CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CIA Director Gives Annual Worldwide Threat Assessment
Aired February 6, 2002 - 10:10 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go now to Capitol Hill, CIA director George Tenet in the hot seat today, facing some rather tough questions at this hour, about the attacks of 9/11, specifically why did the CIA not see them coming?
David Ensor, on Capitol Hill, with Tenet's first public testimony since the attacks that killed more than 3,000 back on 11th of September.
David, good morning.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.
This hearing is just getting underway. As you say, George Tenet is the star witness. He is the man that President Bush starts his day with every morning, for the intelligence briefing. He is one of the most influential advisers to the president, but one we almost never hear from in public.
This is annual Worldwide Threat Assessment from the CIA director. Last year, he started it by saying the major threat was al Qaeda, the organization headed by Osama bin Laden, but interestingly, none of the senators last year asked a thing about terrorism. They all wanted to talk about China last year. This year, that will be clearly different.
Let's listen in for a minute here. This is minority leader in the committee, Sen. Shelby.
SEN. RICHARD C. SHELBY (R-AL), COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER: In fact, you told us then, in most instances, we've kept terrorists off- balance, forcing them to worry about their own security, and degrading their ability to plan and to conduct operations.
Seven months after your testimony, in an attack that apparently had been years in the planning, Osama bin Laden's terrorists killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans in less than one hour.
As you know, the U.S. has an intelligence community today and a director of Central Intelligence in large part because of the Pearl Harbor disaster of December the 7th, 1941.
The fear of another Pearl Harbor provided the impetus for our establishment of a national level intelligence bureaucracy. This system was created so that America would never have to face another devastating surprise attack.
That second devastating surprise attack came on September 11th. And, as I said, it killed more Americans than did the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor.
All of us, I think, owe the American people an explanation as to why our intelligence community failed to provide adequate warning of such a terrorist attack on our soil.
After all, as Director Tenet has stated, the director of Central Intelligence is hired not to observe and to comment but to warn and to protect.
In the very near future, this committee will join with the House Intelligence Committee in an effort to provide an explanation to the American people.
Once we determine why we were caught completely by surprise, I believe we must then work together to ensure that there is no third Pearl Harbor. I'm pleased that the director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and his colleagues have joined us today.
These threat hearings are important, because understanding what the threats are is the first step toward helping our intelligence community meet the challenge of defending against them.
Mr. Chairman, these hearings also give the respective leaders within the intelligence community an opportunity to speak directly to the American people. While the bulk of the activities of the intelligence community are secret, there is a great deal we can and I think we should discuss in a public forum as you've called for today.
With that in mind, I ask each of our witnesses to address members' questions to the greatest extent possible in this open (inaudible) Not long ago, our intelligence community faced a single clear threat -- the Soviet Union and its communist allies -- against which it could devote most of its resources and attention.
With the end of the Cold War, the world situation facing our intelligence agents just underwent a fundamental change. Until that point, murky transnational threats had been only sideshows to the main event of the East versus West strategic rivalry.
Today, however, coping with an asymmetric transnational challenge, such as terrorism, has become the most important duty of our intelligence community.
To say the least, the post-Cold War period has been one of difficult transition. Even before September the 11th, we had a rocky history of intelligence failures, among them the bombing of Khobar Towers, the Indian nuclear test, the bombing of our East African embassies, the first attack on the World Trade Center building, and the attack upon the USS Cole.
Examined individually, each of these failures, tragic in their own way, may not suggest a continuing or systemic problem. But, however, taken as a whole, and culminating with the events of September the 11th, they present a disturbing series of intelligence shortfalls that I believe expose some serious problems in the structure of and approaches taken by our intelligence community.
We will have many opportunities in the very near future to discuss the structural and organizational defects inherent in our intelligence community. But for today, we should remember that understanding the threat is the first step along a road that must lead to improvements in how our nation confronts these threats.
It has become apparent that international terrorism now poses the significant threat to our national security interests at home and abroad. I will be interested to hear what our intelligence agencies believe such threats will look like in the future.
Just as militaries can face defeat if they keep trying to fight the last war, so can intelligence agencies suffer terrible strategic surprise if they spend their time trying to meet the last threat or if they try to meet new threats with the mindset, tactics and obsolete methodologies of the past.
The U.S. clearly faces unprecedented dangers today, and we will surely face new ones tomorrow. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today as we discuss these threats and how we can work together to defeat them in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Vice Chairman.
As indicated previously, we will now receive the testimony from Director Tenet. We'll ask for the other witnesses to submit their statements, and then we will proceed to questions.
DIRECTOR GEORGE TENET, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCYTENET: Mr. Chairman, I appear before you this year under circumstances that are extraordinary and historic for reasons I need not recount. Never before has the subject of this annual threat briefing had more immediate resonance. Never before have the dangers been more clear or more present.
September 11 brought together and brought home literally several vital threats to the United States and its interests that we have long been aware of. It is the convergence of these threats that I want to emphasize with you today: the connection between terrorists and other enemies of this country; the weapons of mass destruction they seek to use against us; and the social, economic and political tensions across the world that they exploit in mobilizing their followers.
September 11 demonstrated the dangers that arise when these threats converge and remind us that we overlook at our own peril the impact of crises in remote parts of the world. This convergence of threats has created a world I will present to you today, a world in which dangers exist not only in those places we have most often focused our attention, but also in other areas that demand it.
In places like Somalia, where the absence of a national government has created an environment in which groups sympathetic to Al Qaeda have offered terrorists and operational base and potential safe haven.
In places like Indonesia, where political instability, separatist and ethnic tensions and protracted violence are hampering economic recovery and fueling Islamic extremism.
In places like Colombia, where leftist insurgents who make much of their money from drug trafficking are escalating their assault on the government, further undermining economic prospects and fueling a cycle of violence.
And finally, Mr. Chairman, in places like Connecticut, where the death of a 94-year-old woman in her own home of anthrax poisoning can arouse our worst fears about what our enemies might try to do to us.
These threats demand our utmost response. The United States has clearly demonstrated since September 11 that it is up to the challenge.
But make no mistake: Despite the battles we have won in Afghanistan, we remain a nation at war.
Last year I told you that Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network were the most immediate and serious threat this country faced. This remains true despite the progress we have made in Afghanistan and in disrupting the network elsewhere.
