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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Aired May 18, 2006 - 09:25 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in -- in the United States and around the world, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters and analysts for our special coverage of General Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings.
Happening now, anticipation in the hearing room. It's just before 9:30 a.m. here in Washington, where the president's choice to be the CIA director is about to be grilled by U.S. senators.
General Hayden is bracing for tough questions about domestic spying, wiretaps without court warrants, and the reported tracking of Americans' phone records. Will his past role at the National Security Agency hurt his chances of becoming the next spy chief?
Look for Hayden to where another controversy on his sleeve, his uniform. Some senators are concerned about keeping the CIA separate from the military.
The hearing is about to get under way. We're carrying it live.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
On Capitol Hill right now, General Michael Hayden is in the hot seat and at the center of controversy. He's been tapped to become the next CIA director after agency chief Porter Goss was, by most accounts, abruptly forced out of the job. And Hayden's past role as the architect of the National Security Agency's surveillance program is only adding to the political drama.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have promised to press Hayden about the program and whether it crosses any legal or privacy lines. Another area of questioning, whether an active duty general should be in charge of the spy agency that's traditionally been headed by a civilian.
Our national security correspondent, David Ensor, is standing by. Andrea Koppel is with us.
Let's start with Andrea. She's up in the hearing room first.
Andrea, set the scene for us. What's going on right now?
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, don't know if you can see over my shoulder there, but there are at least a couple dozen, if not more, photographers who are standing poised, waiting for General Hayden to walk in the room. The committee room itself is packed with spectators waiting for the senators and the hearing to get under way.
We expect this to last all day long today. It will start with an open session, obviously. And then as they get into more sensitive, top security intelligence issues, they plan to move into a closed session. And there is the very likely possibility, Wolf, that there will be a vote at the end of the day within the Senate Intelligence Committee itself.
One point of note, the ranking Democrat, Senator Rockefeller is actually not here today. He will be casting a vote. He's recuperating from back surgery. And so the ranking Democrat, Carl Levin, will be leading the Democratic questioning -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Andrea, stand by.
David Ensor, our national security correspondent, is watching all of this as well. He's by no means going to get a free pass, General Hayden?
ENSOR: Very tough grilling I think you can expect on the -- what exactly is the National security Agency up to in terms of its surveillance of Americans in the process of trying to catch terrorists. What is the legal justification for that?
You'll probably get some tough questions about the CIA itself. Are there secret prisons in Europe? Are they going to remain in place? What about the morale in that place?
Questions about whether General Hayden, wearing the general's uniform, can really mix it up with the Pentagon, which appears to be moving in to kind of -- into the turf of the CIA lately, human intelligence. Who's going to win that fight?
And finally, I think you're going to get some questions about really the most fundamental point for a top intelligence officer. This one, who's been so loyal to the president, when the chips are down and the intelligence doesn't fit what the president wants it to fit, will he speak truth to power -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by, David, because we have lots of questions as we watch the members gather in the Senate office building. There's General Hayden himself. He is clearly there, surrounded by photographers, meeting some of the members of the press who have gathered, also staffers, family members, others among his own staff who are there.
Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin.
There are going to be a lot of legal questions, especially his role as director of the National Security Agency after 9/11, Jeff. Once in very, very secret session they authorized these warrantless wiretaps.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Wolf, this is such an unusual situation, because the main points of controversy are two programs that have been revealed by newspapers. "The New York Times" in December revealed this program of warrantless wiretaps of international phone calls to and from the United States. And then earlier this month, "USA Today" revealed that the NSA was apparently gathering perhaps millions of records of phone calls, billing records, not the calls themselves, but the records of the calls.
Not much is known in detail about what these programs are. So it will be interesting to see how much will be disclosed, if anything, about the programs in the course of the questioning about whether they're legal or not.
BLITZER: We see the chairman, Pat Roberts, walked over to General Hayden and welcomed him into this hearing room. He's smiling right now. We'll see how long those smiles continue.
