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Speeches and Testimonies
Jan. 29, 2014

DIA Director Flynn: Unauthorized Disclosures Have "Caused Grave Damage to Our National Security"

DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn was asked by Sen. Susan Collins about the impact of recent unauthorized disclosures during today's Worldwide Threat Assessment Hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

SEN SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE: Chairman. General Flynn. Thus far in the discussion today and in general, there has been very little focus on the damage that Edward Snowden has done to our military. I’ve read the DIA assessment and it is evident to me that most of the documents stolen by Mr.Snowden have nothing to do with the privacy rights and civil liberties of American citizens or even the NSA collection programs. 

Indeed these documents, and we’ve heard the number 1.7 million documents, are in many cases multi-pages. If you printed them all and stacked them they would be more than 3 miles high. I say that to give the public more information about how extraordinarily extensive the documents that he’s stole were. And they don’t just pertain to the NSA; they pertain to the entire intelligence community. And include information about military intelligence, our defense capabilities, the defense industry. Now you are the leader of military intelligence. You have also been deployed for extensive periods in Iraq. You know what the impact is on the Military. Can you share with the committee your assessment of the impact of the damage that Edward Snowden has done to our military, and in particular has he placed our men and women in uniform at greater risk?

Senator Collins - thanks for that question. On the report that you’re indicating or highlighting, we do have I believe a session in about a week for this committee to go through the entire report. The strongest word that I can use to describe you know, how bad this is, this has caused grave damage to our national security.

I think another way to address your question, what are the costs that we are going to incur because of the scale and the scope of what has been taken by Snowden. And I won’t put a dollar figure but I know that the scale or the cost to our nation obviously in treasure, in capabilities that are going to have to be examined, reexamined, and potentially adjusted, but I think that the greatest cost that is unknown today, but we will likely face is the cost in human lives on tomorrow’s battlefield or in some, someplace where we will put our military forces – you know, when we ask them to go in to harm’s way. That’s’ the greatest cost that we face with the disclosures that have been presented so far. And like I said, the strongest word that I can use is this has caused grave damage to our national security.


COLLINS: So it has caused grave damage to our national security, and you would agree that it puts at risk potentially the lives of our troops. Is that accurate?


FLYNN: Yes, Ma’am.