House Armed Services Committee Hearing: Global Assessment of the Intelligence Community (Excerpts)

February 13, 2008

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OPENING STATEMENT OF

IKE SKELTON
A Congressman from Missouri

HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE;

SUBJECT: ;
CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE IKE SKELTON (D-MO);
WITNESSES: DR. THOMAS FINGAR, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ANALYSIS AND CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL; JOHN A. KRINGEN, DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY; ROBERT T. CARDILLO, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY;
LOCATION: 2118 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

BODY:

HEARING OF THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SUBJECT: GLOBAL SECURITY ASSESSMENT CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE IKE SKELTON (D-MO) WITNESSES: DR. THOMAS FINGAR, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ANALYSIS AND CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL; JOHN A. KRINGEN, DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY; ROBERT T. CARDILLO, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY LOCATION: 2118 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C. TIME: 10:00 A.M. EST DATE: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2008

REP. SKELTON: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a rainy day. Nevertheless, we will get started, and welcome to the Armed Services Committee hearing on global security environment.

We're pleased to have with us today Dr. Thomas Fingar, deputy director of National Intelligence for Analysis in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Mr. Robert Cardillo, deputy director for Analysis from the Defense Intelligence Agency; and Mr. John Krigen, director of Intelligence from the Central Intelligence Agency. Gentlemen, we welcome you.

We're in a period where we hear from each of the leadership of the Defense Department, leaders of our armed services, combat commanders as well, as they come before us to testify about their portion of the 2009 defense budget. It's our job to consider their recommendations.

This hearing is designed to provide a broad, strategic context of the overall security environment facing our country, as our committee considers those Defense budget requests. We spent a great deal of time focusing on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as you well know, but that doesn't mean that we can afford to be any less vigilant regarding the rest of the world. It's important to remember that international security is a fluid situation; we must hedge against strategic surprise, at the same time work to identify trends that could have implications for our national security down the road. Early identification of those challenges is very, very important.

We know that over the last 31 years, we have had 12 military contingencies, four of which have been major in size, none of which was anticipated very far ahead. So now, while we're fighting today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to be careful and don't become too near-sighted and fail to see what might else be out there and that's your job to discuss that with us today. So with that gentlemen, we appreciate you being with us and I ask that the remainder of my statement be placed in the record and we will proceed after we hear from Mr. Hunter, please.

OPENING STATEMENT OF
DUNCAN HUNTER

A Congressman from California

REPRESENTATIVE DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks for having this very important hearing. And gentlemen, I want to join the chairman in welcoming you this morning. What you produce and what your agencies produce is the basis upon which this committee and several other committees basically develop both systems and policies that together constitute the defense apparatus of this country. So your work is extremely important and let me go over just a couple of areas that I think we need to look at. And I would hope you could talk directly to some of these questions that arise as a result of recent developments in several areas.

One is the Pentagon's 2007 report on Chinese military developments highlights China's growing power projection and strategic forces capabilities, in particular their blue-water navy. They've got a lot of submarines under construction right now, a fairly large force, some good stuff, some nuclear attack boats now being developed, as well as very capable diesel submarines. Their ballistic development and their counter-space and cyber capabilities, which particularly should concern us, it's clear that these capabilities would extend Chinese power well beyond a Taiwan Straits scenario. And my own knowledge of these developments tell me that the president's fiscal year 2009 budget request is insufficient to counter them. So I'd like your assessment of the Chinese rationale for developing these particular capabilities and where they are in fielding robust capabilities such as those mentioned. How are those programs moving and where do you expect them to go?

As I mentioned last summer, Iran has taken enumerable steps to counter U.S. influences in the Middle East by supporting international terrorism, expanding its ballistic and anti-ship cruise missile arsenal, and testing U.S. military rules of engagement in the Strait of Hormuz. I also remain concerned about Iran's engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. And I would appreciate your assessment of the extent of Iranian influence in those countries and what you see as their thinking behind their activities with respect to those countries.

Over the last couple of months, many witnesses before the committee have remarked on the tenuous security situation in Pakistan, which is a critical partner in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. So what's your assessment of the impact that Pakistani, elections to be held next week, will have on stability there? How would you characterize the presence of Taliban elements in the federally administrated tribal areas? And what effect are those elements having on our, on the U.S. and coalition operations in Afghanistan?

