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SEN. ROBERTS: The committee will come to order.
The Senate Select Committee today -- on Intelligence -- meets in open session to conduct the public segment of its annual worldwide threat hearing. It has become the practice of the committee to begin its annual oversight of the U.S. intelligence community with a public hearing so that our members in the public will have the benefit of the intelligence community's best assessment of the current and projected national security threats to the United States.
Our witnesses today are the director of Central Intelligence, Mr. George Tenet; the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Robert Mueller; and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Vice Admiral Lowell Jacobi. The committee thanks all of our distinguished witnesses for being here.
The witnesses have been asked to provide a comprehensive unclassified assessment of the nature and extent of the current and projected national security threats to the United States. The witnesses have also been asked to highlight the significant developments in these areas that have occurred since this committee's last worldwide threat hearing last February.
Obviously, this past year has been extremely eventful. While we have made significant progress in the war on terror and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, other threats remain and new threats do continue to emerge. Saddam Hussein's reign of terror has rightfully been put to an end, yet peace and stability in Iraq are still threatened by continued attacks. Libya has renounced its weapons of mass destruction programs and permitted inspections that are international, while other nations, such as Iran, Syria and North Korea, refuse to dismantle ongoing weapons programs. Non-state purveyors of WMD technology, such as A.Q. Khan, have been identified, yet expansion of these deadly weapons remains one of the greatest threats to our national security.
Although it did not get much press attention, the president's February 11th speech at the National Defense University announced new measures to counter the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The president called for the modernization of these laws, the restriction on sales of nuclear technology and efforts to secure and destroy nuclear materials. Taken together with the Proliferation Security Initiative announced in May, I think it is fair to say that the president has suggested a solid plan to reduce the threat of these dangerous weapons.
The recent revelations about A.Q. Khan's illicit sale of nuclear weapons technology does demonstrate clearly how accurate and credible intelligence can be used to advance our fight against the expansion of these weapons. Our intelligence community is not perfect. They are not capable of carrying the entire burden, nor should we ask them to. As the president has pointed out, it is going to take an international commitment to effectively deal with both WMD expansion and international terrorists.
While terrorists from the al Qaeda and other like-minded groups are on the run, they continue to target U.S. interests at home and abroad. And in our own hemisphere, despite past U.S. efforts the impoverished nation of Haiti is again descending into civil strife. In short, despite our hard-fought victories, the world remains a very dangerous place.
This morning the committee will explore these threats and others in an unclassified setting. This afternoon we will conduct a closed session to discuss any matters that are classified.
Now, before we turn to our witnesses, I would like to point out that for the last eight months this committee has been engaged in a comprehensive review of the intelligence underlying the intelligence community's assessments regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its ties to terrorist groups. We have recently begun the process of reviewing the draft language for what will be the first of at least two reports.
In October of last year, Director Tenet asked for an opportunity to appear before our committee before we completed our work. He will have that opportunity next Thursday in a closed session of the committee. I anticipate that it will be the first in a number of appearances as the committee does finalize its reports and begins to consider the recommendations for change.
With this in mind, I would like to suggest to all members that this is a hearing on the current global threat. There will be many opportunities in the coming weeks for committee members to receive testimony and question any number of witnesses about the prewar intelligence in regards to Iraq.
We have invited our witnesses here today to address the current threats, and so I am suggesting that members please keep their questions focused on that topic.
Before turning to Director Tenet for his testimony, I turn to Senator Rockefeller for his opening statement. Mr. Vice Chairman.
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER
A Senator from West Virginia
Vice Chairman, Senate Select Intelligence Committee
SEN. JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I join you in welcoming our witnesses today. There were, I thought, to be four, but INR evidently was not able to work it out, I think due to a late invitation, which is, I think, noteworthy, but not worth an opening statement.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator, would you yield on that point?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Of course.
SEN. ROBERTS: We have asked INR to come. We asked them previously to come. They felt that the testimony by the DCI would cover their responsibilities. They have an acting director. When we asked them again to come, just a few days ago, knowing of some interest in the press about that, they indicated that they would not -- they would prefer not to appear and said that -- again, that the DCI would cover their responsibilities. It is not any situation where they were not asked to come.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Well, I'll let that statement stand for the chairman, who I greatly respect.
The question I'm wrestling with this morning is whether in fact we are, as a country and as a people, safer today than we were when the three of you were here a year ago. We fought a war against a vicious dictator, but bringing security to Iraq remains elusive, and we're paying a very high price in blood and resources.
We're also paying a high price in world public opinion, which is important, not just for its own sake, but in order to obtain the cooperation necessary to achieve greater security. I worry that rapidly declining support for the U.S. could further undermine stability in the Middle East and stimulate the recruitment of a new generation of anti-American jihadists.
Clearly, we have enjoyed progress in broadening the international coalition against terrorism, and we have seriously disrupted al Qaeda's structure and operations, though they are certainly by no means inactive for the future.
But the underlying strategic concerns in terms of regional demographics, economic opportunity, education, ideology still appear to be moving generally in the wrong direction, according to this senator, in most of the developing world. Rapid population growth and uneven economic development in the Third World are straining the fabric of many nations, add to the AIDS crisis, and much of the sub- Saharan Africa seems to teeter on the verge of anarchy.
Much as we are seeing in Haiti today, Liberia avoided a complete collapse last year. I'm not quite sure how; whether it was us or the Nigerians or some combination thereof, or whether we may simply have postponed the inevitable by not addressing that.
The situation in Latin America, while not as dire, except for the case of Colombia, is very worrisome. Many Latin American countries are unable to keep pace with globalization and there is a growing disparity, as everywhere, between rich and poor.
While we're focused on the Middle East today, the potential for violence and the strengthening of radical movements and in other regions seems to be increasing. Economic and political desperation, combined with increasing resentment of U.S. economic might, our cultural influence, military supremacy, make us the target of much of the world's anger; we know that. That anger spills over to leaders who cooperate with the United States, adding to the instability in some of the most dangerous regions of this world. People are angry at us and they're angry at their leaders for following along with us, or they're angry at their leaders just because they're angry at their leaders because they're not doing anything to help them. Whatever the combination, it doesn't bode well.
These are not immediate, but they are growing threats that I think we need to be addressing, and I fear that we are not addressing them and that we cannot. And I hope our witnesses will respond to this. Our intelligence and military are structured in a way which I'm not sure of their capacity to expand with experienced personnel much farther or in time to deal with what we're going to have to deal with.
Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are doing a good job of capturing al Qaeda operatives and disrupting terrorist plots. The Intelligence Committee did a commendable job, in my view, in supporting our troops in the invasion of Iraq. But our success in supporting tactical operations is of little value if we fundamentally misread strategic threats and challenges.
And I close by forming it this way. It now appears that Iran has had a much more advanced WMD capability and much closer links to dangerous terrorists than Saddam Hussein ever did. But our credibility has suffered because we have not found WMD in Iraq, and I fear we now will find it much harder to build international consensus, support to deal with Iran, should that be necessary, and other countries of such concern; for example, North Korea.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses. I thank the chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Warner. Pardon me. Senator Warner. Members will have six minutes.
SEN. : (Off mike.)
SEN. ROBERTS: I beg your pardon.
It might be certainly more acceptable to give the director his opportunity to make his testimony first, along with Mr. Mueller and Admiral Jacoby, before we turn to Senator Warner, although I'm sure he could entertain us for at least 30 minutes. (Laughter.)
I would now recognize the DCI, Mr. George Tenet.
Director, Central Intelligence Agency
MR. TENET: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Last year I described a national security environment that was significantly more complex than at any time during my tenure as director of Central Intelligence. The world I'll discuss today is equally, if not more, complicated, and fraught with dangers for American interests, but one that also holds opportunities for positive change.
I want to begin with terrorism, with a stark bottom line. The al Qaeda leadership structure we charted after September 11th is seriously damaged, but the group remains as committed as ever to attacking the American homeland. As we continue to battle against al Qaeda, we must overcome a movement, a global movement infected by al Qaeda's radical agenda. In the battle, we're moving forward in our knowledge of the enemy, his plans and capabilities, and what we've learned continues to validate my deepest concern that this enemy remains intent on obtaining and using catastrophic weapons.
Military and intelligence operations, as you both have noted, by the United States and its allies overseas have degraded the group. Local al Qaeda cells are forced to make their own decisions because of disarray in the central leadership. Al Qaeda depends on leaders who not only direct attacks but who carry on the day-to-day tasks that support operations. Over the past 18 months, we have killed or captured key al Qaeda leaders in every significant operational area -- logistics, planning, finance, training -- and have eroded the key pillars of their organization, such as the leadership in Pakistani urban areas and operational cells in the al Qaeda heartland of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The list of associates on page 2 many of you know -- Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Hassan Ghul, Hambali and others. We are creating large and growing gaps in al Qaeda's hierarchy, and unquestionably, (bringing) these key operators to ground disrupted plots that would otherwise have killed Americans.
Meanwhile, al Qaeda central continues to lose operational safe havens and bin Laden has gone deeper underground. Al Qaeda's finances have been squeezed, and we're receiving a broad array of help from our coalition partners who have been central to our efforts against al Qaeda. Since the May 12th bombings, the Saudi government has shown an important commitment to fighting al Qaeda in the kingdom, and Saudi officers have paid with their lives. There's great cooperation in the rest of the Arab world. President Musharraf remains a courageous and indispensable ally who has become the target of assassins for the help he's given us.
Our European partners are working closely with us to unravel and disrupt network of terrorists planning chemical and biological and conventional attacks in Europe.
So there are notable strides. But don't misunderstand me; I'm not suggesting al Qaeda is defeated, it is not. We're still at war. This is a learning organization that remains committed to attacking the United States, its friends and its allies.
Successive blows to the central leadership have transformed the organization into a loose collection of regional networks that operate more autonomously. These regional components have demonstrated their operational prowess in Morocco, Kenya, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other countries, and al Qaeda seeks to influence these regional networks with operational training, communications and money. For example, we know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sent $50,000 to Hambali in Southeast Asia to further his operations.
You should not take the fact that these attacks occurred abroad to mean that the threat to the U.S. homeland has waned. As al Qaeda and associated groups undertook these attacks overseas, detainees consistently talk about the importance the group still attaches to striking the main enemy, the United States. Across the operational spectrum -- air, maritime, special weapons -- we have time and again uncovered plots that are chilling. On aircraft plots alone, we have uncovered new plans to recruit pilots and to evade new security measures in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Even catastrophic attacks on the scale of 9/11 remain within al Qaeda's reach. Make no mistake, these plots are hatched abroad, but they target U.S. soil and those of our allies.
So far I've talked to you about al Qaeda, but it's not the limit of the terrorist threat worldwide. They have infected others with its ideology, which depicts the United States as Islam's greatest foe. The steady growth of Osama bin Laden's anti-American sentiment through the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad dissemination of al Qaeda's destructive expertise ensure that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future, with or without al Qaeda in the picture. Even so, as al Qaeda reels from our blows, other extremist groups within the movement it influenced have become the next wave of terrorist threat. Dozens of such groups exist. I've identified the Zarqawi network, the Ansar al-Islam network in Iraq, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Mr. Chairman, with regard to CBRN, acquiring these kinds of weapons we know remains a religious obligation in bin Laden's eyes, and al Qaeda and more than two dozen other terrorist groups are pursuing CBRN materials. We particularly see a heightened risk of poison attacks. Contemplated delivery methods to date have been simple, but this may change as non-al Qaeda groups share information on more sophisticated methods and tactics. Over the last year, we've also seen an increase in the threat of more sophisticated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. For this reason, we take very seriously the threat of a CBRN attack.
Extremists have widely disseminated assembly instructions for an improvised chemical weapon using common materials that could cause a large number of casualties in a crowded, enclosed area. Although gaps in our understanding remain, we see al Qaeda's program to produce anthrax as one of the most immediate terrorist CBRN threats that we are likely to face. Al Qaeda continues to pursue its strategic goal of obtaining a nuclear capability. It remains interested in dirty bombs. Terrorist documents contain accurate views of how such weapons would be used.
Mr. Chairman, I want to turn to Iraq for a detailed discussion. We're making significant strides against the insurgency and terrorism, but former-regime elements and foreign jihadists continue to pose a serious threat to Iraq's new institutions and to our own forces. At the same time sovereignty will be turned over to an interim government in Iraq on July 1, although the structure and mechanism for determining this remain unresolved, the emerging Iraqi leadership will face many pressing issues, among them organizing national elections, integrating the Sunni minority into the political mainstream, managing Kurdish autonomy in a federal structure, and the determining role of Islam in an Iraqi state.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chairman, the important work of the Iraqi (sic) Survey Group and the hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction continues. We must explore every avenue in our quest to understand Iraq's programs of concern for possibility that materials, weapons or expertise might fall into the hands of insurgents, foreign states or terrorists. And as you know, we will talk about this subject at length next week.
Despite progress in Iraq, the overall security picture continues to concern me. Saddam is in prison and the coalition has killed or apprehended all but 10 of his 54 key cronies, and Iraqis are taking an increasing role in their own defense. While many are now serving in various new police, military and security forces, the violence continues. The daily average number of attacks on U.S. and coalition military forces has dropped from its November peak but is similar to that of August, and many other insurgent and terrorist attacks undermine the stability by striking at those -- seeking to intimidate those Iraqis willing to work with the coalition.
The insurgency that we face in Iraq comprises multiple groups with different motivations but with the same goal: driving the U.S. and our coalition partners from Iraq. Saddam's capture was a psychological blow that took some of the less-committed Ba'athists out of the fight, but hard-core regime elements, Ba'ath Party officials, military intelligence and security officers are still organizing and carrying out attacks.
Intelligence has given us a good understanding of the insurgency at the local level, and this information is behind the host of successful raids you've read about in the newspapers. U.S. military and intelligence community efforts to round up former-regime figures have disrupted some insurgent plans to carry out additional anti- coalition attacks. We know these Ba'athists cells are intentionally decentralized to avoid easy penetration and to prevent the roll-up of whole networks.
