James Clapper, Defense Intelligence Agency and Director discussed on Diane Rehm: On My Mind

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You. Now, a quick break. Hi Coachman to here. I hope you enjoying on my mind and I also hope you checking the co, Joe known de show, connect the dots between events happening in Washington, Maryland, Virginia, through conversations with politicians artists chefs the list goes on. You can listen to our podcast on demand by subscribing on your favorite podcast app. So you never miss an old and we're back. James Clapper was director of national intelligence from twenty ten to twenty seventeen. His new book is facts and fears, hard truth from a life in intelligence, James Clapper. It's so great to have you with US. Vice me. You have spent your life in intelligence gathering at the at the air force at the Defense Intelligence Agency, six and a half years as director of national intelligence longest anyone has ever served in that very difficult role. Thank you for your service. We'll do. You have written a new book. It's. Called facts and fears. Hard truth from a life in intelligence, and you begin injure book with pretty dire assessments of Russian interference in the twenty sixteen presidential election. Indeed, you have concluded that Russian interference changed the results of the twenty sixteen election. How so we'll I should point out Susan. When we rendered are Intel's community assessment on the six of January twenty seventeen. We did not make any pronouncement about the impact on election by virtue of the Russian interference. The only we did say that related to that was we saw no evidence of meddling with voter tallies. Not that there wasn't any. We just didn't see any evidence of it. The reason for that, of course, is Intel's committees not chartered didn't how the thority nor the capability to assess something domestically, but as a private citizen and knowing what we've learned since the publication of that until community Cessna. And I recount this in the book about the parallelism between the Trump campaign and the Russians in terms of what they're doing and saying, particularly in marginalizing Hillary Clinton a candidate. When you consider that, you know the intern turn. On about eighty thousand votes in three key states. And when you consider the massive multidimensional effort that the Russians made particularly using social media, which of, you know, was exposed to millions and millions of overs. That to me is, as I say in the book stretches logic and credulity to think that it didn't have a fact. I think it did have serious affect on. That's why I am so concerned above all else about the serious, the profound threat Russia poses to our very system this. And I said, also add that this is not in any way criticism or indictment of anyone who voted for President Trump what it is an indictment of. And I hope a call a clarion call here is the Russians and and their attempts to fundamentally undermine our system even clue. It it is this crack, not just that there was an effect of the Russian meddling, but that it swung the election with their their involvement clearly had to it to say that it had no effect to me. Again, stretches logic. Now, again, I have to say I don't have empirical evidence of this, you know, not going out. Don't have voter survey. This is just my informed opinion based on what I knew before I left the government and what has been revealed since particularly about the use of social media, you're a student of history. Has this ever happened before in our American democracy? No, not to my knowledge. Although there's a long history, Russians, interfering elections, there's and other people's and and there is in this country going back at least to the sixties. We have records of in various ways. The Russians trying to interfere influence elections. But never as direct aggressive and his multifaceted as the presidential election, twenty sixteen and the intelligence agencies of the United States. Government, of course, custom to looking for Russian action on various fronts, including the election. But you think slow to realize just how extensive the Russian effort was going to be on this. Arjun certainly say this for myself that because I've been asked, what was the exact moment when you realize this was something much different profoundly different. And I can't point to an exact moment time. This occurred for me gradually over the summer and into the fall, twenty sixteen and seen a lot of bad stuff in my fifty years in intelligence. But this this early of physically made me ill when I realized the magnitude of it and how was being centrally orchestrated. It was very disturbing and that in turn was the major motivation for writing. The book also motivate you not just to write your your book Faxon fears now, but to decide to try to speak out during the election in a way that is really not familiar to someone in your position. Well, didn't speak out. At all until after I left the government on the twenty January in initially, actually started with a phone call to then President-elect Trump on the eleventh of January. Nine days before I left my initial impulse was to simply defend the men and women the intelligence community when we were called Nazis. And so I sort of backed into a guest becoming a more of a voice than I'd ever anticipated in his someone who's much worked in. Shadows and tried to stay anonymous, which I was able to do for most of my career except except for the deny time. It's unlikely role for me. Now you do have the president's attention. That's clear on Wednesday morning as you began the publicity tour for you new book, he tweeted that you were the world's dumbest former intelligence head. What you think of that tweet. Well, at least I sold at something.

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