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other disruption initiatives, some of which my co-panelists already referred to as somewhat akin to nailing Al Capone for tax evasion. This type of disruption work must continue, in my judgment, to be a major part of major counterterrorist efforts. It is slow, it is incremental, it does not yield spectacular highly visible successes, but I am convinced that by impeding the operations of terrorists it has prevented some attacks and saved some lives.
The main lesson I hope the committees draw from this capsule history is there already has been a long and substantial evolution of the Intelligence Committee's approach to tackling international terrorism. Most of the innovations worth trying have already been tried. I'm sure all of us in this room wish there were some one further change or set of changes that would give us assurance that something like September 11 would never happen again. But I am not aware of such a step that would provide that kind of assurance, and I don't believe there is one even though there clearly is room and need for additional improvement as long as our counterterrorist batting average is anything less than 1,000, which means indefinitely.
As we work to avoid recurrence over the source of errors and omissions that have received so much attention in the September 11 case, we should try not to reinvent wheels already invented or, even worse, to undo beneficial adjustments made in the past. We should also be careful not to give the American people any sense that with some new set of changes the problem of international terrorism has somehow been solved.
Mr. Chairman, my written statement discusses other topics you asked me to address. But let me wrap up by attempting to respond to your request for recommendations. I'll mention a few matters that I think are of most direct concern to these committees, while emphasizing even major new efforts or initiatives are apt to yield only modest results. First, it is vital to have sustained, underscore the word "sustained," long-term public support for what the Intelligence Community needs to do in counterterrorism with everything that implies regarding resources.
The main impact that the various attacks on U.S. targets had on the work of the Counterterrorist Center over the past decade and a half was that those were the times when public interest in this subject spiked and resources went up. When public interest was lower as time passed without a major attack, which was the case as the '80s moved into the early '90s, resources were much tighter. The vital painstaking work of taking apart terrorist groups and terrorist infrastructures is long-term work. And it cannot be done with the kinds of ups and downs in support that have occurred some times in the past.
Second, we probably should try to make more extensive use of multiple sources of data including non-traditional sources to detect possible terrorist activity. By this I mean not just using watchlists and checking names while working on individual cases, although that is obviously very important, but rather a broader exploitation for intelligence purposes of such things as travel and immigration data and financial records.
I've always thought that trying to do this involved immense practical difficulties ranging from the use of multiple names to prob
lems in getting some of the information from the private and public sources that own it. I still think it involves that. It would involve looking through huge haystacks with only a chance of finding a few needles. But the standards for return on investment counterterrorism changed on 9/11, and perhaps this is an avenue that we need to explore further.
Third, and this goes far beyond what the Intelligence Community itself can accomplish, we must nurture foreign relationships to get the cooperation of foreign governments. That is so vital to a host of counterterrorist matters, especially including intelligence matters.
Of course, we need to continue to make every effort to develop unilateral intelligence sources on this topic. But in counterterrorism we will always be, for several geographic cultural and jurisdictional reasons, more dependent on our foreign partners than with just about any other intelligence topic I can think of. That is not a weakness. It is something to cultivate and exploit.
We need our foreign partners for information and we need them to carry out most of the arrests, the raids, the confiscations, the interrogations and the renditions that are involved in dismantling terrorist groups. This means that we need to give them the incentives to cooperate, and if necessary the assistance in developing the capabilities to do so.
Finally, we should take a broad view of counterterrorism and recognize that how much future terrorism occurs against U.S. interests will depend not only on what is done by people at the CIA or the FBI who have counterterrorism as part of their titles, counterterrorism involves not only learning the secrets of the next terrorist plot or erecting security measures around what we think is the next terrorist target, it also involves the motivations for groups to use terrorism and the conflicts and conditions that lead some people to join terrorist groups in the first place, even though there will always be some like bin Ladin who seem determined to do us harm, regardless of motives or conditions.