Andrea Koppel, do we expect an opening statement from General Hayden, or are the questions just going to begin?
KOPPEL: Wolf, I can tell you we're not going to get any opening statement from any of the senators, which is somewhat unusual. I can't tell you whether or not General Hayden himself may not have a few words when he sits down at the table.
But you know, one other interesting point leading up to this, we knew last week there was a tremendous amount of outrage that was expressed certainly on behalf of Democrats, even some Republicans, about the revelations of the phone records of the NSA was collecting.
Yesterday, suddenly out of the blue, after five months of stonewalling, the White House agreed to let the current director of the NSA come up here to brief the entire Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee about these surveillance programs, Wolf. Some Democrats raising questions saying, you know, they're somewhat skeptical about the timing of all of this saying -- one senior Democratic aide in fact said to me, they're going to be involved in a delicate menuet, because they're not going to be able to ask the kind of tough heated questions that they might have been able to ask before, because now they've been briefed in on this intelligence, and they're going to be restricted as to what they can say in public -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We see Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas speaking with Carl Levin. He effectively is the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. Senator Levin filling in for Jay Rockefeller, who is still recovering from some back surgery.
There's General Hayden.
Candy Crowley is here, our senior political correspondent, John McLaughlin, our national security adviser, former acting of the CIA. We're all here. We're watching all of this. John McLaughlin, you know General Hayden quite well. He's been described as a first-class, world-class man who dazzles those members of Congress who come over and meet with him. Give us a little flavor as he begins to sit down and starts answering questions. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATL. SECURITY ADVISER: I worked with General Hayden for about six years during his time as NSA director. He's all of those things. I think his trademarks are an ability to brief well, an ability to look at an organization and see what needs to be transformed. He's not a presider. He's not a manager who moves in and just sits there. He wants to change things he wants move it in a direction, and I think that's what we'll see from General Hayden.
BLITZER: And, Candy, politically, this comes at a rather awkward moment for the Bush administration, in the midst of Iraq, immigration wars, the aftermath of Katrina, the president's popularity in the polls very low.
CROWLEY: Or a good moment, which is what they're hoping, that this will rekindle what the public has always seen previously as the president's strong point, which is national security and the war on terror. So they believe that this is a good messenger for what the Bush administration has done. They believe that it'll do him some good.
BLITZER: The photographers are going to be getting down, crouching down in front of the desk over there. Pat Roberts momentarily will be beginning. In fact he's beginning right now.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS), CHAIRMAN: We're not perjuring (ph) the Fourth Estate, who obviously shines the light of darkness into truth, or whatever.
The committee will come to order.
The committee meets today to receive testimony of the president's nomination for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Our witness today is the president's nominee, General Michael B. Hayden.
Obviously, given his more than 35 years of service to our country, his tenure as director of the National Security Agency and his current position as the principal deputy director of national intelligence, why, General Hayden is no stranger to this committee and he needs no introduction to our members. In other words, we know him well.
So, General, the committee welcomes you and your guests and your family.
Your nomination comes before the Senate at a crucial and important time, because the Central Intelligence Agency continues to need strong leadership in order to protect our national security.
Now, the public debate in regard to your nomination has been dominated not by your record as a manager or your qualifications, the needs of the CIA, its strengths and its weaknesses and its future, but rather the debate is focused almost entirely on the presidentially authorized activities of another agency. The National Security Agency's terrorist surveillance program became public last December as a result of a grave breach of national security. A leak allowed our enemy to know that the president had authorized the NSA to intercept the international communications of people reasonably believed to be linked to Al Qaida -- people who have and who are still trying to kill Americans.
At that time, largely uninformed critics rushed to judgment, decrying the program as illegal and unconstitutional. I think in the interim that cooler heads have prevailed and there is now a consensus that we should not only be listening to Al Qaida communications, but we must be listening to them.