Arms funding and military experience remain readily available. The situation as I've described it, Mr. Chairman, both our victories and our challenges, indicates that we've damaged but not yet defeated the insurgents.
The security situation is further complicated by the involvement of terrorists, including Ansar al-Islam and al-Zarqawi, and foreign jihadists coming to Iraq to wage jihad. Their goal is clear: they intend to inspire an Islamic extremist insurgency that would threaten coalition forces and put a halt to the long-term process of building democratic institutions. They hope for a Taliban-like enclave in Iraq's Sunni heartland that could be a jihadist safe haven.
Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish extremist group, is waging a terrorist campaign against the coalition presence and cooperative Iraqis in a bid to inspire jihad and create an Islamic state. Some extremists even go further. In a recent letter, terrorist planner Abu Musab al- Zarqawi outlined a strategy to foster sectarian civil war in Iraq aimed at inciting the Shi'a. Stopping the foreign extremists from turning Iraq into their most important jihad yet rests in part on preventing loosely connected extremists from coalescing into a cohesive terrorist organization. We're having some success in this regard and we're keeping an eye on the convergence between jihadists and former regime elements, and at this point we've seen very few signs of such cooperation at the tactical or local level.
Ultimately, the Iraqi people themselves must provide the fundamental solutions. As you well know, the insurgents are incessantly and violently targeting Iraqi police and security forces, precisely because they fear the prospect of Iraqis securing their own interests. Success depends on broadening the role of local security forces. It goes beyond numbers. It means continuing the work already under way, fixing equipment shortages, training, and ensuring pay. It's hard to overestimate the importance of greater security for Iraqis, particularly as we turn to the momentous political events slated for 2004. The real test will begin soon after the transfer of sovereignty. We'll see the extent to which the new Iraqi leaders embody the concepts, such as pluralism, compromise and the rule of law.
Iraqi Arabs and many Kurds possess a strong Iraqi identity forged over 80 years of history, and especially during the nearly decade-long war with Iran. Unfortunately, Saddam's divide and rule policy and his favored treatment of the Sunni minority aggravated tensions to the point where the key governance in Iraq today is managing these competing sectional interest -- and you know them, Mr. Chairman: Shi'a, Kurds and Sunnis. I should qualify that no society, surely not Iraq's complex tapestry, is so simple as to be captured in three categories, and this is an important point. In reality, Iraqi society is filled with more cleavages and more connections that a simple topology can suggest. We seldom hear about the strong tribal alliances that have long existed between Sunnis and Shi'a or the religious commonalities between Sunni, Kurd and Arab communities, or the moderate secularism that spans Iraqi groups. We tend to identify and stress the tensions that rend communities apart, but opportunities also exist for these groups to work together for common ends.
The social and political interplay is further complicated by Iran, especially in the south, where Tehran pursues its own interests and hopes to maximize its influence among Iraqi Shi'a after the 1st of July.
The most immediate political challenge for the Iraqis is to choose their transitional government that will rule their country while they write their permanent constitution.
The Shi'a cleric the Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sistani has made this election process the centerpiece of his effort to ensure that Iraqis will decide their own future and choose the first sovereign post-Saddam government. He favors direct elections as the way to produce a legitimate, accountable government. Sistani's religious pronouncements show that above all, he wants Iraq to be independent of foreign powers. Moreover, his praise of free elections and his theology reflect, in our reading, a clear-cut opposition to theocracy, Iranian-style.
The Sunnis -- just to talk a bit about the Sunnis, because they're important -- they've been disaffected and deposed as the ruling class, but some are beginning to recognize that boycotting the emerging political process will weaken their community. Their political isolation, I believe, is breaking down in parts of the Sunni Triangle where Sunni Arabs have begun to engage the coalition and assume local leadership roles. And in the past three months, we have also seen the founding of national-level Sunni umbrella organizations to deal with the coalition and the Governing Council on questions like Sunni participation in choosing the transitional government. This is a good development, Mr. Chairman.
The question of federalism is an issue that will have to be resolved. To make a federal arrangement stick, Kurdish and Arab leaders will need to explain convincingly that the federal structure benefits all Iraqis and not just Kurds. And even so, a host of difficult issues -- control over oil and security being perhaps the most significant -- may provoke tension between Kurdish and central Iraqi authorities.
Sir, Mr. Chairman, I want to talk a bit about economic reconstruction. It's true that the rebuilding will go on for years and that the Saddam regime left in its wake a devastated and antiquated, underfunded infrastructure. But reconstruction process and Iraq's own considerable assets, its natural resources and its educated populace should enable the Iraqis to see important improvement in 2004.
Over the next few years, they'll open more hospitals and build more roads than anyone born under Saddam has ever witnessed.
The recovery of Iraqi oil production will help. Production is on track to approach 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year. Iraq hasn't produced this much oil since 1991. And by next year, revenues from oil exports should cover the cost of basic government operations and contribute several billion dollars towards reconstruction.
Much more needs to be done, however. Key public services, such as water and sewage and transportation, will have difficulty meeting prewar levels by July and won't meet higher target of Iraqi total demand, although work is going on in all these areas.
Mr. Chairman, let me shift to proliferation.
We're watching countries of proliferation concern choose different paths as they calculate the risks versus gains of pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Libya is taking steps towards strategic disarmament; North Korea is trying to leverage its nuclear program into at least a bargaining chip, and also international legitimacy and influence; and Iran is exposing some programs while trying to preserve others.
I'll start with Libya, which appears to be moving toward strategic disarmament. For years, Qadhafi has been an international pariah. In May of 2003 he made a strategic decision and reached out, through British intelligence, with an offer to abandon his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. That launched nine months of delicate negotiations where we moved the Libyans from a stated willingness to renounce WMD to an explicit and public commitment to expose and dismantle their WMD programs.
The leverage here was intelligence. Our picture of Libya's WMD programs allowed CIA officers and their British colleagues to press the Libyans on the right questions, to expose inconsistencies and to convince them that holding back was counterproductive. We repeatedly surprised them with the depth of our knowledge.
For example, U.S. and British intelligence officers secretly traveled to Libya and asked to inspect Libya's ballistic missile programs. Libyan officials at first failed to declare key facilities, but our intelligence convinced them to disclose several dozen facilities, including their deployed Scud-B sites and their secret, North Korean-assisted Scud-C production line. When we were tipped to the imminent shipment of centrifuge parts to Libya in October we arranged to have cargo seized, showing the Libyans that we had penetrated their most sensitive procurement network.
By the end of the visit, the Libyans admitted to having a nuclear program and having bought uranium hexafluoride feed material for gas centrifuge enrichment, admitted to having nuclear weapons designs, acknowledged having about 25 tons of sulfur mustard CW agent, provided access to their deployed Scud-B forces and revealed indigenous missile design work in cooperation with North Korea on Scud-Cs. From the very outset of negotiations, Qadhafi requested the participation of international organizations to help certify Libya's compliance.
In contrast to Libya, North Korea is trying to leverage its nuclear programs into international legitimacy and bargaining power, announcing its withdrawal from the NPT, Non-Proliferation Treaty, and openly proclaiming that it has a nuclear deterrent. Since December of 2002, Pyongyang has announced its withdrawal from the Non- Proliferation Treaty and expelled IAEA inspectors. Last year, Pyongyang claimed to have finished reprocessing the 8,000 fuel rods that had been sealed by the United States and North Korean technicians and stored under IAEA monitoring since 1994.
The intelligence community judged that in the mid-90s that North Korea had produced one, possibly two nuclear weapons. The 8,000 rods the North Koreans claim to have reprocessed into plutonium metal would provide enough plutonium for several more. We also believe Pyongyang is pursuing a production-scale uranium enrichment program based on technology provided by A.Q. Khan, which would give the North Koreans an alternative route to nuclear weapons.
Mr. Chairman, my statement goes on to talk a bit about North Korea, but let me talk about Iran, the third country.
Iran is taking a different path, acknowledging work on a covert nuclear-fuel cycle while trying to preserve its WMD options. I'll start with the good news. Tehran acknowledged more than a decade of covert nuclear activity and agreed to open itself up to an enhanced inspection regime. Iran for the first time acknowledged many of its nuclear-fuel cycle development activities, including a large-scale gas centrifuge uranium-enrichment effort. Iran claims its centrifuge program is designed to produce low-enriched uranium to support Iran's civil nuclear program. This is permitted under the Nonproliferation Treaty. But here's the down side: The same technology can be used to build a military program as well. The difference between producing low-enriched uranium and weapons-capable high-enriched uranium is only a matter of time and intent, not technology. It would be a significant challenge for intelligence to confidently assess whether this red line has been crossed.
Mr. Chairman, we go on to talk about A.Q. Khan, and I've talked about that, and you know more about that.
The bottom-line issue on proliferation for us is in support we have a lot of public success, but proliferators hiding among legitimate businesses, and countries hiding their WMD programs inside legitimate dual-use industries combine to make private entrepreneurs dealing in lethal goods one of the most difficult intelligence channels that we face. The dual challenge is especially applicable to countries hiding biological and chemical warfare programs.
Mr. Chairman, with regard to ballistic significant missile programs, one point. China continues an aggressive missile modernization program that will improve its ability to conduct a wide range of military actions against Taiwan, supported by both cruise and ballistic missiles. Expected technical improvements will give Beijing a more accurate and lethal force. China is also moving ahead on its first generation of ballistic missiles. My statement talks about Syria.
And in the final part of the proliferation section, Mr. Chairman, we have to remain alert to the vulnerability of Russian WMD materials and the technology to theft or diversion. We are concerned about the continued eagerness of Russia's cash-strapped defense, biotechnology, chemical, aerospace, and nuclear industries to raise funds via exports and transfers, which makes Russian expertise an attractive target for countries and groups seeking WMD and missile-related assistance.
Mr. Chairman, we've talked about North Korea. You obviously all are aware of the difficult internal situation there and the way they've ruled by intimidation and fear, and the accumulated effect of years of deprivation and repression.
With regard to China, let me say a number of things. China continues to emerge as a great power and expand its profile in regional and international politics. It is also true that the Chinese have cooperated with us on terrorism, and been willing to host and facilitate multilateral dialogue on the North Korean nuclear problem, in contrast to an approach where they ignored these problems years ago.
They're making progress in asserting their influence in East Asia largely on the basis of their economy. That said, China's neighbors still harbor suspicions about Beijing's long-term intentions. They generally favor a sustained U.S. military presence in the region as an insurance against potential Chinese aggression.
Our greatest concern remains China's military buildup, which continues to accelerate. Last year Beijing reached new benchmarks in its production or acquisition from Russia of missiles, submarines and other naval combatants and advanced fighter aircraft. China is also downsizing and restructuring its military forces with an eye toward enhancing its capabilities for the modern battlefield.
Mr. Chairman, I'm going to do perhaps just one more thing, talk about Iran. Afghanistan is important. Perhaps we can talk about that in the Q&As.
Iran. I think this is very important. Our view, and my view is, is with the victory of hardliners in the elections last weekend, government-led reform has received a serious blow. Greater repression is the likely result. With the waning of top-down reform efforts, reformers will probably turn to the grassroots, working with NGOs and labor groups to rebuild popular support and keep the flame alive.
The strengthening of authoritarian rule will make breaking out of old foreign policy patterns more difficult. The concerns I voiced last year are unabated. The current setback is the latest in a series of contests in which authoritarian rule has prevailed over reformist challengers. The reformists, President Khatami in particular, are in no small part to blame. Their refusal to back bold promises with equally bold actions exhausted their initially enthusiastic popular support.
When the new Majlis convenes in June, the Iranian government will be even more firmly controlled by the forces of authoritarianism. In the recent election, clerical authorities disqualified more than 2,500 candidates, mostly reformists, and returned control of the legislature to the hardliners. The new Majlis will focus on economic reform, with little or no attention to political liberalization. Although greater represssion is likely to be the most immediate consequence, this will only further deepen the discontent with clerical rule, which is now discredited and publicly criticized as never before. In the past year, several unprecedented open letters, including one signed by nearly half the parliament, were published calling for an end to the clergy's absolute rule.
Mr. Chairman, finally let me just say something about Colombia, and I will end there. In this hemisphere, and it's important to pay attention to President Uribe, President Uribe is making great strides militarily and economically. Colombia's military is making steady progress against illegal armed groups, particularly around Bogota. Last year the army decimated several FARC military units. In the last two months, Colombian officials have apprehended the two most senior FARC leaders ever captured. Foreign and domestic investors are taking note. Last year the growth rate of 3.5 percent was the highest in the past five years.
Some of Uribe's hardest work remains ahead. The military has successfully cleared much of the insurgent-held territory, but the next stage of Uribe's clear-and-hold strategy is securing the gains thus far.
That entails building state presence schools, police stations, medical clinics, roads, bridges and social infrastructure where it has scarcely existed before.
Mr. Chairman, I will stop there.
Senator Rockefeller, I will say, if you go back to the back part of my statement, in the last couple of pages, you'll see the kinds of implications you drew from stateless zones, disease and hunger, their implications for terrorism, and how we at least think about these things, because they are very important.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: We thank the director, and we move now to Director Mueller.
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
MR. MUELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Senator Rockefeller and members of the committee, for this opportunity to discuss the world threats facing this nation and how the FBI has adapted to meet these emerging threats.
I'm going to touch on some of the successes of the past 12 months, but at the outset I would like to say that none of the successes would have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of our partners in the intelligence community and most particularly in state and local law enforcement, as well as with the help of our counterparts around the world.
Also at the outset, I should mention that the Muslim American, Iraqi-American and Arab-American communities in the United States have contributed a great deal to our success. And on behalf of the FBI, I would like to thank these communities for their assistance and for their ongoing commitment to preventing acts of terrorism.
In 2003, the United States and its allies made considerable advances toward defeating the al Qaeda network around the world. And since this committee's worldwide threat hearing last year, the efforts of the FBI, along with our state and local law enforcement partners, the efforts to identify terrorists and to dismantle terrorist networks have yielded major successes.