We assessed that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups will continue to plan to attack this country and its interests abroad. Their modus operandi is to continue to have multiple attack plans in the works simultaneously and to have Al Qaeda cells in place to conduct them.
We know that the terrorists have considered attacks in the U.S. against high profile government or private facilities, famous landmarks and U.S. infrastructure nodes, such as airports, bridges, harbors and dams. High profile events, such as the Olympics or last weekend's Super Bowl also fit the terrorists' interest in striking another blow within the United States that would command worldwide media attention.
Al Qaeda also has plans to strike against U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. American diplomatic and military installations are at high risk, especially in East Africa, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Operations against U.S. targets could be launched by Al Qaeda cells already in place in major cities in Europe and the Middle East. Al Qaeda can also exploit its presence or connections to other groups in such countries as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Although the September 11 attacks suggest that Al Qaeda and other terrorists will continue to use conventional weapons, one of our highest concerns is their stated readiness to attempt unconventional attacks against us. As early as 1998, bin Laden publicly declared that acquiring unconventional weapons was a religious duty. Terrorist groups worldwide have ready access to information on chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons via the Internet, and we know that Al Qaeda was working to acquire some of the most dangerous chemical agents and toxins.
Documents recovered from Al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan show that bin Laden was pursuing a sophisticated biological weapons research program. We also believe that bin Laden was seeking to acquire or develop a nuclear device. Al Qaeda may be pursuing a radioactive dispersal device, what some call a dirty bomb.
Alternatively, Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups might also try to launch conventional attacks against the chemical or nuclear industrial infrastructure of the United States to cause widespread toxic or radiological damage.
We are also alert to the possibility of cyber-warfare attack by terrorists. September 11 demonstrated our dependence on critical infrastructure systems that rely on electronic and computer networks. Attacks of this nature will become increasingly viable option for the terrorists as they and other foreign adversaries become more familiar with these targets and the technologies required to attack them.
The terrorist threat goes well beyond Al Qaeda. The situation in the Middle East continues to fuel terrorism, anti-U.S. sentiment worldwide. Groups like the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas have escalated their violence against Israel, and the intifada has rejuvenated once dormant groups, like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. If these groups feel that U.S. actions are threatening their existence, they may begin targeting Americans directly, as Hezbollah's terrorist wing already does.
We're also watching states like Iran and Iraq that continue to support terrorist groups. Iran continues to provide support, including arms transfers to the Palestinian rejection groups and Hezbollah. Tehran also has failed to move decisively against Al Qaeda members who have relocated to Iran from Afghanistan. Iraq has a long history of supporting terrorists, including giving sanctuary to Abu Nidal.
The war on terrorism, Mr. Chairman, has dealt severe blows to Al Qaeda and its leadership. The group has been denied its safe haven and strategic command center in Afghanistan. Drawing on both our own assets and increased cooperation from allies around the world, we are uncovering terrorist plans and breaking up their cells. These efforts have yielded the arrest of nearly 1,000 Al Qaeda operatives in over 60 countries and have disrupted terrorist operations and potential terrorist attacks.
Mr. Chairman, bin Laden did not believe that we would invade his sanctuary. He saw the United States as soft, impatient, unprepared and fearful of a long bloody war of attribution. He did not count on the fact that we had lined up allies that could help us overcome barriers of terrain and culture. He did not know about the collection and operational initiatives that will allow us to strike with great accuracy at the heart of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. He underestimated our capabilities, our readiness and our resolve.
That said, I must repeat that Al Qaeda has not yet been destroyed. It and other like-minded groups remain willing and able to strike at us. Al Qaeda's leaders still at large are working to reconstitute the organization and resume its terrorist operations. We must eradicate these organizations by denying them their sources of financing, eliminating their ability to hijack charitable organizations for their terrorist purposes. We must be prepared for a long war and we must not falter.
Mr. Chairman, we must also look beyond the immediate danger of terrorist attacks to the conditions that allow terrorism to take root around the world. These conditions are no less threatening to U.S. national security than terrorism itself. The problems that terrorists exploit -- poverty, alienation and ethnic tensions -- will grow more acute over the next decade.
This will especially be the case in those parts of the world that have served as the most fertile recruiting grounds for Islamic extremist groups. We have already seen in Afghanistan and elsewhere that domestic unrest and conflict in weak states is one of the factors that create an environment conducive to terrorism.
More importantly, demographic trends tell us that the world's poorest and most politically unstable regions, which include parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, will have the largest youth populations in the world over the next two decades and beyond. Most of these countries will lack the economic institutions or the resources to effectively integrate these youth into their societies.
All of these challenges come together in parts of the Muslim world, and let me give you just one example. One of the places where they converge that has the greatest long-term impact on any society is its educational system. Primary and secondary education in parts of the Muslim world is often dominated by an interpretation of Islam that teaches intolerance and hatred. The graduates of these schools, madrasas, provide the foot soldiers for many of the Islamic militant groups that operate throughout the Muslim world.
Let me underscore what the president has affirmed: Islam itself is neither an enemy nor a threat to the United States. But the increasing anger toward the West and toward governments friendly to us among Islamic extremists and their sympathizers clearly is a threat to us. We have seen and continue to see these dynamics play out across the Muslim world.
Our campaign in Afghanistan has made great progress, but the road ahead is fraught with challenges. The Afghan people, with international assistance, are working to overcome a traditionally weak central government, a devastated infrastructure, a grave humanitarian crisis and ethnic divisions that deepened over the last 20 years of conflict. The next few months will be an especially fragile period.
Let me turn to Pakistan, Mr. Chairman. September 11 and the response to it were the most profound external events for Pakistan since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979; and the U.S. response to that, the Musharraf government's alignment with the United States and its abandonment of nearly a decade of support for the Taliban, represent a fundamental political shift with inherent political risks because of the militant Islamic and anti-American sentiments that exist within Pakistan.
President Musharraf's intention to establish a moderate, tolerance Islamic state, as outlined in his 12 January speech, is being welcomed by most Pakistanis, but we still have to confront major vested interests. The speech is energizing debate across the Muslim world about which vision of Islam is the right one for the future of the Islamic community.