Last week, in the wake of another story, those same critics reprised their winter performance, again making denouncements and condemnations on subjects about which they know little or nothing.
Inevitably, all of the media -- all of America, for that matter -- looks to us for comment. More often than not, although very frustrating, we are literally unable to say anything.
Anyone who has ever served on a congressional Intelligence Committee has struggled with the issue of secrecy. How do we as the elected representatives of the people assure the public that we are fully informed and conducting vigorous oversight of our nation's intelligence activities when we can say virtually nothing about what we know, even though we would like to set the record straight?
The result of this conundrum is that we quite often get accused of simply not doing our job. Such accusations by their very nature are uninformed and therefore are not accurate.
Unfortunately, I have found that ignorance is no impediment for some critics. I fully understand the desire to know; I'm a former newspaper man. But I also appreciate the absolute necessity of keeping some things secret in the interest of national security.
In this regard, I am truly concerned. This business of continued leaks, making it possible for terrorists to understand classified information about how we are preventing their attacks, is endangering our country and intelligence sources and methods and lives.
I believe the great majority of American people understand this. I think they get it.
Al Qaida is at war with the United States. Terrorists are planning attacks as we hold this hearing.
Through very effective and highly classified intelligence efforts, we have stopped attacks.
The fact we have not had another tragedy like 9/11 is no accident.
But today in Congress and throughout Washington, leaks and misinformation are endangering our efforts. Bin Laden, Zarqawi and their followers must be rejoicing.
We cannot get to the point where we are unilaterally disarming ourselves in the war against terror. If we do, it will be game, set, match Al Qaida.
Remember Khobar Towers, Beirut, the USS Cole, embassy attacks, the two attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 9/11, and attacks worldwide and more to come, if our efforts are compromised.
I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead.
I have been to the NSA and seen how the terrorist surveillance works. I have never seen a program more tightly run and closely scrutinized.
When people asked on September 12th whether we were doing everything in our power to prevent another attack, the answer was no. Now, we are, and we need to keep doing it.
I have often said and I will say again, I trust the American people. They do have a right to know. I do not trust our enemies. Unfortunately, there is no way to inform the public without informing our adversaries.
So how can we ensure that our government is not acting outside the law if we cannot publicly scrutinize its actions? This institution's answer to that question was the creation of this committee.
We are the people's representatives. We have been entrusted with a solemn responsibility. And each member of this committee takes it very seriously. We may have differences, but we take our obligations and responsibilities very seriously.
Because intelligence activities are necessarily secret, the conduct of our oversight is also secret. In my humble opinion, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to telegraph to our adversaries how we intend to learn about their capabilities and their intentions.
Oversight of the terrorist surveillance program is necessarily conducted behind closed doors. The Senate Intelligence Committee has been and will continue to exercise its oversight and responsibilities related to the NSA.
Yesterday the entire committee joined our continuing oversight of the program. Each member will have the opportunity to reach their own conclusions. I have no doubt that they will. I encourage that.
As we continue our work, I want to assure the American people and all of my Senate colleagues, we will do our duty.
Now, with that said, I want to applaud the brave men and women of the intelligence community who are implementing this program. Their single focus and one and only motivation is preventing the next attack. They are not interested in the private affairs of their fellow Americans. They are interested in one thing, finding and stopping terrorists.
America can be proud of them. They deserve our support and our thanks, not our suspicion.
Since I became chairman of this committee, I have been privy to the details of this effective capability that has stopped, and if allowed to continue will again stop, terrorist attacks.
Now, while I cannot discuss the program's details, I can say without hesitation, I believe that the NSA terrorist surveillance program is legal, it is necessary, and without it the American people would be less safe. Of this I have no doubt.
Finally, I want to remind the public that this open hearing is only part of the confirmation process. When this hearing ends, this open hearing, and the cameras are turned off, the members of this committee will continue to meet with General Hayden.
It would be inaccurate to state, as one national news editorial did today, that due to the classified constraints, members will be limited in how much they can say at this confirmation proceeding.
In the following closed door and secure session, the elected representatives on this committee will have the ability to pursue additional lines of questioning and will be able to fully explore any topic that they wish.
It is my hope that during this open hearing we can at least focus to some degree on General Hayden's record as a manager, his qualifications as a leader, and the future of the Central Intelligence Agency; issues that should be equally as important to the public.
With that said, again, I welcome you to the committee. I look forward to your testimony and your answers to our members' questions. I note that Vice Chairman Rockefeller sends his deep regrets as he is necessarily absent today. In his absence, I now recognize the distinguished senator from Michigan for the purpose of an opening statement.
U.S. SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI): Mr. Chairman, thank you. Thank you for finding a way also to involve all the members of this committee in the briefings about the surveillance program which there is so much concern and discussion about.
A few of us had been briefed, at least to some extent, partly into the program, but now because of your efforts, Mr. Chairman, and your decision, every member of this committee can now have that capability. And for that I think we should all be grateful and are grateful. The nomination of a new director for the Central Intelligence Agency comes at a time when the agency is in disarray. Its current director has apparently been forced out and the previous director, George Tenet, left under a cloud after having compromised his own objectivity and independence, and of that his agency, by misusing Iraq intelligence to support the administration's policy agenda.
The next director must right this ship and restore the CIA to its critically important position.
To do so, the highest priority of the new director must be to ensure that intelligence which is provided to the president and to the Congress is, in the words of the new reform law, quote, "timely, objective and independent of political considerations."
That language described the role of the director of national intelligence. But as General Hayden himself has stated, that responsibility applies not only to the DNI and to the director of the CIA personally but to all intelligence produced by the intelligence community.
The need for objective, independent intelligence and analysis is surely as great now as it has ever been. The war on terrorism and the nuclear intentions and capabilities of Iran and North Korea could be life-and-death issues.
Heaven help us if we have more intelligence fiascoes similar to those before the Iraq war, when, in the words of the head of the British intelligence, the U.S. intelligence was being, quote, "fixed around the policy," close quote.
General Hayden has the background and credentials for the position of CIA director. But this job requires more than an impressive resume.
One major question for me is whether General Hayden will restore analytical independence and objectivity at the CIA and speak truth to power or whether he will shape intelligence to support administration policy and mislead Congress and the American people as Director Tenet did.
Another major question is General Hayden's views on a program of electronic surveillance of American citizens, a program which General Hayden administered for a long time. That is the program which has taken up a great deal of the public attention and concern in recent weeks.
The war on terrorism not only requires objective, independent intelligence analysis. It also requires us to strike a thoughtful balance between our liberty and our security.
Over the past six months, we have been engaged in a national debate about NSA's electronic surveillance program and the telephone records of American citizens. That debate has been hobbled because so much about the program remains classified. Public accounts about it are mainly references by the administration, which are selective and incomplete, or the result of unverifiable leaks.
For example, the administration has repeatedly characterized the electronic surveillance program as applying only to international phone calls and not involving any domestic surveillance.
In January, the president said, quote, "The program focuses on calls coming from outside of the United States, but not domestic calls." In February, the vice president said, "Some of our critics call this a 'domestic surveillance program.' It is not domestic surveillance."
Ambassador Negroponte said, quote, "This is a program that was ordered by the president of the United States with respect to international telephone calls to or from suspected Al Qaida operatives and their affiliates. This was not about domestic surveillance."
Earlier this year, General Hayden appeared before the Press Club where he said of the program, quote, "The intrusion into privacy is also limited: only international calls."
Now, after listening to the administration's characterizations for many months, America woke up last Thursday to the USA Today headline, quote, "NSA Has Massive Database of Americans' Phone Calls," close quote.
The report said, quote, "The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans, most of whom aren't suspected of any crime," close quote.