In terms of functional terms of concern, I note that it appears that state and non-state actors may be posing additional non- traditional or asymmetric threats in some cases, increasing their cooperation with each other to the detriment of U.S. security interests. For example, more than 20 countries now have a ballistic missile capability, and that proliferation is occurring among both state and non-state actors. For example, last week Iran tested a space launch vehicle and wants to launch a satellite by next year. Wouldn't this technology transfer directly into a long-range missile program? Could you comment on that? And what's your assessment of the relationship between state and non-state actors in this area?

We also face the ongoing challenge of technology transfer. You've got some foreign entities coming in now with massive amounts of money to acquire American defense companies with critical capabilities that can give the U.S. military a qualitative advantage over potential adversaries. Other entities are engaged in industrial espionage. I would like our witnesses to comment on this threat, and I'd like you to comment on which countries or non-state organizations work to illicitly acquire U.S. technology with military application through foreign ownership, control, or influence and what kind of capabilities do these entities possess?

And, you know, I think this is going to be the challenge in the next five to 10 years as we see other nations, some of which could be described as having interests that are distinctly different from America's interests, with large amounts of cash obtained through trade imbalances, and now purchasing American technology companies, some of which deliver technology to the Department of Defense, some in critical areas.

Do you agree that that's going to be a challenge for the future and do you think that the current system that we have, this so-called sepias review system is adequate, or do you think that commercial industry or commercial interests are dominating the process and preventing security interest from really engaging and working this problem and being the deciding factor as to whether or not such deals are allowed?

A final example is the cyber security arena; last year, a cyber attack on Estonia raised the specter of states enlisting non-state actors to act as a proxy. The attacks against Estonia impacted communications, economic systems, and other infrastructure, which raises new concerns about the scope of potential hostile actions we might face. And the Estonia event is not an anomaly; last year, the U.K. and Germany publicly raised concerns with Chinese activity in their national systems. And the United States itself has experienced impacts from cyber activity.

As we continue our discussion of threats to U.S. national security interests, I think we've got to keep in mind that these challenges are increasing in complexity, diversity, and range. They require this committee's understanding of the global security equation and a continued effort to ensure that our forces have the necessary tools to protect and defend our security interests. So thanks a lot, gentlemen, for being with us this morning. I think that this is a very timely hearing. Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony.

REP. SKELTON: The chairman thanks the gentleman for his statement. Dr. Fingar, we recognize you and the gentlemen with you as you wish to proceed. Dr. Fingar?

OPENING STATEMENT OF
DR. THOMAS FINGAR
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ANALYSIS AND CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL

MR. FINGAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Skelton, Ranking Member Hunter, members of the committee, we thank you for this invitation to provide an assessment of our threats to the nation's security. I'm pleased to be accompanied today by a DIA deputy director for analysis, Robert Cardillo, and CIA director of intelligence, John Kringen.

As you requested, I will provide a brief overview of the threats and challenges examined at greater detail in a statement for the record which we have submitted to the committee. I was pleased to note that many of the questions raised by Mr. Hunter are addressed in the opening statement, but we'd be happy to explore them further in question and answer.

Mr. Chairman, globalization has broadened the number of threats and challenges facing the United States. For example, as government, private sector, and personal activities continue to move to network operations and our digital systems add ever more capabilities, our vulnerability to penetration and other hostile cyber action grows. The nation requires more of our intelligence community than ever before, and consequently we need to draw upon the expertise and experience of analysts inside and outside the intelligence community. My remarks today and the statement for the record reflect the coordinating judgments of the intelligence community and the efforts if literally thousands of patriotic professionals from than 16 agencies, many of whom serve in harm's way.

Mr. Chairman, in order to reserve as much time as possible for your questions, I will focus on the following areas: the continuing global terrorist threat, WMD proliferation, specifically the threat of Iran's nuclear activities, the cyber threat to the U.S. information infrastructure, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and military modernization in Russia and China.

. . .

We turn to WMD proliferation. The ongoing efforts of nation- states and terrorists to develop and/or acquire dangerous weapons and delivery systems constitute the second major threat to our safety. Over the past year, we have gained important new insights into Tehran's activities related to nuclear weapons, and the community recently published a national intelligence estimate on Iranian intent and capabilities in this area. The classified estimate is 140 pages long, has nearly 1500 source notes, and presents both our evidence and analytic tradecraft in meticulous detail. Because the two and a half page unclassified summary has been widely misinterpreted and misconstrued, I welcome this opportunity to clarify some of its key findings.

