SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10743]
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
REPORT ON COUNTERTERRORISM
INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES AND
PERFORMANCE PRIOR TO 9/11
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSEPTEMBER 5, 2002
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JIM TURNER, Texas
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
Mark Esper, Professional Staff Member
Alexis Lasselle, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, September 5, 2002, The House Intelligence Committee Report on Counterterrorism Intelligence Capabilities and Performance Prior to 9/11
Thursday, September 5, 2002
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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2002
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE REPORT ON COUNTER- TERRORISM INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES AND PERFORMANCE PRIOR TO 9/11
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Turner, Hon. Jim, a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Chambliss, Hon. Saxby, Chairman, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, HPSCI
Harman, Hon. Jane, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, HPSCI
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCChambliss, Hon. Saxby
Harman, Hon. Jane
Saxton, Hon. Jim
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions Submitted for the Record.]
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE REPORT ON COUNTER TERRORISM INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES AND PERFORMANCE PRIOR TO 9/11
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism,
Washington, DC, Thursday, September 5, 2002
The panel met, pursuant to call, at 9:37 a.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton [chairman of the panel] presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Good morning. This morning, the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism convenes in an open hearing to receive testimony on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security's reportthat was a mouthful''Counterterrorism Intelligence Capabilities and Performance of the CIA, FBI, and NSA Prior to 9/11.''
I would like to start this morning by welcoming our witnesses: Congressman Saxby Chambliss, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security; and Congresswoman Jane Harman, Ranking Member on that subcommittee.
Last September, I, along with Mr. Turner and Mr. Calvert, saw firsthand the results of the 9/11 attacks. Our collective hearts sank at the sight of the destruction. And the days and weeks that followed gave us the opportunity to reflect on this horrific event.
Many questions came to mind immediately after this tragedy. But two seemed, and still remain, the most crucial: first, ''How was this planned and conducted without our knowledge?'' And second, ''How do we exact justice from those who perpetrated this barbaric attack?''
This panel has held a series of very productive hearings on the second question. We have heard from each of our uniformed services, parts of the intelligence community, Joint Forces Command and Special Operations Command. We have asked them how they are planning and preparing to defeat Al Qaida and stop the scourge of terrorism.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They have told us how the armed forces are preparing for this new type of war, about ongoing operations and about what we, the Congress, can do to assist them in their efforts. I can assure our nation that our military is fully engaged in this Herculean task and is taking the battle to our enemies around the world. It is far too early to declare victory, but we are winning many battles.
Mr. Chambliss and Ms. Harman, your subcommittee has investigated the intelligence deficiencies that existed within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) prior to September 11, 2001 in an attempt to answer the first question. Given the unclassified summary your subcommittee prepared and the positive reports we have read about your investigation in the press, we look forward to hearing from you personally on these matters.
The war on terrorism is clearly one that the Department of Defense cannot win alone. Over the last year, this panel has held numerous briefings and hearings with other agencies involved in the global war on terrorism. However, it is going to require exceptional coordination between the intelligence community and the military.
As such, I am confident that our discussion this morning will assist this panel in understanding what happened to our intelligence agencies prior to 9/11 and help us this panel fulfill its responsibility to the congressional committee of jurisdiction over the nation's armed forces.
Again, thank you both for being here this morning. We appreciate you being with us this morning. But even more, we appreciate the dedicated work that you have put into this subject over the last year or so.
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Again, thank you for being here. And I don't know whether the Ranking Member is in route.
Mr. Chambliss, thank you for being here this morning. The floor is yours, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM AND HOMELAND SECURITY, HPSCI
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for inviting my friend, Ms. Harman, and myself in to visit with you this morning.
As I look up here, I see three senior members of the Armed Services Committee that I have had the privilege to serve with for the past eight years. And there are no three individuals on that committee or in Congress that I have greater respect for than you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Hunter and Mr. Taylor.
You are not only great members of Congress, you are great friends of mine. And I thank you for the great work that you all are doing. Having served on this task force for several years, I know the hard work and the dedication of all of your members.
So thank you for your good work. And thank you for inviting us here this morning.
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In January 2001, at the start of the 107th Congress, the speaker of the Housewith great foresight, as it turned outestablished the Working Group on Terrorism and Homeland Security within the Intelligence Committee. Our initial mandate was to examine the terrorist threat to the United States, the counterterrorism capabilities of America's intelligence and law enforcement communities and the viability of our homeland security architecture. We were to issue a report at the end of the 107th Congress recommending ways to improve House oversight of counterterrorism and homeland security programs and to evaluate what might be done to enhance America's capabilities to combat the terrorist threat.
Our work was well underway when Osama bin Laden and his evil minions struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We had held literally dozens of classified hearings and briefings and had traveled abroad to consult with some of our key allies in the war on terrorism and to get a firsthand look at some of our capabilities in action.
While we were generally impressed with the commitment and hard work of the men and women fighting the war on the front lines, we had begun to identify serious and systemic management deficiencies, especially at senior levels of the CIA, NSA and FBI. In fact, the counterterrorism oversight work of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the years and months leading up to 9/11 had pointed time and time again to many of these same deficiencies, with little positive response from the leadership of those key agencies. Jane and I will cover some of these deficiencies in detail in just a moment.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Speaker Hastert and Minority Leader Gephardt met and decided to convert our working group into a full subcommittee of the Intelligence Committee, with expanded powers of jurisdiction. Our first act was to leverage our staff's unique counterterrorism expertise to hold a series of seminars for members, senators, and key staff on the Al Qaida network and on terrorism in general.
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We then held a series of what, for the Intelligence Committee, were unprecedented public hearings on various aspects of the terrorist threat and our ability to deal with it on all levels. These public events concluded with an open hearing at New York's City Hall in which Major Giuliani, the leadership of New York City's emergency response teams, and Governors Jeb Bush, Roy Barnes and Frank Keating all testified. The speaker then asked that we accelerate production of our subcommittee report, but that we focus on the gaps in intelligence counterterrorism capabilities at CIA, NSA and FBI.
Our classified report was delivered to the speaker in July. And an unclassified executive summary, which you should have before you, was made public. It is important to note that our work was entirely separate from the investigation being conducted by the bicameral Joint 9/11 Inquiry of the intelligence committees of the House and Senate.
Our full classified report, however, was made available to the Joint Investigative Staff. And we and our subcommittee staff have made ourselves available for consultation. It is my hope and belief that the Joint Inquiry will build on the subcommittee's substantial work in developing its own final report.
Now, to the key findings of our report. First and foremost, we concluded, not surprisingly, that the 9/11 attacks caught the intelligence and law enforcement communities flat-footed. There is no way to get around the fact that this was a massive intelligence failure.
The leadership of the intelligence community, meeting prophetically three years to the day prior to September 11, concluded that, and I quote, failure to improve operations management, resource allocation and other key issues, including making substantial and sweeping changes in the way the nation collects, analyzes and produces intelligence, will likely result in a catastrophic systemic intelligence failure.
