Former Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael T. Flynn says President Obama should “immediately suspend” Hillary Clinton’s security clearance because she ran a private, unprotected email server from her New York home.
Flynn also told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an exclusive interview Saturday that Clinton’s use of a private server for official national security business was “unprecedented,” and he believed Clinton caused “untold damage” to national security.
“Clinton should also be denied any access to any classified or sensitive information,” said Flynn, who was appointed by Obama to the DIA job in 2012.
“As an employee and Secretary of State, I don’t think she operates above any policy or law,” he said. “It’s just think that she is so unaccountable to the American people for having done what she did as a Secretary of State.”
Flynn also criticized the use of thumbnail drives by Clinton to transport 30,000 of her emails through her lawyer. Both Defense and State Department rules prohibit the downloading of classified materials on any thumb drive.
“I know the use of thumb drives is not a good idea and I know we had a very, very strict policy in the Department of Defense. That’s certainly how people like Manning and Snowden were able to abscond with lots of information,” he said.
He said thumb drives often contain pre-programmed malware or malicious codes embedded in them. “Thumb drives cause viruses on many systems,” he said.
Flynn saw a double standard at work with Clinton.
“It’s amazing she’s gotten away with it this far. I would never have gotten away with it had I done something like that, especially in uniform,” he said. Flynn retired from the U.S. Army in 2014.
He dismissed Clinton’s claim that she was technically uninformed about the proper handling of classified materials in the digital age.
“She can’t sit there and say ‘I’m not mechanically inclined’ or not technical. Not in this day and age. In fact, it would be extraordinary to me to think a woman of her intellect would not have some idea, some clue, about what she was doing for communications,” he said.
“So for her to act as though she doesn’t know anything — give me a break.”
Flynn’s comments are likely to fuel the firestorm that has engulfed Clinton and her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination since the New York Times first reported in March that she used a private email account to conduct official business as the nation’s chief diplomat. The email was maintained on a private server located at Clinton’s New York home.
Few intelligence security chiefs of Flynn’s stature have spoken out about Clinton’s use of a private server for official State Department emails.
A group of former intelligence and special operations officials formally asked Secretary of State John Kerryto suspend Clinton’s security clearance in an August 5 letter. Kerry has not responded.
The State Department released 7,000 emails from Clinton’s server last week from among the 30,000 official emails she turned over to the department in 2014. As many as 300 of those have been found to include classified information. The Inspector General for the intelligence community separately found two Top Secret documents in a sample review of only 40 emails.
Flynn said those reports are “telling me there’s been quite a bit of intelligence and quite a bit of sensitive government information that has been compromised.”
Flynn said previously that he is certain Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies gained access to Clinton’s official and private emails when they were stored on the server at her New York home.
“Do I think the Chinese and Russians have had access to Hillary’s emails? Count on it,” said Flynn, a decorated officer who has served in multiple intelligence command positions over 33 years.
“If she did all of her communications on a public, personal device for the many years she was the Secretary, I think it’s untold damage,” he said.
Flynn was nominated by Obama on April 17, 2012, as the 13th DIA director, a job that made him the nation’s highest ranking military intelligence officer. He began his term as DIA director in July 2012. He left the agency when he retired in August 2014.
Before the DIA job, Flynn was assistant director of national intelligence and director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Central Command and the Joint Special Operations Command.
Since leaving DIA, Flynn has been publicly outspoken, particularly about Obama’s Middle East policy.
Flynn added that all of Clinton’s personal devices, should be secured and examined by federal officials, arguing they must “secure everything that person has touched information-wise, particularly any devices, personal or otherwise.”
Flynn said other senior intelligence officials have had government servers at home, but those were government-issued servers. Clinton’s server had been previously used in her campaign and was not bought or maintained by the federal government.
“Those of us at senior levels of government have servers at home provided by the government at our homes. But having a server that’s a private server that she used for government purposes is just completely extraordinary to me. It is unprecedented,” Flynn said.
Clinton previously claimed that former Secretary of State Colin Powell used a private sever at his home, but the claim was refuted by NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell during an interview on Friday with the struggling Presidential candidate.
“You have said that Colin Powell did the same thing. He actually had a personal e-mail and a state.gov official e-mail system,” Mitchell told Clinton.
“So he didn’t just rely on a personal system. I don’t think there’s any precedent for anyone just relying on a personal e-mail system at your level of government,” Mitchell said. Clinton seemed surprised by the question, stumbled and changed the subject.
During his 33-year term, he previously served as the Assistant Director of National Intelligence and Director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Central Command and Joint Special Operations Command.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to a DCNF request for comment.