The president says we need to know who Al Qaida is calling in America. And we surely do.
But the USA Today article describes a government program where the government keeps a database, a record, of the phone numbers that tens of millions of Americans, with no ties to Al Qaida, are calling.
And the May 12th New York Times article quotes, quote, "one senior government official" who, quote, "confirmed that the NSA had access to records of most telephone calls in the United States, " close quote.
We are not permitted, of course, to publicly assess the accuracy of these reports. But listen for a moment to what people who have been briefed on the program have been able to say publicly.
Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, after talking about what the USA Today article did not claim said the following, quote, "It's really about calling records, if you read the story -- who was called when and how long did they talk. And these are business records that have been held by the courts not to be protected by a right of privacy. And there are a variety of ways in which these records lawfully can be provided to the government. It's hard to find the privacy issue here," Mr. Hadley said.
Majority Leader Frist has publicly stated that the program is voluntary. And a member of this committee has said, quote, "The president's program uses information collected from phone companies. The phone companies keep their records. They have a record. And it shows what telephone number called what other telephone number."
So the leaks are producing piecemeal disclosures, although the program remains highly classified.
Disclosing parts of the program that might be the most palatable and acceptable to the American people, while maintaining secrecy until they're leaked about parts that may be troubling to the public, is not acceptable.
Moreover, when Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, says that it's hard to find a privacy issue here, I can't buy that.
It's not hard to see how Americans could feel that their privacy has been intruded upon if the government has, as USA Today reports, a database of phone numbers calling and being called by tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
It is hard to see, however, if the leaks about this program are accurate, how the only intrusions into Americans' privacy are related to international phone calls, as General Hayden said at the National Press Club.
And it's certainly not hard to see the potential for abuse and the need for an effective check in law on the government's use of that information.
I welcome General Hayden to this committee.
I thank you, General, for your decades of service to our nation. I look forward to hearing your views.
I also ask that a letter from Senator Rockefeller, sent to General Hayden yesterday, be made part of the record at this point.
And I just am delighted to report to each of us and to all of his colleagues and so many friends that Senator Rockefeller's recovery from his surgery is proceeding well, on schedule. And he is not only following these proceedings but he is participating to the extent that he can without actually being here.
And I thank you again, General, for your service.
And I thank you also, Mr. Chairman.
ROBERTS: Without objection, your request is approved.
And we are delighted to hear of Senator Rockefeller's progress. And I know that, in talking with him, when he talks about the Atlanta Braves, that he's getting a lot better. (LAUGHTER)
General Hayden, would you please rise and raise your right hand?
Do you, sir, solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to provide to the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
HAYDEN: I do.
ROBERTS: General Hayden, you may proceed.
HAYDEN: Thank you, Chairman Roberts, Senator Levin, members of the committee.
Let me, first of all, thank the members of my family who are here with me here today: my wife, Jeanine, and our daughter, Margaret, my brother, Harry, and our nephew, Tony.
I want to thank them and the other members of the family yet again for agreeing to continue their sacrifices, and they know I can never repay them enough.
ROBERTS: General, if you would have them stand, why, the committee would appreciate it.
ROBERTS: Thank you for being here.
HAYDEN: And, Mr. Chairman, if it's not too much, can I also thank the people of the last agency I headed, National Security Agency?
NSA support while I was there and in the years since has been very much appreciated by me. I also deeply appreciate the care, patriotism and the rule of law that continues to govern the actions of the people at the National Security Agency.
Mr. Chairman, it's a privilege to be nominated by the president to serve as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It's a great responsibility. There's probably no agency more important in preserving our security and our values as a nation than the CIA.
I'm honored and, frankly, more than a little bit humbled to be nominated for this office, especially in light of the many distinguished Americans who have served their before me.
Before I talk about my vision for CIA, I'd like to say a few words about the agency's most recent director, Porter Goss.