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We found that CIA's counterterrorism capabilities had significantly eroded over the course of nearly a decade and that, on September 11, CIA had failed to penetrate the Al Qaida network sufficiently to get at the issue of plans and intentions; the key to any counterterrorism program. Part of CIA's problem was money. Resources for intelligence, and particularly for recruiting spies in the enemy camp, dried up after the end of the Cold War. Political support for sometimes politically risky espionage activities just wasn't there for a protracted period.
Top CIA managers tried to argue that even while stations and bases were closing around the world for lack of funds and arguably less productive spies were being culled en masse, funds for CIA's Counterterrorism Center were increasing. Unfortunately, we learned that the Counterterrorism Center relies on the Directorate of Operations as a whole to conduct its counterterrorism, or CT, operations worldwide. So you can't dismantle the Directorate of Operations without severely damaging the Counterterrorism Center's ability to do its mission.
While a shortage of resources and support for the intelligence mission were significant factors in CIA's general decline, the mismanagement of available funds was also a major problem that had a negative effect on the counterterrorism mission at CIA. We found, for example, that over a period of years, the CIA's executive director, presumably with the support or acquiescence of the director and other senior managers, was diverting significant sums allocated for field operations of all kinds and for the analysis discipline to feed an insatiable headquarters bureaucracy.
Now, some of these non-core mission activities that got funded with core mission dollars were important. But it seemed to us that good management practice would have been to strip headquarters bare to make sure core mission was healthy before a single dollar would go to lower priority activities. Clearly, some people at the CIA hierarchy had their priorities mixed up, and the counterterrorism mission; along with the human intelligence and analysis missions suffered.
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Risk aversion was another problem at CIA. Lacking political support and dollars in sufficient amounts and facing an increasingly complex, hard-to-get-at terrorist target, it was natural for CIA managers to become more cautious. Equally natural was the trend at CIA towards bureaucratization, with the number of CIA lawyers increasing exponentially in the years before September 11.
Unfortunately, lawyers and spies don't mix very well. And the lawyers spent much of their time finding reasons why CIA operations officers should not conduct certain operations rather than finding ways for them to do so.
The most glaring example of risk aversion we uncovered, and the catalyst for many of the shortcomings in the CT mission, were the internal human rights guidelines promulgated in 1995 by then-CIA Director John Deutch. The Deutch Guidelines, as they are commonly and derisively referred to by the rank-and-file at CIA, stifled CT initiatives for years by creating an overly burdensome vetting process that left the rank-and-file with the impression that only Boy Scouts could be recruited when real terrorists, some with blood on their hands, were the only ones who had the information that could stop a terrorist attack.
We had to pass a law in 2001 to get the CIA to repeal the guidelines. Yet the CIA director ignored this law until the day after our report was released, when the guidelines were finally formally repealed in July 2002.
Why? Because there remains a big disconnect between what senior managers at CIA headquarters think is being done to recruit terrorist spies and what those in the field actually have to deal with to recruit terrorist spies. This situation improved somewhat after 9/11, but many of the pre-9/11 problems and perceptions remain.
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We also found that the CIA tried to compensate for its diminishing capability to recruit terrorist spies unilaterally, without the knowledge of host governments, by doing more and more of its operations with foreign liaison services. Such operations were inherently less politically risky, since getting caught by the host service was no longer a problem.
In so doing, however, CIA became overly dependent on these foreign services, which when push comes to shove always act in their own interests. What we discovered after 9/11 about the way in which Al Qaida operatives were functioning freely in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia clearly demonstrates the pitfalls of a strategy that relied too much on others in the spying game. CIA still remains overly reliant on liaison for CT operations, which is further damaging its independent capabilities.
Many of CIA's pre-9/11 counterterrorism shortcomings, however, can be traced to things that are more obvious. The number of CIA operations officersthose who recruit spieswho are adequately trained in foreign language, any foreign language, is embarrassingly low. The number trained in languages spoken by terrorists is even lower. Although CIA's ability, through cleared linguists, to exploit materials captured from terrorists in anything approaching real time is slim to none.
Training in the tradecraft of counterterrorist-related espionage, moreover, is wholly insufficient. Finding, meeting, recruiting, and handling a terrorist as a spy, after all, is quite a bit different than recruiting some foreign official on the diplomatic circuit. Yet, training hasn't kept up with this reality.
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The House Intelligence Committee has been pressing the intelligence community as a whole, and the CIA in particular, to address its language and other training shortcomings literally for years. More funds have been authorized and appropriated by Congress specifically for this purpose. And sharp direction has been given in authorization language.
Yet, CIA and the rest of the community has been slow to respond. Slow is actually a generous way of putting it.
They have ignored their language and training shortcomings. There is no excuse for this inaction.
Before I turn the floor over to my colleague, Jane Harman, to synopsize our findings on the National Security Agency and the FBI, I would just like to say a few words about what we concluded about congressional oversight of the nation's counterterrorism and homeland security infrastructure. First, we were somewhat surprised to find that no less than 14 committees and a myriad of subcommittees in the House alone claim some jurisdiction over the executive branch entities involved in these activities.
Thus, numerous inefficiencies in this system exist. There is significant overlap and duplication of effort, with committees and subcommittees holding hearings on the same subject, with the same overburdened witnesses, time and time again.
We chose to evaluate eight options for restructuring this oversight morass. These included creating standing, select and ad hoc committees, as well as less formal caucuses, commissions and task forces.
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Given the importance of protecting the sources and methods of intelligence, we concluded that it would be unwise to enlarge access to the nation's most sensitive secrets. The establishment of yet another commission, ad hoc committee, caucus or task force would be at best a half-measure that would risk further bureaucratizing the oversight process.
We also found that it would probably be too much to ask for, for so many important committees with jurisdictional authority to change their charters to discontinue oversight of key counterterrorism and homeland security issues. In the end, we recommended that the majority and minority leadership each establish two or three senior staff positions to deconflict and disaggregate jurisdictional issues related to terrorism, homeland security and related issues that don't fall neatly under either category. In this way, a leadership strategic plan could be devised and implemented from the top down to streamline what is currently a very inefficient and burdensome oversight process.
I will now yield the floor to Jane Harman, who has worked diligently at my side on these issues since the start of the 107th Congress. And I will have to say, I could not ask for a better working partner in this case. This has truly been a bipartisan effort, on our subcommittee, as well as within the House Intelligence Committee. And Jane and I have worked long hours and our staffs have worked long hours together to share information and gather information with respect to this issue.
And she is going to quickly run through our findings on the National Security Agency and the FBI. Then, if acceptable to the chair, we thought we would stay to answer questions for as long as we are able to.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Chambliss can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chambliss.
Ms. Harman, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF HON. JANE HARMAN, RANKING MEMBER, SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM AND HOMELAND SECURITY
Ms. HARMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Partner Chambliss. I appreciate your remarks. I thought you were going to forget about me when you talked about all your fondness for colleagues on the Armed Services Committee. And then you started knocking lawyers.
But you remembered me. And I do want to say that I am pleased to be back in my old committee. I miss my colleagues here. I think this is a great committee of the House.