In Cincinnati, an al Qaeda operative was charged with providing material support to terrorists.
In Baltimore, a resident was identified as an al Qaeda operative with direct associations to now detained senior al Qaeda operatives Tawfiq bin Attash and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
In Tampa, a United States leader of the Palestine Islamic Jihad and three of his lieutenants were arrested under the RICO statute for their participation in a conspiracy that contributed to the deaths of two United States citizens in Israel.
In Newark, three individuals, including an illegal arms dealer, were indicted for their role in attempting to smuggle a shoulder file -- -fired missile into the United States.
And in Minneapolis, an individual who trained in Afghanistan and provided funds to associates in Pakistan was recently arrested and charged with conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda.
Mr. Chairman, it is important to note that we attribute these and other recent successes to our close coordination and information- sharing with other members of the intelligence community, with our overseas partners, and with state and local law enforcement officials, many of whom -- who participate in our 84 Joint Terrorism Task Forces. As you know, the Joint Terrorism Task Forces team up FBI agents with police officers, members of the intelligence community, Homeland Security and other federal partners to coordinate counterterrorism investigations and to share information.
The Joint Terrorism Task Forces have played a central role in virtually every terrorism investigation, prevention or interdiction within the United States over the past year. Our current abilities to coordinate with our partners and develop actionable intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks are a direct result of our efforts to transform the FBI to meet our counterterrorism mission.
And while I am going to discuss this transformation, first I would like to spend a few moments discussing what we see are the greatest threats facing the United States. As Mr. Tenet has indicated, the greatest threat remains international terrorism, specifically Sunni extremists, including al Qaeda. And while our successes to date are dramatic, we face an enemy that is determined, an enemy that is resilient, an enemy that is patient, and an enemy whose ultimate goal is destruction of the United States.
Al Qaeda's flexibility and adaptability continue to make them dangerous and unpredictable. The enemy still has the capability to strike in the United States and to strike United States citizens abroad with little or no warning. Al Qaeda is committed to damaging the United States economy and United States prestige, and will attack any target that will accomplish these goals. There are strong indications that al Qaeda will revisit missed targets until they succeed, such as they did with the World Trade Center. And the list of missed targets now includes both the White House as well as the Capitol.
In addition, our transportation systems across the country, particularly subways, bridges in major cities, as well as the airlines, have been a continual focus of al Qaeda targeting. We too remain concerned about al Qaeda's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The discovery of ricin in Europe, al Qaeda's clear interest in a range of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, and its desire to attack the United States at equal or greater levels than 9/11, highlight the need for continued vigilance in this regard.
Finally, al Qaeda retains a cadre of supporters within the United States which extends across the country. Indeed, al Qaeda appears to recognize the operational advantage it can derive from recruiting United States citizens. And while the bulk of al Qaeda supporters in the United States are engaged in fund raising, recruitment and logistics, there have been some cases, some of which I've mentioned previously -- there have been cases of those apparently involved in operational planning.
While al Qaeda and like-minded groups remain at the forefront of the war on terror, other groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad, warrant equal vigilance due to their ongoing capability to launch terrorist attacks within the United States -- capability to launch attacks within the United States. Historically, however, these groups have limited their militant activities to Israeli targets and have focused on fund raising, recruitment and procurement as their main activities in the United States.
The FBI disrupted several Hezbollah cells over the last year. In Charlotte, North Carolina, an individual was sentenced to 155 years in jail for conspiring to provide material support to Hezbollah. In Detroit, Michigan, 11 individuals, some of whom have admitted ties to Hezbollah, were charged with bank fraud, cigarette smuggling and RICO offenses. These arrests were the result of a long-term investigation of criminal enterprises associated with Hezbollah.
Mr. Chairman, although the impact of terrorism is more immediate and more highly visible, espionage and foreign intelligence activities are no less threats to the United States national security.
Given our country's stature as a leading political, military, economic and scientific power, foreign intelligence services will continue first to recruit sources to penetrate the United States intelligence community and United States government; they will continue to target our national economic interests and our defense research base; they will continue to attempt to assert political influence through perception management operations. The loss of sensitive, classified and proprietary information critical to United States interests can hamper our ability to conduct international relations, can threaten our military and diminish our technological base, as well as our economic competitiveness.
Mr. Chairman, I should also mention that the FBI is expanding our efforts to address the rapidly growing cyber threat as it relates to both terrorism and national security. A number of individuals and groups with the ability to use computers for illegal, harmful and possibly devastating purposes is on the rise. We are particularly concerned about terrorists and state actors wishing to exploit vulnerabilities of United States systems and networks. The FBI has a division dedicated to combatting cyber crime and cyber terrorism, and we are committed to identifying and neutralizing those individuals or groups that illegally access computer systems, spread malicious codes, support terrorist or state-sponsored computer operations.
Over the past year, Mr. Chairman, the men and women of the FBI have continued to implement a plan that fundamentally transforms our organization to enhance our ability to predict and to prevent terrorism. As you know, we took the first steps towards this transformation in the days and weeks following the 9/11 attacks. We established a new set of priorities that govern the allocation of manpower and resources in every FBI program and in every FBI office.
Counterterrorism is our overriding priority, and every terrorism lead is addressed, even if it requires a diversion of resources from other priorities. Since September 11, we have centralized management of our counterterrorism, counterintelligence and cyber programs to eliminate stovepiping of information, to coordinate operations, to conduct liaison with other agencies and governments, and to be accountable for the overall development and success in these areas.
Our operational divisions at headquarters have analyzed the threat environment, devised national strategies to address the most critical threats, and are implementing these strategies in every field office. We have also reallocated resources in accordance with these new priorities.
For example, we have increased the number of agents assigned to counterterrorism from roughly 1,300 to 2,300, and hired over 400 analysts. Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces have grown from 35 to 84. Prior to September 11th, we had a little over 900 agents and police officers serving on our task forces; we now have over 3,300 serving on those task forces. And to enhance our translation capabilities, we increased the number of linguists with skills in critical languages from 555 to over 1,200.
Mr. Chairman, over the past year we also have made substantial progress in implementing the next key step in our transformation, and that is the FBI's intelligence program. The FBI has always been among the world's best collectors of information. For a variety of historical reasons, the bureau did not have a formal infrastructure to exploit that information fully for its intelligence value. While our individual FBI agents have always capably analyzed the evidence in their particular cases and then used that analysis to guide their investigations, the FBI has in the past, but not across the board, implemented an overall effort to analyze intelligence and then strategically direct intelligence collection.
And today, an enterprise-wide intelligence program is absolutely essential. The threats to the homeland are not contained by geographic boundaries and often do not fall neatly into investigative program categories. Consequently, threat information has relationships and applicabilities, and that crosses both internal and external organizational boundaries. Counterterrorism efforts must incorporate elements and contribute toward counterintelligence, cyber and criminal programs. And in order to respond to this changing threat environment, we are building our capabilities to fuse, analyze and disseminate our related intelligence, and to create collection requirements based on our analysis of the intelligence gaps about our adversaries.
We have an Office of Intelligence within the FBI which establishes and executes standards for recruiting, hiring, training and developing the intelligence analytical workforce, and to ensure that analysts are assigned to operational and field divisions based on intelligence priorities.
And we have established a new position of executive assistant director for intelligence, joining the other three executive assistant directors in the top tier of FBI management, and we recruited Maureen Baginski, an intelligence expert with 25 years of experience in the intelligence community, to serve in this position. She is responsible for managing the national analytical program and for institutionalizing intelligence processes in all areas of FBI operations. Among her responsibilities are those for managing the establishment of the formal requirements process that will identify and resolve those intelligence gaps, allowing us to fill those gaps through collection strategies.
Finally, in order to ensure that the FBI-wide collection plans and directives are incorporated into our field activities, all field offices have established a field intelligence group, and each of those groups is the intelligence component in the field office responsible for the management, execution and coordination of the intelligence functions.
And for our intelligence program to succeed, we must continue to build and strengthen our intelligence workforce. Our efforts to recruit, hire and train agents and analysts with intelligence experience began shortly after September 11th, and now we are also taking steps to enhance the stature of intelligence and analysis within the FBI, and to provide career incentives for specialization in these areas.
To ensure that our intelligence mission is carried out, we are revising or field office and program inspections, and agent and management evaluations to make it clear that developing and disseminating intelligence is the job of every office and agent.
Mr. Chairman, my prepared statement provides additional details about the many enhancements to our intelligence programs, including increased training, targeted hiring, creation of the College of Analytical Studies, establishment of career tracks for agents who will devote their careers to intelligence, and improvements to our information technology.
In the interest of time, Mr. Chairman, I will conclude at this point. And again, I'd be happy to answer any questions the committee may have. Thank you for the opportunity to give this statement.
SEN. ROBERTS: We thank you, Director Mueller.
Admiral, would you please proceed?
VICE ADMIRAL LOWELL JACOBY
Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
ADM. JACOBY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee. I appreciate this committee's strong, sustained support for Defense Intelligence and its men and women who are deployed around the world.
Last year I testified that Defense Intelligence was at war on a global scale. That war has intensified. Defense Intelligence professionals, active duty military, reserves and civilians are providing the knowledge and skills essential to defeating enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism.
In Iraq, the security situation varies by region. The north and the south remain comparatively quiet. Attacks in central Iraq account for the vast majority of incidents in Sunni-dominated areas, especially west of Baghdad, around Mosul, and along the Baghdad-Tikrit corridor, areas that were home to many former military and security members. I believe former regime elements, led by Ba'ath party remnants, are responsible for the majority of anti-coalition attacks. That said, it appears much of the Sunni population has not decided whether to back the coalition or support the insurgents. The key factors in this decision are stability and a future that presents viable alternatives to the Ba'athists or Islamists.
Foreign fighters, to include al Qaeda, are a continuing threat. They have perpetrated some of the most significant attacks and may be behind others, such as suicide attacks that caused high casualties. They're motivated by Arab nationalism, extremist religious ideology, and opposition to U.S. polices and beliefs. Left unchecked, Iraq has the potential to serve as a training ground for the next generation of terrorists.
Mr. Chairman, I returned from Iraq 10 days ago, and at this point I would like to recognize the exemplary work of the Iraqi Survey Group. DIA and Defense Intelligence personnel, intelligence community experts, counterparts from U.S. agencies and contractors, and coalition members are analyzing new information, pursuing leads, inspecting and searching facilities, and combing through, sorting and exploiting tens of thousands of documents in a dangerous and austere environment. Forming and managing this mix of professionals is taking considerable effort, not just DIA people, but by our national and coalition partners as well. The ISG and those who provide support for their efforts are to be commended for their dedicated efforts as the ISG pursues a full accounting of Iraqi WMD programs, counterterrorism in Iraq and the fate of Captain Scott Speicher.
Turning to Afghanistan, last spring's attacks by opposition groups reached the highest level since the collapse of the Taliban government in December of 2001. Although activity has subsided somewhat, attacks continue. A Taliban insurgency that continues to target humanitarian assistance and reconstruction organizations is a serious threat. Some of those organizations have suspended operations. They play a key role in bringing stability and progress to this troubled nation.
Additionally, President Karzai remains critical to stability in Afghanistan. As a Pashtun, he is the only individual capable of maintaining the trust of that ethnic group while maintaining the support of other minorities.
Notable progress has been achieved in the global war on terrorism. We have shrunk operating environments for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, captured al Qaeda senior coordinators and disrupted operations.
Nevertheless, al Qaeda remains the greatest threat to our homeland and our overseas presence. Al Qaeda continues to demonstrate it is adaptable and capable. While al Qaeda's planning has become more decentralized and shifted to softer targets, they continue attacks, most recently in Istanbul and Riyadh, and enjoy considerable support in the Islamic world.
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups remain interested in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Hijackings and man-portable missile attacks against civilian aircraft remain of considerable concern.
A number of factors virtually assure a terrorist threat for years to come. Despite recent reforms, terrorist organizations draw from societies with poor or failing economies, ineffective governments and inadequate education systems. Demographic bubbles or youth bubbles further burden governments and economies.
For instance, if we look at the percentage of population under 15 years of age, 43 percent of Saudi Arabians, 41 percent of Iraqis, 39 percent of Pakistanis, 34 percent of Egyptians, 33 percent of Algerians and 29 percent of Iranians fall into this group.
I'm also concerned over ungoverned spaces, areas where governments do not or cannot exercise effective control. Such spaces offer terrorist organizations sanctuary.
I remain concerned about the Islamic world. Many of our partners successfully weathered domestic stresses during Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, challenges to their stability and their continued support for the war on terrorism remain. Islamic and Arab populations are increasingly opposed to U.S. policies. The loss of a key leader could quickly change government support for U.S. and coalition operations.
For example, President Musharraf was recently the target of two sophisticated assassination attempts. His support for the global war on terrorism, Afghan policy, restrictions on Kashmiri militants and attempts to improve relations with India are all important initiatives that have increased his vulnerability.
Despite some positive developments, such as recent events in Libya, the trends with respect to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles remain troublesome. North Korea's reactivation of the Yongbyon nuclear facility and revelations over Iranian nuclear enrichment reinforce concerns.
Other states continue to develop biological and chemical weapons capabilities and improve their ballistic and cruise missiles. Proliferation of WMD and missile-related technologies continues, and new supply networks challenge counter-proliferation efforts.
With respect to China and Russia, China continues to develop or import modern weapons. China's Liberation Army acquisition priorities include surface combatants and submarines, air defense, modern fighter aircraft, ballistic and anti-ship cruise missiles, space and counter- space systems, and modern ground equipment.
Domestic political events in Taipei are the principal determinant of short-term stability in the Taiwan Straits. Beijing is monitoring developments in advance of next month's presidential elections and referendum, ever concerned about a Taiwan declaration of independence. Beijing will not tolerate the island's independence and will use military force regardless of the costs or risks. However, we see no indication of preparations for large-scale military exercises or other military activity to influence Taiwan voters at this stage.
