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The Director of Central Intelligence
Washington DC 2005
SSC 2012 - 38 1:9
27 August 2002
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Dear Senator Feinstein:
Thank you for your 17 June 2002 letter and for giving me the opportunity to provide views on legislation that you introduced on: 19 June 2002 as s. 2645, the "Intelligence Community Leadership Act of 2002". we share the common goal of a robust Intelligence Community (IC). I am concerned, however, that the bill would have the unintended effect of weakening. rather than strengthening, the IC and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
It is my belief that the head of the IC must have a direct relationship with, and more than illusory control over, the CIA. The Director of Central Intelligence's authorities as head of the IC are amplified by the CIA's unique position as the US Government's primary all-source intelligence analytic agency and by its central role in covert actions and liaison with the intelligence and security services of foreign governments. I believe that dissolving these links would weaken the Community. Thus, I cannot support the bill at this time.
After Congress has completed work on the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the Administration will be in a position to consider whether changes to the organization of the elements of the IC are needed. I would like to work with you and other interested members in thinking about how the IC can best be structured to meet the national security challenges of the future. This is an important subject, and while I cannot support the legislation you have proposed, it can serve as important starting point for very thoughtful study, thinking, and debate.
Senator FEINSTEIN. I'd like to read a brief part of that letter and then ask you to comment on it. I think the feeling is genuine and heartfelt. I have a hard time understanding it because the legislation really prevents this from happening.
He says: “We share the common goal of a robust Intelligence Community. I am concerned, however, that the bill would have the unintended effect of weakening rather than strengthening the IC and the CIA. It is my belief that the head of the IC must have a direct relationship with and a more than illusory control over the CIA. The Director of Central Intelligence's authorities as head of the IC are amplified by the CIA's unique position as the United States government's primary all-source intelligence analytic agency and by its central role in covert actions and liaison with the intelligence and security services of foreign governments. I believe that dissolving these links"—which I'm not talking about—“dissolving these links would weaken the community. Thus, I cannot support the bill at this time. After Congress has completed work on the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security the Administration will be in a position to consider whether changes to the organization of the elements of the IC are needed.”
Now he offers the rationale. On the other hand, we have this very territorial series of a dozen or so agencies, each of whom relate to various aspects of the State Department, the Defense Department, Central Intelligence Agency, and in this new world we're spending a great deal of money and yet there is no real unity of structure and no ability to tailor the community based on specific needs.
I'd love to have the comments of each of you, if I might.
General ODOM. You see, I think you're overlooking and the committee in general here in this discussion this morning is overlooking the
degree of success we have in orchestrating a rather diffuse set of organizations. In the counterintelligence area, where you have the agency in the Attorney General's department and it isn't really an intelligence organization but is a law enforcement organization, and when you combine that with the fragmentation among border control departments, you get a real mess. That's what's caused all the problems.
To conclude from that that you have the same kind of fragmentation problems in the Intelligence Community I think is not valid. I disagree with some parts of this. I don't think that you weaken the community by having the DCI separated from—if you want to call him the director of national intelligence, fine, and I think there's a little misunderstanding here on what we really mean by this. If you mean making the DČI separate from the director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Senator FEINSTEIN. That's correct. That's essentially it. The DCI could be the DNI, for that matter.
General ODOM. Absolutely. And that I'm very much in favor of doing that, and I think it would be a very-it could be a very effective arrangement. I find technical, legal difficulty and just operational difficulty with giving budget execution authority to this individual inside other departments. Having been under the program management control of a central authority, I find that reasonably effective. I felt very much constrained and kept in line. What I saw lacking was the inability of the staff under the DCI to structure the input-output relationship so we could get an effective budget together.
And he was the prisoner of the CIA on this, and the NRO and other parochial players, and it's freeing him up to where he will impose a programming, planning, budget structure system that I think will empower him as much as budget execution authority.
Let me say that we draw an analogy between space and intelligence. Everybody thinks that NASA is in charge of space in this country. Space is a place, not a mission. There are many missions in space. The Commerce Department has a mission in space; it's weather. There's a private sector, telecommunications. The universities, science, the Intelligence Community, there are a dozen other missions in space.
Now can you centralize all those under one czar of space in a single department in the U.S. government? No, and it's kind of a mess. If you use the DCI program management model, you'd hav a director of space, and he would have to look over every budget where there's space involved and put it together and say am I funding adequately each. Which one should I give a plus-up? And you get an overall comprehensive look, and the Senate then could find out, and the House, what the input-output relations are. He doesn't have to be able to execute those budgets to cause that to happen.
So I think the DCI model, separating the CIA, there is a separation of sorts, even though one person is wearing the hat now, is an accumulation of learning about how to manage this federal system. So I don't think it's in as desperate a shape internally on the foreign intelligence side. I think it is an abject mess on the counterintelligence side.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Just so you know, in my bill there is no inside authority, and I would like to give a copy to each one of you. Perhaps you would take a look at it and make any comments you would care to make.
General ODOM. Be glad to.
Mr. Hitz. He's going to kick it to me because he thinks he's been heard on it.
Senator Feinstein, I may be bound a little bit by my long history at CIA and tendency to find some of the arguments in the letter that you read from DCI Tenet to be arguments I've heard and tend to agree with over time. But, as Congressman Roemer has said, and Senator Rockefeller, we have had 9/11. If this isn't a better time to look at this from ground zero, when will there be?