Forty-eight hours ago, I stood with leaders in the Northern Command in Israel on the Israeli-Lebanese border. And we stood before what someone said was a demilitarized zone (DMZ) without the D. A Hezbollah terrorist was 20 yards from us with his camera and his mirror, trying to flash the sun in our eyes. He probably was also armed. And there were others of his terrorist group around. And there were flags flying. And there were also United Nations' (U.N.) flags flying next to the Hezbollah flags, which I found quite disturbing.
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But nonetheless, it struck me that we are not only vulnerable in the United States from an attack from those affiliated with Al Qaida, but over time, we may be vulnerable to attacks from many other lethal terrorist groups like that one. And certainly our democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel, is extremely vulnerable to an attack from Hezbollah. And that makes it that much more important that we act quickly on recommendations in this report and other reports that have been written over recent years.
I would like to preface my comments about the two agencies Mr. Chambliss mentioned by saying that our report was about gaps in the performance of several intelligence agencies, but not about gaps in the dedication, commitment and patriotism of thousands of Americans who work in them, both here and abroad.
It is designed to give good people better tools, more resources, access to watch lists, digital technologies, advanced platforms, better language training and career support. We include, as you heard, dozens of specific findings and recommendations to improve the performance of the CIA, FBI and NSA. But I have to add that so did the Bremer Commission, on which I served from 1999 to 2000, and so did the Gilmore Commission, which this committee has authorized in several of its iterations.
I would like to stress here that the critical thing you could do is to make sure that good findings of good commissions and good findings from this report are not ignored. We are ignoring the recommendations of good people who understand these issues. And we ignore them at our peril.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chambliss talked about some changes that are absolutely critical. He mentioned the recruiting guidelines. He mentioned language training. I would just note that much of the language capabilities for the intelligence community are part of the military. And I urge you to continue to support language training resources and to explore ways to increase utilization of these resources to intelligence personnel wherever possible.
I would also point out that at many forums that I have held on homeland security over the last year, law-abiding Arab-Americans come up to me and say that they are volunteering to share their skills, including specific language skills, with our intelligence agencies. And they aren't being hired.
I would urge that we consider hiring more of law-abiding Arab-Americans who want to serve us where they can be useful.
Let me turn to the FBI, our recommendations on the FBI. In fact, our principal finding on the FBIand it was a principal finding across these agencieswas the need to share information better.
This committee is familiar with bureaucratic stovepipes and fiefdoms that prevent effective sharing of information. The same problems exist in the intelligence community, and especially internally in the FBI. Our report recommends improvements in culture, organization and information technology.
Also, as recent press coverage has indicated, there has been high turnover in counterterrorism leadership at the FBI, partly as a result of the grueling pace they have faced in dealing with the terrorist threat. FBI agents have shown incredible dedication, but had weak counterterrorism tools at their disposal.
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We need to demand that their successors push even harder to make the changes necessary to fight terrorism. This turnover in personnel is a window of opportunity to implement the wide range of changes necessary to enhance the FBI's prevention mission: improve intelligence collection, improve analysis, change the culture of sharing information horizontally and vertically and build new information technology architecture to support the new priorities.
At the NSA, most importantly, the culture of the NSA must change from that of a gatherer of information to a hunter. There is simply too much information out there. The challenge is to go after the information that will be useful.
The NSA has the enormous task of monitoring communications and other signals intelligence. More than human intelligence at the CIA or investigations at the FBI, these NSA responsibilities have expanded extensively due to modern information technology and telecommunications.
As I have said many times, we have analog capacity to confront a digital threat. Al Qaida is digital, existing in disparate cells and planning attacks using the Internet and disposable cell phones. The NSA must counter this technology with better technology of its own. Our report recommends improvements to the acquisition and use of such technology.
As the Department of Defense and armed forces develop improved communications capabilities, both of our committees should ensure similar advances at the NSA.
Beyond the findings in the report, I want to address the Department of Homeland Security and some related issues. I want to state first that I strongly support the president's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security.
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Of special interest to this committee is how the Department of Homeland Security will interact with the Pentagon, and in particular with the Northern Command and National Guard. Coordinating these forces will be absolutely critical for success in the war against terrorism, which I would call the war of our future. The troops and weapons look different, but homeland security is the national security issue of today and tomorrow.
The House version of the Homeland Security Bill included the creation of a Homeland Security Council (HSC) in the White House, patterned after the National Security Council (NSC), to make sure that coordination occurs. Your experience on this committee with the NSC will prove invaluable to making the HSC work. And your support for this concept in the Senate debate and conference is critical to passing the right organization.
Second, let me point out that the private sector has a different role in homeland security than in military applications. All the big defense contractors, many of whom have facilities in my district and certainly in Mr. Hunter's district, now have entire homeland security divisions. This is where government funds are. And this is where the unique capabilities and resources are sorely needed.
I would add that these companies will have much to contribute to homeland security by virtue of their defense background. And conversely, they will have more to contribute to defense as they develop homeland security applications.
These companies are now looking for the right ways to get involved in homeland security and finding no entrance to the federal government. There is no Pentagon office for acquisition for new technologies for chemical detection or biological antidote.
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The Department of Homeland Security Bill passed by the House and pending in the Senate both create a clearinghouse for homeland security technologies. This front door to the department for private companies to demonstrate products and identify the right federal procurers is absolutely critical and is based on something the DOD already has, called the TSWG, the Technical Support Working Group. I urge that all of us join together to make sure it survives in the final Homeland Security Bill.
Other lessons for homeland security derived from the military include the chain of command, interoperable communications and situational awareness. There is a great deal of shared interest in our committees in homeland security. And we need to overcome turf concerns to do the homeland security job right.
Finally, I would add that most important, what we can do together, because this subcommittee has overlapping jurisdiction with ours, is to make sure that good recommendations already out there get implemented. If we ignore these recommendations, we ensure that terrorist groups like Hezbollah and others will, over time, grow and will increasingly threaten U.S. national and homeland security.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Harman can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you both very much. It is evident to me, based on your testimony and what I have read prior to coming here this morning and previous to that, it is evident to me the level of dedication that you both, as well as other members of your committee, have given to this subject and to understanding the difficulties that have been experienced by our country because of the variety of issues that you have pointed out, which can only be described as weaknesses in our intelligence collection system.
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And I guess, let me just ask two questions, based on what you have said this morning.
Mr. Chambliss, you indicated that one of the issues that concerned you most deeply was the diminution, if you will, of our intelligence capabilities following the end of the Cold War. And I guess I have two questions.
One is: do you continue to have concern about the bureaucratic nature, if you will? You described this, to some degree, in talking about the build-up of headquarters and paying a lot of attention to building a big, old bureaucracy, which didn't function very well, while at the same time, we had deficiencies in human intelligence. We were not putting our resources where we really needed to.
And I think I see, on a continuing basis, this problem continuing to exist in a variety of activities that I have been involved in, which don't need to be described, I suppose. Does this continue? Does this bureaucratic problem continue to exist? And if so, how do we get our arms around it to fix it?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. I am afraid it does, Mr. Chairman. It is one of those systemic problems that is not particularly unique to the CIA, by any means, or to the other two intelligence agencies. I think that probably exists in about every federal agency out there today.