Musharraf established a clear and forceful distinction between a narrow, intolerant, conflict rid division of the past and an inclusive, tolerant and peace-oriented vision of the future. The speech also addressed the jihad issue by citing the distinction the prophet Mohammed made between the smaller jihad involving violence and the greater jihad that focuses on eliminating poverty and helping the needy.
Although September 11 highlighted the challenges that India and Pakistan and their relations pose for U.S. policy, the attack on the Indian parliament on December 13 was even more destabilizing, resulting, as it did, in new calls for military action against Pakistan and subsequent mobilization on both sides. The chance of war between these two nuclear armed states is higher than at any point since 1971.
If India were to conduct large-scale offensive operations into Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistan might retaliate with strikes of its own in the belief that its nuclear deterrent would limit the scope of an Indian nuclear counterattack.
Both India and Pakistan are publicly downplaying the risks of nuclear conflict in the current crisis. We are deeply concerned, however, that a conventional war, once begun, could escalate into a nuclear confrontation. And here is a place where diplomacy and American engagement has made an enormous difference.
Let me turn to Iraq. Saddam has responded to our progress in Afghanistan with a political and diplomatic charm offensive to make it appear that Baghdad is becoming more flexible on U.N. sanctions and inspection issues. Last month, he sent Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz to Moscow and Beijing to profess Iraq's new openness to meet its U.N. obligations and to seek their support.
Baghdad's international isolation is also decreasing as support for the sanction regime erodes among states in the region. Saddam has carefully cultivated neighboring states, drawing them into economically dependent relationships in the hopes of further undermining their support for sanctions. The profits he gains from these relationships provide him with the means to reward key supporters; more importantly, to fund his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. importantly, to fund his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
His calculus is never about bettering or helping the Iraqi people.
Let me be clear: Saddam remains a threat. He is determined to thwart U.N. sanctions, press ahead with weapons of mass destruction and resurrect the military force he had before the Gulf War.
Today, he maintains his vise grip on the levers of power through a pervasive intelligence and security apparatus, and even his reduced military force, which is left than half of its pre-war size, remains capable of defeating more poorly armed internal opposition and threatening Iraq's neighbors.
As I said earlier, we continue to watch Iraq's involvement in terrorist activities. Baghdad has a long history of supporting terrorism, altering its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals.
It has also had contacts with Al Qaeda. Their ties may be limited by divergent ideologies, but the two sides mutual antipathy toward the United States and the Saudi royal family suggest that tactical cooperation between them is possible, even though Saddam is well aware that such activity would carry serious consequences.
In Iran, we are concerned that the reform movement may be losing its momentum. For almost five years President Khatami and his reformist supporters have been stymied by Supreme Leader Khamenei and the hardliners. The hardliners have systematically used the unelected institutions they control -- the security forces, the judiciary and the Guardians Council -- to block reforms that challenge their entrenched interests. They have closed newspapers, forced members of Khatami's cabinet from office, and arrested those who have dared to speak out against their tactics.
Discontent with the current domestic situation is widespread and cuts across the social spectrum. Complaints focus on the lack of pluralism and government accountability, social restrictions and poor economic performance. Frustrations are growing as the populists seize elected institutions, such as the Majlis and the presidency, unable to break the hardliners' hold on power.
The hardline regime appears secure for now because security forces have easily contained dissenters and arrested potential opposition leaders. No one has emerged to rally reformers into a forceful movement for change, and the Iranian public appears to prefer gradual reform to another revolution. But the equilibrium is fragile and could be upset by a miscalculation by either the reformers or the hardline clerics.
For all of this, reform is not dead. We must remember that the people of Iran have demonstrated in four national elections since 1997 that they want change and have grown disillusioned with the promises of the revolution. Social, intellectual and political developments are proceeding, civil institutions are growing, and new newspapers open as others are closed.
The initial signs of Tehran's cooperation in common cause with us in Afghanistan are being eclipsed by Iranian efforts to undermine U.S. influence there. While Iran's officials express a shared interest in a stable government in Afghanistan, its security forces appear bent on countering American presence.
This seeming contradiction in behavior reflects a deep-seated suspicion among Tehran's clerics that the United States is committed to encircling and overthrowing them, a fear that could quickly erupt in attacks against our interests.
We have seen little sign of a reduction in Iran's support for terrorism in the past year. Its participation in the attempt to transfer arms to the Palestinian Authority via the Karine A probably was intended to escalate the violence of the intifada and strengthen the position of Palestinian elements that prefer armed conflict with Israel.
The current conflict between Israel and Palestinians has been raging for almost a year and a half, and it continues to deteriorate. The violence has hardened the public's positions on both sides and increased the long-standing animosity between Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and Palestinian leader Arafat.
Although many Israelis and Palestinians say they believe that ultimately the conflict can only be resolved through negotiations, the absence of any meaningful security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the escalating and uncontrolled activities of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas make progress extremely difficult.
We're concerned that this environment creates opportunities for any number of players, most notably Iran, to take steps that will result in further escalation of violence by radical Palestinian groups.
At the same time, the continued violence threatens to weaken the political center in the Arab world and increases the challenge for our Arab allies to balance their support for us against the demands of their public.
Mr. Chairman, let me now turn to the subject of proliferation. I would like to start by drawing your attention to several disturbing trends.
Weapons of mass destruction programs are becoming more advanced and effective as they mature and as countries of concern become more aggressive in pursuing them. This is exacerbated by the diffusion of technology over time, which enables proliferators to draw on the experience of others and develop more advanced weapons more quickly than they could otherwise.
Proliferators are also becoming more self-sufficient, and they are taking advantage of the dual-use nature of weapons of mass destruction and missile-related technologies to establish advanced production capabilities and to conduct WMD and missile-related research under the guise of legitimate commercial or scientific activity.
With regard to chemical and biological weapons, the threat continues to grow for a variety of reasons and to present us with monitoring challenges.
On the nuclear side, we're concerned about the possibility of significant nuclear technology transfer going undetected. This reinforces our need for closely examining emerging nuclear programs for sudden leaks in capability.
On the missile side, the proliferation of ICMB and cruise missile designs and technology has raised the threat to the United States from weapons of mass destruction delivery systems to a critical threshold. As outlined in our recent national intelligence estimate on the subject, most intelligence community agencies project that by 2015 the U.S. will most likely face ICBM threats from North Korea and Iran and possibly Iraq. This is in addition to the long-standing missile forces of Russia and China. Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles pose a significant threat right now.
Mr. Chairman, Russian entities continue to provide other countries with technology expertise applicable to CW, BW, nuclear and ballistic missile and cruise missile projects. Russia appears to be the first choice of proliferant states seeking the most advanced technology and training. These sales are a major source of funds for Russian commercial and defense industries and military research and development.
Russia continues to supply significant assistance on nearly all aspects of Tehran's nuclear program. It is also providing Iran with assistance on long-range ballistic missiles.
Chinese firms remain key suppliers of missile-related technologies to Pakistan, Iran and several other countries. This, in spite of Beijing's November 2000 missile pledge not to assist in any way countries seeking to develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
Most of China's efforts involve solid propellant ballistic missiles, developments for countries that are largely dependent on Chinese expertise and materials, but it has also sold cruise missiles to countries to concern, such as Iran.
North Korea continues to export complete ballistic missiles and production capabilities, along with related raw materials, components and expertise. Profits from these sales help Pyongyang to support its missile and probably other WMD development programs and in turn generate new products to offer its customers, primarily Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iran.
North Korea continues to comply with the terms of the Agreed Framework that are directly related to the freeze on its reactor program, but Pyongyang has warned that it is prepared to walk away from the agreement if it concluded that the United States was not living up its end of the deal.
Iraq continues to build and expand an infrastructure capable of producing weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad is expanding its civilian chemical industries in ways that could be diverted quickly into CW production. We believe Baghdad continues to pursue ballistic missile capabilities that exceed the restrictions imposed by U.N. resolution. With substantial foreign assistance, it could flight test a longer range ballistic missile within the next five years.
And we believe that Saddam never abandoned his nuclear weapons program. Iraq maintains a significant number of nuclear scientists, program documentation and probably some dual-use manufacturing infrastructure that could support a reinvigorated nuclear weapons program. Baghdad's access to foreign expertise could support a rejuvenated program, but our major near-term is the possibility that Saddam might gain access to fissile material.
Iran remains a serious concern because of its across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities. Tehran might be able to indigenously produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by later this decade.
Mr. Chairman, both India and Pakistan are working on the doctrine and tactics for more advanced nuclear weapons, producing fissile material and increasing their stockpiles. We have continuing concerns that both sides may not be done with nuclear testing, nor can we rule out the possibility that either country could deploy their most advanced nuclear weapons without additional testing.
Mr. Chairman, I want to talk about Russia, China and North Korea, and then we'll go to question. I appreciate the patience, but I think it's important.
Mr. Chairman, with regard to Russia, the most striking development, aside from the issues I've just raised, regarding Russia over the past year has been Moscow greater engagement with the United States. Even before September 11, President Putin had moved to engage the United States as part of a broader effort to integrate Russia more fully into the West, modernize its economy and regain international status and influence.
This strategic shift away from a zero sum view of relations is consistent with Putin's stated desire to address many socioeconomic problems that could cloud Russia's future. During his second year in office, he moved strongly to advance his policy agenda. He pushed the Duma to pass key economic legislation on budget reform, legitimizing urban property sales, flattening and simplifying tax rates, and reducing red tape for small businesses. His support for his economic team and its fiscal rigor positioned Russia to pay back wages and pensions to state workers and amass a post-Soviet high of almost $39 billion in reserves.
He's pursued military reform. And all of this is promising, Mr. Chairman, he's trying to build a strong presidency that can ensure the reforms are implemented across Russia, while managing a fragmented bureaucracy be seth by internal networks that serve private interests. In his quest to build a strong state, however, we have to be mindful of the fact that he is trying to establish parameters within which political forces must operate. This managed democracy is illustrated by his continuing moves against independent national television companies. On the economic front, Putin will have to take on bank reform, overhaul Russia's entrenched monopolies, and judicial reforms to move the country closer to a Western-style market economy and attract much-needed foreign investment.
Putin has made no headway in Chechnya. Despite hint in September of possible dialogue with Chechen moderates, the fighting has intensified in recent months and thousands of Chechen guerrillas and their fellow mujahideen fighters remain. Moscow seems unwilling to consider the compromises necessary to reach a settlement, while divisions among the Chechens make it hard to find a representative interlocutor. The war, meanwhile, threatens to spill over into Georgia.
After September 11, Putin emphatically chose to join in the fight against terrorism. The Kremlin blames Islamic radicalism for the conflict in Chechnya and believes it to be say serious threat to Russia. Moscow sees the U.S.-led counterterrorism effort, particularly the demise of Taliban regime, as an important game in countering the radical Islamic threat to Russia and Central Asia. So far, Putin's outreach to the United States has incurred little political damage, largely because of strong domestic standing.
The same time, Mr. Chairman, Moscow retains fundamental differences with us, and suspicion about U.S. motive persist among Russian conservatives, especially within the U.S. military and the security services. Putin has called the intended U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty a mistake, but has downplayed its impact on Russia. At the same time, Moscow is likely to pursue a variety of countermeasures and new weapons centers to defeat a U.S.-deployed missile defense.
With regard to China, Mr. Chairman, I told you last year that China's drive to become a great power was coming more sharply into focus. The challenge, I said, was that Beijing saw the United States as the primary obstacle to the realization of that goal. This was in spite of the fact that the Chinese leaders at the same time judged that they needed to maintain good ties with us. A lot has happened in U.S.-China relations over the past year, from the tenseness of the EP- 3 episode in April, to the positive image of President Bush and Jiang Zemin standing together last fall, highlighting our shared fight against terrorism.
September 11th changed the context of China's approach to us. But didn't change the fundamentals. China is developing an increasingly competitive economy and building a modern military force with the ultimate objective of asserting itself as a great power in East Asia.
And although Beijing joined the coalition against terrorism, it remains skeptical of U.S. intentions in Central and South Asia. It fears we're gaining regional influence China's expense, and views our encouragement as the Japanese role, Japanese military role in counterterrorism, as the support for Japanese rearmament, something the Chinese firmly oppose.