They include: Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program for many years that Tehran has never acknowledged and continues to deny. The program has three components: the production of fissile material, development of missiles to deliver nuclear weapons, and the design and development of the nuclear weapons themselves. The production of fissile material and missiles continues. Tehran halted weaponization and certain other covert activities in 2003 in response to international scrutiny and pressure, but at a minimum, is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran continues to develop technical capabilities that could be applied to the production of nuclear weapons, and we judge that it has the technical and industrial capability to produce nuclear weapons should it desire to do so. The estimate also addresses several other Iranian nuclear activities and would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have about this NIE.

Part of the WMD proliferation, I must note North Korea. North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs threaten to destabilize a region that has known many great power conflicts and compromises some of the world's largest economies. Pyongyang has already sold ballistic missiles to several Middle Eastern countries and to Iran. We are concerned that North Korea might decide to sell nuclear weapons as well.

. . .

REP. SKELTON: Mr. Cardillo, if you would pull that microphone up so it's kind of pointing right at your mouth, that would be great. Mr. McHugh for five minutes.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN M. MCHUGH (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Fingar, welcome, gentlemen. I appreciate your being here. Doctor, I appreciate your efforts to clarify the recent Iran NIE vis- a-vis the nuclear-weapons development. For those of us who had the opportunity to read the full report, it was pretty clear that there's still a significant threat as you suggest to the chair today.

I'd like to try to get a better understanding, if I could, as to the findings of the recent NIE and some other intelligence-service estimates, particularly the Israelis. When our NIE was first developed, some of us were told that from that time until now, there would be efforts to get together with the Israelis, to go over the datas. Thankfully, we routinely do and to try to see if there was some misunderstanding or a better way to come to common conclusions.

According to the open media last week, the Israeli estimate suggests -- in fact, states, if we believe the press reports -- that the Israelis feel that the Iranian nuclear-weapons development program will produce an end product by 2009. What is the status of our working with the Israelis to try to bring a firm conclusion and why do you think there's such a pretty marked difference between their findings and ours?

MR. FINGAR: I want to make sure I don't start in a direction would take us into a classified discussion, which we'd be happy to have. The starting point, I think, is we're not actually all that far apart. Our possible, but very unlikely timeline is not very different -- months -- from the Israeli, admittedly, worse case, not judged most likely, but worst case, that for reasons having to do with the nature of the threat, it is existential for them, they worst case; we have the spectrum.

It is fair to say that we -- (coughs) -- pardon me, we have a difference of terminology. When the Israelis say worst case, we would use the phrase low or moderate probability, your confidence, I should say. We don't assess to a worst case. We assess by probability or competence levels. The specific thing is, specific is what is the earliest date at which Iran could have enough fissile material for a weapon? The estimate's judgment is possible, but very unlikely by the end of 2009, more likely in the 2010-2015 timeline. The Israelis say since it could be as early as the end of 2009, that's what they have to take as -- (inaudible) -- purposes.

REP. MCHUGH: Do we all agree that that is the assumption based upon the Iranians producing their own fissile material, that they could indeed, could they not, procure that from another source and skip a whole lot of years of development in that process?

MR. FINGAR: Yes, if they procured it somewhere else, then they wouldn't have to produce it. The estimate judges that they have -- they may have acquired a small amount, but have not acquired enough for a weapon. And even if acquiring enough for a weapon, that's not a weapons capability, that to demonstrate that they've got it, they'd would have to use it, test it, and then it's gone. So it's the centrifuge program, the fissile-material production that is the main variable in this.

REP. MCHUGH: And although they have technically stopped their covert enrichment activity, they are still, ultimately, developing, enriching fissile material through a supposed civilian organization, true? The civilian development program.

MR. FINGAR: That's correct.

REP. MCHUGH: And for the purposes of creating a nuclear weapon, there's no difference, is there?

MR. FINGAR: There's a difference in terms of the degree of enrichment, but the capacity for reactor-grade fuel, the technical capability to enrich to weapons-grade is not that much more demanding.

REP. MCHUGH: And the development of a delivery system of missile and multistage rockets continues?

MR. FINGAR: Correct.

REP. MCHUGH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I didn't notice the light had changed. Thank you for reminding me.

. . .

REP. SKELTON: Mr. Sestak for five minutes.