It strikes me, you know, in 1947 you had the creation of the National Security Council, which was intended to do for the President of the United States some of the things that you're talking about putting in the responsibility of a director of national intelligence. It was the National Security Council, on behalf of the Secretaries of State and Defense, the President and Vice President, who were going to tell the DCI how to organize the collection and, more to the point, the analysis and dissemination of intelligence. President Truman was tired of reading 115 million reports,
And it probably isn't possible or desirable to have the national security advisor in effect put in the role of the DNI, but it strikes me that since September 11, with all of the complaints about the inability of the FBI and the CIA to talk to one another, the President of the United States has fashioned a pretty darn good remedy for that. He sits them down in front of him several times a week and says what the heck is going on here and are you guys cooperating.
Now the President can't do that every day. He's got a lot of other things to do. And if your DNI is a person who is going to do that in his behalf, with his authority and with something more than that-and he isn't going to hide behind the White House and fail to come to the Congress to answer your questions on the appropriate occasion, maybe that's something that should be looked at.
But it strikes me that budget authority is one thing, but what General Odom keeps pointing back to, operational, management operational authority, that's the thing that the Secretary of Defense in the current structure is never going to give up when it relates to agencies that are supplying him with information that protects the fighting men. And I can understand his point of view. I just think all of these-the DCI, the Sec Def and the Director of the FBI-have got to work together and have got to do a better job and have got to do it in a way that minimizes overlap and confusion, and maybe a DNI can do that on behalf of the President of the United States and still be responsible to Congress in such a fashion that you can get him up here and ask him what he's done.
General ODOM. Can I add one short sentence on that?
Chairman GRAHAM. I'm very generous and compassionate, plus I value the information we're getting.
General ODOM. If you had a national counterintelligence service outside of the FBI and the FBI were in law enforcement, what I proposed in my testimony this morning, under the DCI, the DCI would already have these people in the room together. They wouldn't be in another department. And that's how you get the counterintelligence side and the domestic side talking to the foreign intelligence side.
Mr. HAMILTON. Senator Feinstein, I've commented on this quite a bit. I'll just conclude. The thing that puzzles me—I support your idea-the thing that puzzles me here is why we reject for the Intelligence Community the model of organization that we follow in every other enterprise in this country. We have someone at the head who has responsibility and accountability. We accept that. But for some reason we reject it when it comes to the Intelligence Community.
Chairman GRAHAM. Thank you, Senator. It has now rotated back to my time as we finish the first round of questioning. I had asked a question in my first round about ideas to enhance the personnel standards and quality, retention, creativity of the Intelligence Community, and I would be interested in the General and Congressman Hamilton's comments.
Mr. HAMILTON. Senator Graham, we talked a lot in the HartRudman Commission about this problem of personnel. And one of the conclusions we reached was that the personnel or the civil service system in the United States has now become a national security issue. We think it is that serious or we thought it was that serious a problem.
I know you are wrestling with this in the Senate right now on the Department of Homeland Security and I don't mean my comments to be directed too much to that. There is too much rigidity in the system. There is not enough allowance for incentive. And it is an exceedingly serious problem in our government. And it has national security consequences. We've got to work through this matter so that managers can manage more effectively.
I've had the experience of running a Congressional office and I've also had the experience, as I am now having at the Wilson Center, of running at least part of my employees there under the federal system. I would absolutely assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that you would not tolerate in your office the kind of management restrictions that operate today in the federal government. You could not run a Senatorial office.
Now I know the importance of this to employees, so it's a tough problem, but the only thing I want to say here, Senator, when you talk about personnel we are now approaching this national security review and we have to look at the civil service system and we have to find ways and means of getting more flexibility into it. If we don't, we're going to choke ourselves to death.
Chairman GRAHAM. Before turning to the General, you mentioned that you became aware of the severity of this problem while serving on the Hart-Rudman Commission. Did that commission make some recommendations?
Mr. HAMILTON. Yes, it did.
Chairman GRAHAM. And did those recommendations basically represent your thoughts as to what should be done?
Mr. HAMILTON. They do. And if you want it in one word, it's more flexibility.
Chairman GRAHAM. General.
General ODOM. I don't have a lot to add. I endorse Mr. Hamilton's points with all the force I can. Dealing with—even with people in the Intelligence Community not necessarily under as free a rein as the rest of the federal service, it's still difficult. I'd much rather have people in uniform. I know how to hire and fire people in uniform. If they're not in uniform, it's hard. You can't hire and fire them. And the intelligence business is warfare. And if you don't look at it that way you're going to be beaten.
I mean, it's not a friendly affair. It's not a negotiating affair. It's you're going to take the other guy or he's going to have you. Would you run the NFL football club that way? Would you choose your quarterbacks on this kind of basis? Well, I don't want to choose my agents, I don't want to choose my analysts on that basis.
Chairman GRAHAM. My time is going to be out soon and I have another major question I'd like to ask which I'm going to hold to the next round. But for this, General, you've talked with wisdom and insight on the specific issue of counterintelligence. Recently there was organized what's called CI-2000, I believe, which is a multi-agency effort at counterintelligence. It is supposed to have a couple of particular qualities-one, to approach counterintelligence in a proactive basis, such as identifying what are the crown jewels