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Congress has a major role to play in balancing the need for accountability and openness in our democracy

Statutory Foundation

We need a statutory foundation for U.S. intelligence.

U.S. intelligence is governed by a set of disparate laws and executive orders produced over the last fifty-five years. No single one of these laws provides a comprehensive legal foundation for our massive intelligence establishment. This is a remarkable state of affairs in a country that takes the rule of law so seriously.

Streamlining the intelligence community will require legislation. But we might want to go further, and try to write a legislative charter for the intelligence community. I know the difficulty of the task. Indeed, I tried to do it not once, but several times, and got nowhere. But, to me at least, it still makes sense.

Public Understanding of the Intelligence Community

We need to increase public understanding of the intelligence community.

There is much skepticism, even cynicism, about the intelligence community among the American people. It is not in our interest to let this grow, even to fester.

As much information as possible should be made public about the process, management and role of the intelligence community. Effort must be made to help the American people understand the challenges facing the intelligence community, and the manner in which those challenges are being addressed. The more the American people understand the intelligence community and the importance and difficulty of its work, the more they will trust and support the actions and policies of the government.

Politicization of Intelligence

Finally, we must be careful to ensure that intelligence is not mixed with politics. Policymakers should not use intelligence as a tool to make a policy look good - they should use intelligence as a tool to make good policy.

Because it relies so much on secrecy, intelligence fits awkwardly into an open society. Intelligence is essential to national security and secrets must be kept, but the burden is on the president and the Congress to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that our intelligence community is held to the standards of accountability and transparency of a representative democracy.


Mr. HAMILTON. Good morning to all of you. Chairman Graham, Chairman Goss, Ranking Member Shelby and the other members of the Joint Committee, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to join you.

I begin with a word of commendation. I know these have been very difficult hearings for the joint committee. I want you to know that I believe, particularly in the last few weeks, you have illuminated the concerns of the nation about the events leading up to September 11. I know you've already made a number of constructive improvements in the Intelligence Community. And I think you are and will point to further improvements that should be made. I'm a strong believer in congressional oversight. It's a unique responsibility of the Congress. You're the only independent oversight of the executive, and because intelligence is such an important function of government, the role of oversight is terribly important. Only the Congress can provide it effectively, and I think you have. I will jump around in my statement. I begin with the obvious observation that good intelligence is essential to our national security. It's the most important single tool we have to prevent terrorism. Good intelligence does not guarantee good policy. Poor intelligence does guarantee bad policy.

I'm impressed by the demands that are made upon the Intelligence Community. It just seems to me they're exploding. Our technology today permits us to collect such vast amounts of information, and of course the challenge, as Eleanor Hill said a moment ago, in part is to take that information, to sift through it, coordinate the different agencies and get the right information to the right person at the right time.

Currently, I believe our intelligence capabilities are very good, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I believe that the people working on intelligence and I've been a consumer of intelligence for over 30 years in the Congress-are highly talented and dedicated people. They are called to an extremely difficult, sometimes dangerous job, with the knowledge that good work will rarely receive outside recognition. As Senator Shelby said a moment ago, we've had some spectacular failures. We've also had some successes. But I think all of us know that we've got a lot to do to improve the Intelligence Community.

I'm very much aware that too much effort or too little effort can be put into the reform process. Too much effort can lead to spending so much time rearranging the boxes that you lose sight of your mission. Too little reform can occur if key weaknesses are not addressed. From my point of view at least, I do not favor radical change in the Intelligence Community. But I do have several reforms that I will address, and I understand that a number of these reforms are already under way, and therefore my comments will be largely to reinforce some things that have been done.

The primary purpose of the Intelligence Community is to advance the national security. There are very many important topics for intelligence to explore-economic, environmental, health concerns but as we look at how to reform the Intelligence Community, it seems to me we have to focus on the national security.

There is just an insatiable demand for intelligence among policymakers. When I first came to the Congress, we focused principally on the Soviet missile capability, maybe the Soviet submarine capability, and that was the intelligence effort. It's a little exaggerated, but not much. Today, we simply want to know everything.

The fact is the Intelligence Community cannot do everything at once and do it all well. Priorities have to be established. Greater attention has to be given to long-term strategic planning. The House committee said in one of its reports not long ago that the focus on current intelligence erodes intelligence on comprehensive strategic analysis. I agree with that comment. There simply have to be priorities established. I'm not sure we're very good at that, those of us who have been and those who are now consumers of intelligence.

And there has not been a clear set of priorities or allocation of resources within the Intelligence Community. I understand that the National Security Council has some responsibilities in this area, but the consumers of intelligence now have to make clear to the Intelligence Community what their priorities are with regard to intelligence. From my point of view, the most important priorities at the moment are combating terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But the responsibility is on the consumer of the intelligence, in both the Legislative and the Executive branch to set forward in some orderly manner the priorities. And I am not persuaded that that is done today, or at least not done well. Instead, we just seem to demand more and more intelligence on every conceivable topic, and that makes it very tough on the Intelligence Community.

With regard to the organization, I favor more concentration of power in a single person. New intelligence priorities do demand a reorganization of the Intelligence Community. The very phrase "Intelligence Community" is intriguing. It demonstrates how decentralized and fragmented our intelligence capabilities are. We don't use that phrase anywhere else in the government today. The Intelligence Community is a very loose confederation. There is a redundancy of effort, an imbalance between collection and analysis, and problems, as we have repeatedly heard in recent weeks, of coordination and sharing.