The difference is that it is so critical that the mindset within the CIA be changed and get away from this bureaucracy and deal more with the day-to-day activities and responsibilities that they are charged with. For example, the reliance upon liaison collection by host companies is far too great. The best way that we can collect intelligenceand this historically has been trueis to infiltrate organizations, whether they were terrorist organizations or whatever other activity the CIA was engaged in, to send our people in there to gather information and bring that information back to us.
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With the end of the Cold War, it became more difficult. And the CIA simply didn't focus on the right areas of the world to train people, both from a linguistic standpoint, as well as just a way of life standpoint, to be able to infiltrate those organizations.
A lot of that was due to the fact that resources were committed to headquarters and building up that Counterterrorism Center, which developed into a bureaucracy, rather than committing those resources to recruiting and training personnel to be used to infiltrate groups.
While that does still exist, Director Tenet knows and understands that problem. And he is moving in the right direction. I would like to see him move faster. But we would all like things to happen quicker, post-9/11, than we are seeing happening.
But the CIA understands that problem. They have accepted that criticism in the right way. And I think they are moving in the right direction.
But they are a long ways from being, Mr. Chairman, where they need to be to ensure that the next act is interrupted or disrupted.
Mr. SAXTON. Ms. Harman, do you want to comment.
Ms. HARMAN. I agree with that comment. I just would add that, from my travels to dangerous places, and some of them with our subcommittee members, I am very impressed with the field offices of the CIA and the FBI, which has legal attaches around the world, called Legat.
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And I do think things are getting much better. But I also note that the world is getting much more dangerous.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me move to a second question. Obviously, as you have both noted, our primary responsibility on this subcommittee and on the Armed Services Committee, is to make sure we have a capable, ready military force that is capable of dealing with whatever threat is out there. And it seems to me that intelligence today is of a different nature than it was, let's say, 10 years ago.
When we were collecting information on our enemies of a decade or two ago, it seems to me that there were some fairly focused targets that we could identify. We could identify Soviet technology that we needed to know about. We could identify Soviet doctrine that we needed to know about.
We could identify force sizesarmies, navies, equipment in navies, what kind of submarines, how quiet are the submarinesall those kinds of conventional kinds of things that we needed to study and learn about and spy on. When we send our platoons of special services guys out into Afghanistan today to fight a war, those questions are almost meaningless. Those old questions are almost meaningless.
The kind of information that we need to develop today is so different than it was 10 years ago thatthis is my opinion, at least, and I will ask a question in a minutenot only did we not devote our resource, perhaps in an appropriate way, but we failed, it seems to me, to recognize that there was a new type of information that needed to be collected.
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And I guess my question is: Are we transitioning in any meaningful way so that our guys and our officers and our soldiers and others in the field are going to have the information that they need that, frankly, I don't think we had in Afghanistan?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Well, you have hit upon an issue that kind of is at the core of all of this, and that is: what is the best way to fight and win a war unlike any American has ever been involved in before? Because you are right. We are fighting a war now, not on the conventional battlefield, but in the caves of Afghanistan and dark alleys and even on computer.
And it is an entirely different war. And we weren't prepared, from an intelligence-gathering standpoint, to provide the information necessary to our war-fighters to fight and win that war, pre-September 11.
We are prepared to a certain extent. But we have a number of changes that have to be made.
Part of that problem, in fairness to the agencies, Mr. Chairman, is lack of resources. There was not the commitment on Congress's part to provide all of the resources requested by the intelligence community to better prepare themselves.
But that is the case with every budget cycle that we go through. Everybody always asks for things without the expectation of getting every single thing. And that is an issue that Congress has to deal with internally.
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But I do think that from the standpoint of the war-fighters themselves and what we have been able to see, particularly with my experience in serving on the Armed Services Committee, that our war-fighters are prepared to fight those wars. I think we have to do a better job of training our personnel.
And I talked a lot about linguists, for example. That is a critical area, an area where we are very deficient and an area where not just our CIA, NSA, FBI are deficient, but DIA, for example, is deficient there. And while DIA does a very good job, from an intelligence-gathering standpoint, providing war-fighters with information, there are deficiencies that exist there.
I think to, kind of, summarize the overall problemand your question is a very difficult one to answerwe have to do two things. And we can go into this in as much depth as you want to.
We have to do a better job of gathering intelligence. That is pretty obvious.
But second, and maybe just as importantly, once that information is gathered, we have to do a better job of sharing that information, both horizontally as well as vertically. And that is a subject for another whole hearing almost.
Jane and I have been very vocal and very adamant about this information sharing issue. And we have made some great strides within our homeland security bill on that particular issue.
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And there is the need for the information gathered in the caves of Afghanistan to be shared in real time with other folks involved in the intelligence community. And we still have some gains that we have to make in that area.
Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Chairman, I agree with that. I would just add a couple of things.
First of all, I agree with you that the enemy has changed. And instead of being ''the communist threat,'' it is now a dispersed threat of a variety of kinds, from a variety of state and non-state actors. There are many more enemies.
They are smaller and perhaps, in some ways, less lethal than was ''the communist threat.'' But they attack us in new ways for which we are much less well prepared. That is the first point.
The second point is the way the enemy communicates. As I mentioned, the enemy is digital. And that means that our traditional ways of gathering intelligence are inadequate.
I represent a district that makes the state-of-the-art intelligence satellites. And they are wonderful. And I support all those good companies that make them.
But it is sometimes the case that those satellites are not capable of picking up communications among these digital terrorists because they are smart. And they know not to use communications devices that can be heard.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And they embed messages in web sites, as an example. And they communicate by runner. I mean, it is an old form of communication, but it is a way that we can't pick up in the sky. And they do other things that fool us.
And so we have to be as digital, or more digital, than they are and think about totally new technologies and systems for collecting information.
The final point I would make is to underscore what Mr. Chambliss said about sharing information. We co-authored a bill on information sharing, which requires that information on terrorist threats be shared horizontally across the federal government and then vertically with our first responders and that a system be deployed within six months that makes certain that information stripped of sources and methods, so that those without security clearances can receive it, be communicated in this fashion.
That bill passed the House, 422 to 2. I would call that a bipartisan victory.
And it is also included in the homeland security legislation. So another thing this committee could dobecause I am sure you support thisis make certain that that concept becomes law, as part of the Homeland Security Department or on a stand-alone basis, as soon as possible.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. Turner, do you have questions?
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STATEMENT OF HON. JIM TURNER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank Mr. Chambliss and Ms. Harman. You all have done an outstanding job leading your committee at a very critical time in our history. And all of us appreciate the dedication that you all have shown to the task.
I would be interested in inquiring of both of you, if you have the information available to share with us, as to the degree of, or at least the sense that you may have of the degree of, cooperation that we have received from other intelligence agencies in foreign countries at this particular point in time. Obviously, much of this war is going to be fought with the help of our allies and those who may be willing to stand with us.
And have you seen an increased interest and commitment on the part of other intelligence agencies around the world to assist us in this war on terrorism?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Jane and I have traveled to probably 10 countries abroad where we have visited with our partners in the intelligence community. And we have had numerous other representatives of countries come to our headquarters here and have visited with them about the level of cooperation that is ongoing.
