National Security

Aspen Security Forum Highlights: ISIS, US Drone Strikes, and Transparency

July 29, 2014

The 2014 Aspen Security Forum brought together top military brass, intelligence officials, and ambassadors to discuss hot button issues in international affairs, and possible solutions for more peaceful relations between nations. Below are highlights from these conversations.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on ISIS/ISIL

CBS “60 Minutes” Correspondent Lesley Stahl asks US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey how ISIS has managed to overrun the US-trained Iraqi army. Watch Dempsey’s response in the clip above.

Should the US Arm Syrian Rebels?

US Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers shares his perspective on whether or not the US should arm moderate Syrian opposition given the tragic shooting of the MH17 flight in Ukraine. Above, Vickers begins his response by suggesting that Syria and Yemen “are the No. 1 threat to the American homeland right now.”

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US on American Drone Strikes

Pakistani Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani addresses the topic of US drone strikes in his country, saying, “Our experience has been that [the use of US drone strikes in Pakistan] has certainly been counterproductive to our own efforts against terrorism.” Watch the clip above to hear Jilani’s further explanation.

Former CIA and NSA Director on Transparency in US Intelligence

Retired Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency Director Gen. Michael Hayden explains the history of transparency of the intelligence community and how today’s culture has shifted that process. “Our popular culture is no longer willing to empower representatives with that much authority on any issue,” he said. “We’re just going to have to eat the operational costs — the operational tariff — that more publicity for our actions will entail. Otherwise, you’re not going to let us do it in the first place.” Watch the clip to hear more from Hayden and from former National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter.