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the FBI and Justice Department's ability to share information with other Government agencies?
General CLAPPER. Sir, I can't off the top of my head come up with specific cases in point. I will tell you, though, that we heard in the case of the application of the FISA law where it was the feeling of some that although the requests for FISA authorizations were not turned down, the bar was set pretty high for them to even be entered into in the first place. That is the genesis of the recommendation that I mentioned earlier in my oral statement about not going beyond the provisions of what is in the statute.
I might also comment on the DCI guidelines that were promulgated in about the 1995 timeframe. I was a member of the Downing Assessment Task Force that investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, which parenthetically was an epiphany experience for in terms of when I actually got religion about terrorism and what it can do.
I discovered a whole host of both administrative and legislatively derived restrictions and rules on the kinds of people who can be recruited to collect information. Each one of these is well-intended and probably came out of some abuse, at least as viewed by some, of engaging some nefarious person to collect information on nefarious activities.
The impact, though, on the collector force, if I could call it that, is kind of chilling because of this litany of restrictions that apply to the collection of foreign intelligence. So the set of recommendations we made about looking at all these rules and regulations as they pertain to the collection of information on terrorism-both we and other panels, particularly Ambassador's panel, have strongly urged review and in some cases relaxation of some of these strictures.
Chairman KYL. Let me just follow up with a question on that precise point. Former Director Woolsey, a member of that panel, drew the distinction between recruitment of agents against another government and recruitment of agents or sources with respect to terrorism. That commission didn't recommend a relaxation of the standards as opposed to recruitment against another government, but with respect to terrorism made the point that you are dealing with, by definition, a group of people who have nefarious backgrounds and those restrictions should be relaxed.
Do you generally concur with that personally and is that the view of the panel?
General CLAPPER. Yes, sir, I do, and it is the view of the panel. I would cartoon this a little bit, but I have said in other fora that if
you want to restrict yourself to the likes of Mother Teresa and that is who you are going to recruit information from, then that will certainly shape the kind of information you get.
We have to be prepared to deal with very nasty, nefarious people who by definition do bad things. And if we want to have any hope of gaining insight into what they are doing, then we are going to have to take the risk that we will, in fact, engage with some pretty nasty people. So the short answer is yes.
Chairman KYL. Did your panel acquire any information which would be useful to share with us in a closed setting, any specific examples or specific conversations with people that would be useful to us that we could talk about?
General CLAPPER. Yes, sir, we could, and I would recommend, to take advantage of this dual membership of Ambassador Jerry Bremer, that he would be involved in those discussions.
Chairman KYL. I think we would like to call upon you to get your advice on that because when Senator Feinstein and I put together our bill at the end of last year, we originally had that recommendation in the bill and due to opposition from at least one member of this committee, that provision was dropped. So I think we need to hone in on that.
There is a lot more I could get into, but I really want to hear from our second panel, as well, and I don't know when we are going to be having the next vote. So let me offer an opportunity for you to add anything else you would like to add in writing. We will leave the time of this hearing open for, say, 3 days should you want to do that or should any member of the Subcommittee wish to ask you a question and have you respond to it.
I really appreciate your testimony here, and we will be looking forward to getting back with you and Governor Gilmore when we begin to put our legislation together.
Thank you very much, General Clapper.
Chairman KYL. Let me ask our second panel if they would please come forward.
As I said earlier, our second panel is made up of distinguished scholars: Dr. Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Dr. Yonah Alexander, of the Potomac Institute.
Both of you gentlemen bring a wealth of expertise on the subject of terrorism and I personally thank you very much for your willingness to appear before the subcommittee.
Dr. Cordesman, let's begin with you. As I indicated earlier, we will make your prepared remarks a part of our record, and if you would like to summarize those remarks without any time limitation I would be happy to receive that at this time.
STATEMENT OF ANTHONY H. CORDESMAN, ARLEIGH A. BURKE
CHAIR IN STRATEGY, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. CORDESMAN. Thank you very much, Senator, and I thank the Subcommittee for the opportunity to testify this afternoon. I do have some prepared remarks and I appreciate having them included in the record. I know you have a lot of questions, so let me begin with a few brief introductory remarks.
În the work that we did on this subject in the CSIS, we encountered a number of problems that I think you are going to have to address over the next few years. One was the decoupling of asymmetric warfare and terrorism. This was much less apparent in the Department of Defense than in the other branches of Government, but if you look at the record, you find again and again the conclusion is drawn that because today's terrorists are not supported by states, they will not use biological or nuclear weapons or use advanced technology effectively in ways which could saturate response capabilities at the Federal, State, and local level.