After nearly a decade of declining activity, the Russian military is beginning to exercise its forces in mission areas tied to deterrence, global reach and rapid reaction. Moscow is attempting to reclaim great power status. Its military spending has increased in real terms in the past four years in lines with its improving economy.
In closing, Defense Intelligence is working hard to improve the processes, techniques and capabilities necessary to counter the current threats and emerging security challenges, and to take advantage of opportunities. Our global commitments have stressed our people and our capabilities. Nonetheless, I am confident we will continue to supply our decision-makers with the knowledge necessary for success.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: We thank all three of you for your testimony.
I would say to members that we are providing six minutes for each member, and then if there is time and desire for a second round, that will also be the case.
Let me indicate that there has been considerable interest in the committee holding a hearing in reference to the recommendations made by the 9/11 investigation by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as of the last session of Congress on the recommendations and reforms that were listed in that document. That, of course, went to the independent commission, which is now -- or the 9/11 Commission.
And so we will have a hearing on those reforms or on those recommendations, and it would be the hope of the chairman that when we finally conclude or that we do conclude the inquiry and we make the inquiry public after redaction and we have a public hearing, that we come up with a conclusion and also some recommendations in regards to a positive effect to address some of the systemic challenges we face in the intelligence community. I know that in an even-numbered year, where we have adjectives and adverbs that are somewhat unique as opposed to an odd-numbered year, it may be difficult to leapfrog that and to get into conclusions and recommendations, but that would be the hope of the chair.
Let me ask -- I think that's your question, Senator, not mine.
Both of you have indicated that attacks on coalition forces and on the newly-created Iraqi security forces have continued at a steady pace. That's certainly not a secret to any American. Events have shown us that the sophistication of those attacks have increased. There is no sign that the people behind the attacks plan to stop. In fact, it appears that the opposition has hope to block or derail any moves toward a transition of governing authority.
I would address this question to the DCI and to the DIA director.
First, is this working? Second, will coalition forces and Iraqi security forces be capable of identifying and also eliminating the main body of the oppositionists and the foreign fighters? And third, in your opinion, what are the most important factors that will determine whether Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'a will, in the long term, side with forces of peace and stability rather than continue or accelerate opposition to the new government order in Iraq? And I would ask Mr. Tenet if he would respond.
MR. TENET: Asked a number of questions, Mr. Chairman.
First, the transition to sovereignty in a functioning state is exactly what the insurgents and the jihadists oppose the most. It's the biggest threat to them over the long term. Now, in terms of how we're doing against these -- I think that we would say that over time both we and the military, particularly at local levels, have very good knowledge of these networks, both in terms of the insurgency and the jihadists, and we're making progress. Security is linked to economics and politics in an integrated manner. Security is very, very important. The fact that Sunnis are beginning to engage in a political process, form umbrella organizations; the fact that Ayatollah Sistani is meeting with Sunni notables; the fact that tribal elements that constitute Sunnis and Shi'as are beginning to talk about a political process is a healthy thing.
Clearly, economic developments, particularly in the Sunni heartland dealing with unemployment -- taking young men off the street, putting them in a job -- all of these things work in a process interlinked together that makes progress. It's hard. We're better than we were 90 days ago. The fact that there is a dialogue between Sunnis and Shi'as and Kurds, as much ferment as it creates, is a positive sign that must end up in Iraqi sovereignty. And the key, ultimately, is -- if John Abizaid were here, he would say, the key is we need to transition from the U.S. forces being up front to Iraqis -- through police forces, civil defense battalions -- taking the action to be seen as protecting themselves.
One final word about the foreign jihadists. Success here for them -- they understand that Iraq is a very difficult operating environment, even while they operate against us. Iraqis are turning them in in bigger numbers. They're talking to us about them. They don't belong there. As this political process matures, I think we're going to be better off. But it will be hard and slow and we will not -- every day you will not have the kind of progress that you want. But we're moving in the right direction.
SEN. ROBERTS: Admiral?
ADM. JACOBY: Mr. Chairman, I agree with the DCI that certainly the factors are stability and an economic and political situation that shows a brighter future than the past or present. I also believe that our efforts are making progress, partly by the fact that people are coming forward and providing more information against the former regime elements or the foreign fighters.
But I think one of the more demonstratable factors for progress is the fact that the police are now a very clear target of attack in an anti-stability kind of an approach, and police recruits are still lining up in large numbers to be trained and to join the force. And so I think that there are a number of elements there that talk about progress. And the focus, as the DCI said, needs to be on that evolving situation and a set of institutions that need to be in place -- provide that environment for people to see that future that they're part of.
SEN. ROBERTS: Let me ask a question in regards to Dr. Duelfer who obviously is in charge of the Iraq Survey Group. In talking to him before he took on that assignment, he indicated, and I think Dr. Kay indicated, that there was something close to 17,000 boxes of documents that had not been exploited.
My concern is, do we have the translation capability? And that the indication from some was that it would take a year to finally work through all that exploitation of those documents to try to make rhyme or reason in regards to the WMD question.
Do your agencies have sufficient translation resources to meet your current mission requirements? Have we been able to plus that up, I think is the word we use in the intelligence community.
ADM. JACOBY: Mr. Chairman, your numbers are about right; in other words, the 17,000 boxes and about a year's worth of time. The translation capabilities are in place. We are at, you know, a target of 24-hour operations for linguists and translators working those documents. And we do have the funding available to pay for the 24- hour operations.
One of the things I would point out, though, is the bulk numbers of numbers of boxes are not necessarily indicative of the effort. It is a very targeted kind of effort. In many cases we know where those documents came from, and so there's a triage on the front end that prioritizes, and so the areas where we would logically find WMD materials move to the front of the line. And so the backlog and the timeline is far shorter for those more profitable areas of exploration.
SEN. ROBERTS: My time is expired. I apologize to my colleagues, but I note that the director would like to say something about this.
MR. TENET: Mr. Chairman, in terms of Arab linguists, let me just note that ISG in total has about 320 Arab linguists. About 220 of those are sitting in the doc ex facility doing this work. So in terms of -- you know, it's a fairly formidable capability that Admiral Jacoby has assembled.
ADM. JACOBY: With more hiring, you know, coming on board this month. Yes, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Warner.
SEN. : (Off mike.)
SEN. ROBERTS: Oh, I beg your pardon. Second time around. I apologize to the distinguished vice chairman, who is now kicking me severely underneath the dais. (Laughter.)
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral Jacoby, we didn't get the other two testimonies until -- I didn't have them till this morning, but I did have yours. And once again I have to say, like I did last year, I thought it was absolutely superb in its scope and what you had to say.
What you just did say, however, raises a question in my mind. Talking about reading of documents and the availability of translators, you know, the necessary Arabic speakers, et cetera, different dialects to do that, it's a very different matter when you're going through documents than it is when you have -- when you're dealing with human intelligence, with assets, with the capacity to do all the other things that have to be done, frankly, many of which will probably turn out to be more important.
And so my question would be not just to you, but also to Director Tenet, because I noticed when I mentioned this point about being stretched thin the director nodded his head a little bit. It's my impression, in just doing some unclassified reading, that with the switches that are being made in Baghdad and elsewhere, that there are a lot of rather junior people coming in, a lot of retired people being lured back into the service, and that the Arabic question remains huge for your purposes.
MR. TENET: Sir, I would say that obviously language capability is something we're working on very hard. I mean, we've tripled the number of Arabic speakers in the last three years, and we won't go into foreign language programs here. But the point is, the point is, I think there was a newspaper story that was recently written about Baghdad and Pakistan, and it was --
SEN. ROBERTS: George, can you pull that microphone right up? There. There.
MR. TENET: The truth is that you're asking a priorities question. I think you're asking. And here's the way we're working the priority question.
The war on terrorism is -- absolutely has to be unaffected by what we do on anything else. So, we've got that covered, and Iraq has now created a very large drain of people and resources. The issue is not in terms of Iraq or in terms of the war on terrorism or in terms of -- I don't want to go in -- or proliferation or, let's say, another country that we care about a great deal. The issue for us will be global coverage against other issues where the truth is we are moving people against highest priorities, and there are issues that we're going to have to deal with very, very smartly.
You say we're bringing a lot of older people back. Well, we've had our designated reserve cadre now going back four or five years -- that number has been constant -- as we bring, as you know, more people into the clandestine service in the analytical workforce to match youth and experience, and we're just going to have to do it this way and balance our priorities carefully.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you.
This is for the director and for the admiral. I mentioned that the United States -- we basically invaded Iraq as a reason because of our concern about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. And also, the question -- links to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. It now appears at least to this senator that Iran actually had closer links to dangerous terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and al Qaeda as well as much more advanced WMD capabilities than Iraq did. So how would you compare, the two of you, the threat posed by Iran today with the threat of Iraq WMD and links to terrorism that you described to this committee last year at this time? Is Iran a grave and gathering threat?
MR. TENET: I'll go first.
Well, sir, I think that we have documented year in and year out the Iranian ballistic missile program and what they've acquired from the Russians and the deployment of the Shahab-3 and the deployment of -- and the development and deployment of longer-range missiles. And certainly, in classified closed testimony we've talked to you over the years about our concerns about their nuclear program.
With regard to the Hezbollah relationship, that's not new. We've talked about Iranian support for Hezbollah for years. I think you're -- you know, there are two different sets of issues involved in terms of what policy responses people might choose, and they are very, very different in this regard. So it's an apples and oranges, one a gathering situation that there was a great deal of concern about in terms of what we didn't know, what we were deceived and denied about, and -- so there was a high probability impact in terms of what was being denied to us that caused us a great deal of concern. And in the Iranian case, I think there's been steady work and understanding of the Iranian phenomenon both on the nuclear and the ballistic missile side, and in the classified context that we've talked to you over the years on chemical and biological weapons as well, that Iran poses problems, to be sure, things we've talked to you about consistently year in and year out. What you do about them and what policy solutions you choose is up for you and others to decide.
ADM. JACOBY: Sir, I'd leave the same in terms of the capabilities discussion.
I think one thing that's more crystal clear to us this year, although it would have been projected last year, is the hard-liners and reformists situation. I think it's very clear coming out of the elections that the reform movement has lost momentum, lost steam, and so we need to be putting the capabilities discussion in the context of continued hard-line leadership.
MR. TENET: Senator Rockefeller, can I make just one other point on this?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Yeah, because I would like it -- I have two seconds left --
MR. TENET: Sorry.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: -- simply because it seems to me you're both avoiding the obvious question that I'm answering -- that I'm asking. What it looks like today, what it looked like a year ago; what would you do? You say, well, slough it off to the policymakers. That's a little harder argument to make these days than it was before.
MR. TENET: Well, sir, I would say that what we're doing with Iran today -- and you've got an IAEA relationship. That's a positive thing. I think we need to work through that in terms of, since they've opened up and are giving us data and they're complying, that's an important way to get at their nuclear program.
There's a difference in terms of the two societies if you're going to look at -- you know, Iran has a society that had two elections, had a reform movement, has a political dialogue, has a certain amount of openness to it. So when you contemplate the fact that 63 percent of the Iranian population was born after 1979, with a new generation, it's a complicating issue in terms of how you juxtapose that kind of a society, that's trying to reform -- and while the reformers may be in tough shape, we don't want to dissuade them from picking up and continuing what obviously is a discredited clerical rule when they may go forward in the future. There's a difference between a very closed society and an open society with a political dialogue, so there are very big differences notwithstanding advances on -- you know, on nuclear issues and on support for terrorism that we've documented for years.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Warner, I have recognized you twice. The third time's the charm.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you very much. I've been waiting patiently.
I wish to commend you on your statements, gentlemen. I think they were strong, positive statements reflecting, within the executive branch, the strongest of support for your individual and collective endeavors on the world against terrorism.
We have, as a nation, nevertheless suffered some degree of loss of credibility. It's debatable. I think it's going to be recoverable in the end, but in the meantime has this in any way affected your ability to make contacts within nations other than the traditional governmental contact with your counterparts? Has the support of your counterparts been noticeably lessened, and has your ability to make your own independent contacts with other sources of intelligence lessened in any way?
We'll start with you, Director.
MR. TENET: No, sir. I would say that if we look at an example, whether it's the war on terrorism or contacts with our foreign counterparts on proliferation, no, sir; nobody has changed their attitude towards us. People are as cooperative as they've been. We're working towards a common framework. Many of our colleagues saw it the same way we did. And so, no, I see no diminution in the willingness of people to work with us in intelligence channels to get our job done.
SEN. WARNER: So the professionals who have stayed out of the fray of the political exchanges, particularly with some of the nations in Europe, and you feel that your contacts with those counterpart agency is as strong as ever?
MR. TENET: Sir, notwithstanding political differences --
SEN. WARNER: Yes.
MR. TENET: -- our relationship with our European colleagues is very, very strong. And even in cases where there are very big differences politically, terrorism is -- for example, we have very big differences of view with the French on policy issues, for example, but on terrorism, excellent cooperation across the board.
SEN. WARNER: I think that's reassuring.
MR. MUELLER: I would agree. Over the last couple of weeks, I've had opportunities to meet with counterparts from France, Germany. Yesterday I met with the German Interior minister. Our relationships have been excellent with him over the last couple of years, are still superb. And with our counterparts in Germany and France, our relationships could not be better, regardless of what else happens.
SEN. WARNER: That's reassuring.
ADM. JACOBY: Senator Warner, my counterparts, if anything, are coming forward with more offers of cooperation and more opportunities as we seek them out. So no, sir, no problems.
SEN. WARNER: Director Tenet, the Armed Services Committee had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Kay, and I've also had a long discussion with General Dayton and Dr. Duelfer before he departed. Can you assure this committee that particularly your industry and that of the Department of Defense are giving the strongest of support to continuing the search for weapons of mass destruction under the Iraq Survey Group?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir. I was out in Baghdad last week, and I can tell you that it's as strong as ever. And there's a very --
SEN. WARNER: (Enough/have ?) resources and people and the like?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir. That was absolutely the case. There's a lot of work going on out there. They're doing a great job. I had the pleasure to meet with them and talk to them. They're generating a lot of leads, they're working on a lot of issues, and the cooperation is very good.
