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[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilmore can be found in the Appendix on page 33.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Governor, for your excellent statement and your work. It is sometimes in this city we do the right thing, and in this case, we did the right thing back in 1998 when we put language in to create this Commission with bipartisan support. And we were able to get the best of the country on the Commission, and you alluded to your friend and my friend, Ray Downey, who was one of the original commissioners. I was there with him in the 1993 attack on the Trade Center in New York. And, unfortunately, in spite of his national reputation for helping to sound the call of the recommendations you are making-he was the chief of all rescue operations for the New York City Fire Department on September 11th, as we all know, and he was the one that was directing the bulk of those 343 fire fighters that were killed.
But his contributions as a member of the Commission will be forever remembered and, I think, further indicate the seriousness of this issue. Because here was a guy on the Commission who was telling us before September 11, we are not doing things as aggressively as we should be.
Unfortunately, the country wasn't totally listening. We had been lulled unto a false sense of complacency that there were no threats to our security, everything was okay. And back when you issued your first two documents, even though this committee was paying attention and attempting to respond, the bulk of America was not, because we had been led to believe that we would not have this kind of attack.
And so I applaud you, because the work of you and your commissioners before September 11, was telling us what we should be looking for, what the appropriate threat assessment mechanism should be, and how we could best prepare; and you, being the governor, understanding how we needed to relate down to the State and local level, that it couldn't all be coming from Washington.
And your issue involving data fusion, I don't think there is anything more critical, as far as I am concerned, because if you can see the emerging threat before it arrives here, you can deal with it. And so, as the chairman of this subcommittee which oversees $100 billion of Federal spending. We can buy all the tanks and ships and planes we want, but I think a far better investment besides these platforms is to make sure that we understand that threat when it arises.
And I only say, before I yield to my colleagues for questions, what is so frustrating to me was, back in 1997 when I took a delegation of 11 of our colleagues to Vienna to negotiate with five Russian leaders a framework to end the Kosovo War, and I knew the Russians were bringing a guy who was very close to Milosevic-his name was Dragomir Karic. So I called the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet, and I said, Can you give me some information about Karic? And he came back about two or three hours later and gave me a couple of sentences saying they thought he was tied in with the Russian Mafia.
Without telling anyone, I went to the Army's Information Dominance Center down in Fort Belvoir. At that time, this committee was plussing up funding for our Information Dominance Centers
for each of the services; and the Information Dominance Center for the Army was down at Fort Belvoir, and I was intrigued by them, because they were going one step beyond just doing information dominance, and they were looking at how to do the use of data mining to understand emerging threats.
And I asked them to give me a profile of Karic, and they gave me eight pages. They gave me eight pages of information about this guy. They told me that he and his brothers owned Milosevic, that they owned the banking system, that the banking system had tried to sell a missile from Russia to Yugoslavia, that the banking system had been involved in a $4 billion German bond scam, that the wives of the Karic brothers were best of friends with Milosevic's wife, that the Karic brothers actually owned the house that Milosevic lived in that we bombed.
And the sad case is that when I came back home, Mr. Governor and Chairman, I was contacted by both the FBI and the CIA separately, and they asked me to have a debrief with them. This is in 1997. I said, Sure, what's the topic? They said, What you know about Dragomir Karic and his ties to Milosevic. And I said, No problem.
On a Monday afternoon, I had four agents in my office, including a counterintelligence officer for the CIA. They brought with them four pages of questions and asked me as a Member of Congress. And I asked them, Why are you asking all this? And they said, Because we have been tasked by the State Department to brief our negotiator on how to end the Kosovo War.
And I told them everything I had learned, all eight pages of information that I had gotten about Karic. And when I got done, I said, Do you know where I got my information from? Oh, yeah, you got it from the Russians. I said, No. You got it from Karic. I said, No. Before I left, I called the Army's Information Dominance Center, and they gave me eight pages. And the CIA and the FBI said, What is the Army's Information Dominance Center?
Our Federal agencies weren't even aware of the capabilities our military had in understanding someone who could have helped us and did help us in the war in Kosovo. And that is why data fusion and data mining and the creation of a national operations center became so personal for me.
You picked up on this. You have been a tireless advocate, and I applaud you. My only frustration is that the recommendations of the Gilmore Commission have by far outshined any other commission in this city, long before September 11. You weren't Sunday morning quarterbacks; you were out front. And yet the national media has not paid, in my opinion, the appropriate attention to the reports that you have issued, and we want to help you do that. So, by being here today, I think we can properly applaud you for the work that you have done. We could ask you some tough questions about what additional things we should be doing, but most importantly, we should thank you. And we thank the RAND Corporation for the staff support they provided, and look forward to another year of your work in helping us stand up this new Department and, perhaps equally important, consolidate the authorization and oversight of the monies that go to homeland security.
With that, I will turn to one of our top advocates in this body on the issue of homeland security. He constantly has made the case that we have not focused our attention on the right threats, and he as much as any other Member was the leading advocate to make sure that every State in America has a proper response team in place which became a part of our defense bill.
He was the one who championed this, understanding that local effort is absolutely essential, my good friend and ranking member, Gene Taylor.
STATEMENT OF HON. GENE TAYLOR, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSISSIPPI, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me first apologize for the absence of my fellow Democrats. As you probably know, the leadership elections are occurring right now in the Democratic organizational meeting, so I apologize for their absence. But you might look on your side for some possible defectors, because a lot of your guys are missing also. I don't know where they are.
Mr. WELDON. The same place.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay.
Governor Gilmore, one of the things that came to my attention quite by accident was the total lack of preparedness equipmentwise by many of our local communities. I had the fire chief of New Orleans come to see me on something dealing with Amtrak, and I had the opportunity to ask him how many chem-bio suits that large city of over a million had, and I think his answer was 18.