This broad view obviously gets into many foreign policy issues that go beyond the scope of this hearing. But the lesson for intelligence is that, as more priorities are given to particular counterterrorist accounts, we should not denude ourselves of coverage in other areas that not only are important in their own right but that also bear on possible future terrorism.
The Intelligence Community has an important responsibility not only to go after al-Qa'ida or whatever is the current predominant terrorist threat but to be aware early on of future or nascent terrorist threats, whatever form those threats might take and whatever ideologies they might espouse and what other conditions might lead such threats to emerge.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Those are my remarks.
Chairman Goss. Thank you very much, Dr. Pillar.
We are now going to go to our normal procedure, minus Senator Rudman, of the designated questioners for today's hearing. For our witnesses' information, we've just basically assigned this to different members so that they're well prepared on the matters of the subject of the day. Representative Lahood is recognized for 18 min
Mr. LAHOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to compliment both you and Senator Graham on the way you've conducted these hearings, and want to compliment our witnesses on the extraordinary amount of integrity and hard work that you have brought to your jobs of public service during the time that you served our country, and we thank you for that.
Judge Freeh, past hearings and interviews of FBI officials suggest that the Bureau, while missing many skilled and dedicated agents and analysts, was unable to coordinate activities against terrorism. In particular, the approach the Bureau used against organized crime, deadbeat dads, narcotic traffickers, did not translate well in its effort to fight a global enemy. Individual Bureau offices did not appear to coordinate their activities and headquarters often seemed unable to control them. In addition, the FBI's poor communication infrastructure made it difficult for FBI agents to communicate with each other, let alone with other parts of the Intelligence Community.
Judge, let me just see if I can put it in my own terms. After listening to a lot of testimony, there's a feeling, and I have this feeling, that there's a culture in the FBI, a culture that maybe dates back to Director Hoover all the way through your distinguished tenure as director, that offices don't communicate with one other, that agents within agencies don't communicate with another, that offices don't communicate with Washington D.C. or with higher-up officials, that there's a mindset, if you will, that takes place within the Bureau that says hold things close and don't be in touch with local law enforcement and don't be in touch with other offices.
And I have that feeling after listening to a lot of testimony as a member of this Joint Intelligence Committee. And so, with all due respect to you, sir, I'd like to hear your point of view. Is there a culture in the FBI that dates way, way back that trains agents in the idea that you can collect lot of information but hold it close
and don't share it?
And my concern is that the only way we change that culture, which I believe does exist, is when we recruit 1,000 new agents that the Congress has authorized and we train these people that this idea of holding things close is nonsense. It's not the way we do our job. So I appreciate the chance to have you respond to that kind of I don't know if it's criticism, but an idea that's been purported around here. And I know you've read it and I know you've heard it and I want to give you a chance to respond to it this after
Judge FREEH. I appreciate that very much. To answer your question in two parts, with respect to information technology, again it was in the portion that I didn't read. The FBI, in terms of its IT infrastructure, its access and ability to use and capacity to do what private industries many other government agencies have done very well for a long time in organizing data, mining data, communicating data, we have a very inferior system. And I will take partial responsibility for that obviously being there the last eight years, although there's a story there that is pretty well set forth in my statement.
On the other issue, which I think is the more pertinent issue, I would respectfully disagree with that. I say that the notion that
the FBI, whether it's working in a counterterrorism matter or criminal matter, has a culture where information is not shared is incorrect. And I think it's dated. It's much like the notion that the FBI and the CIA don't speak to each other.
This committee, I think better than any other committee, knows that that's incorrect. There may be a perception out there that the two agencies did not speak to each other. As Mr. Pillar mentioned, maybe that was true, ironically, during the Cold War when we should have been speaking to each other more, but that is not the case anymore.
The notion that we have a culture that withholds information from our State and local partners is absolutely incorrect. And I would encourage you to speak to the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. We didn't have 34 joint terrorism task forces throughout the United States because the FBI is not in the business of working with and sharing information with our State and local partners. The Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York dates back to 1980. It's the template of how the FBI, which at one time in its history--which is why I characterize the perception as dated-did not share information and in many cases was guilty of monopolizing information and not sharing it.