SEN. WARNER: Director Mueller, under your jurisdiction comes the seaports of Anerica. And we're very proud to have a very large one in my state. I didn't hear in your opening statement any particular emphasis on working with the local authorities and other agencies of the government in giving us the maximum protection for those ports which particularly are highly vulnerable to terrorist attack.
MR. MUELLER: Senator, I will tell you wherever we have a seaport that is a potential target, our Joint Terrorism Task Forces work exceptionally closely with our counterparts at the federal level but also at the state and local level. And in some cases -- I'm not certain -- yeah, actually, I think in Virginia Beach particularly, in that area, there have been extraordinary measures. By extraordinary, I mean measures above and beyond just the Joint Terrorism Task Force --
SEN. WARNER: I'm acquainted with that.
MR. MUELLER: -- that are taken to assure the protection of those seaports. So we have the basic level, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, but in many of our areas we have exhanced cooperative efforts.
SEN. WARNER: Good.
Admiral Jacoby, with reference to Haiti, it's a rapidly transitioning event there. What is the probability that this country could once again experience the exodus from that nation seeking refuge on our shores in the event that the instability progresses at a rate that is now, I think, just about on the brink of capitulation?
Would you give us a more in-depth survey about Haiti and the problems of the boat people again?
ADM. JACOBY: Senator, the northern half of the country basically now has been -- police posts and other government facilities have been abandoned.
We're watching closely for any preparations for exodus, sir. And I can report to you at this point that we have not seen that, nor any, you know -- you know, there are typical signals in terms of moving of boats and so forth around the northern part of the country. We haven't seen that yet. But it is certainly a concern, and it's the focus of attention.
SEN. WARNER: The -- Director Tenet, the conflict in -- between Israel and the Palestinian peoples continues to, I think, fuel a lot of discontent in that area of the world, including in far reaches into the situations in Iraq, Syria and otherwise. To what extent can you assure this committee that your agency is doing everything it can to work towards the success for the program laid down by our president, the road of peace?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, we are obviously and have been intimately involved in the past, but I must honestly tell you that we need two partners to come together to give us the ability to do much. And right now we do not have two parties of equal mind or capability or will.
So quite frankly we're watching this from a very important intelligence-gathering dimension, maintaining our contacts with both sides. But in truth, we need the Palestinian Authority to step up. We need people to come to the table, to work with us, to exert a willingness. We've laid down specific reform plans for those services, their consolidation under a single leadership, a minister of interior who reports independently to a prime minister.
We need more help, in this regard, to really get back to the point where we did the work we did in 1998, 1999, 2000. We're not there right now, Senator.
SEN. WARNER: Well, that's a frank assessment. And I wish to commend you personally for the manner in which you've met the challenges here of recent (sic), Director Tenet. They've been quite significant.
Let's move, then, to Syria. I didn't -- I though we'd have more emphasis on that situation, because the tentacles of that nation are very disturbing as it relates to our situation in Iraq and, to some extent, Iran. Could you expand on that?
MR. TENET: Sir, I'd like to talk about Syria more extensively in closed session, if I could. Obviously, the border between Syria and Iraq is something that concerns me. But I've got some things I'd prefer to talk about in closed session. And obviously there are proliferation matters here. There are matters about the continuing harboring of Palestinian rejectionist groups, whose public relations outfits may have been shut down, but the operations haven't been shut down. So there's a whole slew of issues to talk about here.
SEN. WARNER: In Afghanistan there are many positive signs, but one that concerns us greatly is the continuing proliferation of the drug trade and the dollars that flow from it, which are fueling many of the activities in opposition to the coalition forces' effort to bring about a greater degree of democracy. It seems to me that that is not receiving the proper level of attention. Could you comment on that?
MR. TENET: Sir, I'd say the following; it is an important issue. More important, we need to get the southeastern provinces along the Pakistani border and that security situation under control. While Admiral Jacoby referred to the fact that we are concerned about Taliban suicide attacks and attacks on soft targets, it is also true that the Taliban cannot operate against us in set military maneuvers because of what we do back to them.
So we've got to sort of get reconstruction moving in the right direction. President Karzai -- we have to be in the position where he offsets what people produce from narcotics with alternative programs. We have to clarify the security situation. And in a sequence, sir, I would say we've got to get there and do more, but we've got to have a sequence here that makes sense, that results in the government spreading out broader, he extending his influence onto that border with us in a better way, and then we've got to get the narcotics. It's just a sequencing issue that we have to pay attention to.
SEN. WARNER: Closeout on Osama bin Laden. Has there been any lessening, in your opinion, of the efforts by our nation and other nations to capture him or otherwise to determine his whereabouts, because that remains a very important issue to the American people, and there's so much criticism that Iraq has drained off that emphasis. I do not find that to be the case. I hope you can assure that is not the case.
MR. TENET: No lessening of the effort, sir.
SEN. WARNER: Admiral?
ADM. JACOBY: No lessening, sir.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Levin.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me ask Director Tenet first about the unsettled military and political situation in Iraq which is directly threatening our troops on a daily basis, threatens regional stability and American security.
Press reports state that CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war. My question is this: Would the transfer of sovereignty by June 30th, if there's no consensus on the procedures of governing between the transfer of sovereignty and the holding of direct elections, would that transfer of sovereignty be destabilizing?
MR. TENET: Sir, obviously this is an issue that they're all working on right now, that I don't have enough transparency into. It's between the U.N. special envoy and Ambassador Bremer.
SEN. LEVIN: I'm asking you for an intelligence assessment.
MR. TENET: Yes, sir. I think it's important to have a continuum in those agreements lashed up. I do think that moving to some transfer of sovereignty in the long term, with an idea for when elections may occur, how a transitional law, whatever body is elected, all of which has to be known and laid out in a program. And I think that will actually work to our benefit.
SEN. LEVIN: And if there is no such agreement between the transfer of sovereignty -- or before the transfer of sovereignty, then what?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, I don't -- at this moment, the civil war scenario, it's obviously something we watch very carefully. But given what I said in my statement about what I see as the increasing coming out of Sunnis, their interaction with Shi'as, I think Iraqis understand, particularly with the kind of jihadist targeting against Shi'as that's been exposed, this is not a road they want to go down.
SEN. LEVIN: There's been a number of compliments to Dr. Kay here today and before. Do you agree with Dr. Kay's -- your chief weapon inspector's statement that the consensus opinion is that the two trailers that were found were intended -- were -- there's a consensus opinion that the two trailers that were found were not intended for the production of biological weapons. Do you agree with him?
MR. TENET: No, sir. There is no consensus on that question.
SEN. LEVIN: What is your opinion?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, we have two bodies --
SEN. LEVIN: What's your own -- what is your opinion?
MR. TENET: At this moment, I'm sitting right in the middle of a big debate. I have analysts in my building who still believe that they were for BW trailers. I have Defense Intelligence Agency analysts who have posited another theory. And the community has not -- we don't have enough data and we haven't wrestled it to the ground yet.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, Vice President Cheney just a few weeks ago said the following: that those trailers were, in fact, part of the biological weapons program, and that he deems them conclusive evidence that Saddam in fact had programs for weapons of mass destruction. Do you agree with Vice President Cheney?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, I talked to the vice president after my Georgetown speech. I don't think he was aware of where we were in terms of the community's agreement on this. I've talked to him subsequent to that. I've explained the disagreements, I've told him that there's one side that thinks one thing and one side that thinks another thing. So in fairness to him I think he was going off of an older judgment that was embodied in a paper.
SEN. LEVIN: Was that older judgment the one that is still on your website?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Why is is still on your website?
MR. TENET: Sir, we just keep adding -- we had a piece of paper at a moment in time; we've added David Kay's piece of paper; I put my Georgetown speech on it for transparency in giving people a sense of where we are at any moment in time. I think it's a good thing.
SEN. LEVIN: Was the intelligence Committee's assessment -- what is the Intelligence Committee's assessment of whether or not 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta met with Ahmed al-Ani, an alleged Iraq intelligence officer in Iraq in April of 2001. What is your assessment?
MR. TENET: Sir, I know you have a paper up here that outlines all that for you. It's a classified paper. My recollection is we can't prove that one way or another.
Is that correct?
SEN. LEVIN: The Washington Post says that the CIA has always doubted that it took place. Is that correct?
MR. TENET: We have not gathered enough evidence to conclude that it happened, sir. That's just where we are analytically in the paper that -- (inaudible).
SEN. LEVIN: It's not correct then that you doubt that it took place?
MR. TENET: Sir, I don't know that it took place. I can't say that it did.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Last November the Weekly Standard published excerpts from an alleged classified document that was prepared under Secretary of Defense Feith's leadership. It was dated October 27, 2003. This document was sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee. It alleged an operational relationship between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist organization. It's become quite a cause celebre. Did the Department of Defense consult with the CIA before sending that document to the Senate Intelligence Committee?
MR. TENET: Can I just check, sir? I don't know myself. (Pause.)
Senator Levin, I have to take it for the record, there's no precise knowledge sitting behind me at this point.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Relative to the uranium allegation --
MR. TENET: I'm sorry, sir?
SEN. LEVIN: Uranium allegation, the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.
MR. TENET: Mm-hmm.
SEN. LEVIN: You took personal responsibility for the error --
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: -- in the State of the Union address.
MR. TENET: I did.
SEN. LEVIN: Even though you had apparently personally urged the NSC deputy director, Stephen Hadley, not to make that claim a few months earlier. And my question to you is this: A week before the State of the Union address, President Bush submitted an unclassified report to Congress on January the 20th, 2003.
In that document, he said that Iraq had failed to explain its, quote, "attempts to acquire uranium." So it's not just that that statement was made in the State of the Union message; it was made in a very visible, public way in a report to Congress, which the president was required to file pursuant to the legislation authorizing him to proceed to war. My question to you is whether or not you cleared that January -- the CIA cleared that January 20th document?
MR. TENET: Sir, I don't -- I do not know, and I'll take it for the record and get back to you.
SEN. LEVIN: Are you familiar with the document?
MR. TENET: Personally, no.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. My time is up.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Hagel?
SEN. HAGEL: Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Gentlemen, thank you for your testimony and time this morning.
Director Tenet, I want to refer in your testimony to the specific area that you addressed regarding economic development in Iraq. And if I may read from your testimony --
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. HAGEL: -- you noted, by next year, revenues from oil exports should "cover the cost of basic government operations and contribute several billion dollars toward reconstruction. It is essential, however, that the Iraq-Turkey pipeline be reopened and oil facilities be well protected from insurgent sabotage."
My questions are these. First, this is a --
MR. TENET: I'm sorry, sir. What page are you on? I apologize.
SEN. HAGEL: I'm working off of page 10 on the draft. It's a draft I have from yours, so I don't know --
MR. TENET: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
SEN. HAGEL: -- where it is on yours.
My first question is this is the first time I have seen in writing from any administration officials reference to contributing several billion dollars toward reconstruction. Foreign Relations Committee, other committees that I sit on and I'm aware of up here have not had the opportunity to explore that reconstruction possibility; in fact, we have been told that, most likely, the oil revenues would cover just operating costs. Now you're saying that it would add several billion dollars.
I want to address that as well as -- but you rightly, appropriately note that that's contingent upon the Iraq-Turkey pipeline reopening and the security of those facilities. If you would also address where we are on the reopening of the reopening of the pipeline. What are we doing to address your very important and significant point, that these oil revenues are absolutely contingent upon these two factors?
MR. TENET: Sir, on the where we are with the pipeline, I'll just have to come back to you. I just don't -- I have an expert here who I know knows this, and we did believe when we wrote this that it would have a contributing effect towards reconstruction. That's at least our analytical judgment. Now, if we're off by that we'll come back, but I don't think -- (to staff) -- does anybody have a different view?
(Mr. Tenet confers off mike with staff.)
MR. TENET: Sir, you -- I can't take you much farther than what I said, sir. I'm sorry.
SEN. HAGEL: Okay. Director Tenet, that's fine, and you will provide, then, answers for the record on all the points?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. HAGEL: Also I noted in your testimony on a couple of occasions you referenced, I believe this is from your statement, "managing Kurdish autonomy in a federal structure."
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. HAGEL: I then assume that means that the accepted position of the administration is that, in fact, Kurdistan is going to be an autonomous region?
MR. TENET: Sir, actually that's all being negotiated on the ground in terms of what those provisions are going to look like, how much decentralized authority and control the Kurds may or may not have.
And at this moment, it is an issue, and I posit it as an issue. But Jerry Bremer and the people on the ground are working on this right now.
So I just raise it as something that is out there that has to be dealt with. And I don't know where the process will end.
SEN. HAGEL: So as far as you know, that decision has not been made, that there, in fact -- Kurdistan will be an autonomous part of a federal system.
MR. TENET: I think, sir, this is -- I think this is a product of very fluid discussions and negotiations on the ground. All I do is raise the issue and say this is something that has to be dealt with. And I can't really posit where they are today.
SEN. HAGEL: Okay. Thank you.
On Afghanistan, picking up on a question that Chairman Warner addressed, the doubling of opium production, which is not good news for any of us, doubling of opium production last year. What's your analysis of the elections? And I would also be interested in Admiral Jacoby's answering this question as well.
MR. TENET: Well, sir, there's -- the first thing I would say is just that the loya jirga process that was recently concluded was very successful by anybody's account. Karzai did extremely well. Fahim Khan, his vice president, is backing him strongly. That's important from the Panjshiri concept, from that context, to make sure that there's unity between two communities of different stripes, even if there's -- I don't know. There's been some reporting that suggests there might be slippage in the election process because of mechanical issues. One of the other things that I say in my statement is that while warlords are something that Karzai has to deal with, they appear disunited, he appears to have a good strategy to think about dealing with them. And as these PRT teams, these reconstruction teams that NATO gets in the country, starts (sic) to get out and extend the writ of the government through assistance, it's going to make this all better. So reconstruction, we have to keep our eye on the reconstruction ball and move it forward. Karzai appears to be the most popular man in the country. And we'll see. But what's come out of this loya jirga process is the most hope for this country in many, many years.