REPRESENTATIVE JOE SESTAK (D-PA): Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I'm kind of following up on Congressman Jones' question. I was actually going to ask something similar. I was going to bring it up because I was surprised you did not talk about the threat to economic security. The intelligence communities did with the Soviet Union. I can remember many classified studies when you looked at their economy, you looked at their ethnicity, of even their army.

To the point, you brought up -- the only thing you brought up about China or Russia was their military. Specific case in point, you mentioned Taiwan and the concern. You remembered 1996. We moved two aircraft carriers off there and the missiles didn't come down. You remember three months ago where the Chinese -- (off mike) -- one person in the Chinese government -- a fairly midlevel said we might put more money into euro, and our stock market dropped 300 points.

Today, if something were to happen and they dropped their $900 billion in public debt they own, or the $1.33 trillion in U.S. reserves they have, that is more damaging to U.S. security, I would say, than potentially some of the military conflicts that are going on. And so I'm surprised that there was not any economic security issues brought forth when you -- (inaudible) -- down -- Russia's military security -- (off mike) -- military -- towards that economic challenge. I find a great disparity. And I was glad he brought it up because I do think that's a major issue.

But since I have time, you can answer it, if you'll give me another five, but I'll come back again -- let me -- the question I was taken with, sir, when you here before in the NIE is Iran. The key line in that NIE for me was this, that showing that -- and you used the words today -- it was a response to international pressure and I can't read my writing, but international pressure that they stopped.

And then your NIE went on to say it shows that Iran does do its foreign policy analysis under a rational decision-making process. That was key. Do you think in your assessment then that we should be trying to deal more diplomatically with Iran, whether it's Iraq, Afghanistan, weapons of mass destruction than we are today. And I asked you that question also, the first time you were here that I've been on this panel, with regards to your assessment that Iraq would spiral into chaos in 18 months if we withdrew in 18 months. And asked you if we had dealt with Iran at that time would it have made a difference. And you said, I'd have to think that over, but it would make a difference. So should we be approaching Iran differently than we do in view of that I thought quite insightful statement in your NIE?

MR. FINGAR: Let me make two points and invite others to come here, that I'm very glad that you pointed to that important judgment of the estimate, that the wording used was that Iran employs a cost- benefit --

REP. SESTAK: Cost-benefit analysis.

MR. FINGAR: Cost-benefit analysis. That -- and we drew a contrast with earlier assessments of the intelligence community that had Iran determined to acquire nuclear weapons sort of -- almost without regard. That was an irreversible decision, that this estimate says they pulled back on a dimension of it, and they said it was in response to this international scrutiny and pressure.

One thin that has changed since we were here with you last time is that we have begun in the embassy in Baghdad limited direct discussions with the Iranians on their involvement in Iraq. It's a mixed bag from my perspective, that these discussions do not yet appear to have produced the results that certainly I would have hoped for in terms of diminution of their provision of weaponry and involvement in Iraq. Whether one can extrapolate from that narrowly focused, by design, discussion to a larger -- if Iran could be made less concerned about its security and feel less need for asymmetric ways to enhance its security -- terrorism at one end, nukes at the other -- might other things be possible, this estimate suggests yes.

. . .

REP. LAMBORN: Well, and of course, this is not in your lane, but I saw the president's statement this morning, which he said he would not accept a 21-day extension. And I am just very perplexed by that. I mean, your statement is very clear that the current law is working. And sometimes, the legislative process is not like trains and boats on a schedule, so I don't know why there would be objection to a three- week extension if we saw that we were not able to get this completed this week. And that's what I took from your previous statement.

I wanted to ask a question about Iran. One of the issues that comes up on Iran is their discussions that they need a nuclear-energy program. And then, our response is, yes, but you're a great oil country. But then they do have some fuel shortage issues going on now. Is that correct? Would you help me understand the relationship from the energy side between their desire for nuclear energy and why they're having some struggles right now with satisfying the natural gas or whatever gasoline shortages that they have?

MR. KRINGEN: I'll let Tom talk more about the nuclear side. But on the petroleum side, the issues really are refining capacity. In other words --

MR. LAMBORN: Did you say refining capacity?

MR. KRINGEN: Refining capacity. In other words, they have to purchase a lot of their refined products from overseas because they lack sufficient domestic capacity to do so. And that reflects years of underinvestment in that capability as well as the fact that frankly they -- put this way -- cheap gasoline is regarded as a national right in Iran. And therefore, it's underpriced relative to what it could get on the world market, which means they consume more of it than they otherwise would.