I would have to say, Mr. Turner, that pre-September 11, adequate would probably be the best way to describe that level of communication overall. There are certain countries with whom we have a very open and very frank dialogue and a large degree of information sharing. But there were some other countries with whom we didn't have the relationship that probably we should have had.
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Now after September 11again, in fairness to the intelligence communitythat has improved. And I don't think it was because of any lack of effort on our part, on the part of asking the questions. There was just not the cooperation, total cooperation, that I think our folks expected that they ought to get.
But that has dramatically improved since September 11. And I think today we are seeing an unprecedented level of cooperation with virtually every country out there who is a part of this coalition fighting this war on terrorism.
Again, you are always going to have some countries that provide more information and better cooperation than others. But overall, I would say that our community has done their homework. And the dialogue is generally pretty good today.
Ms. HARMAN. I would add just a couple of things to that. Historically, one of the criticisms of the CIA was that it relied too much on liaison relationships and let others do our work for us.
That may have been true. But a good byproduct of that is some strong relationships developed.
I agree with Mr. Chambliss that we now have exceptional relationships with a lot of countries that are doing an enormous amount of work with us. We have a much more robust capability ourselves. And it is leading to really amazing results.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fact, one of the relationships that we have, that has been in the press and that I am sure we do all find quite unusual, is the relationship with the government of Syria, which is working with us to round up Al Qaida operatives in Syria, which pose a threat to Syria as well as to us and to our democratic allies.
Mr. TURNER. Do these relationships that you describe as improving, are they formalized relationships? In other words, are there regular meetings of the intelligence community of our country with the intelligence community or some of our allies or some of those folks in the Middle East, like the Syrians and others?
Is there actual dialogue that is formalized that occurs on a regular basis? Or is this basically an ad hoc sort of thing that occurs when the initiative is exercised by a particular agency of our government toward another country?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. The relationship is kind of like what I alluded to earlier. In some countries, it is better than others. Some countries, we meet regularly. Our natural allies, like the United Kingdom (U.K.), certainly there is a strong relationship.
But it just depends on what part of the world you are in as to the strength of that dialogue.
Mr. TURNER. You know, it just seems that when we lay down the charge, as the president has done, that you are either with us or against us, that part of that being with us would be whether those nations are willing to participate in some continuing formalized dialogue regarding the intelligence activities in their country, what they are doing, so that we could have a better understanding of the degree of help and cooperation that we are actually getting from some of these countries. And I guess I raise the issue for you as to whether or not we are doing that at a level that really demands that kind of level of cooperation at that grassroots intelligence level.
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Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Turner, I think that is an interesting suggestion. Let me just comment for a second about Syria.
I mentioned that we have a relationship with Syria with respect to Al Qaida. But we have no relationship with Syria with respect to other terrorist groups. I mentioned Hezbollah earlier.
The information I learned on my trip over the weekend is that Syria is actively arming Hezbollah with long-range rockets, which can strike 75 kilometers into Israel from the Lebanese border. Clearly, this is a bad thing.
And so, while we have cooperation on one issue, we don't have cooperation with respect to Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups, which are being aided and abetted by Syria. And the president's bright line test doesn't quite work yet with respect to that country. And I think it is important for us to figure out ways to make it work.
It is important to make Syria choose which side it is on: whether it is against terrorism or supporting terrorism. And right at the moment, it is somewhere in the middle.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Turner. That information sharing with Syria reminds me of Ronald Reagan's old statement when he used to say, ''Trust, but verify.''
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And my colleagues, thank you so much for your dedication and your work in this very important issue. It is neat to work with you again and to see all of the effort that you folks have put into a very, very important issue for this country. So thanks for everything you have done.
Let me go to one area that I think, as you have pointed out, that seems to be so important, and that is our ability to have human intelligence and to have that resource, those people out there in the meetings. I mean, obviously, you can have all the national technical means in the world and the most beautiful building in Washington, D.C., and that is no substitute for having a person in the meeting when a decision is made in some remote part of the world to strike the United States or to strike some of our people or allies.
And that takes recruiting those people is a long and arduous and difficult task that takes very, very talented Americans, who aren't hindered by bureaucratic regulations. They remind me a little bit, when you were talking, Saxby, about this admonition that we could only recruit Boy Scouts.
I think earlier in the century, we had the famous statement by one of our people that didn't like the way we were developing a spy network. He said, ''Gentlemen don't read other gentlemen's mail, by golly.'' And we appear to have taken on that same ethic with respect to recruiting people.
Because obviously, if we don't have people on the ground in the right place, in the meetings, this is going to be equivalent to having a great company with a great product with no sales force. That is the very foundation of our intelligence operation, is to have people who can pull this intelligence out of some pretty extraordinary places.
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So my question to both of you is: Have we turned that around? Are we really doing something? Or is that being given a brusque look and then we direct ourselves back to the next building project or the next making sure our staffs are well fleshed out here in the United States?
Are we really turning that around in terms of recruiting people and having the money to put where it has to be put, at the grassroots basis?
Ms. HARMAN. Well, I will take the first crack at that, Mr. Hunter.
I think we are improving. I don't think we have really turned it around. It did strike me, as I was standing on the Israeli-Lebanese border, looking at this dangerous Hezbollah guy, that he was probably a guy we ought to recruit, or he might be a guy we ought to recruit. Wouldn't it be better to learn from him what his cell mates are doing than just to watch him over a barbed wire fence?
But the caution I would giveand I am sure you agree with this as wellis not every murderer is a good source. I mean, we have to have some sort of process
Mr. HUNTER. Certainly.
Ms. HARMAN [continuing]. to decide whether their information is credible. We have to have adult supervision to make certain that what we are getting, by and large, is useful information.
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Mr. HUNTER. Yeah, we need recruiters with good judgment.
Ms. HARMAN. Correct. And so we still need a process. And what our committee required and what the CIA is supposed to be doing is to repeal the Deutch, which has been done, but then to institute better guidelines that accomplished that process of applying good judgment to whom to recruit.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. I will just add to that that the dismantling of our human intelligence capability occurred over a period of years. And it is going to take a period of years to build it back up.
The systemic problem, Duncan, that I see within the CIA is that, you know, it has been a great organization. They have done a terrific job over the years of gathering the necessary information to provide our intelligence community and our law enforcement community with information.
But here we have known since the early 1990s of the bin Laden organization. And we have gone through a series of eventsthe Khobar Towers, the World Trade Center in 1993, the embassy bombings, the Cole bombingand on not one occasion has our intelligence community gathered any information on any of those incidents prior to the incidents occurring.
And why didn't we do a better job? Or at least why didn't we learn a lesson from those experiences and try to do a better job of infiltrating the organization? And those are the kinds of questions that we have posed to the intelligence community.
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They know very well that sending human assets in to infiltrate organizations is the best way to gather information. There is a problem on their end that we understand.
Taking somebody from San Diego, California, and infiltrating them into the Soviet Unionmaking them look like a Soviet, talk like a Soviet, act like a Sovietis one thing. Trying to send that same person into Afghanistan to spy on the bin Laden organization is impossible.