On the leadership side, Beijing is likely to be preoccupied this year with succession jockeying, as top leaders decide who will get what positions and who will retire in the party congress, and changeover in government positions that will follow next spring. This preoccupation is likely to translate into a cautious and defensive approach on most policy issues. It probably also translates into a persistently nationalist foreign policy, as each of the contenders in the succession context will be obliged to avoid any hint of being soft on the United States.
Taiwan also remains the focus of China's military modernization programs. Over the past year, Beijing's military training exercise have taken on an increasingly real-world focus, emphasizing rigorous practice and operational capabilities, and improving the military's actual ability to use force.
This is aimed not only at Taiwan, but in increasing the risk to the United States itself in any future Taiwan contingency. China also continues to upgrade and expand the conventional short range ballistic missile force it has arrayed against Taiwan.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me say, that with regard to North Korea, the suspension last year of engagement between Pyongyang Seoul and Washington reinforced the concerns I cited last year about King Sharmakhil's (ph) intention toward us and our allies in northeast Asia, his reluctance to pursue a constructive dialogue with the south or to undertake meaningful reforms suggest he remains focus on maintaining internal control at the expense of the addressing the fundamental economic failures that keep the North Koreans mired in poverty, and pose a long-term threat to the country's stability.
North Korea's large-standing army continues to be a primary claimant on scarce resources, and we see no evidence that Pyongyang has abandoned its goal of eventual reunification of the peninsula under the North's control.
Chairman, I skipped some things and I will end there, because I think we want to move to questions as soon as you -- I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if I can just respond for a minute to both of your opening statements on the whole terrorism issue and how we proceed ahead, because I think it's important. You get to speak to the American people. So do I. And I think it's important that you hear us on this question. We welcome the committee's review of our record on terrorism.
It's important we have a record. It is a record of discipline, strategy, focus and action. We're proud of that record. We've been at war with Al Qaeda for over five years. Our collective successes inside Afghanistan is a reflection of the importance we attached to the problem and a reflection of a demonstrated commitment to expanding our human assets, technical operations, fused intelligence, seamless cooperation with the military. These are things we've been working on very hard over the last five years.
During the millennium threat, we told the president of the United States, that there would be between five and 15 attacks against American interests both here and overseas. None of these attacks occurred, primarily because of the result of heroic effort on the part of FBI and CIA inside the United States and overseas to ensure that those attacks were not successful.
A year later, the Cole was bombed. We lost the battle there.
Part of the problem that we need to address as you look at this is not only do assess what we can do unilaterally or in conjunction with our military and law enforcement colleagues, but the countries out there who often deflected us or have not recognized there was a terrorism problem, who didn't help us solve problems that we could not solve simply on our own. In the last spring and summer, we saw in the spring and summer of 2001, again, we saw spectacular threat reporting, about massive casualties against the United States. These threat reportings had very little texture with regard to what was occurring inside the United States. We, again, launched massive disruption effort.
We know that we stopped three or four American facilities from being bombed overseas. We know we saved many American lives. We never had the texture that said, the day, time and place inside the United States would result in September 11th. It was not the result of the failure of attention, and discipline, and focus and consistent effort, and the American people need to understand that.
What Tom Ridge is doing today in protecting the homeland, in thinking about border our control policies, our visa policies, the relationship between all our organizations, airport security, all of these things must be in place. Intelligence will never give you 100 percent predictive capability on terrorist events. This community has worked diligently over the last five years, and the American people need to understand, that with the resources and authorities and priorities, the men and women of the FBI and the CIA performed heroically.
Whatever shortcoming we may have, we owe to our country to look at ourselves honestly and systematically. But when people use the word "failure," failure means no focus or attention or discipline and those were not present in what either we or the FBI did here and around the world and we'll continue to work at it. But when the information or the secret isn't available, you need to make sure you're backside is protected. You need to make sure there's a security regime in place that gives you the prospect of succeeding, and that's what we need to all work on together.
The decision of the president to go inside the sanctuary and take the war to the Taliban and Al Qaeda may be the most significant thing that happened, because all of this preparation has resulted in destroying that sanctuary, even as we chase everybody around the world.
We have disrupted numerous terrorist acts since September 11th. And we will continue to do so with the FBI. And we welcome the committee's review. It is important for the American people. But how we paint it is equally important, because they need to know that there are confident men and women who risk their lives and undertake heroic risks to protect them.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Vice chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Director.
Mr. Director, we are all concerned about the aftermath of September 11th and what we are doing in order to reduce the prospects of a similarly horrific event in the future. One of the issues that you discussed the fact that Osama bin Laden did not believe that the United States would retaliate in the way it did. What was the basis of bin Laden's failure to appreciate what the consequences of his action should be, and what is your assessment of the similar feelings of other terrorist groups, or of the leaders of the nations that you've described as being the most threatening to the United States as to what U.S. response would be to their actions against the interest of the United States here in the homeland or abroad?
TENET: Well, sir, obviously, in my statement when -- I've never had a chance to talk to bin Laden. I would love the opportunity to some day. I speculate, but I think that the importance of the sanctuary -- I think he always believed it would be denied as a place where we would operate directly. And I think the importance of devastating the central command and control node can't be underestimated. The disruption that occurred is formidable. But just as you disrupt -- and Afghanistan will not be replicated other places in the world.
Other governments with whom we are working with have to step up to the challenge of recognizing that just because it is Americans who are killed -- in fact, in the World Trade Center, many, many people from many nations were killed -- their law enforcement practices, their visa control systems, their willingness to change the laws to allow us to work with them to disrupt these organizations means that what we need to tell these people is, is you cannot operate any place safely in the world, and that rather than go up and down, rather than focus.
(INTERRUPTED BY BREAKING NEWS)
HEMMER: While Susan was talking, the senators were doing their questioning. And George Tenet, the CIA director before the Senate committee. Back to Washington now and back inside that committee room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people ask these questions, we will be asking them and I know you've asked yourself those questions.
TENET: Well, sir, it's important question. But I have to tell you that when you do this every day, and we do this every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
TENET: The shock was that the attack occurred, but not the fact that -- where it occurred, not the fact that the attack occurred. So was there a piece of information that was collected that led us there? No. Did we know in broad terms that he intended to strike the United States? No doubt about that, he started in 1993. They tried to come over the border in Canada during the millennium threat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know.