Over the span of more than 40 years, Porter Goss has had a distinguished career serving the American people, most recently as director of the CIA, the organization where he started as a young case officer. As director, Porter fostered a transformation that the agency must continue in the coming years.
He started a significant expansion of the ranks of case officers and analysts in accord with the president's direction. He consistently pushed for a more aggressive and risk-taking attitude towards collection.
And he spoke from experience as a case officer and as a long-time member and then chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
It was Porter who was chairman of the HPSCI, supported and mentored me when I arrived back in Washington as director of NSA in 1999. More importantly, we developed a friendship that continues to this day. So I just want to thank Porter for both his service and his friendship.
CIA is unique among our nation's intelligence agencies. It's the organization that collects our top intelligence from human sources, or high-quality, all-source analysis is developed, where cutting-edge research and development for the nation's security is carried out. And as this committee well knows, these functions are absolutely critical to keeping America safe and strong.
The CIA remains, as Porter Goss has said, the gold standard for many key functions of American intelligence.
And that's why I believe that the success or failure of this agency will largely define the success or failure of the entire American intelligence community.
The act you passed last year, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, gives CIA the opportunity and the responsibility to lead in ensuring the success of the director of national intelligence.
Let me elaborate on that last sentence. The reforms of the last two years have in many ways made CIA's role even more important. Now, it's true, the director of central intelligence, the DCI, no longer sits on that seventh floor of the old headquarters building at Langley as both the head of the intelligence community and the CIA.
But, it's also true that no other agency has the connective tissue to the other parts of the intelligence community that CIA has. The CIA's role as the community leader in human intelligence, as an enabler for technical access, in all-source analysis, in elements of research and development, not to mention its worldwide infrastructure, underscore the interdependence between CIA and the rest of the community.
And although the head of CIA no longer manages the entire intelligence community, the director continues to lead the community in many key respects.
Most notably, the director of CIA is the national HUMINT manager, responsible for leading human intelligence efforts by coordinating and setting standards across the entire community.
In addition, the agency is -- and will remain -- the principal provider of analysis to the president and his senior advisers. It also leads the community's open-source activities through its open- source center, which is an invaluable effort to inform community analysis and help guide the activities of the rest of the I.C.
In a word, CIA remains, even after the Intelligence Reform Act, central to American intelligence. But this very centrality makes reforming CIA in light of new challenges and new structures an especially delicate and important task.
The agency must be transformed without slowing the high tempo under which it already operates to counter today's threats. CIA must continue to adapt to new intelligence targets, a process under way in large part to the leadership of George Tenet and John McLaughlin and Porter Goss.
And CIA must carefully adjust its operations, analysis and overall focus in relation to the rest of the community because of the new structure, while still keeping its eye on the ball: intelligence targets like proliferation and Iran and North Korea, not to mention the primary focus of disrupting Al Qaida and other terrorists.
The key to success for both the community -- the intelligence community -- and for CIA is an agency that is capable of executing its assigned tasks and cooperative with the rest of the intelligence community.
CIA must pursue its objectives relentlessly and effectively, while also fitting in seamlessly with an integrated American intelligence community.
Picture CIA's role in the community like a tough player on a football team. Critical, yet part of an integrated whole that must function together if the team is going to win.
And as I've said elsewhere, even top players need to focus on the scoreboard, not on their individual achievements.
Now, Mr. Chairman, let me be more specific about the vision I would have for CIA if I am confirmed.
First, I will begin with the collection of human intelligence. If confirmed as director, I would reaffirm CIA's proud culture of risk taking and excellence, particularly through the increased use of nontraditional operational platforms, a greater focus on the development of language skills, and the inculcation of what I'll call, for shorthand, an expeditionary mentality.
We need our weight on our front foot, not on our back foot. We need to be field-centric, not headquarters-centric.
Now I strongly believe that the men and women of CIA already want to take risks to collect the intelligence we need to keep America safe. I view it as the director's job to ensure that those operators have the right incentives, the right support, the right top cover and the right leadership to take those risks.
