Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was a "tremendous officer" in the military, but he was not qualified for his post in President Donald Trump's White House, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Friday.
"He was an architect of the 'find, finish, fix' [doctrine] that is a standard conviction in the military," Clapper said of the retired lieutenant general during an interview with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC "Andrea Mitchell Reports" program.
Such innovation led to Flynn's eventual promotion to a three-star general, said Clapper.
"He worked for me for 11 months, in the job that I had in the early 90s," said Clapper, referring to Flynn's turn as Defense Intelligence Agency director. "For lots of reasons, it didn't work out. At the time, we managed a graceful exit for him."
Flynn left that post in 2014, a year earlier than expected, after facing pressure from Clapper and others, according to a Washington Post report from that time.
Clapper on Friday said Flynn's history as DIA director "is to some extent irrelevant," and the key thing to consider with his recent dismissal was the "trust between a president and a National Security Adviser."
Flynn, said Clapper, did not have the "skill set to be a national security adviser."
Trump has blamed former President Barack Obama's administration for not knowing about
Flynn's issues, including communications with Russian sources and other matters, but Clapper said he could not comment on that because he did not know what vetting procedures the Trump White House used for Flynn.
"He should have been vetted intensively before he became National Security Adviser," said Clapper. "The practice was in the past for me and any other political appointees or anyone in the White House that there are very invasive procedures" to check the backgrounds and suitability of people who will work within the White House.
"Normally the checks are done by the FBI, and they're quite thorough," said Clapper. "I don't know, because I don't have access to it, what is in the investigatory file."
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