So there is just an entirely different mindset that needed to be generated and cultivated after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. And the CIA hadn't gotten to that point yet. And they are moving that way. But, Dunc, we are a long ways from there.
Mr. HUNTER. And, Saxby, it seems, the interesting thing is we are almost uniquely positioned in the world to be able to do that because there is no greater melting pot in the world with practically every ethnic base represented in fairly substantial numbers in our population. And it looks to me like we need some creative, smart folks who can put a recruitment program together that leverages that capability.
Ms. HARMAN. If I could just comment on that point? I made that comment in my testimony. When I hold these forums on homeland security, some of the diversity of America comes up and says, ''We are law-abiding, American citizens. We want to share our services with our intelligence agencies. But they won't hire us.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It seems to me that we really do need an aggressive recruitment process that certainly vets carefully whom we are hiring, but reaches for Arab-Americans, people with language specialties, people with ethnic origin that can blend into these terrorist cells in a way that, as Saxby mentioned, the traditional American spies could not.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you very much.
Mr. Chairman, I have to run briefly for a little presentation thing. But I want to say, this is one of the best hearings we have had to date and that you folks have given a great service to our country for the devotion and dedication you have put into it.
And I want to work with you on this policy thing with the recruitment. I think that is a key thing.
Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Just to emphasize the information that we are just exchanging here, it seems to me that it is becoming even more public that these problems occur. In yesterday's Washington Times, there was an article which appeared; let me just quote from here, just to emphasize what we have been saying here.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It says, ''Officials say that the lack of consistent accountable intelligence is one reason the kill rate for Al Qaida and Taliban guerrillas has dropped in recent months. DIA and CIA lack reliable human sources and enough foreign language speakers.''
And it goes on to describe publicly this problem. So maybe that is a good thing that we are beginning to talk about it publicly.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank both of our colleagues for appearing today.
And Mr. Chairman, I would like to go back to something you just touched on because there was Khobar Towers. There was the American embassiesAfrica, the Cole. Some people speculate that Trans World Airlines (TWA) 800 was an act of terrorism. There has never been compelling proof that it was otherwise. So I have to believe, given that that flight took off in New York, we have to at least suspect that.
A couple of things were occurring that I was curious if your group looked into. Going back to the Clinton Administration, in order to be fair to everybody, was the question ever asked, given the things that had previously happened around the world, including Khobar Towers, why on Earth was it standard Navy policy to turn the water-side security of an American warship in a known terrorist state over to a Third World ship chandler?
And did anyone's career suffer in the slightest for coming up with that idiotic policy? Because the captain was following his orders. Unfortunately, it was the standing orders that I think were idiotic.
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A ship chandler, in case you haven't been in the steamship business, is the guy who sells everything from fuel to toilet paper to a ship. And the standing orders were that that guy was responsible for the water-side security.
Second question is: There have been way too many published reports that there was intelligenceand now I am going to the Bush Administration, so each side is going to take a little hit herethere were way too many published reports that there was intelligence gathered that the son of the blind cleric who was responsible for the first bombings of the World Trade Center had been saying that he wanted to hijack a plane for the purpose of holding those passengers captive and ransom them for his father. Given those reports, how on Earth did someone not step forward and say, ''Maybe we ought to limit the ability of people to carry knives and box cutters on American flights?''
Because I know, as recently as last August, I traveled with two members of our armed forces down to Vieques. And both of them carried fixed blade knives with blades about that big onto the plane. And no one said a word. No one asked for their credentials.
And I have to believe that the hijackers on the 11th did not smuggle those knives on board. They actually walked through security with them. No one questioned them.
Did anyone's career in any of this suffer from either of those colossal failures? Or conversely, has anyone down the line shown you conclusive proof that someone said, ''Gee, maybe we should tighten security in Yemen on our water side?'' Did anyone conclusively say, ''We have these very serious threats by the son of this cleric. Shouldn't we be taking a much tougher look at our airport security?''
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Mr. CHAMBLISS. I don't know that anybody's career suffered, Gene. I am not sure what the answer to that question is.
Mr. TAYLOR. And the reason I ask that is I continue to get letters from home saying, ''Doggone it, you congressmen, if you screw up like that, we fire you every other year.'' Or any other profession, somebody gets fired.
What is happening? Didn't anybody's career suffer as a result of these failures? And I think they are fair questions.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Well, that was not the focus of our investigation is the only reason I don't remember that question being asked to anybody. But we have had a lot of discussion about the Cole incident.
And interestingly enough, Gene, not only was the refueling procedure not changed or rerouted or redirected in any way, but if you will remember, we disrupted a previous attempt to attack the Cole. And somebody had to make a decision as to whether or not to refuel that ship out at sea or bring it into harbor to refuel it. And instead of making the decision to refuel it at sea, the decision was made to bring it in, which was not a smart decision, looking back on it.
And we had already picked up on some folks who were trying to do exactly the same thing. Their boat sank because it was overloaded with explosives.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. May I interrupt for one second?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Sure.
Mr. TAYLOR. Did we know that prior to the actual bombing of the Cole? The boat that sank recovered; did someone in the intelligence community say, ''This is what the intention of this boat was''?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Yeah, that was
Mr. TAYLOR. That was known?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. I mean, I don't know that it was known that it was directed at the Cole.
Mr. TAYLOR. But they found a small boat, loaded with explosives, somewhere in that harbor, on the bottom?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. That is right.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Let me just talk for a minute. And I don't want to spend a lot of time on this because we have made a decision that it doesn't do any good to point fingers at administrations for deficiencies. We need to look forward as to where we are going.
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There were mistakes made by a number of previous administrations with respect to the intelligence community. And you can't point to any one administration and say, ''Gee, if they had done this, we would not be in the situation we are today.''
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, Mr. Chambliss, I am not trying to remove either the past president or the sitting president. I don't think it was their day-to-day job to do this. But it had to be somebody's day-to-day job.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Yeah.
Mr. TAYLOR. And what I think the citizens are fairly asking is, ''Is anybody held accountable when something like this goes wrong?'' Because in any other profession, someone is held accountable.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. And that is a fair question. And that question has been asked time and again, specific. And there are a number of them. Ninety-nine percent of them, we can't even talk about with you here. But there have been a number of situations, not unlike the son of the cleric or the Cole situation or other similar-type situations to that, that have been discovered now that when you look back at them, you ask, ''Why in the world didn't we react to that?''
The one that has been made public that we can talk about is the now-famous Phoenix memo that came out of the Phoenix office of the FBI. I mean, what has been made public about that should, in the minds of any reasonable individual, particularly a law enforcement officer, have required further investigation on the part of superiors of that individual.
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Because it was a very detailed report. It was a very factual report. And it is a very revealing report.
But unfortunately, it got caught in that bureaucracy of the FBI and got stuck in a file. And somebody said, ''This doesn't make any difference to us. We have seen this before.'' And there was no activity and no action taken on it.
Would that memo, in and of itself, have told us about September 11? No. But when you combine that with a series of other incidents, including the Moussaoui situation, including some of the information that came out of the Cole bombing related to two individuals who were with one of the prime suspects involved in the Cole bombing and who are seen in a meeting in Malaysia, again that has been publicly reported.