But that is, as I say, 20-year-old perception which is not true. You can talk to police chiefs around the country and, maybe more demonstrably, police chiefs around the world. The FBI has a culture and a protocol and a very well-established tradition now with respect to sharing information. And I would encourage you to speak to mayors and chiefs of police and whatnot.
Now, going back
Mr. LAHOOD. With all due respect, Judge, I have talked to local law enforcement people. And they have told me that there is a disconnect between local offices. I agree with you that if you use the southern district of New York blueprint, the Rahman blueprint, if you will, where a lot of information was shared, you do get the prosecutions and there's a lot of information shared, but how do you explain the Arizona memo? How do you explain the idea that there was information out there that never reached the highest levels of our government? How do you explain that other than people weren't communicating with one another?
Judge FREEH. You're absolutely right. In those particular instances, there was a lack of communication. But you're talking about a culture and generational gap and hiring new people that understand sharing information. My response to that is that is ignoring what I think is the routine and the operational capability and history of our agency. We are not an agency, have not been for the last decade, that is in the business of monopolizing and securing information that is routinely disseminated and used by our State and local partners.
We have dozens and dozens of safe street task forces around the country; maybe you should ask some of your mayors and police chiefs about that. Every major city has a safe street FBI task force, nothing to do with terrorism. They work cold homicides, they work hijacking cases, and they work with State, local and FBI agents in
So what I'm telling you is that there is there is an absolute misperception if there is a notion that we have a culture where information was not shared. That wasn't my experience in eight years. It was my experience in 1975 when I was a new agent reporting to the New York City FBI office and I was told I wasn't allowed to work with the New York Police Department, which is pretty hard when there's 30,000 of them in the city. But that is a very dated concept and one which is not the reality today.
Mr. LAHOOD. With all due respect I would say this: I know that there's communication, I know there's project exile task force and other task forces, but on the issue of terrorism, on the issue of people that are in our country illegally and that are here to do harm to our country, I'm not sure that what you're saying really holds true for that aspect of people who are here illegally and want to do that in the United States. I don't think it's been true. And I don't lay all the blame at the Bureau, but certainly Immigration and Naturalization and others probably share responsibility.
But when it comes to terrorism and fighting terrorism, with all due respect, Judge, I think there is a disconnect and there was a disconnect. And I've been told by Director Mueller that he's correcting that. And I can't say that you and Director Tenet didn't communicate. I'm sure you did. I'm sure you had meetings. And I know that Director Mueller and Director Tenet are meeting on a regular basis now. My point is that there's a feeling out there that this wasn't happening within the agency, between offices.
Let me just see if I can ask another question because my
Judge FREEH. If I could just respond to that, because I think it's very important, and I again commend the chairman for having a public hearing and for you asking this question. You just gave an example which I'll respond to. You talked about meetings and communications between the Directors, the FBI Director and the DCI, about the agencies not communicating.
You have to know from your briefings, because I did the briefings myself here, there was a long history over the last several years where CIA officers and FBI agents together went around the world exploiting Hizbollah cells, al-Qa'ida cells, the agent being present so chains of custody be maintained so Mary Jo White's prosecutors could use the evidence and the Agency's officers present for covert intelligence. You can't understand that reality and defend or support a misperception that these agencies
Mr. LAHOOD. How do you explain the Arizona memo then, Judge?
Judge FREEH. We can take a single bit of information, we can take the Phoenix memo, we can take other pieces of information. I'm not saying there weren't gaps or disconnects, I'm not saying that information about two of the hijackers in 2000 didn't make the intersection that it should have made, but, you know, we can talk about the particulars or we can talk about the reality of how things are actually being done. And I think it's instructive to talk about both, but not one in isolation to the other.
Mr. LAHOOD. Well, let me you and I disagree on this, and I think we've heard an awful lot of information. And going back to what I said, if you use the Southern New York District blueprint, it's a good blueprint, because I think a lot of communication took