SEN. HAGEL: I've gotten -- and I do want to get your comments, Admiral Jacoby, but I've gotten as recently as two days ago assessments from people on the ground and officials who know about what's going on over there, very significant reports of intimidation, which I know you have factored into your thinking on this, especially with the intelligence. And if you want to go deeper into that this afternoon, we --
MR. TENET: Sir, if we're talking about Taliban-based intimidation --
SEN. HAGEL: As well as other intimidation to hold people back.
MR. TENET: -- the shift in strategy is away from set pieces in fighting us, to going after NGOs, softer targets and suicide operations. So this is an issue that we have to deal with, because this is the most effective way for them to operate against us and thwart this change, particularly in the southeastern provinces and -- you know, their concern is, is that this kind of activity wedge its way up into Kabul; now you're talking about singletons who can do things. So this is something we're very mindful of. This tension exists. There's no doubt about it. I don't want anybody walking out of here thinking Afghanistan is totally safe; it's a heck of -- it's in a heck of a lot better place than it was. But this is the -- the Taliban remnants operating over the Pakistani border into Afghanistan, back and forth, is still an issue that we are dealing with quite hard.
SEN. HAGEL: I even received reports regarding the north on this as well.
But Admiral Jacoby, would you --
ADM. JACOBY: Senator Hagel, I second what the DCI just said, that last part being -- the key part for our standpoint is the ability to establish that stability and, you know, and keep the reconstruction efforts on track is absolutely the key, from our standpoint.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, thank you.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Snowe.
SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R-ME): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome all of our witnesses here today.
Director Tenet, you mentioned in your speech at Georgetown that the analysts never said there was an imminent threat with respect to Iraq. The national security strategy that was issued back in September 17th, 2002 -- the president outlined his strategy of preemption -- noted that when the threat is imminent, the nation has the right to conduct preemptive operations.
Obviously, from the president to the vice president to Secretary Powell and so on, words such as "grave threat," "a danger that is grave and growing," "a serious and mounting threat," "continuing threat" -- if it wasn't an imminent threat, in your mind, how would you have characterized or assessed the threat at that point in time?
MR. TENET: I would have characterized it as something that was grave and gathering, something that we were quite worried about, quite worried about the nature of surprise.
A second -- one of the second key judgments we said in our National Intelligence Estimate is just that we are very worried about what we don't know, not on the short side, but our concern was that through deception and denial there was much that we did not know. And given the history of deception and what the U.N. didn't find and his pattern of activity, our concern was -- is that these programs -- in fact, we state quite clearly in our estimate these programs have gotten bigger, that he has chemical and biological weapons, so that the risk calculus, I think, that you carry forward to a policymaker, who then has to think about all this, is:
Can I be surprised? I have been surprised previously. What do you want to do about it?
SEN. SNOWE: And so you would agree with the characterizations that were made by the president, the vice president, Secretary Powell, in that respect, but not with the national security strategy and -- that was issued September 17th, and the basis of preemption --
MR. TENET: Well, I've just characterized -- Senator Snowe, characterized what I think, how I was thinking about this at the time. So that's -- I haven't parsed everybody's words, and I don't want to do that.
SEN. SNOWE: Well, no, because you made a very explicit statement on that. And obviously, I think, it sends, you know, a mixed message. And as I was going back and reviewing exactly who said what when -- and I think that is important, for all of us to put it in context -- and I notice that the National Security Strategy did include -- the basis for preemptive action was an imminent threat.
So we're talking about either parsing words, nuances, what's immediate as opposed to imminent.
MR. TENET: Or where is -- where are you going to be surprised, and how soon are you going to know? And when you're surprised, are your options limited for what you may want to do about it?
And that's always, I think -- I don't want to go over into the policymakers' venue here, but I think, from our perspective, one of the things we've always worried about -- and the history matters here -- surprised in 1991 about a nuclear weapon, consistently surprised about what he didn't -- well, not surprised, but fully knowledgeable about things that he never -- as UNSCOM left in 1998, fully documenting things they could not document. And then we had things like procurement activities that caused this concern, that were clearly intended to deceive and deny; reconstruction of dual-use facilities that caused those concerns. And we'll talk about this next week --
SEN. SNOWE: Right.
MR. TENET: -- when we talk about it in closed session, but there were clear evolutions based on things that people were quite worried about. Notwithstanding the fact it wasn't all perfect and we always obviously know we're looking at trade craft now, but there's a historical context here of how we thought about this fellow that goes back eight or nine years. And that's the context we tried to bring to it.
SEN. SNOWE: No, I understand that, and obviously -- but that makes -- you know, in terms of policymakers, makes it extraordinarily difficult. When you start nuancing words -- and you were right in saying, you know, intelligence is an inexact science, and I think we all agree with that. Therefore, calibrating the threat and the types of words that are used become ever more important under that scenario.
MR. TENET: Yes, ma'am. But I will also say that, you know, whether it stands up or doesn't stand up over the course of time is something we're going to look at quite carefully when you look at the key judgments and what we said. We said he had chemical and biological weapons. We said that with high confidence. We talked about mobile production facilities. We ascribed confidence levels. But we said things quite assertively in our key judgments that caused the policymaker to have -- and look at this thing in a way that he had to -- he or she had to assess risk. Those are just the facts as we know them today.
We can go back -- and of course we will -- and look at all of this work and make judgments about did we word everything carefully, did we have the right context and everything. That's appropriate. We need to go do that as professionals. But that's the context. And then, you know --
SEN. SNOWE: But, I'm just wondering then, do you think that we made a -- we then took this action in Iraq on a lesser standard than "imminent"?
MR. TENET: Well, I don't want to go back -- see, now we're -- we're now into a realm of what all the policymakers were thinking about this, and I don't want to go back and parse their words.
But I think what we looked at -- for example, there was a question raised with me when we talked about this once before, where the question was raised -- Isn't Kim Jong Il a more immediate threat than Saddam Hussein is? And my answer at the time was, Kim Jong Il's progress in the developing of these weapons have left us with little option to deal with him in a very complicated environment.
If you go back and look, for example -- let's just look at where we are today for purposes of the argument. If you go back and look at -- just look at -- I know we didn't find chemical and biological weapons. Look at the ballistic missile program, and in fact we were dead on in terms of where that was going. So let's posit, for example, that -- as David Kay did in his interim report, that if he had seed stocks, he could quickly surge to produce biological weapons with a ballistic missile. Now, what do you do about that? Do you do something about it now or do you wait for it to get more difficult? And that's the conundrum we faced our policymakers with. They made a choice.
We're looking -- I obviously care a great deal about how right and how wrong we were. I've said it's neither going to be all right or all wrong. And we've never been on the ground like this before to figure it out, notwithstanding the fact that we're going to find places, to be sure, where we could have done a better job in our own tradecraft in assessing some of this. But that's the real conundrum people were left with.
SEN. SNOWE: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Chambliss.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Tenet, there's a media story out this morning that's generated a lot of emotion in folks, and it's the one --
MR. TENET: Yeah, on my part too, Senator.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: -- one relative to a name that was supposedly provided to the CIA by the Germans on one of the individuals who I believe flew into the south tower.
MR. TENET: Sir, what I'd like to do in open session is say to you, first, go back to page 186 of the Joint Intelligence Committee open study, and then go back and look at your classified report, what you did with the House Intelligence Committee and the JIC inquiry, go back and look at page 186, and then go look at the classified piece of paper in your classified report.
And then what I will tell you is, is in 1999, the Germans gave us a name, Marwan -- that's it -- and a phone number. And we didn't sit on our hands. And I'm not going to go through the rest of it in open session.
They didn't give us a first and a last name until after 9/11, with then additional data. And let me just leave it there. But I would urge you to go back and look at your unclassified and classified report because that's as far as I want to go here.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Well, you've confirmed what my sources have indicated to me, and that is that this was really piecemeal kind of information that was given to us prior to 9/11. We did not have, as this media report indicates, the name of an individual and the telephone number of an individual and asked by the Germans to follow that individual. Is that a fair statement?
MR. TENET: Sir, I'm going to be careful in open session. You've got a name, name "Joe," and here's a phone number, Joe's phone number. No last name. And then we did some things to go find out some things. Okay? We can give this all to you. Okay? We never conclusively got ???, because we didn't have enough, but we didn't sit around. But I would urge you to go look at your classified page on this. Take a look at it. That's all I want to say in open session.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Director Mueller, I was pleased to hear you talk about your Office of Intelligence that you've created. And with reference to that: You talked about the increase in translators that you have and the increase in analysts. Now, have you moved those people in there? Do you feel comfortable that you're -- where you are from a resource standpoint with regard to operating this Office of Intelligence from an intelligence gathering, translating and analyzing standpoint from a real-time perspective?
MR. MUELLER: Let me say the '04 budget, once it was passed, gave us substantial additional resources that we are bringing on board this year. We made some request also in the '05 budget. It is an ongoing process. I wouldn't say we're where we want to be at this point, but we've made substantial strides. And the monies accorded to us by Congress and the administration will by the end of this year give us the cadre of analysts that will bring us a great deal closer to our goal.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: And as you and director Tenet and Admiral Jacoby know, I have been very focused on this issue of information sharing, and with relevance to this Office of Intelligence. What is your relationship with CIA and DIA and NSA relative to sharing of that information back and forth with that office?
MR. MUELLER: Let me just -- there's one part of the previous question I didn't answer, and that was with regard to linguists. There are certain dialects we still have problems with, but we have doubled, if not tripled, our linguists in a number of the Middle Eastern languages. So we're on the way to success there.
In terms of information sharing, the Office of Intelligence, under Maureen Baginski, is an element of it, but the information sharing is at all levels of our organization. I get briefed at the 7:15 in the morning, I get a briefing at 5:00, and at those briefings I have individuals from the CIA, DHS sitting in in my briefings. I have a FBI senior supervisor sitting in at George's meetings.
We have had over the last couple of years what the 9/11 commission has called transnational intelligence operations. That is where we have operations that may have come to the attention of the agency overseas which have tendrils within the United States, and we have put together teams to address them and done it exceptionally successfully.
The exchange of information from the top down to the ranks, between our two organizations, is far better than it was before September 11th and is truly remarkable.
The advent of the TTIC, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, and some other mechanisms that allow our analysts to sit together and share information from our various databases has also contributed to that sharing of information.
I'm not certain -- I can say we are not where we ultimately want to be. There are things that we are still doing in terms of communications with other agencies, communications with state and local, but we've made substantial strides. And I might let George add to that from his perspective if you'll give me that opportunity.
MR. TENET: I think that the power of the integration, Senator Chambliss, particularly in TTIC, where now you have 14 databases -- there are FBI criminal files, there is CIA operational traffic in addition to data from all other places -- coming together in one place for purposes of doing threat analysis is an unprecedented development. Now to be sure, we have a long way to go to achieve everything we want to achieve, but from where we were in setting up this organization to where we are today, particularly -- and then when you look at what we're doing across the community, particularly with FBI and the intelligence community, I think -- you know, Senator Rockefeller asked the question, are you safer today? Yes we are in this regard because of the advances that we've made. You know, you can't protect against everything, but we are in much better shape than we've ever been.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Are those computers talking to each other as well as people talking to each other?
MR. MUELLER: There are communications systems that are talking to each other, yes.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Feinstein?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Tenet, I'm going to follow up on what Senator Snowe began. Of the key judgments in the unclassified version of the NIE, I want to read three --
MR. TENET: Uh-huh.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: -- and then I want to ask you what your judgment is today about these three.
The first is that Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons. That's right at the top. The second is Baghdad has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard, sarin, cyclosarin and VX. And the third is, all key aspects -- R&D, production and weaponization -- of Iraq's offensive BW program are active, and most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.
What is your view of these judgments today?
MR. TENET: Yes, ma'am. Well, I'm going to go -- I want to go back to what I said at Georgetown because -- (fixes microphone) -- I'm sorry -- go back to what I said at Georgetown because I did give provisional judgments in that speech on each of these.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: No, I'm asking for your view, the intelligence community's view today.
MR. TENET: Well, I don't --
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Are these in the hands of someone else or are they nonexistent then? Are they hidden? What is your best judgment today?
MR. TENET: Well, I have to tell you, I don't want to guess, but I think that we still -- we are still looking with ISG on the ground. Let me give you an example.
When David Kay first came back, he came back and told us about clandestine BW research facilities controlled by the Iraqi Intelligence Service that we didn't know anything about. Now the question for us is, what does that mean? Are there production facilities that the IIS controlled? And the truth is is we're still working through people and documents, and at this point I tried to, in the speech I gave, to convey where I thought we were.
But what we will do when Charlie Duelfer raises his hand and says that's about as much as we can do, we have to write another National Intelligence Estimate that will take all of this data on board and form out what we found and ask our analysts to say what would you say today on the basis of all the data that you have at your disposal.
We have not said, take -- yet said, take the initial October 30th report, or whenever he was here, and said, rack and stack there against your judgments; what would this have done, if you'd known about all these BW finds, what would this have done to your judgments at the time. We simply haven't done that yet.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: (Pause.) Well, I mean, I'm one for whom this is very difficult, because there are very positive judgments made in this report. And we all know what the result has been. And, you know, people voted to authorize use of force based on what we read in these reports. And I think when Doctor -- when we send our military out and find nothing, and then Dr. Kay goes over and finds nothing, for the intelligence community, I guess you believe something's going to materialize. I -- you know, in terms of weaponization and deployment, and then finding nothing, it's a pretty bitter pill to swallow with respect to the value of intelligence, particularly in a preemptive war.
MR. TENET: Well, Senator Feinstein, we're going to talk about this more next week. I'm now looking at all of this as you're looking at all of this. As a professional, I care about whether we're right or wrong, how we did our tradecraft, what we believed. Analysts sat down, and the three individuals, primarily our national intelligence officers who wrote this, have been doing this for a very long time. They believe what they wrote. They didn't do it cavalierly, and they didn't do it frivolously, and they believe they had a connective logic and a tissue to get them to their judgments.
