Exclusive – Cyber Security in the Trump Administration: an Interview with Lt. Gen Michael Flynn

What kind of cyber security policies and legislation might take shape in a Trump administration? This exclusive interview with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a top advisor to President Elect Trump gives some clues.
What kind of cyber security policies and legislation might take shape in a Trump administration? This exclusive interview with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a top advisor to President Elect Trump gives some clues.

In-brief: In this special Security Ledger podcast, I interview Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret), a top advisor to President Elect Donald Trump about his thoughts on cyber defense and improving the security of government and commercial systems. 

In the days since Republican candidate Donald Trump scored a surprise electoral college victory over Hillary Clinton to become the President Elect of the United States, much attention has been given to where the notoriously shifty Trump might come down on the issue of cyber security.


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Candidate Trump devoted at least one address to the topic and just days before the election reiterated an earlier pledge to do a top-down review of government systems with a “cyber review” team.

If we want to know what kinds of policies and priorities President Trump might have in regard to cyber security, a good place to start is with his advisors. And one of his closest advisors has been Retired General Michael Flynn,  a retired United States Army lieutenant general who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and as a chair of the Military Intelligence Board between 2012 and 2014. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Director of National Intelligence.

Flynn was an informal advisor to Republican candidates and became an served as an advisor on military affairs to candidate Trump throughout the campaign. I had the opportunity to speak with him at an event in Boston in early October for a piece I wrote for Christian Science Monitor Passcode. That story noted, among other things, that Ret. General Flynn was of a different mind than candidate Trump about the role that Russian hackers may have played in the presidential election.

Here, I’m releasing the full recording of our conversation with some minor edits for coherence. In it, Retired General Flynn talks at more length about his vision for cyber security in a Trump administration. Top on his list:  a review of government cyber security and the appointment of what he calls a “Story Teller in Chief” who can translate difficult information security concepts for the public.