All of this taken together, Gene, had the potential of at least giving us more background than we actually had. And there was a lot of dropping of the ball by a number of individuals and a number of agencies when you look back at it.
And we have asked the tough questions of why that happened. We haven't always gotten satisfactory answers as to why that happened.
And obviously, we are not about the business of firing individuals who dropped that ball. But I think, at the end of the day, you are going to see some changes made throughout the various intelligence agencies that are going to be required in order to bring them up to speed.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. We are very fortunate on this subcommittee to have a former CIA officer in Mr. Simmons.
So Mr. Simmons, do you have any questions at this point?
Mr. SIMMONS. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do, sitting here anxiously.
Let me start by saying that I also served as staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee. And I think public accountability for intelligence is critically important, especially for us as Americans. And it is very hard to do. And I commend the two people at the table for the work they have done to bring some of these issues to the American public because the American public has an interest to know what we are trying to do and a right to know what we are trying to do.
And I think, especially after September 11, the work of your subcommittee has been excellent, by way of putting some of these issues out to the American people. And I thank you for that.
I have two questions. And I will frame them both and then let you respond as you see fit.
The first goes to the issue of open sources of acquisition or open source intelligence. And I brought a copy of a book that I have had for a while, written by Bob Steele, with a preface by Senator Boren on the issue of open source. And his preface was written almost a decade ago.
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And he talks about revitalizing our intelligence community and says, ''I personally believe that open source intelligence will play a far greater role in years ahead.''
As you know, the agency created COSPO, which was the Community Open Source Program Office. And the whole issue of open sources of acquisition has been very active in the 1990s.
But I see nothing in your report on the subject. And my first question would be: What can your committee do to stimulate the intelligence communitywhich, by its culture, likes to deal with secrecy systemsto access just burgeoning amounts of open source information that can be used by analysts, information that is available to our academic community, information that is available on the Internet, et cetera, et cetera?
It is almost as if the intelligence community is moving away from a very cheap, very available source of information. And because I am going to get hit by the red light, I wanted to ask my second question, if you don't mind, and then I will let you respond.
But first question is open source and what can your committee do? Maybe have open hearings on open source. Might be interesting.
Second, human. I agree with everything you have said on human. And my question is a larger question than just language training or more people, all of which are necessary. Every one of your recommendations in the human area is necessary.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I quit the CIA. I quit the CIA because I was frustrated because I didn't feel I could do my job.
And I was a case officer. I ran agents. And I served overseas.
And I quit the CIA because I served in the CIA during the Pike Committee and the Church Committee investigations. And every time I opened a newspaperand I was overseas most of the timeI read about what a terrible organization I was working for and what terrible things we were doing.
And it was incredible that I was working for a rogue elephant at a time I was putting my life on the line to collect information to better inform our policy-makers. And the work of a very few scientists in certain areas had tarnished the agency and the intelligence community.
And then Admiral Turner came in, whacked half of the clandestine service. And the rest of us said, ''Hey, there is no future here.'' And we quit.
And then we go through Iran Contra, then we go through the Deutch Regulations. When I served in the agency, there were people that were publishing the names of covert agents in the Covert Action Information Bulletin. And it took years to get a bill through the Congress to make that illegal. Activities that led to the death of a chief of station in Greece and put everybody else at risk.
And so my bigger question goes to this issue. In Hollywood, people engaged in espionage are often the good guys. We have this Hollywood image of people in the clandestine services doing good things.
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And yet, in America, the political culture is that these people are bad, that for every clandestine agent we have overseas, we need five lawyers and an administrator to keep an eye on him. And when somebody like Mike Spann, who was the first man to die in Afghanistan, is serving as a paramilitary officer, doing interrogations for the Special Operations Division, he is considered a hero. And yet, two years ago, when I ran for my first election for Congress, I was labeled a war criminal for doing the same thing in Vietnam for the CIA.
So when are the members of Congress going to begin the process of changing the political culture about the men and women who put their lives on the line doing Human Intelligence (HUMINT)lives on the line? My roommate and colleague from Vietnam died in the embassy in Beirut, Jim Lewis, he and his wife both, doing HUMINT in Beirut, trying to collect against terrorist targets in Beirut. They were killed doing that job.
And there are many others like that. And yet, their story is not told. Their lives and careers are not valued.
And how can we expect young men and women, my sons and daughters, to choose a life as a clandestine operative or working in HUMINT, where you put your life on the line? And yet, every time you open The Washington Post or you see about a congressional hearing, you are being slammed as being some sort of criminal crook or unpatriotic person.
It is a big question. How do we deal with that?
Ms. HARMAN. I will start first. First, on open sources, it is a good point. It is a valid point. And more use is being made of open sources.
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But again, there is a huge information glut out there. You really have to hunt, not just gather information.
Mr. SIMMONS. Right.
Ms. HARMAN. And NSA is changing its focus, as I mentioned, to do this. And we strongly endorse.
But I agree. We are passing up a huge amount of important and free information if we don't value open source information.
Turning to the other issue and also responding a bit to Gene Taylor before you, I said early in my comments that we talked about gaps in performance of agencies, not gaps in dedication and commitment of people. I think very good people do and have worked in our agencies. And if we demonize them or the work they do, we are going to discourage good people from serving there in the future.
And if we don't have good people, we can't get the job done, no matter how good our technology is. So I totally agree.
One of the things we recommend in our report is investment in a CT career path. We need to create a core of people who want to come and want to stay there and are appropriately trained and compensated. Because if we don't do that, we never will get to the capacity that we absolutely have to have to penetrate and hopefully disrupt the targets that we are talking about.
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So, you know, I strongly agree with that. And that recommendation, I think, deserves some focus. And we didn't mention it in our testimony. But it is in our report.
The other point though, about looking back, is that hindsight is always better. And we can find mistakes that were made along the way.
And having served myself in the Carter administration, in the Carter White House, I do remember Stansfield Turner and that chapter. And in hindsight, a lot of things that were done there proved unproductive in the years subsequent to that.
I just wanted to add that major acts of terrorism against Americans and especially the American military started in Lebanonthe way I see it, the modern terrorist erain the early 1980s. So it goes over four administrations.
Efforts were made to fix the problem. In hindsight, they were inadequate. All of them were inadequate. And Porter Goss, our chairman, says that what changed on 9/11 was the audience. And now there is a huge opportunity to get right things that many of us thought weren't right before, but to get them right now on a bipartisan basis.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you very much. And taking the second half of Rob's comments and question, I echo those concerns.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just three brief points. Getting back to Mr. Hunter's questions on developing our human capability. Can you give us a rough time frame, in terms of how long the intelligence experts feel it will take for us to sufficiently develop our human capability to where we have greater confidence in it?
Second, with respect to signals intelligence (SIGINT) and other sources of intelligence, are sufficient resources now being devoted to data analysis? We are gathering so much information. And part of it is having the amount of time and resources to glean the information from it and then get it into the right hands.
And then third, on Saxby's point on the Phoenix memo, do you feel that the system as it currently exists is adequately designed now to ensure that the data, once the analysis, once it is done, is getting into the proper hands in a timely manner?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. I will start on that, Jim.