Since then, I have contacted most of the cities in my district and was absolutely shocked at how few suits there are available, how few suits are available at local hospitals. Has anyone got-and, again, has anyone got a comprehensive list of what is available through our communities and what would be available for resource sharing should there be a smallpox outbreak, which immediately comes to mind as something that would be very doable by a potential adversary?
Governor GILMORE. Mr. Taylor, that is a very managerial type of question, and I appreciate its being asked. That reflects a mind that believes that you need to go to work to actually inventory, to determine what exists and what is needed. From the point of view-and we applaud that.
From our Commission's point of view, what is essential is the establishment of a national strategy where we begin to develop a focus on what the more likely threats are and then what the best possible procedure and planning is that should be put into place to meet those potential threats.
So if, for example, we conclude that bioterrorism is a very serious, likely threat, then we believe that the new Department should in fact begin to develop the planning and to set the standards so that the suit that might be used-first of all, you have to decide whether suits are the best possible expenditure and how many you need, and then begin to do the planning for that and develop a funding mechanism in conjunction with the Federal, State, and local authorities to be in a position to purchase that.
So that is the exact right approach.
The direct answer to your question is that I doubt that anybody knows what inventory of appropriate equipment exists. But that would reflect the central concern. The central problem is that you don't even really know that the existing equipment is responsive to the more likely threat. And that, I think, is the challenge that rests ahead of us, that will require national coordination and national standards that have to be developed.
Mr. TAYLOR. I was curious if your group-number one, I want to compliment you on your presentation. And I found your remarks about the threat of conventional weapons to be also very close to home. And I am concerned, having read several books on the Afghan civil war, the number of Stingers that we supplied to them, the number of SA-7s that undoubtedly came from the other side that have sort of disappeared into hyperspace and therefore are in somebody's hands. To what extent did your group look at the possibility of a stinger or an SA-7 or some other shoulder-fired missile being used to take down commercial airliners as a weapon of terror?
Governor GILMORE. We have addressed an issue like that on the basis of the question of what is the more likely threat to the Nation, a nuclear, biological, chemical, major weapons of mass destruction, or a conventional attack. And we concluded that a conventional attack in this country is highly probable. And, in fact, in the introductory of the second report, we indicated that it was inevitable, that being published, December 15, 2000.
So the--nobody knows whether or not the enemy has their hands on a Stinger missile and can get it delivered into this country, but it is a lot easier to do that and a lot more available than, for example, a smallpox attack which would be more difficult to get and to deliver into this country. That has been the way that our Commission has assessed these types of issues.
The direct answer to your question is, it is possible that a missile like that could fall into the wrong hands and could be delivered over a border and into this country. And that is why we focused so much attention on border security as well as preparing for coordination between Federal, State, and local authorities for the response to such an attack; and more fundamentally, the absolute necessity of information sharing between Federal, State, and local people so that if an attack like that is imminent, that we hope that we can pick up information and prevent it from occurring. The only way to do that is a broad-ranging opportunity to get information, both domestic and foreign, to get fused into a place where people are talking to each other, and then be in a position to prevent such an attack.
But Congressman, it could be a Stinger missile, it could be a bomb on a suicide person someplace or it could be any other type of conventional attack which is easily delivered.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am curious. From your previous role as the Governor, to what extent were you included in being made aware of the different threats, the hijacking of a commercial ship going into the Port of Norfolk and using it as a weapon to ram a dock or take out a pier full of commuters? The possibility that a Stinger missile could be on a rowboat out in the middle of a Potomac waiting to
take down a plane that is about to make a landing at Reagan National Airport?
To what extent are the Governors made aware of these threats, and to what extent are you involved in trying to do something about them?
Governor GILMORE. Congressman Taylor, I was the Governor of one of the two states that were directly attacked on September uth. We have the terrible tragedy, of course, in Pennsylvania as well, but the direct attacks occurred in New York and Virginia, and I was Governor at that time. The Commission has focused on the reality that very little information passes up and down the line between Federal, State, and local people.
The direct answer is, Governors are told virtually nothing. They are not cleared automatically. They do not get information in an automatic, routine way. They do not get routine briefings. We are fortunate if our State adjutant generals (TAGS) or our State police get such information through the FBI. But the experience and history is that very little of this information passes up and down the line.
Much discussion has been in this body on the need to be able to share information laterally across the Federal agencies,a lot of discussion on that. The FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), they don't share information much either, and that is a problem that I know they are working very hard to try to correct.
But you are focusing on a second and principal problem: you must get information moving up and down with Federal, State, and local people. This does not happen, and there is no provision set for it to happen. Our Commission has excruciatingly, closely focused on this issue over the years in our reports, and we continue to do that. And we believe that some system must be put into place where there is reliability and trust.
Congressman, we believe this can happen. We understand that the culture of intelligence is not to share information. We understand that. We understand the businesslike desire to protect methods and sources. However, you must get information to where it could do the most good. And a simple color-coded warning that says that we are in a high level of concern, people have testified before the Congress, people have testified before our Commission that that just isn't enough. We have to be in a position where we can prevent and deter and respond in a way that is more effective.
I believe that it can be done. It can be done by clearing people, designating a tight net, getting information on a need-to-know basis, training, exercising, and if necessary, punishing, as you would at the Federal level, for violation and disclosure of that type of information.
Congressman, sensitive information that has nothing to do with the Federal Government is handled at the State and local level every day without going into the newspapers. I am confident that we could set up a system that would share this information vertically up and down the line to the interests of the country.
Mr. TAYLOR. Again, to follow up, since you very strongly made the point that the local responders will be the first responders. How would you propose to do that? Apparently we had some warn.