My job, frankly, is to set the conditions for success.
Now, if confirmed, I'd also focus significant attention on my responsibilities as national HUMINT manager.
Now, I've got some experience in this type of role. As director of NSA, I was the national SIGINT manager, the national manager for signals intelligence. And in that role, I often partnered with CIA to enable sensitive collection.
Now, as I did with SIGINT, signals intelligence, as director of NSA, I would use this important new authority, the national HUMINT manager, to enhance the standards of tradecraft in human intelligence collection across the community. CIA's skills in human intelligence collection makes it especially well suited to lead.
As director and as national HUMINT manager, I'd expect more from our human intelligence partners, those in the Department of Defense, the FBI and other agencies: more both in terms of their cooperation with one another and also in terms of the quality of their tradecraft.
Here again, we welcome additional players on the field, but they must work together as a team.
Now, second, and on par with human intelligence collection, CIA must remain the U.S. government's center of excellence for independent, all-source analysis.
If confirmed as director, I would set as a top priority working to reinforce the D.I.'s, the director of intelligence's, tradition of autonomy and objectivity, with a particular focus on developing hard- edged assessments.
I would emphasize simply getting it right more often.
But with a tolerance for ambiguity and dissent, manifested in a real clarity about our judgments, especially clarity in our confidence in our judgments, we must be transparent in what we know, what we assess to be true and, frankly, what we just don't know.
Red cell alternative analysis, red cell alternative evaluations are a rich source of thought-provoking estimates and they should be an integral part of our analysis.
And -- and I believe this to be very important -- we must also set aside talent and energy to look at the long view and not just be chasing our version of the current news cycle.
Now, in this regard about analysis, I take very seriously the lessons from your joint inquiry with the House Intel Committee, your inquiry into the prewar intelligence on Iraq WMD, the 9/11 Commission, the Silberman-Robb Commission, as well as a whole bunch of internal intelligence community studies on what's worked and what's not worked in the past. Ultimately, we have to get analysis right. For in the end, it's the analytic product that appears before the president, his senior advisers, military commanders and you.
Let me be very clear. Intelligence works at that nexus of policy making, that nexus between the world as it is and the world we are working to create.
Now, many things can legitimately shape a policymaker's work, his views and his actions. Intelligence, however, must create the left and right hand boundaries that form the reality within which decisions must be made.
Let me make one final critical point about analysis. When it comes to that phrase we become familiar with, "Speaking truth to power," I will indeed lead CIA analysts by example. I will, as I expect every analyst will, always give our nation's leaders our best analytic judgment.
Now third, beyond CIA's human and analytic activities, CIA science and technology efforts already provide focused, flexible and high quality R&D across the intel spectrum. If I'm confirmed, I'd focus the Directorate of Science and Technology on research and development programs aimed at enhancing CIA core functions, collection and analysis.
I would also work to more tightly integrate the CIA's S&T into broader community efforts to increase payoffs from cooperative and integrated research and development.
Support also matters. As director of NSA, I experienced firsthand the operational costs of outdated and crumbling infrastructure.
Most specifically, I would dramatically upgrade the entire CIA information technology infrastructure to bring it in the line with the expectations we should have in the first decade of the 21st century.
Now in addition to those four areas -- which, I think the committee knows, Mr. Chairman, form the four major directorate out at the agency -- there are two cross-cutting functions on which I would also focus if confirmed.
To begin, I'd focus significant attention, under the direction of Ambassador Negroponte, the DNI, on the handling of intelligence relationships with foreign partners.
As this committee well knows, these relationships are of the utmost importance for our security, especially in the context of the fight against those terrorists who seek to do us harm.