First of all, on the time frame, it is really difficult to say that within 24 months, we will be in a position to send a human asset into any terrorist group and gather information. You can't do that. Things are changing so fast.
The terrorist community is now spread out all over the world. There is just a lot of activity that is ongoing in places outside of the traditional terrorist community, which we think of as Afghanistan, for example, or Sudan or some other country like that.
For example, the September 11 plot looked like it was hatched in Hamburg. And while we knew there was some activity from the terrorist community that was ongoing in Hamburg, the extent of it was not known.
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Now that is the type of thing that we are dealing with. The next plot may be hatched in Thailand or it may be hatched in Los Angeles. Who knows?
And we have to do a better job of trying to figure out the structure, figure out where those decisions are being made. And it is just difficult to say that we are going to be able to do that in 12 months or 24 months.
But that being the case, I will say that Director Tenet knows and understands this a lot better than any of us do. And from his perspective, he is moving forward. Director Mueller understands that. And Director Mueller particularly has been cracking heads at the FBI and has got them moving forward.
With respect to the resources, I would say that in our supplemental, we have provided significantly more resources than what our intelligence community had received before. The question now becomes: are they going to spend it in the right way? And again, that is one of our responsibilities from an oversight standpoint.
We are not going to micromanage any of these agencies. But I think it is fair to say that we all agree within the House Intelligence Committeeand I am sure the Senate Intelligence Committee would agreethat they are committing the resources in the right areas now. And they are working together better.
One problem relevant to sharing of information that existed 10 years ago has been solved. And that is, the CIA and the FBI just didn't communicate at all. And Rob, you know that better than I do.
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But todayand this was an action on the part of the Clinton administration that was taken to improve thatthe number two individual at the Counterterrorism Center at the CIA is an FBI agent. And the number two individual at the Counterterrorism Unit of the FBI is a CIA agent.
They have staff. They communicate daily. They know what each agency is doing.
Again, that being said, when a document like the Phoenix memo starts up the chain, there still is no guarantee that that document is going to get into the right hands. The one thing the new Department of Homeland Security is going to do is it is going to provide a funnel for all of the intelligence community to dump information into.
And this is why Jane and my bill is so critically important. What it requires is that all of that information go into one central location and then the classified information get into the right hands in real time, as well as that classified information get redacted and declassified and again, get into all of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the country in real time, so that that information can be utilized by those first responders or those folks that are riding the streets of Los Angeles or New York City. And they will have information to hopefully disrupt or interrupt another act of terrorism.
So we are doing a better job of it. But again, it is going to take time. And I wish I could tell you that we will know 12 months from now about information sharing or 24 months about improvement of human intelligence assets.
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Mr. SAXTON. We have 10 minutes left, so Mr. Snyder, if you have a final question or two?
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you. I am sorry I was late getting here. We can't be in two places at one time, as you all know.
You know, we spent a lot of time, both formally and informally, trying to define terrorism and trying to define homeland security. And I don't want to ask you about that.
But I was struck by yourI guess it was Saxbyuse of the word ''flat-footed,'' that we were caught flat-footed and specifically referred to this as a massive intelligence failure. When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, Little Rock paid notice because Timothy McVeigh had actually cased the federal building in Little Rock and decided it was not a good target and moved on to Oklahoma City.
If we had a bombing in Little Rock tomorrow, I don't think I would consider that we were caught flat-footed. I mean, I am aware when I go out there, ''Hey, somebody actually looked at this street in this city as a potential thing.''
How can we say we were flat-footed after what happened at the World Trade Center in 1993, which really had a more dramatic loss of life in mind? I mean, my understanding is the intent was to topple one tower into the other and then have them both take out several buildings down the row. And the intended loss of life was probably in the six figures, in terms of number of killed.
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I don't understandand I am not criticizing your use of the termbut to say that we are flat-footed after that event, help me out with that?
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Well, the fact of the matter is we were. And not just the 1993 World Trade Center attack, but when you look at the events that followed that: the embassy bombings, the Cole incident, the number of other terrorist acts that were taken against American assets around the world.
We knew bin Laden did not like Americans, that he wanted to kill and harm Americans. We knew the Al Qaida operation existed. And we knew something about it. We knew a lot about it. But, for whatever reason, we didn't focus in on trying to penetrate that organization to be able to gather intelligence from it.
We were flat-footed from the standpoint of the FBI being in an investigate and prosecutorial mode, as opposed to a disrupt and interrupt mode. They have had to change their complete mindset at the FBI when it comes to counterterrorism today. And that really should have been done before.
We shouldn't have to wait until it happens and investigate it and prosecute it. That is what I mean.
Dr. SNYDER. Maybe I can just throw in another question. Where does congressional culpability come? I mean, we certainly knew.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We can point our fingers and call it a massive intelligence failure. It must have been a massive monitoring failure.
I mean, I certainly knew about 1993. It occurred before I got here. But the Cole occurred since I have been here. The embassy bombings occurred since I have been here.
I mean, we clearly have dropped the ball, if we are saying, ''Gee, we were caught flat-footed in 1993. We were caught flat-footed at Khobar Towers.'' At some point, we should have been saying, ''We can't keep being caught flat-footed.'' Now I guess we are now.
Ms. HARMAN. I mentioned before, Vic, Porter Goss' comment that what changed on 9/11 was the audience. I think a lot of people were talking about all this. Al Qaida declared war on us in 1998. And senior officials of the Clinton administration, at that point, if not earlier, as all the press reports have concluded, were actively urging that the highest possible priority be given to the Al Qaida threat.
Why didn't more happen? Why didn't agencies change?
Because I think the public wasn't clued in. A lot of people didn't believe anything serious could happen to us domestically. And there were higher priorities.
There is no higher priority anymore. And I certainly hope that word ''flat-footed'' will never be used again. Let's retire the word ''flat-footed.''
Now, we are just going to be dumb and lame if we don't understand how serious this is. But we have to change the systems, not just perhaps some of the people. And some of the people have left, so we have an opportunity, as I mentioned at the FBI, to have new folks working new systems.
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We have to change the systems so that if someone is threatening to hijack a plane, it won't just be seen in kind of linear terms. But somebody else might think, ''Gee, that hijacked plane could crash into a building,'' because again, that was in Tom Clancy's book. And there were other rumors, in hindsight, that perhaps could have caused the right system to conclude that this was a real possibility and then go after, hunt, for folks who could inflict that kind of harm.
We just weren't there. And we have to be there now.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Vic.
Let me thank you both very much, not just for being here this morning, but for the great job you are doing in helping us to understand these issues. You know how deeply we feel about the job that you have done, or I hope you do.
We feel just as deeply about the necessity of making sure that our military folks have good intelligence to work with because they have an almost impossible job to do to begin with. And it is totally impossible without good targeting information and good information that we need to help them carry out their very important mission.
So thank you for being here. It has been extremely informative. The job that you guys are doing is great. And we appreciate it. And we look forward to working with you.
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Ms. HARMAN. Thank you.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 11:02 a.m., the panel was adjourned.]