DIA Chief: Transparency
Builds Public Trust
By Claudette Roulo, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Aspen, Colorado – (DOD
News) – July 27, 2014 – Transparency has to be a watchword for the
intelligence community if it is to regain the public’s trust, Army Lt. Gen.
Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said here
“What transparency does is, transparency breeds trust,” Flynn
told an audience at the Aspen Security Forum. And the intelligence community
cannot afford to lose the trust of the American people, he added. “When it
happened in the past, this community got gutted and we failed the country again,”
« Transparency has to be a watchword
for the intelligence community if it is to regain the public’s trust »
Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, DIA
The damage done by Edward Snowden was terrible, the director
said. "This country can sustain big body blows, we will sustain this one, but …
there will be risk,” Flynn said. Since the leaks by Snowden, he said, the
intelligence community has worked to correct itself.
“This is about transparency, security, civil liberties, our
ability to protect this nation and trust. And I think the most [important] of
all those is trust,” Flynn said.
The American public will regain its trust in the intelligence
community if they know the community is abiding by laws approved by Congress,
the executive branch and the judiciary, he said. There needs to be a national
conversation about the role of intelligence, the general added.
Many of the threats and issues the intelligence community
deals with every day are likely to be around for a long time, the director said.
The nation is not safer for having been at war for the past 13 years, Flynn
“We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far
more extreme than al-Qaida,” he said, and they are involved in increasingly
complex regional conflicts in places like Syria and Iraq. And it is a mistake to
underestimate these groups, Flynn noted. "We look at some of these people as if
they were in shower shoes and bathrobes, but twice they were defeating the most
sophisticated military in the world -- in 2006 in Iraq and 2009 in Afghanistan,”
he said. “And they're watching everything that's going on in Iraq as we
transition out of Afghanistan." These individuals have every intention to come
to the United States and do damage, the general said.
One of the most dangerous threats that the U.S. faces, Flynn
said, is the possibility of a group like the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant getting their hands on chemical weapons in Syria. “So, we're worried
about foreign fighters coming out of there, doing attacks here in this country
or maybe against our partners, but actually, there's still chemical capabilities
in that part of the world and in the hands of people who I know have the intent
to use them and we need to be concerned about that,” he said.
Nation-states around the world are being challenged, Flynn
said. The world is in a period of prolonged societal conflict, the general
continued, and the United States needs to recognize that it cannot win alone.
And while the U.S. will always play an important international role in
addressing these failures, he said, it may not always be a deciding one.
(Follow Claudette Roulo
on Twitter: @roulododnews) :
Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn
Defense Intelligence Agency
Special Report: Aspen Security Forum
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