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numbers of Americans will die on American soil, victims of terrorism, in the coming century.”
It happened a bit sooner, rather than later.
Why did we come to that conclusion? It was obvious. From the excellent history that Eleanor Hill gave you a few minutes ago, it was an escalation of attacks against American interests. It was quite apparent that the homeland was not secure and that, at a point in time, those terrorists, be it al-Qa'ida or many other groups-some of which you are, I am sure, studying; others which you may not be that someone would launch an attack on this country.
We talked about weapons of mass destruction, we talked about weapons of mass disruption; and we laid it out in laborious detail, because it was overwhelmingly apparent to all of us that that was going to happen.
We made a number of recommendations. In late January 2001, we presented it to the new administration, to the National Security Advisor, the Vice President through the National Security Adviser and the President, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. It was very well received. People were very interested in it.
We brought it up here. We met with a number of you on this committee. To the credit of the Congress, a number of you immediately started moving towards a Homeland Security Departmentwhich is now, I understand, wound up in some controversy, but I expect eventually it will happen and we made a number of recommendations that Congress reacted very quickly to and started to act on them, particularly, in the House, Congressman Mac Thornberry; here in the Senate, Senator Fred Thompson and Senator Joe Lieberman.
The administration's attitude was, this is an excellent report, we are getting it to an internal task force of the NSC, and we will start to go through it. I find no fault in that. This is a brand new administration; it had much on its plate. It was the FebruaryMarch time frame of 2001.
My understanding is that they were in the process of working on the recommendations. DOD, in fact, had done some of the things that we had recommended. So I would say that although people might criticize and say that the administration should have acted more forthrightly, my sense is, for a new administration receiving a voluminous report, including an implementation plan, they probably did about all that any administration would have done under the circumstances.
Let me also say that had every recommendation that we had put into that plan been adopted the day after we gave it to the White House, I seriously doubt that that would have been sufficient to prevent 9/11, for many reasons, including some of the reasons that your Staff Director has talked about here today.
Your second question: We said that military consumers often drove intelligence collection and that, given limited resources, the Community was neglecting important regions and trends. “How did this affect the ability of the United States to understand the growth of capabilities and locations such as Afghanistan and Yemen? Would placing more of the Intelligence Community under the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence prevent similar problems in the future?”
The answer to your question is, generally yes. Up until September 11, the bulk of U.S. intelligence efforts had been focused on states. That has been the historic role of the United States Intelligence Community.
And I might add that our Intelligence Community, as well as most foreign ones that I have studied, are extraordinarily good at looking at structure, at capability, and intent. They don't have a very good track record even working against states for determining what and when; and I am not sure that that will ever be totally solved, no matter how hard we try.
To try to come up with a definition of people's intentions, whether they be states or they be shadowy terrorist organizations, is the toughest assignment given to any Intelligence Community; and frankly, if you look at the record over the last 50 years, the record is not particularly good, not here or anywhere else.
Do I believe, or did our Commission believe, in making the Director of the CIA, giving him a stronger role? We do, but we are not the first ones to say that. This has been recommended for many years.
You have a Director of Central Intelligence who is also the Director of CIA; 85 percent of that budget is controlled by DOD. From what I read in the papers lately, they would like to get even more control of it. And I leave that to you; you are elected to solve problems like that. I don't know what the answer is.
We have tried to recommend a number of reasonable solutions in this report, which a number of Members of Congress served on. Nothing has happened, except I do believe there is a stronger Community coordination effort since this report than there was before. But you have got a long way to go, and frankly, I think it is in the court of the Congress as much as it is the administration's.
We called for the President, through the NSC, to set strategic intelligence priorities and update them regularly. Was this done? Is it being done today?
I can tell you that I am no longer chairman of PFIAB, so I am no longer privy to those things, but my understanding is that, yes, there has been broad strategic intelligence directives, PDDs, which have been adopted by this administration. I am sure they would be available to this committee. I would advocate that you check with them to get a more precise answer.
Three more questions you asked:
"How can the United States improve cooperation between intelligence agencies focused overseas, CIA, NSA, et cetera, and those with domestic focus, such as the FBI; and how could they take full advantage of each other's capabilities? What gaps existed in their cooperation prior to September 11?”
I believe that the Joint Terrorism Centers, which these committees are very familiar with, have come a long way in cooperation; but we have got some very interesting issues here that have to do with law, civil rights, the rights of Americans.
I was saying to Louis Freeh before we testified this morning, that you go back and read the history of the 1946–1947 National Intelligence Act, and it was very clear that the FBI was responsible
for domestic counterintelligence, and I would
expect counterterrorism; and the CIA was responsible overseas, and the CIA had better not come close to putting its nose anywhere near domestic issues. It was a wonderful alliance of strange bedfellows, J. Edgar Hoover and the American Civil Liberties Union.
They both had their precise reasons for feeling that way. But the result has been that we have not had the cooperation between these agencies that we should have. I think there ought to be major changes in the law. I have felt that way for a long time.
Let me add, just in response to one of the questions posed in one of the opening statements, to create a new M15–type organization in this country, we did not believe on our Commission would be the solution. You have got enormous domestic collection capability in the FBI, assuming it is focused in the right direction. That is a tough issue and one this committee and the Judiciary Committee will have to work with.
“How effective do you believe that law enforcement tools are for fighting terrorism? Were they relied upon excessively before September 11?”
The answer to that, I guess, is yes and no.
Mary Jo White brought very successful prosecutions against a number of terrorist organizations in the Southern District of New York. On the other hand, President Bush says we are now at war. If we are at war, then law enforcement tools will be used, but in a more minor way; and military tools will be used more effectively to deal with the capability of terrorism. So I guess the answer to that question is both in the affirmative and in the negative.
Finally, “Any recommendations you may have for improving the Intelligence Community's performance in fighting terrorism.”
I believe that the more jointness that you have between these agencies, the more they work in joint counterterrorism centers, the more their information databases become common, the more there is constant daily, hourly cooperation between them, the more that the NSA is brought in—by statute, if necessary—to supplying the FBI with domestic counterterrorism information, then you will do the improvement you need.
I do not believe we need new structures or new systems. We may need different kinds of people, we may need different kinds of technology, but I don't think there is anything wrong with the systems. I think there is a lot wrong with how they have been used over the last 10 years.
Finally, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to read to you from this report, which was submitted in 1996 to the Congress at the Congress' direction-as I said, Chairman Goss served on this and a number of other people that you all know; it was a very distinguished group entitled “Commission on Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community.”
There are a lot of great recommendations in it. There is one here that is particularly interesting and it is from the executive summary. It is spelled out in detail, but I am not going to do that; I am just going to read you two paragraphs. It is entitled “The Need for a Coordinated Response to Global Crime.”
“Global criminal activity carried out by foreign groups—terrorism, international drug trafficking, proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction and international organized crime-is likely to pose increasing dangers to the American people in the years ahead as perpetrators grow more sophisticated and take advantage of new technology. Law enforcement agencies historically have taken the lead in responding to these threats, but where U.S. security is threatened, strategies which employ diplomatic, economic, military or intelligence measures may be required instead of, or in collaboration with, law enforcement response. In the Commission's view, it is essential that there be overall direction and coordination of U.S. response to global crime.”
I will tell you that nobody evidently read it.
Chairman Goss. Thank you very much, Senator Rudman, for obviously a very illuminating presentation to us.
We now go to Judge Freeh.