But as you mentioned at the beginning of this hearing, we are also dealing with states like North Korea, Iraq, and Iran, and there will be more in the future. And I think by sizing so much of our response effort around terrorists without state support, we may risk creating a response and intelligence effort which deals with the wrong threat and perhaps the less important threat.
This permeates a lot of what goes on in individual civil agencies. It is striking that we are spending some $11 billion trying to deal with the threat of counterterrorism on the record, but when you disaggregate that money, a good $7 billion of it goes to the physical protection of Federal facilities and of U.S. military overseas, and the actual budget going into dealing with counterterrorism is often very limited.
I think one thing that is also striking is the tendency to freeze our perceptions around today's technology. We do not at this point in time face a growing threat statistically in terms of the number of attacks or casualty levels, but we do face a radical process of technological change.
One aspect of this is attacks on information systems, the growing vulnerability of a more integrated infrastructure. A key area is the risk of biotechnology and biological weapons, which is an area where many countries, and indeed many well-organized terrorist movements in the future may be able to use advances in biotechnology or food processing equipment or pharmaceuticals, to use methods of attack which frankly we are not even preparing for because the biological threats we deal with are the ones fundamentally we already understand. We also face the problem over time that nuclear weapons or nuclear devices may become more available. We have not really looked at those risks.
There is another problem that strikes me. It is so easy to talk about strategy and organization that often we do not look at the problem of vulnerability. Yet, vulnerability is changing along with the methods of attack. Our vulnerability in terms of information systems is one example. Our vulnerabilities in terms of specific types of biological attack and nuclear attack is another.
We tend to warn in very broad, generic terms about methods of attack, but our data on weapons effects often date back to the early 1970's. In some cases like biological weapons, I can recognize them because I was then the DRPA program manager for biological weapons, and it is very disturbing to see them repeated some 30 years later when at least then we knew how uncertain and unreliable many of these data were. If we tailor our response around that kind of planning, we risk providing the wrong templates and the wrong models at the Federal, State,
and local level. Last, let me make a point based, I think, on all too much experience in Washington. I think you yourself can remember previous calls for strategy and legislation that we needed to have a national strategy document, and that there should be a Department of Defense strategy document. Well, those documents are issued every year. No one knows what they mean, no one uses them, no one can figure out what their impact is on a single program or a single area of our budget. We have had a drug czar, and whether or not that has really shaped effective programs is, to put it mildly, debatable.
The point I would raise in closing is this: Unless you really concern yourself about developing effective future-year programs, program budgets, clear ways to assess the effectiveness of programs in intelligence, defense, and response, both in terms of foreign intelligence and the fusion of law enforcement, we risk doing what we always do in Washington. We mandate another strategy document; we put someone in charge of something or we create at least a new office somewhere in the Federal Government. And 2 years later, none of us can figure out what we accomplished.
The old routine in Washington that you have to follow the money is just as important in intelligence, counterterrorism, and dealing with weapons of mass destruction as it is in any other area.
Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Cordesman follows:] STATEMENT OF ANTHONY H. CORDESMAN, ARLEIGH A. BURKE CHAIR IN STRATEGY,
CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, WASHINGTON, D.C. “Terrorism” is a topic that arouses so much fear and revulsion that there is a natural tendency to “cry wolf,” and to confuse the potential threat with one that is actually occurring. Similarly, any discussion of the new threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and information warfare involves threats that are so serious that there is an equal tendency to respond like Chicken Little and worry that the sky is falling
This scarcely means we should not be worried about terrorism. The potential threats to our society are all too real. Democratic societies are inherently vulnerable. They place few controls over their borders, their citizens, or foreigners who have actually entered their territory. This is particularly true of the US, and there are many vulnerable points in our social structure and economy that foreign governments and extremist movements, domestic extremists and the mentally ill can attack.
There equally are good reasons to be increasingly concerned about new forms of asymmetric warfare and terrorism, and the use of new and more lethal forms of technology.
Yet, there are equally good reasons to be careful about exaggerating the threat, and being careless about the way we define it. We can improve intelligence, defense, and response in many ways. We can anticipate future risks, even if we cannot predict the future. We do, however, have limited resources and competing priorities, and we face daunting uncertainties about the nature of the problem terrorism poses to our security.
CRYING WOLF MEETS CHICKEN LITTLE It is not easy to characterize the threat - at least in unclassified terms. There are grave weaknesses and shortcomings in the statistics that the US government makes publicly available on terrorism. We do not have an adequate picture of the number, type, and seriousness of domestic incidents, and it is often difficult to separate out criminal activity, threats, actual action by domestic terrorists, and the actions of mentally disturbed individuals.
