Gen. James Clapper Tells SiriusXM’s Joe Madison that Trump will Use Michael Flynn’s Case as a Distraction from COVID-19

Gen. James Clapper (Getty)
Gen. James Clapper (Getty)

ector of National Intelligence Gen. James Clapper was a guest on SiriusXM’s The Joe Madison Show, where he said that President Trump will use the Michael Flynn Case as a distraction from COVID-19, and that the Trump Administration must recognize unmasking “is not at all nefarious.”

Gen. James Clapper went on to say that “people would be derelict” not to inquire about Michael Flynn: “There were actually dozens of contacts with various representatives of Russia. And so at the time our dashboard warning light [started blinking]…given the responsibilities of these positions, it seems to me perfectly legitimate, in fact people would be derelict if they didn’t have enough curiosity to inquire what was going on.”

[AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPTS]

James Clapper: Trump Will Use the Michael Flynn Case as a Distraction from COVID-19


Host, Joe Madison:

So how do you think this will end? Will this just be a news item or are we, and I think I know the answer to this, or is this going to be an ongoing political issue that’s going to be used by the administration?

James Clapper:

Well, I expect it will be, you know, right up until the election. I mean, this will be a narrative that the current administration will pursue. And of course, it also serves as a distraction from COVID-19.

Host, Joe Madison:

What concerns you about what happened yesterday with the president labeling this as Obamagate and saying that what you and others who are on a list who saw this unmasking that it was nefarious. What concerns you most of all about this issue?

James Clapper:

Well, I think creating that exact narrative as though this was something illegitimate or inappropriate when it is actually a very, very useful tool available to national security officials. And I know that officials in the current administration are using it to a fairly well actually much more than the previous administration. So they too must recognize that this is a valuable tool that serves the national security interests of the United States. It’s not at all nefarious. And the unmasking is occasioned by the interest, the objective of trying to minimize the identity of U.S. persons and restrict that access as much as possible. That’s why the program is designed the way it is. So it’s a legitimate, appropriate and important national security tool.

Host, Joe Madison:

So were all rules followed as it relates to this?

James Clapper:

Absolutely, and General Nakasone the current Director of the National Security Agency, makes that point. And it is an explanatory note connected with the release of the names. And so he makes that point that the people that receive these reports were authorized recipients and that the appropriate procedures were complied with.

James Clapper: “People Would Be Derelict” Not to Inquire About Michael Flynn


Host, Joe Madison:

Was Lieutenant General Flynn in your opinion targeted for political reasons?

James Clapper:

No, I don’t think so. I mean the attention that brought to General Flynn was actually one of a number of people in the Trump camp or Trump campaign who were engaging with Russians. And as it came out later, we certainly didn’t see all this. There were actually dozens of contacts with various representatives of Russia. And so at the time, our dashboard warning light, if I can use a metaphor, was certainly blinking yellow.

Host, Joe Madison:

Yeah, that’s a good metaphor. Your warning lights started blinking.

James Clapper:

Yeah, exactly. Because we didn’t exactly know the content of these engagements, these interactions, but just the number of them arouse concern.

Host, Joe Madison:

And then the responsibility of the senior officials is to find out what the hell was going on.

James Clapper:

Well, exactly. And so various officials who were authorized recipients of these reports series, were certainly legitimate for them to make a request or unmask them because it’s very difficult to understand the context of the reporting unless you know who’s involved. I mean a ball read of it with U.S. person one, U.S. person two, et cetera, you really can’t understand what’s going on. And given the responsibilities of these positions, it seemed to me perfectly legitimate. In fact, people would be derelict if they didn’t have enough curiosity to inquire what was going on.

Host, Joe Madison:

There’s the point that they had the responsibility and if they didn’t follow through, they would be derelict. You’re absolutely right. So, you in essence, who were doing it was about national security. What’s going on? What is this about? Who was involved? And then you go from there.

source: SiriusXM’s The Joe Madison Show (weekdays from 6-10am ET on Urban View channel 126).

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