So I believe you have to keep working and looking. I believe you have to know whether this material may have slipped over a border or fallen into somebody's hands, or may be used by insurgents against us at some point. We have a responsibility to keep doing this. And we really didn't take charge of this until July. And it's -- we're spending a lot of money, and we've got a lot of people doing it. But from a professional perspective, we'd darn well better know one way or another and be damn honest about it at the end of the day, because we have that responsibility. And that's how we feel about it.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Thank you. I'd like to continue that this afternoon.
Director Mueller, good morning.
MR. MUELLER: Good morning.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: The Patriot Act gave your agency new authorities, both as a law enforcement agency and an intelligence agency. I'd like you just briefly to outline how you're using these authorities, particularly those which help you work as part of the intelligence community, such as information sharing, and if you could identify any gaps that remain that need strengthening.
MR. MUELLER: Well, let me start with the principal benefit of the Patriot Act to our efforts to protect against another 9/11 has been the breaking down of walls between the intelligence community and the law enforcement community. Not all of the breaking down of those walls is attributable to the Patriot Act. Some of it is attributable to the decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court.
Prior to September 11th, the exchange of information between the intelligence community and the law enforcement community was inhibited by statutes and by court rulings and the like. The Patriot Act has broken down those walls. Now law enforcement, the law enforcement community can share intelligence with the intelligence community. Since 9/11, and thanks in part to the Patriot Act, the intelligence community can share intelligence with the law enforcement community.
Our biggest threat in the United States, as Mr. Tenet pointed out, is groups from overseas, who plot overseas, who plan overseas, who finance from overseas, and then send operatives into the United States to carry out an attack.
In order to be successful against these groups, we have to share the information; we have to share the information from whence it may come, whether it comes from the intelligence side, from the agency or DIA, and be able to have the decision-makers, the policymakers have in front of them the information from the intelligence community, as well as that which we may have developed in the law enforcement community in the United States. And the Patriot Act has assisted us in doing that and has made us safer.
There are other relatively minor provisions of the Patriot Act that we can discuss at a latter date. But that is the principal benefit of the Patriot Act.
There are certain other issues that were not addressed in the Patriot Act. We have the lone terrorist, not affiliated necessarily with a foreign government or a foreign organization, that remains a threat and which we need some legislation on, and that legislation is pending.
But that is basically an overall view of the Patriot Act and one of the principal pieces of legislation that we are seeking.
There is one other area I will tell you that has been discussed, and that is the issue of subpoenas and our ability to get information swiftly in a terrorist investigation. Now quite often we are compelled to use national security letters, which are letters that we give to a telephone company, a credit card company, where we need information relating to a terrorist investigation. And these national security letters have nothing behind them; there is no judicial process. And all too often we find that there are companies that just say, "We'll get to it when we want to get to it." It's down the bottom of the line. And our concern is often this information, whether it be a telephone toll or financial information or credit card information, is too important to have under that scenario. So one of the things that is being addressed is our request for administrative subpoena authority, which we currently have when it comes to addressing narcotics traffickers, for instance. And so the argument is if we have that authority for narcotics cases, drug cases, doesn't it make some sense to have comparable authority when it comes to terrorist cases.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Thanks very much. My time is up.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Durbin.
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses for appearing today and for your service to our country.
Director Tenet, it is rare when speculation comes face to face with facts, but that's what has happened in Iraq. The speculation and supposition that led up to our invasion now must face certainties and near certainties that we have uncovered after spending 10 months or more on the ground in Iraq. In the words of Dr. Kay, quote, "It turns out we were all wrong." Close quote. Wrong, I might say in looking at the -- in retrospect, about the nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, their numbers, their location, their threat. It is now declassified. I mean, we were as specific as saying: Here are the most likely sites you will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And Dr. Kay has said there was nothing there.
We were wrong about the al Qaeda connection, which was alleged before our invasion of Iraq. We were wrong in speculating about the Iraqi reaction to our invasion, the flowers in gun muzzles and things that just didn't happen. We were wrong about the nature, the complexity, the timetable and the cost about rebuilding Iraq.
There are only two possible conclusions that I think we can reach. And if you have a third, please let me know. One is our intelligence operations failed in a historic way in accurately assessing the threat in Iraq and what would happen after we deposed Saddam Hussein. Or secondly, that our political leaders misled the American people in the buildup to the war. That is a very grave assertion, particularly in a democracy.
If the government misleads the governed in something as basic and grave as war and the sacrifice of American life, there can be no more serious charge made in a democracy.
Now, I read your Georgetown speech and I've tried to compare it and to figure out which side we come down on here, whether or not those who assert that intelligence failed that led to these wrong conclusions, or those who assert that intelligence didn't fail, the politicians just misstated what we told them.
Let me go to two specifics. You say on page 6 of your Georgetown speech, basically, we didn't find chemical or biological weapons.
MR. TENET: Yet.
SEN. DURBIN: On September -- all right, I'll give you that. We've gone to the identified locations, we found nothing, we've come up empty.
On September 19th, 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee, quote, "We should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons," end of quote. Now, that directly contradicts what you said at Georgetown. You said we haven't found these weapons, we don't have these weapons. Secretary Rumsfeld said we -- "Iraq has these weapons."
And then, you said in the Georgetown speech, the intelligence community, quote "never said there was an imminent threat," close quote. September 28th, 2002, President Bush in his radio address, quote: "The danger to our country is grave and it is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more, and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given," end of quote.
We can't have it both ways. If you were accurate in the information you gave to this government, then how in the world can we justify these quotes from the highest elected officials in this land before this war?
MR. TENET: Senator, you raised a bunch of issues, and I'd like to --
SEN. DURBIN: Please.
MR. TENET: -- try and walk through some of them with you. First of all, I've now worked in two administrations, Democrat and Republican. I've looked at statements about Iraq going back 10 years, so I am not going to go to people's statements. I'm going to focus on the intelligence and what we said and what we didn't say and how we believed it.
First of all, I would say to you is it's true at my Georgetown speech -- if you go back and look at Dr. Kay's interim report, he said we haven't found weapons. Obviously I said we haven't found weapons. Obviously we said we judged that he has chemical and biological weapons. We also said very clearly in the National Intelligence Estimate that in the BW arena it's bigger than it was during the Gulf War. And we also argued for patience. I also argued that it is incumbent upon us to work through this to find out whether we were all right and all wrong, because we know on the missile side that we were generally right on the mark. We did better against the UAV programs. We know that he maintained clandestine BW research facilities. If you go back and read David Kay's interim report, the punchline of course was we haven't found weapons. And after being in Baghdad last week, and talking to the men and women of ISG, they continue to have leads, they continue to have people come to them. And for the purpose of understanding as professionals whether we were right or wrong on how we did this, we need to find out.
SEN. DURBIN: May I ask you this question? If we are going to subscribe to a policy of preemption, then we have to prepare ourselves to invade countries before it is clear they are an imminent threat. And the only way you reach that conclusion is from intelligence. Now we look at the body of information gathered by our intelligence agencies leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and with hindsight we say we missed the mark. How can you build a policy of preemption on intelligence, if we were so wrong in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq? We will all concede Saddam Hussein is a bad man, and I'm glad he's out of power. But many more arguments were made to the American people to justify this invasion, and it turns out that the bulk of them were just plain wrong -- either bad intelligence or misleading the people. How can we fight a war on terrorism or have a policy of preemption based on what we have just lived through in Iraq?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, you are fighting a war on terrorism very successfully because of intelligence. You got a country called Libya to disarm because of intelligence. You got A.Q. Khan, who I said last year in my public testimony was the biggest purveyor of nuclear weapons that we had to worry about -- although I didn't name him -- and we've dismantled that network because of intelligence. We understand that the North Koreans were pursuing an alternative route to a nuclear weapon, using highly-enriched uranium, because of intelligence.
Now, we are not perfect, but we are pretty damn good at what we do, and we care as much as you do about Iraq and whether we were right or wrong. And we are going to work through it in a way where we tell the truth as to whether we were right or wrong. But at the end of the day, we followed this for eight, nine, ten years. We had deep concerns about the history, the deceit, what he didn't give the U.N. And as I said in my Georgetown speech, we worked hard after 1998 to resuscitate sources and the record was mixed, and we made judgments on a narrower band of data. This is a tough business.
SEN. DURBIN: Mr. Tenet, I'm out of time here, and I'll just say this: At some point we have to reconcile the things that you've said and the things that were said publicly by the administration. And where they are in conflict someone has to be held accountable. And I don't know if it will be done today -- not likely -- I don't know if it will be done by this committee -- I hope so. But some day in this open form of government we have to reconcile this clear conflict.
SEN. ROBERTS: Has the gentleman finished?
Let's see if we can get back. I can assure the gentleman, as the chairman of this committee, that we will continue the thorough job that we have done, and that as soon as we can work with the intelligence agencies in regards to issuing a public report we will do so. And that commitment has been ongoing from the first.
I'm also interested by the various quotes by members of Congress -- a year ago, 18 months ago, two years ago, in the previous administration -- many of which were more declarative, more aggressive and more specific than what the director has indicated, or anybody in the administration. So this is a widespread -- or this is a wide net out here in regards of the so-called use of intelligence. That will all be dealt with, and it will all be made public.
I'd like to yield now to the distinguished vice chairman for any additional questions he might have.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Mr. Chairman, thank you. I have two. And I apologize, but this is important to me. I started out my statement today by asking or just simply by saying that I'm wrestling, trying to decide whether the world is safer today than it was when we met a year ago. Director Tenet, you said that cross information, information sharing, is a lot better. Of course that's one piece. That is not a complicated question. You all three deal in different ways with that matter every day. It's either I think a yes or it's a no -- not for the purposes of securing an answer from you, but for the purposes of as a nation facing up to truth, and what therefore -- how therefore we're able to lead our people and influence our people into doing what is going to be necessary to do to make sure that we are safer in the event that we are not.
So I would -- my first question is I would repeat the question: Are we safer today in this country than we were when we met a year ago? I'd ask all three of you, briefly. I think it's a one-word answer.
MR. TENET: Yes. I'll start with yes.
MR. MUELLER: Yes.
ADM. JACOBY: Yes, sir.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Okay. Director Tenet, have you read Admiral Jacoby's testimony?
MR. TENET: I have not had a chance.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Okay, in it he says support for -- this is a quote -- he says, "support for America has dropped in most of the Muslim world. Favorable ratings in Morocco" -- this won't go on long -- "favorable ratings in Morocco declined from 77 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in the spring, and in Jordan from 25 percent in 2002 -- 25 percent to one percent in May of 2003. In Saudi, expressing confidence in the United States, they dropped from 63 percent in May of 2002 to 11 percent in October of 2003."
Now, you have just answered that the world is a safer place -- all three of you -- and with one word. Would you agree that there is some conflict that we need to be thinking about seriously in a bipartisan fashion, professionally, as people who deal with intelligence and care about and love our country, with the fact that these enormous declines of support give hint to the creation as two of you have put in your testimony, the creation of a world of jihadists -- increased jihadist activity, and as you indicated, Director Tenet, at the end of your testimony, you addressed this whole question of poverty and all that. You did it very well, as you always do, admiral. And the whole question of more fertile breeding grounds for radical political Islam is very much honest.
Now, these are impacts which don't necessarily change your answers, because they have not all yet happened. But if they are in the process of happening -- people are becoming radicalized, more anti -- want to kill Americans more, wherever they might be, or those who support Americans -- how does that differentiate or separate itself from a world being more safe?
MR. TENET: The way you differentiate it, senator, is for example let's take a place like Morocco. See, part of this is what people think of us, and part of this is what people are doing inside their own governments to reform their governments. And look at a place like Morocco, where they are committed to greater economic reform, opening society to women. You look at a place like Jordan, in terms of recently signing a free trade agreement, the kind of educational and economic opportunities the king is trying to bring into the country. So all of this -- yes, we are outlining for you this movement that I'm talking about that you have to go conquer -- half of this -- or defeat -- or bring people from alienation to believe that the society that they live in offers them educational opportunities and a way out, and therefore not make them recruitable, but it's not -- it's the process of reform in some of these societies -- their movement to change their own internal dynamic.
I mean, what's interesting in the Middle East is we are sometimes -- polling data is interesting, but we are sometimes the manifestation of their feelings about their own society and their own governments, and the fact that there's governments are aligned with us. So there's an equal push on our part to look at all these people and say, You have got to get on with the process of reform. You have got to get on with the process of economic opportunity. And this is a dynamic process. And somehow -- there isn't an American who's going to counter a Salafist message worth anything. Somehow, people also within those societies are going to have to counter those messages clerically and with their acts and their deeds, because what we're doing in the war on terrorism is quite tactical. I -- we know how to run them down. We know how to build better mousetraps. We know how to bring things together. We're just chasing many people all the time, and we're doing it better and better all the time. But the back-end strategic help for us -- it's not solely, you know, certainly not an intelligence issue, but something we warn and talk to you about in our papers -- to get people to understand that somebody has to get at the business of attacking this phenomena.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: And I would agree with that. I would also suggest that for every two or three or four or five countries that you can name, I can name about 20 where things are going in precisely the opposite direction.
MR. TENET: Yes sir.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: And I -- all I'm -- I'm raising this question not to try to score points, to put you on -- on the point, but to say we have to be honest with ourselves as professionals who deal in this field, and that we know that these -- you know, in Saudi Arabia, good luck. They're making some changes. How long? Indonesia -- you just go around the world, and we are -- we are deceiving our people if we don't let them know how tough a fight this is going to be. And I think that is what I wanted to hear from you.