TENET: The operational difficulties of what you're up against in the United States, when you take the profile of these people -- and Dale Watson should speak to this himself -- and what they showed, and how little evidence they provided to us in terms of this is something we now are evaluating, in terms of what is the profile? How do they operate? How do we start to state and local about things? What other changes need to be made? Is there some piece of -- is there a piece of information out there, sir, that nobody saw? That's not the case.
In fact, in July and August, when we saw the operational tempo around the world go down overseas, it's very clear what had been planned had been delayed. It was very clear in our own minds this country was the target. There was no texture to that feeling. We wrote about it. We talked about it. We warned about it. The nature of the warning almost spectacular. Some people thought that this was deception. It was never deception because of how much we understand the target. Did we have penetrations of the target? Absolutely. Did we have technical operations? Absolutely.
Where did the secret for the planning reside? Probably in the head of three or four people. And at the end of the day, all you can do is continue to make the effort to steal that secret and break into this leadership structure. And we have to keep working at it. There will be nothing you do that will guarantee 100 percent certainty. It will never happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What have we learned? What have you learned in the intelligence community that you can share in the open session with American people?
TENET: There are some positive things learned about for the future structure, about all of the fusion that has occurred, the federation of military intelligence and it's analysis, the fusion of how NSA, CIA and the community operates in terms of bringing all sources together, which we worked on quite hard over the last five years, the notion that you have -- people have said individual disciplines, functioning autonomously where information not shared, is simply untrue.
The importance of continuing clandestine human operations to penetrate these groups, the importance of continued cooperation with Allied countries around the world who helped you do this business is absolutely indispensable. The resources that the president has provided us to enhance our flexibility, to maximize our ability to operate is a very important lesson.
You can't operate in 68 countries without a substantial resource base, and he's given us that opportunity. So there's an extraordinary knowledge of this target. We did not start from a standing start. We wouldn't have succeeded the way we did with military and our bureau colleagues in Afghanistan if we had not known how to act, and a lot of the reforms that we've been talking about not been put in place. The relentless pursuit of this secret and the human penetration of the organizations is something that we have to continue to attempt to do, and that progress over the last five years has been substantial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, could I add a comment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: INR, as you know, is a very small organization. We're not representative of all of the bigger intelligence organizations. But I think that at least from our perspective, my perspective, I learned one important thing, is that for me, getting more money or even more people was not what I -- since I didn't get any of that -- it wasn't something that I really missed. The fact is that what I couldn't get -- couldn't have gotten by without, or my people, my experts, people that have been on the job 25-30 years, 15 years, you can't replace them with 10 rookies.
You have one old hand that might train 10 rookies, but you're not going to be able to have the rookies come in and produce right away, something you have to build for the future. I don't know about the rest of the community. I think they face the same problem we do, is that over the next 5-7 years, we're losing a good portion of our expertise. So that while we don't have a problem recruiting new people, we're going to have to work on retaining the ones that we got, and making sure before they leave us, that they leave us a legacy of students and apprentices that have learned all the tricks of the trade before they leave, and that's something that you can help the DCI and all of us, with in terms of thinking long-term with personnel.
I know it's expensive. I know it's a problem. You can't have good intelligence without good people, period.
I think that's true of all of us. Between -- by the year 2005, between 30-40 percent of the men and women at CIA will have been there for five years or less. We're about to overhaul the entire compensation and rewards system to reflect on keeping the best and the brightest and retaining expertise. But at the end of the day, people matter, and expertise is embodied in our counterterrorism and knowledge of the target can never be replaced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can help and we will help. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Roberts.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: Yes, thanks, Mr. Chairman.
There has been a nationwide alert, from time to time, the law enforcement agencies in the private sector to prepare for the possibility of attacks against the critical infrastructure facilities. I know you've had some sitdowns with the Department of Agriculture. When we asked the so-called experts, the Emerging Threats Subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee what keeps you up at night? They would refer to bioterrorism, cyberattacks, chemical warfare, a weapon of mass destruction, i.e., the dirty bomb, as you referred to, their use of explosives. But you can list 100 things, and they will do 101, because that's the definition of a terrorist.
We've had a discussion about the possibility of anybody conducting what I call "agroterrorism," or an attack on our food supply. Food security. I know when we asked the FBI what three years ago about the risk and the chance, the risk was very high in terms of chaotic results all throughout the country, and not only in farm country from an economic standpoint, but the specter of having the National Guard handing out your food supplies to people who are trying to hoard food.
My question to you is where is that in status of your worries, and what terrorist groups are the likeliest to conduct such operations?
TENET: Well, sir, first I met with secretary of agriculture last week to discuss this, to discuss a tighter relationship between us and working through this, but one of the things that we're learning -- and we'll talk a bit about it more in closed session today -- is the BW peace of this is -- seems to be more advanced than anything else. And the focus on pathogens and the development of different strains of diseases, if think about what they will try to do us, this Al Qaeda network, psychological disruption. eat away at the fabric of your people, make it difficult to detect.
When you think agroterrorism, the food process, all of those things, this is something we have to get ahead of. This is something we have to think through a lot harder, because there is vulnerability. How do you quantify this? You don't have the ability to quantify it. But you do know that you better get ahead it now, because of the way they exploit vulnerabilities.
ROBERTS: I've said that to Tom Ridge and others. It is so easy to do, and I think the results are going to be absolutely catastrophic. Let me ask you another question on assessment to the threat to the United States and our own hemisphere. If there's one area that really represents problems to the daily lives and pocketbooks of Americans, in regards to drugs, in regards to immigration, in regards to border safety, in regards to energy, because Mexico and also Venezuela do supply a great majority of our energy, not to mention Trade. It is Latin and Central America, or what we refer to as the 31 countries of the southern command.
I'm very worried about that, more particularly in regards to Venezuela and a fellow name Hugo Chavez, who I think would be another Castro. I would appreciate your assessment. You do that on page 21 of your testimony. If you could underscore that a little bit, as a threat to the U.S. within our own hemisphere, and are there organized terrorist cells in Central, South America that could carry out attacks against our country such as 9/11?
