Rep. Peter King: Gen. Flynn ‘One of the First People Who Was Really Onto ISIS’

Susan Jones | February 14, 2017 | 7:19am EST
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In this Feb. 11, 2014, file photo, then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testifies on Capitol Hill. Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump's national security adviser on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

( – Hours before National Security Director Michael Flynn resigned for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador, Rep. Peter King described Flynn as “almost prophetic” in predicting the threat posed by ISIS.

King (R-N.Y.) told CNN on Monday afternoon that he’s had “a very good relationship” with Flynn, who also served in the Obama administration.

“I first met him when he was head of the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he testified before the Intelligence Committee. He was one of the first people who was really onto ISIS, and I thought he was extremely, almost prophetic in that,” King said.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 13, 2015, Flynn – then DIA director – told Congress that “the threat of Islamic extremism has reached an unacceptable level and that it is growing. We are at war with violent and extreme Islamists, both Sunni and Shia, and we must accept and face this reality.”

Flynn testified:

This enemy has an ingrained and unshakable vision of how the world and society should be ordered, and they believe violence is a legitimate means of bringing about this ideal state. The violent Islamist is serious, devout, committed and dangerous. His ideology justifies the most heinous inhumane actions imaginable, and he will not be reasoned with, nor will he relent.

This enemy must be opposed, they must be killed, they must be destroyed, and the associated extremist form of the Islamic ideology must be defeated wherever it rears its ugly head. There are some who counsel patience, arguing violent Islamists are not an existential threat and therefore can simply be managed as criminals. I respectfully and strongly disagree.

I have been in the theaters of war of Iraq and Afghanistan for many years, faced this enemy up close and personal, and I have seen firsthand the unrestrained cruelty of this enemy. They may be animated by a medieval ideology, but they are thoroughly modern in their capacity to kill and maim, as well as precisely and very smartly message their ideas, intentions and actions via the Internet. In fact, they are increasingly capable of threatening our nation's interest and those of our allies.

Furthermore, it would be foolish for us to wait until our enemies pose an existential threat before taking decisive action. Doing so would only increase the cost in blood and treasure later for what we know must be done now. Our violent and extremely radical Islamist enemies must be stopped.

Flynn offered three strategic objectives:

-- Energize every element of national effectively resource what will likely be a multi-generational struggle. There is no cheap way to win this fight, he said.

-- Engage the violent Islamists wherever they are, drive them from their safe havens, and kill them.

-- Decisively confront the state and non-state supporters and enablers of the violent Islamist ideology and compel them to end their support to our enemies, or be prepared to remove their capacity to do so. Many of these are currently considered partners of the United States. This must change, Flynn said.

Two days before Flynn testified, President Obama addressed the nation, saying that the effort to dislodge ISIS from Iraq and Syria would be "a difficult mission" and would take time. "But our coalition is on the offensive, ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose."

Obama also said that one of the weapons against ISIS -- "a critical part of our strategy -- is the values we live here at home. One of the best antidotes to the hateful ideologies that try to recruit and radicalize people to violent extremism is our own example as diverse and tolerant societies that welcome the contributions of all people, including people of all faiths," Obama said at the time.

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