pro. I think doodoo perhaps maps, and I think. Mike, like all the i. directors was courted by the GRU which is the Russian military intelligence organization roughly analogous to deny. They quoted me. Yeah. How to tell me about that. I mean when when you're get courted by Russian Intel, the work in you. They're trying and it's in their genes almost they are trying to seek influence to co-opt to gain leverage whatever. I mean, that's just the way they think. And of course, they invited me into their headquarters in the early nineties and did other things took me around to to GRE facilities in in Russia. I got to tour spetsnaz brigade, which under their setup especial opposites is under them. So they did all kinds of things just to ingratiate themselves as to the extent that they could. But what they're interested is influence leverage, access, knowledge, whatever. And they did the same thing with him. And I think I think he may have succumb to it. I had a one time. I had a little chat with him, sort of offer some fatherly advice don't just be careful because cozy with well, I, yeah. I mean, just the image of. The dinner party celebrating RT's anniversary, and he's sitting there at the same table with Putin. Here's the former director of the defense intelligence career career-long military and tells us her fame news has propaganda tool exactly. What do you say you're from? I find it interesting. You're like, well, he's sort of bone into the intelligence community. You're, you're basically your father served. You've been. You've been, you're sort of you were a child of the world. And yes, which really meant if you had a touchtone it's here. What does it feel like do you feel like you have a hometown? Or you say to yourself America's my hometown or military bases. It's sort of an interesting life. You've led Washington became home. My wife's from New Jersey and I was born in Indiana, but just because they, by virtue of her, dad was signal intelligence officer to, and she worked to say, so you almost have to have clearance to be in my family, but an of course of our travels as growing up in a military family, and we you, invariably, if you do a career, you're going to gravitate to wash. And so we were in and out of Washington lot. And then when I was on active duty where in and out of Washington lot. So sort of by default, the Washington area became home force is. How did you try to keep it normal for your kids? Did you ever look back and say, boy, this is something I wish I didn't travel as much, or would you never trade it? Well, I don't think we wouldn't, nor would they, my son, particularly my daughter was older, and so when we really started moving around a lot, she was off by herself in college, but my son did three high schools which at the time we're very traumatic. That's not a good thing to do. But he he emerged the better for it and and I think it's if you would ask my son about it, he'd say it, it made him better person. You are born into intelligence. What do you look for when you guys are recruiting intelligence? And there's always, and and if somebody's listening, it's like, what would make them good at this? And what kind of personality doesn't make you very good at it? Well, there's no cookie cutter here. No, no one a template or one mole. I think what I look for and by the way, see this because I'm make the rounds a college, a lot of colleges and universities these days deliberately to try to entice people into government service and specifically intelligence, and I'm happy to report that there's a lot of yet today, despite all atmospherics a lot of interest in public service by some great young people. And I, I've seen in met at these college universities, so I don't look for a. The one thing I look for. I think two things. One is a commitment, dedication to public service, wanting to be part of something bigger than yourself. Wanting to be part of an enterprise helps keep the nation safe and secure their any just about any degree that somebody can earn at a at a credited college university. There's a place for him in the intelligence community and what you're looking for is intellect commitment, patriotism, dedication. And importantly, one skill set is communications ability, right, speak and the more passive skills was don't get a lot of emphasis in this town which is listening and reading and actually learning when not to speak. Exactly. Well, with that, I'm going to end it there books, facts and fears. It's a little little tough little dark. You'll nervous but the future? Yeah. I am. I am apprehensive about it. What way? The end, the book though we're for a fork in the road, what fork are you worried that we may take? I don't know. I all I say in the end of the book is we've emerged from traumas before notably the civil war and trauma. I lived through the Vietnam war and in the end we emerged the better in a stronger force for it, but it took time and we're still recovering in some sense from both those traumas and now I, I'm with you in that. We always seem to get out of these dark periods. You know, history proves that we do, but then I've had people say to me, what do you think the average German thought nineteen thirty? Well, same thing. I mean, that's that's what that's what makes me prohibitive and makes me worry. And that's what motivated me to speak up. Write the book when I first retired, the military nineteen ninety-five. I I wouldn't have thought of writing a book. I wouldn't have thought of speaking out or going on television. I've retired twice more since then. And the last time I was different set of conditions. James Clapper you've had a lot of jobs most reach. Of course, director of national intelligence book is facts and fears. Hard truths from a life. In-intelligence definitely worth everyone's time. Thanks for coming on. Finished should forever. You can listen to more nineteen. Forty seven, of course been some of our podcast. If you could all of our episodes, give us a rating. We like that. Of course, you can subscribe to apple podcasts tune in or wherever you get your podcast. You find us. They're big. Thanks to my producer Matt Rivera till we upload again. Thanks for listening to the nineteen forty seven podcast from NBC's meet the press with Chuck Todd. You can listen to MSNBC twenty four hours a day, seven days a week on tune in or subscribed today to tune in premium? For a specially curated experience.

Coming up next