These sensitive relationships have to be handled with great care and attention, and I would, if confirmed, regard this responsibility as a top priority. International terrorism cannot be defeated without international cooperation. And let me repeat that prevailing in the war on terror is and will remain CIA's primary objective. For the same reason I'd push for greater information sharing within the United States, among the intelligence community and with other federal, state, local and tribal entities. There are a lot of players out there on this one: the DNI, the program manager for the information sharing environment, the intel community's chief information officer, other agencies like FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The CIA has an important role to play in ensuring that intelligence information is shared with those who need it. When I was at NSA, I focused my efforts to make sure that all of our customers had the information they needed to make good decisions.
In fact, my mantra when I was at Fort Meade was that users should have access to information at the earliest possible moment and in the rawest possible form where value from its sharing could actually be obtained. That's exactly the approach I would use if confirmed at CIA.
In my view, both of these initiatives, working with foreign partners and information sharing within the U.S., require that we change our paradigm from one that operates on what I've called a transactional basis of exchange -- they ask; we provide -- in favor of a premise of common knowledge commonly shared, or information access.
That would entail opening up more data and more databases to other intel community agencies as well as trusted foreign partners, restricting the use of what I think is an overused originator- controlled caveat, and fundamentally embracing more of a risk management approach to the sharing of information.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, everything I've said today matters little without the people, the great men and women of the CIA whom, if confirmed, I would happily join, but also the people of this great nation.
Respectfully, senators, I believe that the American intelligence business has too much become the football in American political discourse. Over the past few years, the intelligence community and the CIA have taken an inordinate number of hits -- some of them fair, many of them not. There have been failures but there have also been many great successes.
Now, I promise you we'll do our lessons learned studies, and I will keep you, I will keep this committee and your counterpart in the House fully informed on what we learn. But I also believe it's time to move past what seems to me to be an endless picking apart of the archaeology of every past intelligence success or failure.
CIA officers, dedicated as they are to serving their country honorably and well, deserve recognition of their efforts, and they also deserve not to have every action analyzed, second-guessed and criticized on the front pages of the morning paper.
Accountability is one thing and a very valuable thing, and we will have it. But true accountability is not served by inaccurate, harmful or illegal public disclosures.
I will draw a clear line between what we owe the American public by way of openness and what must remain secret in order for us to continue to do our job.
CIA needs to get out of the news as source or subject and focus on protecting the American people by acquiring secrets and providing high-quality all-source analysis.
Internally, I would regard it as a leading part of my job to affirm and strengthen the excellence and pride and the commitment of CIA's workforce.
And in return, I vow that if confirmed, we at CIA would dedicate ourselves to strengthening the American public's confidence and trust in the CIA and reestablishing the agency's social contract with the American people to whom we are ultimately accountable.
The best way to strengthen the trust of the American people is to earn it by obeying the law and by showing what is best about this country.
Now, as we do our work, we're going to have some really difficult choices to make. And I expect that not everyone will agree 100 percent of the time.
But I would redouble our efforts to act consistent with both the law and a broader sense of American ideals. And while the bulk of the agency's work must, in order to be effective, remain secret, fighting this long war on the terrorists who seek to do us harm requires that the American people and you, their elected representatives, know that the CIA is protecting them effectively and in a way consistent with the core values of our nation.
I did that at NSA and if confirmed will do that at the Central Intelligence Agency.
In that regard, I view it to be particularly important that the director of CIA have an open and honest relationship with congressional committees such as yours so that the American people will know that their elected representatives are conducting oversight effectively.
I would also look to the members of the committee who have been briefed and who have acknowledged the appropriateness of activities to say so when selected links, accusations and inaccuracies distort the public's picture of legitimate intelligence activities.
We owe this to the American people and we owe it to the men and women of CIA.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that I've given the members of the committee a sense of where I would lead the agency if I am confirmed.
I thank you for your time. And dare I say I look forward to answering the questions I know the members have. ROBERTS: I wish to inform the members that we have about two or three minutes left on a vote. We will have intermittent votes throughout the day.
We are going to have a very short recess.
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