MR. TENET: Well, sir --
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: And I think that you have done it in conventional ways, but not in ways that --
MR. TENET: Well, sir, I think in my statement -- I mean, I apologize, I didn't mean to interrupt you -- but I think in my statement, when I tried to give you the sense, because we're talking to the American people here -- you know, it's great that we've done great work against the central al Qaeda leadership, but this is a very important concept, we are still at war against a movement that we're going to have to get after. And just because we've been successful at preempting and stopping an enormous amount of loss of life here and around the world, there's still an enormous amount of sacrifice required if we're going to stay at this. People who say that this is exaggerated don't look at the same world that I look at. And there's going to be an enormous amount of continued focus and attention required on this issue. It's not going away any time soon.
ADM. JACOBY: Senator, if I could, that was exactly the reason that I put it in my testimony. This is -- this is about the potential. It's about the long term. It's about the kind of things that we need to, as an intelligence community, put our attention and resources, and skill mix against, because, I think you asked the question over the last year, what I'm trying to lay out in the testimony is the environment that's going to take activity by nation- states and other movements to, you know, to deal with. And we're in this for the long haul, and it's a major issue, sir.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Chambliss.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a couple of questions also. Director Tenet, I want to go back to Senator Durbin's point, because I think it is a valid point, and it's certainly been the object of where most of the criticism with reference to Iraq has been directed.
Now, after the Gulf War in '92, we know that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. We knew at that point in time that he had used those weapons of mass destruction. We have integrated individuals, we've made the searches throughout Iraq, and we have not found either evidence of destruction or disposal of the weapons that we knew he had following the Gulf War, nor have we found evidence of possession of weapons of mass destruction that may have been manufactured in the interim 10-year, 12-year period, whatever.
Now, with your experience in the intelligence community, can you draw any conclusions from those two, relative to what may have happened to either the original weapons that he possessed or weapons that may have been manufactured subject to the Gulf War?
MR. TENET: Sir, look, there are -- there are three -- there are three and four things we have to -- one, when you're talking about the kind of magnitude of things you're looking at, you're looking at things where you're talking about, particularly BW capability, it fits in people's garages. So, we're not looking at big bulk things that you're going to find quite easily. Did some of the stuff go over borders? I don't know. Some people have posited it went here or it went there. I don't know the answer to that question.
Am I surprised that, for example, given the fact that we were, we warned our military to be prepared to deal with chemical weapons, that we haven't found chemical weapons, yes, I am surprised, because we certainly believed that he would use those weapons if -- if the regime was at risk. That's what we posited -- risk, regime risk, in the warning to our military. You know, this is a great mystery to me. And one of the things we have to do quite professionally is look at this and try and figure out what happened here. And we'll find out. We may have come to different judgments.
All I'm saying is this intelligence community and the people that did this work didn't have any outcome in mind. They did it honestly. This is what they believed. And we're -- you're going to look through it and we're going to look through it, and we're going to find things that we -- we're going to find warts. For sure we're going to find things that we think could have been done better.
At the end of the day, we're going to have to ask ourselves the question, do you think they made reasonable judgments, and do you think they could have come to different conclusions? And we need a little bit of time and patience to figure all that out. I wish I could tell you I knew the answer to your question. I don't.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Is that part of what the investigative team that's still within Iraq is looking for?
MR. TENET: Yes sir.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: You're going to wish you'd never given that speech at Georgetown by the time we finish dissecting it, but in that speech, you made the quote on an issue that we have talked about over and over again, that is you said that "we did not have enough of our own human intelligence. We had difficulty penetrating the Iraqi regime with human sources."
Now, we've talked about this in private sessions, but what can you tell us today for the American public to be able to understand, are the -- or were the difficulties, number one, in penetrating the Iraqi regime, and what efforts did you make to penetrate that regime?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, after 1998 when we lost the U.N., we obviously realized that because of our intimacy and involvement with the U.N., which has since been blown in public and everybody knows it, where we were on the ground, we recognize that we had to reconstitute our own unilateral capabilities. The effort that Charlie Allen, who you know, launched on my behalf, is the associate deputy director of central intelligence.
And here's the bottom line on the HUMINT side. Yeah, we recruited a number of people. They were all on the periphery. His scientists and the people that you cared about never came out. We never got access to them in a way that would have been beneficial. And, essentially we didn't have our own kind of unilateral access that we would have all liked -- not because of a lack of effort, but because of how he ran this target, how closely he controlled this society. But at the end of the day, my judgment was we didn't have enough of our own. So, let's not make any excuses and get on with it.
But we had other HUMINT, and we had liaison reporting, and we had defector reporting, all of which is -- some of which was very interesting and compelling to us, much as we use that kind of data in terrorism or other issues. We don't dismiss people. We vetted it. Some of it we're finding today there are discrepancies in. Such is the nature of this business.
Go look at what happened in the pre-war run-up and take a look at the quality of HUMINT and support to the military, you know, this is excellent across-the-board. And General Franks would say so, and General Abizaid would say so. Different environment, different tactics, different strategy. And that's where we are, sir.
And you know, as I know, when I said in the speech we're rebuilding our human capability, this by no means means that we're there yet. I mean, we went through, as I said, you know, when I first became deputy director, there were 12 people being trained. Nobody looked at recruiting. Nobody looked at the infrastructure. Nobody much cared about it, as near as I can tell. But we've come all the way back to put ourselves in a very healthy situation, that we're going to need another five years of creativity and support to really get the country back to where it needs to be. There's no simple shortcut here.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: And what date and time was that when you became assistant director?
MR. TENET: 1995, I think, sir -- 6 -- some time. It's been so long.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Durbin.
SEN. DURBIN: Thank you. I'd like to ask both Director Mueller and Director Tenet about a concern I have, and that is that we have as our goal the integration of various agencies and cooperation of these agencies. In fact, we created Department of Homeland Security in an effort to integrate and coordinate at a higher level. And now, in his January state of the union address, the president announced the establishment of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center to coordinate threat information among the FBI, CIA, and Department of Homeland Security, merge and analyze information collected domestically and abroad.
In September of 2003, the president issued a directive creating the Terrorist Screening Center, which has a mandate to develop and maintain to the extent permitted by law the most accurate and current information possible about individuals known or suspected to be involved in terrorism.
The Terrorist Threat Integration Center is in the CIA. The Terrorist Screening Center is out of the FBI. And I asked Director Ridge the other day -- Secretary Ridge -- did you lose the battle at the table? Weren't you supposed to be the coordinating group? When they gave out stove pipes, did you lose? Were you gone that day? Tell me, how are you working to coordinate what apparently -- or to most people on the outside -- you think would all be together in one place that is now in separate agencies?
MR. TENET: Let me start if I could and make an initial distinction between collection and the analysis function. There are people that say one big, integrated agency is what we want, with integration. You therefore will have the pulling together of all these dots that everybody is looking for. But, when it comes to collection within the United States, traditionally and for very good reasons, the FBI has been the collector. When it's overseas, it has been the CIA.
When you take a subject matter such as terrorism, which requires the bringing together the information that has been collected by the CIA, and collected by the FBI because it has a transnational intelligence challenge, there has to be a mechanism, both on the operational side as well as on the analytical side to put it together.
And what the Terrorist Threat Integration Center does on the analytical side is take the information from both of our agencies and analyze it -- not collect, but analyze it, with access to all of our databases so that you can do a search, currently, within the various databases, by the persons we have assigned from the various agencies, including Department of Homeland Security, so that if you've got a subject, you want to do an analytical product, you want to analyze a threat, you have access to all the intelligence information that has been gathered by the various agencies.
When it comes to the other agency that you mentioned or the --
SEN. DURBIN: Terrorist Screening Center.
MR. MUELLER: -- the Terrorist Screening Center, the purpose of the screening center was two-fold. First of all, it's to take the various lists that were in a variety of different components and assure that you have a list that has names on it that had been vetted with properly being on that list, because things happen if you are on that list. And so it's to put together a list of those that have an association with terrorism.
But the second part of it also is when somebody comes in through the border or somebody comes to our attention, there has to be follow- up on it.
SEN. DURBIN: That seems to be --
MR. MUELLER: Within the United States, it is the joint terrorism task forces that are responsible for doing the follow-up on a person who is on that list.
SEN. DURBIN: It seems -- that suggests what we hope will be achieved, and that is the coordination of different agencies and the coordination of this information.
Now, Director Mueller, your inspector general's audit at the end of December was troubling, and I'm sure you read it, when he talked about what he found at the FBI. And he said the FBI's efforts -- this is on the FBI's efforts to improve sharing of intelligence and information.
And he stated, "The process for disseminating intelligence was ad hoc and communicated orally from manager to staff. One CIA detailee characterized the informal process as disorganized, noting that information does not flow smoothly within the FBI, let alone externally. In the eight months the CIA detailee had been at the FBI, the detailee said, quote, 'Information goes into a black hole when it comes into this building,'" closed quote.
MR. MUELLER: Well, a couple of things about that, Senator. I'd like to go back and look -- number one, it was done sometime ago, and we've made tremendous changes since then.
SEN. DURBIN: This is the report of December 2003.
MR. MUELLER: I know, but the work that went into that report was done sometime ago. But I think that is perhaps -- and I'd like to go and look at the report, because I don't have it in front of me -- but I don't think that is an accurate description of where we are.
We are not where we want to be, but we are well on the way there in terms of integrating intelligence and information within the FBI, as well as our efforts to disseminate it throughout the intelligence community.
We did not have, prior to September 11th, something called a reports officer. We have put out, since September 11th, to the intelligence community in excess, I think, of 2,000 reports now; not only reports that go out throughout the intelligence community, but also reports that are used internally within the FBI.
I would take exception to that portion of the report that you have read. I think we've made tremendous strides. As I've indicated before in answer to previous questions, we have the Office of Intelligence. I have Maureen Boginsky (sp), who has come over from NSA, as the head of the Office of Intelligence to make certain that we increase our ability to share the information within the FBI, but also without or outside the FBI. And I don't think that is a fair characterization of where we are.
SEN. DURBIN: Would you be kind enough to respond, then, if you would, in writing --
MR. MUELLER: Absolutely.
SEN. DURBIN: -- to that report from your inspector general?
MR. MUELLER: Absolutely.
SEN. DURBIN: Thank you.
SEN. ROBERTS: Admiral Jacoby, you and your analysts have done, I think, an outstanding job in keeping myself and this committee informed of our ongoing efforts to find out what happened to Captain Scott Speicher. I want to thank you for that. Could you give us an update on the current status of this effort in terms of trying to ascertain his fate?
ADM. JACOBY: Yes, Mr. Chairman. First, I looked at the most recent notification that came to Congress, and it is still basically up-to-date. What we're doing right now is there are still a relatively small number of active leads still being pursued by ISG in Iraq. There's still some forensic work being done by FBI laboratories on the (beam?) with the initials on it and some other materials that have been brought back, and we don't have a final report out from them.
It remains an active case, as I have promised you all the way through. Our assumption is that we will continue to look for Captain Speicher as if he is alive until such time as we find out otherwise. And that's where we are, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: I truly appreciate that. I think it's not only in his behalf, but for every man and woman who wears the uniform.
Director Mueller, in a speech in New York, December 19, 2002, you stated, "Worldwide, we have prevented as many as 100 terrorist attacks or plots, including a number here in the U.S."
In the year since you made that statement, or years now, how do you assess the terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland? Has it simply increased or diminished, or we're doing a lot better? You know, where are we?
MR. MUELLER: Again, this goes back to Senator Rockefeller's question of "Are we safer today than we were a year ago or two years ago?" to which the answer --
SEN. ROBERTS: But has the threat increased or diminished or changed?
MR. MUELLER: I think the threat has changed because of the taking away the sanctuary of Afghanistan, because of the taking away a number of their principal leaders. I think the threat has changed to the extent that it is much more fragmented. It is fragmented throughout the world.
And we cannot look at a relatively organized structure, hierarchy within al Qaeda, and expect that to be the nucleus of the planning for future attacks. What we can anticipate is that various groups around the world, with a desire to kill Americans, whether it be overseas or within the United States, may be planning, may be going to persons who were loosely or perhaps even closely affiliated with al Qaeda for the technical training on the explosives or the financing, but are basically random players throughout the world.
And it is a changed threat, in my mind, to the United States, no less of a threat than we had perhaps a year ago, perhaps a more significant threat. But we are safer because of the actions that have been taken against al Qaeda and the actions that have been taken by Homeland Security, by the FBI and by the CIA and by others within the United States.
SEN. ROBERTS: Director Tenet, I'm going to paraphrase -- since everybody else seems to be or has a penchant of quoting things in the press, basically I'm paraphrasing from Chairman Goss of the House Intelligence Committee in statements that he has made or allegedly made. I'll call him up and apologize later.
In regards to 1998 on, upwards to Iraqi Freedom and the kickoff of that, one of the things that the chairman indicated was everybody said we should have connected the dots; we should have done better in regards to the NIE. But he indicated that there were not many dots to connect.
And you have sort of alluded to that in regards to our collection of assets, in regards to HUMINT, in regards to MASSINT, in regards to SIGINT, that we had to go back in and reconstruct, from '98 on, what UNSCOM was doing.
And I'm extremely concerned about that, given the priority that Iraq had received by all of our national security experts. Could you sort of comment on that in regards to whether or not you think Chairman Goss pretty well nailed it on the head?
MR. TENET: Well, I don't know. Since I'm testifying in front of him this afternoon, I don't think want to take him on in open session.
SEN. ROBERTS: Okay, for the better part of --
MR. TENET: Let me go back, Senator, to the record and give you my view of it, okay, because it's that internal access that was most important. Obviously within the confines -- you've got imagery and you've got signals intelligence, which were important to us. But it's the internal-access piece that I think is the piece that created the greatest perturbation in our coverage here and our knowledge.
So let me come back to you for the record and give you my sense of it.
SEN. ROBERTS: I appreciate that. I'm going to ask you one other question and then I know you want to go to lunch. Has the intelligence community noted any increase or any diminution of Cuba's support for terrorism since September 11, 2001? And the second part of it is, what is the likelihood that the resumption of U.S. trade with Cuba could hasten the economic and political reform in Cuba?
MR. TENET: I'd respectfully take those for the record, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: All right. Thank you for coming. The hearing is closed.