MR. LAMBORN: How about natural gas as a commodity? Is that in abundant supply?

MR. KRINGEN: Just in general, yes. There are a number of programs that I would say underdeveloped now, but they have a very aggressive program to develop more natural gas in the future, some of which involves foreign investors.

MR. LAMBORN: Any comments, Mr. Cardillo or Dr. Fingar?

MR. FINGAR: Well, sir, let me just add two things. What the Iranians say -- and I know this can be taken mostly at face value is that they have oil and they have gas, which is a primary source of foreign exchange earnings. It's what they have to export to earn the wherewithal to support this large and growing population. They also argue that nuclear power would diversify their portfolio. They have very real electricity needs. I think beyond the desire to maximize exports by having alternative sources of power generation, there is a political and prestige that -- my words, not theirs -- that if they are in compliance with the international control regimes for nuclear power, then they should be allowed to have it like any other state in compliance. And I should hasten to add that they are not in compliance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions with respect to their centrifuge program.

REP. SKELTON: I misspoke. Mr. Saxton is ahead of Mr. Lamborn. Mr. Saxton for five minutes.

REPRESENTATIVE JIM SAXTON (R-NJ): Mr. Chairman, thank you. First of all, let me apologize for not having been here except for off and on all day. The votes and other things have kept some of us away. And this is obviously a very important hearing and one that we should all participate in and pay attention. I'm told while I wasn't here today, someone asked the question about the most serious threat to the American homeland and to the American citizens, and the reply was probably without a doubt terrorism.

Recently, I was doing some reading and I came across a book that talked about the mind-set of insurgents and the mind-set of terrorists, the mind-set of al Qaeda relative to where they choose to make their activities felt. And very simply stated, it said the message was that they watch for opportunities where success is likely and act on those opportunities. And they also identify, my words, targets that are too difficult to attack with some degree of certainty and avoid those targets. That makes sense to me. And I just wondered if you could talk about that in the context of today's world events and what you see happening, perhaps in Afghanistan, what you see happening in Iraq, how Pakistan may play into that theory, if you will, of watching for opportunities and acting on those opportunities, watching for targets that are perhaps too difficult attack that they might otherwise like to and avoiding those kind of targets?

MR. FINGAR: It's a very good question. I'm going to invite Ted Gistaro, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, to answer that.

TED GISTARO: Sir, I would make two points. One, as Dr. Kringen pointed out that we're seeing in Europe, al Qaeda continually puts operatives and plots into the pipeline. I think they are constantly trying to conduct attacks. We have just been very fortunate through the hard work of the United States government and our allies overseas in stopping those attacks. But they're always putting plots into the pipeline.

With regard to target selection, we know from detainee reporting that they do see the United States in particular as being a harder target, that the things that we have done offensively and defensively in this country make it more difficult for them to attack us here. Yet, that has not stopped them from trying to do so. And I would go back to the 2006 summer aviation plot that we stopped a matter of weeks from occurring. Despite everything we have done to harden our aircraft and make aircraft plots more difficult, they remain fascinated with aviation as both a target and as a weapon. And they spend a lot of times thinking creatively about how to get even at the hardest of targets.

MR. KRINGEN: If I could just add one point on the last, that leads them then to an evolution of tactics and an ability to learn. We saw in Iraq the use of suicide bombers. We're now seeing that being applied within Afghanistan, and we're now seeing it be applied within Pakistan. So they've been able to learn and adjust their tactics. In Iraq, for example, what we've seen is a real shift from what used to be vehicle bombs to now individual bombers. And that is intended, frankly, to get around the security procedures that the coalition and the Iraqi government have put in place, and to be able to go after those sorts of soft targets I think that were being alluded to in the book you referenced.

MR. : I would just add, sir, a fine point on the learning piece of it. Suicide bombers, vehicle-borne, and now what we're seeing more and more in Iraq is quite dangerous to our deployed forces are house-borne IEDs. As we go through and clear after an operation, more and more, we're seeing those now being booby-trapped and set for just that activity, to inhibit our ability to clear an area after an operation.

REP. SKELTON: Mr. Lamborn, five minutes.