TENET: Sir, obviously Venezuela is important because they're the third largest supplier of petroleum. I would say that Mr. Chavez, and the State Department may say this, probably doesn't have the interest of the United States at heart. And, at the same time, there is a deterioration in the economic and general conditions in that country that he is responsible for. So, I think he is a tough actor for us, and maybe you want to say some more about that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems to me, and I'm not expert on Chavez or South America, but when you can't solve your basic fundamental economic problems that Venezuela faces, with the natural resources that it has available, you got to blame somebody. And I think that he's found that's easier and more politically correct for him and Venezuela to blame us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's why Castro does it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. And he also -- that's why he joins with Castro on several occasions in voicing concerns about the U.S. That doesn't bother me so much, as long as it is just words, but there are also indications that he is sympathetic and helpful to the FARC in Columbia and various other groups, so that I'm sure that all of us are going to be watching very closely to see what goes on in Venezuela and with President Chavez in particular.
ROBERTS: Let me ask you the "axis of evil" question, which has started some meaningful dialogue with our -- with our allies overseas. Or, especially our NATO allies. From a counterterrorism standpoint, what is more threatening about Iran, Iraq and North Korea in view of the president's State of the Union message than other countries that are listed as state sponsors of terrorism?
TENET: Sorry sir, what is more --
ROBERTS: What is more threatening about these countries -- I'm looking for -- obviously, the president has indicated you have to go to the source. He has put these countries on notice. There is, what I call, some meaningful dialogue now, as to what that really means, and what I'm asking you to do is to say from a threat standpoint, from a counterterrorism standpoint, what is more threatening about these countries than the others?
TENET: Well -- well sir, the -- first of all, the Iranians and their support for Hezbollah -- I mean, Hezbollah is a world-class terrorist organization, and their continued use of Hezbollah and their own surrogates is a very fundamental challenge...
ROBERTS: I'm for the speech, by the way. I just would like to get -- your take on it.
TENET: From a terrorism perspective, their continued use of both terrorist groups and their own IRGC not only to -- not only to plan terrorist acts, but to support radical Islamic groups. Radical Palestinian groups, undermine the peace process. When you couple that support with the WMD profile, ballistic missiles, nuclear capability, I mean, you have -- in a regime controlled by hard-liners, you have a series of twin issues in the convergence I talk about that poses substantial risk and challenge to the United States and we have to pay attention to it.
The North Korean piece is -- I would say is, look, the ballistic missile threat that we talked about in our estimate in my testimony, you know, every -- the Scud-Nodong exports are the basis of which so much of this ICBM capability is going to be developed, and the ability of countries to mix and match those frames and further threaten us. Not just with short range ballistic missiles, but with longer range missiles that you have to think about as becoming more prominent to you.
In the Iraqi piece, as I referenced, you know, the WMD profile I gave you, and my interest in being very careful about -- was there a convergence of interest here, between al Qaeda and the Iraqis? Don't know the answer to the question yet. Pursuing it very, very carefully. There was a press story today that said CIA dismisses these linkages. Well, you don't dismiss linkages when you have a group like al Qaeda who probably buys and sells all kinds of capabilities for people who have converging interests, whether Sunni or Shi'a.
How they mixed and matched training capabilities, safe harboring money is something we are taking a look at, so nobody dismisses anything, everybody is on the table, and these networks of terrorism should no longer be thought about purely in terms of the state's interests, what they say publicly, what their obvious interests are, and how they see the benefit in hurting the United States.
ROBERTS: I really appreciate that. Let me ask you one more question on what the coffee class -- what the coffee club in Dodge City, Kansas would ask, and that is, there have been a number of reports, either right or not, that the CIA had downgraded its human intelligence effort in the Afghan region. I know that you have stated very clearly that's not the case, that there were serious shortages of officers within the necessary language qualifications. That probably is the case, and there was a disinclination to get too close to the terrorist networks. Now, I am not trying to put that as a fact, I am just saying that is background.
But what the fellows at the Dodge City coffee class (ph) asked me is, if John Walker Lindh could get to talk to Osama bin Laden, why the heck couldn't the CIA get an agent closer to him?
TENET: Well, I am not going to do this in open session, but you better tell everybody at the cafe, it's not true.
ROBERTS: I got you. Thank you, Senator.
TENET: Senator, Mr. Chairman, may I just quickly comment. Just, I know your interest in the Department of Agriculture, and they receive all our threat warnings and the information, and additionally the Department of Agriculture detailee (ph) is with us in SYOC (ph) since 9/11, and we are considering that in our joint terrorism task force.
ROBERTS: I appreciate that, I talked with them yesterday, and they indicate that if there was a stove pipe, it doesn't exist anymore.
TENET: That's right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Bayh.
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentlemen, for being with us today. I'm grateful for your service to our country. I am reminded of, I think it was a quote put on the cover of the budget submission last year, quoting Napoleon to the effect that a well-placed spy is worth two divisions.
With the war that we're fighting today, I think that's probably an under-assessment, so what you do is vitally, vitally important. I am going to direct my questions to Director Tenet, any of the rest of you who would like to jump in, please feel free to do so.
TENET: They would love to comment too, Senator.
BAYH: I'm sure they would. I was reminded of something Abraham Lincoln also once said, Director, about your being the only one who was given the opportunity to make an oral statement. It was about being run out of town on a rail, except for the honor of thing, I would just as soon have passed it up. So, in any event, thank you for your presentation.
I am going to ask about Iran, and first like to lay the foundation here a little bit. You indicated, Director, that you had seen little change in Iran's sponsorship of terrorist activities. Based upon that, I would assume that you would still consider them to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is that true?
TENET: Yes, sir.
BAYH: You also indicated that they were involved in -- I think the quote was, "across the board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction."
Now, one of their top officials in the last several days has come out and categorically denied that they're involved in seeking chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, so I would assume that his statements are more proof of their mendacity than their innocence, in your opinion. Is there any doubt in your mind, any doubt whatsoever, that they're vigorously involved in pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
TENET: None whatsoever, Senator.
BAYH: Russia and China, you indicated, have been involved in assisting directly or indirectly these -- their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. What should we think about that? Are they -- if Iran and some of these other regimes are an "axis of evil," are Russia and China involved with enabling evil?
TENET: Well, sir, I would say that, first of all -- and they're both separate, the reasons may be different, and at times we have distinctions between government and entities. That's always -- and I don't want to make it a big distinction, but sometimes you are dealing with both those things.
