Flynn Defends Quality of Intelligence on Russian Moves in Crimea
In an interview with NPR News, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency defended the quality of intelligence given to policy-makers on Russian moves in Crimea. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn said, "For easily seven to 10 days leading up to Russian troops as we see them now in Crimea, we were providing very solid reporting." The intelligence community, he said, warned ahead of time that Russian action was imminent. Flynn said the DIA is now paying close attention to any additional Russian military moves along the Ukrainian border.
Speaking with host David Greene in an interview airing today, Friday, March 7, on Morning Edition, General Flynn discusses U.S. intelligence on Ukraine, Syria and the damage done by Edward Snowden leaking classified material from the U.S. government. Highlights of the conversation follow, and a transcript is also available now on The Two-Way blog at NPR.org.
Asked about damage from the leak of classified documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Flynn said he's worried that Snowden compromised U.S. defense capabilities. Snowden, he said, may have access to U.S. war plans, intelligence gathering and technology developed to counter roadside bombs. Flynn said the U.S. may have to assume the worst case scenario, and make changes to guard against any disclosures. The DIA director said the U.S. has to assume that Russia, which has given Snowden asylum, has already gotten hold of the documents in Snowden's possession, or is trying to.
On Syria, Flynn said jihadists from 50 countries, including the U.S. and Europe, have joined the battle against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. They are fighting, learning and growing stronger in Syria, he said. "The real problem is when they decide to depart," he said. Some have already gone back to Europe, and, he added, "We are concerned about those that may return to the United States." This, he said, is the number one concern for his military intelligence counterparts in Europe.
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