The data the US government publishes on international terrorist activity also has many defects. Much of it is highly over-aggregated, and does not provided anything approaching sophisticated pattern analysis. We stress international terrorism, but ignore largely foreign domestic violence that may generate terrorism in the future. We tend to demonize known terrorist groups, but ignore or underplay the capability of foreign states to conduct covert operations or use proxies to do so.
We exaggerate the existence of foreign networks, such as Usama Bin Ladin, and understate the risk that individual terrorist elements may lash out against us in ways we do not expect. Much of our analysis is grossly ethnocentric: It assumes that we are the key target of attacks which generally grow out of theater tensions and conflicts where we become a target-if at all—because of our ties to allies and peacekeeping missions.
The fact is, however, that if one looks at the recent patterns in terrorism, the US is no more subject to such attacks today—whether measured in numbers of incidents or casualties—than in the past. The net threat also remains a small one in actuarial terms. The word “terrorism” may trigger a great emotional reaction, but actual casualties and losses are almost actuarially insignificant. Far more people die of traffic accidents on a bad weekend than dies annually of terrorism.
The idea that the end of the Cold War has somehow created a more unstable and violent world is a myth. The world is, has always been, and will remain a violent place. According to the Department of Defense, there have been some 20–30 serious regional conflicts and civil wars going on every day of every year since the end of World War II. We did indeed relate many of these conflicts to the Cold War while it was going on, but in truth, most such conflicts dragged in the superpowers and were not caused by them.
With the exception of the Balkans, we do not see new major regional patterns of violence we can relate to the Cold War. In fact, the end of the Cold War has simply allowed us to focus on the broad realities of ongoing global violence rather than a single threat.
We need to be equally careful about exaggerating the new trends in technological vulnerability. Some of these trends are very real, but our critical infrastructure has always been vulnerable. Nature and chance have shown that repeatedly, and studies done back in the 1950s and 1960s showed how limited attacks—then postulated to be by attackers like the Soviet Spetsnaz—could cripple our utilities, paralyze critical military installations, or destroy our continuity of government. We have always been vulnerable to a truly well-organized terrorist or covert attack.
The fact that there are real wolves in the world, and that the sky can fall-at least to the extent that far more serious damage is possible than we have ever suffered from in the past—is not a reason to cry wolf or play the role of chicken little.
THE CHANGING FACE OF TERRORISM AND TECHNOLOGY In saying this, I am all too well aware that no victim of terrorism, or their loved ones, are going to be consoled by the fact that they are a relatively small statistic. The political symbolism of successful terrorist attacks is also often far greater than the casualties, and even an empty threat can help to undermine the fabric of social trust upon which our democracy is based.
Equally important, the fact we have not yet encountered an attack in the US as serious as the strikes on our Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, or as potentially threatening as Aum Shinrikyo, is in no way a guarantee for the future. Rather than exaggerate current threats, we need to be very conscious of the fact that the nature and seriousness of the threat can change suddenly and with little warning.
Let me give some specific examples: • At present the US government focuses most of its intelligence analysis, defense
planning and response, around a relatively narrow definition of terrorism. It focuses on independent terrorist groups, and not on the threat states can pose in asymmetric warfare. Yet, it is states that have the most access to weapons of mass destruction-particularly biological and nuclear weapons—and which have the most capability to launch sophistication attacks on our information systems. We face current potential threats from nations like Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea. We can face new threats as a result of our regional alliances and commitments every time a major conflict, crisis, or peace-keeping activity takes place.
Acts can come in the context of over asymmetric warfare, covert state-launched attacks, or the use of terrorist and extremist groups as proxies. Attacks can be made on our allies, our forces and facilities overseas, on US economic interests, or on our own territory. They can involve attackers with very different values, escalation ladders and perceptions and who lash out in a crisis.
This is also one area where the world has really changed since the end of the Cold War. We have always been a natural target because of the sheer scale of our global commitments and interest. Now, however, there is no Soviet Union our potential opponents can turn to, and they have no way of offsetting our advantage in conventional warfare.
We need to bridge the gap between the way in which the US government prepares for asymmetric warfare and to deal with the threat of terrorism-not only in terms of intelligence analysis, but our defense and response planning for Homeland Defense. We also must include intelligence analysis of capabilities and not just intentions. History shows us that the fact that foreign countries and leaders are deterred, or show restraint today, is no guarantee they will behave the same way under crisis conditions.
We need to ensure the effective fusion of intelligence community efforts, military planning, and civil defense and response planning. We should not leave any gap where the Department of Defense seriously plans for large-scale nuclear and biologi