REPRESENTATIVE DOUG LAMBORN (R-CO): Is that better? Okay, thank you. Let me call attention to page 12, Dr. Fingar, of your annual threat assessment. And I see something in there that frankly troubles me. And this was also part of the NIE that came out regarding the change of policy with Iran and its weaponization program, although apparently not its nuclear enrichment program in 2003 because on the page before, on page 11, it does say that in the fall of 2003, according to this, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities. And in this first full paragraph on page 12, it says we judge with high confidence that the halt was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previous undeclared nuclear work.

And something else happened in 2003, which was very momentous. Next door, in Iraq, that was the invasion of Iraq and the deposing of Saddam Hussein. And yet, here that's not even mentioned as something that would have anything to do with their apparently withdrawing from some of their weaponization plans. Don't you think that that was a factor also?

REPRESENTATIVE TRENT FRANKS (R-AZ): Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm glad we got here early. Mr. Fingar, I know that this has come up probably a number of times earlier in the hearing. And I just would like to suggest that the NIE report that we had on Iraq, even though -- I'm sorry, Iran -- even though if one reads it carefully, I think you come to a different conclusion than has been largely disseminated in the media. But I think it has caused us some pretty profound damage in terms of being able to deal with the potential of a nuclear Iran.

And so, I guess what I'd like to ask you, sir, is given just for clarity, even if it's redundant, perhaps I should put it this way: If my perspective when after reading the report that Iran, given the fact that they are continuing to enrich uranium and that everybody agrees on that -- our inspectors agree on that -- that they are not reduced even by one day their potential of gaining a nuclear capability in terms of weapons at some point. This report, even though the ostensible weapons program has been suspended, that that can be restarted at such a time when the fissible material development would be sufficient that they could continue forth if they chose. So is it true that the NIE report, if read carefully, does not mean that Iran has been reduced in their capacity even by one day in getting the nuclear weapons capability?

MR. FINGAR: I wouldn't put it exactly as you did.

REP. FRANKS: How would you put it?

MR. FINGAR: In terms of the one day, because there are things that we don't know about the state of the program. But your larger point is accurate. They have the capacity to resume a weapons program with a decision that could be made at any time. The timelines that we have that are dependent on fissile material and estimates about how long it would take to convert that material, to have it for a device, something that will explode, would suggest that yes, they are operating in a cushion where it might not make much difference. But I would like to take a few minutes of you time and ask my colleagues, because I gave a lengthy explanation. I think it's useful to hear the same kind of question approach from my colleagues.

REP. FRANKS: Okay.

MR. KRINGEN: My apologies. I would concur with Tom's statement, which is I don't think we can say it literally would not change their ability to get a weapon within a day.

REP. FRANKS: Could we not -- forgive me for the --

MR. KRINGEN: If you look at the estimated timelines for a nuclear capability, that is essentially unchanged from before. The other factor I would highlight -- and it goes back to the motivation for why we think they stopped their weaponization program had to do with their feeling under pressure at the time.

REP. FRANKS: Based on the -- (inaudible) -- we just marched into Iraq.

MR. KRINGEN: And there were all kinds of other pressures as well. The fact of the matter is, those pressures are now removed and nothing we see or know says that they have forgone forever building this capability.

REP. FRANKS: Thank you.

MR. CARDILLO: I would just add, sir, another underplayed piece of the way it was interpreted when it was released is that the decision to go nuclear, to have a weapon, is theirs. We believe they have the technical wherewithal to do so, pending that decision. And so, in great measure, that timeline is theirs.

. . .

REP. FRANKS: Well, let me ask kind of two questions at once, because I'm afraid I've run out of time, and you can each of you answer. I'll start with Mr. Fingar again. Is it possible that if Iran is able to develop a nuclear missile capability -- in other words, to develop the fissible material and to weaponize it to be something that -- to use your words -- can explode and put it on a missile, isn't it also possible that that technology can be translated fairly quickly into like a nuclear IED, in layman's terms, something that could be an ideal terrorist weapon to bring into this country in ways that could affect us in a very profound sense? And what do you think our policy should be in America as far as allowing a nuclear Iran?

MR. FINGAR: Well, again, I'll be very brief so others can comment that the ability to make a device that is deliverable by missile means you've got an ability to make something that is fairly small. And nuclear weapons, nuclear material is very hard to detect at a distance. We don't have the capability to do that. So yes, it would be worrisome.

The other point I would add though is a nuclear-armed Iran would be very destabilizing to the region. There's almost certain to be a response by some, perhaps many, of its neighbors.

. . .