BAYH: The governments in Beijing and Moscow don't have...
TENET: No sir, I didn't say that. There are instances where you have entities that are doing business, but if you look at the -- if you look at the Russian relationship with Iranians, it's a long-term -- going back to the time of the czars, and an interest in a strategic relationship there for a whole host of reasons, access to water, oil, and gas, whatever it is.
What is -- what is difficult to understand is why the minimal amount of money you would gain from those kinds of activities in generating the kind of threat they pose, not just to us, but to the Russians and Russian interests around the world, would continue to allow cooperation to occur by entities or -- with or without the government's knowledge.
Why the government can't do more to get on top of this, insure that we don't create a ballistic missile threat in the region that will only result in other countries in the region acquiring the capability. That will only result in all that, and quite frankly this is an issue of dialogue between the president...
BAYH: What's your answer to that question? It is so manifestly not in own long-term self interest?
TENET: Sir, it must be about -- it must be about their perception about how they gain influence. We haven't talked about conventional weapons and the importance of that, but you -- as you are trying to resurrect modern economy, you don't have a lot of chips to play with. Weapons are one thing you have to play with. Expertise of people, and other things, and it's incongruous in terms of on the one hand, you see a Russian behavior and some very positive things Putin -- President Putin has done in terms of reforming their economy and moving in the right direction. On the other hand, the record on proliferation that I think belies the commitment to the kind of issues and norms that we would expect them to pursue.
So, this is an ongoing discussion, but clearly expertise, foreign assistance, whether it is Russian or Chinese, is the escalator clause in anybody's ability to quickly mix and match capabilities and develop indigenous capabilities, and it is a problem, and you have to get after -- in the Chinese sense, a deeply embedded PLA interest in earning income from these kinds of activities, you have to get after strategic influence, particularly what it may buy you in places like the Middle East, where your country will have an increase in oil dependency in the future, and the thought about how you compete against the United States. But these -- they pursue these for their own reasons.
They are inimical to our own interests and relationships that we would like to establish, and they will threaten American forces and interests, so these are problem areas that we have to continue to talk about every year, and put them out in the open, because they're problems.
BAYH: It seems to me, in evaluating whether the Russians and the Chinese are truly being cooperative in the war on terror, the fight against proliferation needs to somewhere fairly up high on the list.
TENET: And it is interesting that in the war on terror, they have been cooperative. Everybody makes -- everybody checks different boxes. We have had good cooperation with the Russian and Chinese on the war on terrorism, and it is an important -- you know, this has given the president and Secretary of State an opportunity to try and transform relationships.
BAYH: What about the -- getting back to Iran for a minute. The reason I am focusing on Iran, director, is I believe that in the long run, this may be one of the foremost threats facing our country, from that regime. What's the agency's analysis of the domestic situation within Iran. You mention the fact that the moderates had won the last several elections. What's the assessment in terms of them eventually gaining more control over the security and intelligence apparatus in that country?
TENET: Well, as I noted in the statement in some detail, I think that the jury is out. I think -- you know, here is some interesting things to think about. 63 percent of the Iranian population was born after 1979. They don't have any context to judge this. There have been elections. There is a political dialogue in the country. There's a vibrancy to it. Not Iraq, in that sense. There are private relationships where these things are discussed.
At the same time, you see an immature political opposition, and the immaturity of the opposition is, I think, something to focus on, dealing with an entrenched, tough security apparatus that uses non- elected vehicles to break back and make it more difficult for a forum to occur as fast as might.
So, it is an interesting and open question, and we have to continue to follow. So, on the one hand, you have behavior on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction that you are deeply troubled about. On the other hand, there appears to be a very big opportunity with people who may want to have nothing to do with all that, or some to do with all that. The Iranians may well, in any event, want weapons of mass destruction for their own historic sensibilities of who they are in the region.
But the point is, this is a very conflicted society that is continuing to evolve, and the question is, you know, when does good overcome bad, or when do people who want reform -- how fast does the opposition mature? Who is the leader that takes them there? How does it really flow? These are very interesting, difficult questions for us to --
BAYH: I assume we are allocating significant resources to --
TENET: We are paying a lot of attention to this target, sir.
BAYH: Chairman, I have difficulty seeing the lights from here, am I -- has my time expired?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am afraid you are on the red.
BAYH: I'm on the red. Okay, very good. I would like to thank you gentlemen. Director, I would like to thank you, you're doing a very good job, and we want to help you any way we can.
HEMMER: All right, George Tenet, the CIA director, he will continue to take the question and answer. One of the most compelling bits of testimony we have heard throughout the week in all these committee hearings and meetings throughout Capitol Hill.
Clearly in George Tenet's opening statement that we heard a bit more than an hour ago, it is a dangerous world out there, as he ticked down so many different countries the U.S. right now is tracking and watching, and certainly the senators involved there have been waiting for this opportunity to ask their specific questions about safety in the U.S. and certainly what went wrong, and what slipped through the intelligence network back on the 11th of September.
David Ensor is also listening up there on Capitol Hill. And David, really, it's a who's who when you talk about Iran, and Iraq, and China, and Russia. He is hitting all the high points that so many have wanted to hear about for quite a long time.
ENSOR: Well, that's right, and unfortunately, the picture he presents is of a very dangerous world for the United States, for Americans, and for the national interests of the United States. A lot of risk out there, and it's not just from the terrorists. This is the man who briefs President Bush every morning, but we have hardly heard from him in public since September 11th, and now we are getting some of the flavor of what he has been telling the president and on what advice the president has been basing his decisions.
There was a newspaper report saying that George Tenet had recommended a rather detailed global war against terrorism. We will not hear the details in this hearing today. Those may be discussed in a closed session that will be held this afternoon, where there will probably be considerable discussion and debate. I understand that the new budget that was announced on Monday has quite a lot of new money for clandestine operations, covert operations by the CIA. That's the kind of think they don't talk about in front of us -- Bill.
HEMMER: All right, David, thanks. Stand by there. A couple of the headlines we have heard thus far from George Tenet. Quoting now one of his biggest is an unconventional attack against the U.S. With regard to al Qaeda, he says al Qaeda "has not been destroyed," his words, and we will continue to monitor his words throughout the morning and into the afternoon hours here.
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