We need a center in the government for all intelligence, foreign and domestic, to come together-the so-called "fusion center" idea. Senator Shelby mentioned that a moment ago in his comments. There is currently, as I understand it, no place in the government where we put it all together from the domestic and foreign services. We need a single cabinet-level official who is fully in charge of the Intelligence Community-a director of national intelligence or DNI. He must be in frequent and candid contact with the President, have his full confidence-I suspect there would be very few appointments that a President would make that would be any more important. He should have control over much, if not all, or most of the intelligence budget. He should have the power to manage the Intelligence Community.

Currently, the Director of Central Intelligence, the leading intelligence figure, as we all know does not control but a small portion of his budget. The DCI has, as I understand it, enhanced authority

after 1997, and that permits him to consolidate the national intelligence budget, to make some trade-offs, but given the overwhelming weight of the Defense Department in the process, that is of limited value.

The Director of National Intelligence should not be the DCI, the national security advisor or the Secretary of Defense. They have a natural bias towards their own agency. Secretary Rumsfeld, when he was Secretary of Defense first time around, made a commentI don't think I can quote it exactly but I have the essence of ithe said, "if it's in my budget, I'm going to control it," and I can understand that. And that's part of the problem here in intelligence, because so much of the budget is not under the control of the top intelligence official.

So, you need a new management structure. I'm very much aware of the opposition to this approach. I'm also aware of the difficulty of enacting it. But, it's a new era, and we have to think anew. And if we were starting all over again from a blank sheet, I cannot imagine that we would create such a vast enterprise and have no one in charge, and that's what we have today. I can't think of an enterprise in America, public or private, that is so decentralized and has such little direct authority at the top.

We need more cooperation among our intelligence agencies. That's been stated repeatedly. I'll certainly not emphasize that. The principal agencies here, the FBI and the CIA, have to fundamentally alter the way they do things in order to work together more effectively. The two agencies will have to share information and work together to infiltrate, disrupt and to destroy terrorist cells. And they have to have improved technology. We need better computer networks to improve the flow of information within and between agencies. There needs to be a centralized database where individual names can be checked for relevant information.

If the shortcomings leading up to 9/11 were systemic in nature, as Ms. Hill testified a moment ago, the solution lies in better system management, the handling and analysis of vast amounts of information, and the distribution in a timely manner the key conclusions to the right people. I learned the other day that a lot of work now is being done by the Intelligence Community to check with the large private enterprises that handle vast amounts of data to see how they do it, and I suspect we've got an awful lot to learn from some of the giant enterprises in America about handling huge amounts of information.

We also have to develop a lot closer relationships with countries that can help us get critical information. We've learned that in the past few weeks. Countries as diverse as Pakistan and Germany, Yemen and Philippines have provided their assistance to us, and so we have to strengthen those relationships. Al-Qa'ida operates in 80 countries or more around the world, and we can't get all the information ourselves.

We need to increase resources for the Intelligence Community. I think a lot of this has probably already been done and that you have increased those resources dramatically, perhaps, although that figure is not public, in the last few years.

I agree with the general observations about needing to hire more spies. Technology alone will not make us more secure. I served on

the intelligence committees when we increased hugely the amount of investment in technology. We thought we were doing the right thing at the time. I think we probably were, but we did not do enough for sure with regard to human intelligence.

I think it's important, however, in the present environment that we not have an exaggerated expectation of what HUMINT can achieve, especially in dealing with a terrorist cell. I do believe we have to make a greater effort in this area, but it calls for caution and discriminating judgments. Back in the nineties, as some of us will remember, the CIA agents were closely involved with drug smugglers and human rights violators and that led to, I think it was Director Deutch, putting out guidelines with respect to hiring some people. That's been heavily criticized and I think changed in recent days. But, when you come right down to it, when you begin to hire people of unsavory reputation, it takes caution and discriminating judgement, and I'm not sure any broad guidelines can state it all for you.

But HUMINT obviously is important. We need to expand the talent pool of qualified people, language and professional training. I think that's underway. And that's not going to bring about quick progress either. It takes a long time to develop a large number of people fluent in any of these difficult languages around the worldnot easy for, at least, native-born Americans-and to get them into the stream so that they're effective. That's not a quick solution. It's a very long-term one.

We need to make greater use of open-source information. On the Hart-Rudman Commission, we concluded about nine months before September 11 that Americans would die on American soil. Well, why did we conclude that? Because of terrorism. Why did we conclude that? We concluded it simply because we sensed as we traveled around the world that there was an awful lot of hostility towards Americans, a lot of resentment, a lot of anger towards us, and we began to understand that we really didn't understand very well a lot of the foreign cultures and religions. We think we're pretty nice people in this country. We can't understand why people don't like us. And we came to the conclusion that that anger had reached such a level that it would explode on us, on our soil, on some day. And, unfortunately, we turned out to be correct about that.

We have to make sure we're more cost effective in the use of resources. I said a moment ago we ought to have more resources, but merely spending does not necessarily fix anything. Many of the steps necessary for improving our intelligence capability are not expensive, and HUMINT, for example, is much less expensive than the technology that is used in intelligence gathering.

I think we have to be kind of hardheaded on cost-benefit analysis. I am not sure that we always have been in the Intelligence Community. There is here, perhaps more than in any other area that you deal with, a decided tendency to throw more dollars, and hurriedly, at the problems simply because of their urgency.

I was very pleased to see in your letter to me that you wanted a comment or two on the respect for the rule of law. Judge Webster is here. He has been one of the strongest advocates in the country for the rule of law in the FBI and in law enforcement, and I'll leave

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