Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing
SEN. ROBERTS: The committee will come to order. Ladies and gentlemen and my colleagues, it's been a long-standing tradition for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to begin its annual oversight of the U.S. intelligence community by conducting a public hearing to present to our members, and to the American public, the intelligence community's assessment of the current and projected national security threats to the United States and our interests abroad.
Appearing before the committee today are the director of Central Intelligence, Mr. George Tenet; the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Bob Mueller; the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Admiral Jake Jacoby; and the assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research, Mr. Carl Ford.
Now, while the United States faces a staggering array of new and growing threats around the world, unfortunately none of the traditional threats prominently discussed prior to September 11th have abated. We still face very significant long-term potential threats from emerging powers in Asia that continue to build increasingly powerful military forces with the potential to threaten their neighbors. International drug smuggling rings linked to the guerrilla armies and the proliferators of ballistic missiles and advanced conventional weapons and unscrupulous international arms merchants who are willing to sell almost anything to anyone are but a few of the continuing challenges that we face worldwide.
We must also confront the acute threats from what is less traditional and often referred to as "asymmetrical." As we are all painfully aware, our country faces a great and continuing threat from international terrorism, especially the group of mass murders of the al Qaeda network. As we will hear from our witnesses today, while our intelligence agencies and our military forces have won some very tremendous and important victories against al Qaeda during the last year and a half, there is much, much left to do.
As we have all recently heard, plans to attack us and our interests abroad are continuously in motion. We are on high alert. The threats that are related to the proliferation of nuclear and chemical and biological weapons, in particular in Iraq and North Korea, are not really new threats. Serious observers have seen these crises looming for years, and increasing in direct proportion to our unwillingness and that of our allies to confront them more forthrightly. But today these threats are especially severe, as Secretary of State Powell made very clear in his speech last week before the U.N. Security Council.
That is why today's hearing is so important, and why I am glad that my colleagues and our distinguished witnesses have been able to come here today for a frank discussion of these threats in front of the American people. Given the need to protect our intelligence sources and methods, there will be much that we cannot discuss in public. But there is still much that we can and we will. There will be a classified hearing as of this afternoon starting at 3:00.
This past year has not been an easy one for the U.S. intelligence community, whose job it is to provide our leaders what we call an adequate warning of the threats that face our country. And the community has come under criticism. A lot of brickbats from the Congress and others in regard to its, quote, "inability to provide specific warning prior to September 11th."
As I have emphasized repeatedly since the attack on the destroyer U.S.S. Cole in October of 2000, our intelligence agencies have too often failed to provide the timely, the cogent and the comprehensive analysis that our national security requires.
As chairman of this committee, I intend to conduct vigorous oversight of the intelligence community to ensure that it provides our leaders with the quality of intelligence they need to ensure the security of the American people whether at home or abroad. We intend to look at structural reform; we intend to assist the IC community with regard to shortfalls that now exist; and we intend to take a very hard look at the immediate and very serious threats that confront our nation today; and we intend to work closely with the independent commission that now is taking a look at the tragedy of 9/11.
But I also want to make clear that our intelligence agencies have for the most part -- for the most part -- reacted to the crises of September 11 in ways that should make all Americans proud. Whatever problems may have existed before, the community today is a very different place than it was before the attacks upon the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
In my view the community today is taking important strides to identify, to disrupt and to dismantle terrorist cells at home and abroad. This is ongoing. Additionally, our individual agencies are reforming their internal processes in order to make it possible for continued success in the future. And they are doing this in ways that I would not have thought possible only two years ago.
Now, necessity they say is the mother of invention. And although their record of performance since September 11 has not been perfect -- and it's never perfect in the intelligence community -- it is a very significant and impressive one. Despite the critics -- and there are many -- we are a safer country.
I believe it is our job in Congress to continue to press for improvements in how our intelligence community operates, but to do so while bearing in mind the vital missions that these agencies must fulfill day in, day out, every day of the year, across the country and around the world. As the possibility of war with Iraq grows nearer, as petty dictators flaunt their nuclear weapons programs in East Asia, and as other threats continue and develop around the world, we need our intelligence services more today than ever before. With that in mind, it is our responsibility to give these agencies and their personnel our support, our encouragement, and most of all the resources to perform their demanding and at times dangerous missions. Their lives are on the line.
As the new chairman of this committee, I join my colleague, Vice Chairman Rockefeller, the distinguished senator from West Virginia, in beginning a series of visits to all of our major intelligence agencies. We are having what I call meaningful dialogue.
I have not visited every agency yet, but I will. There are 13. The vice chairman and I feel it is important to meet the people who are fighting this fight, who are collecting this information, who are analyzing it, and who are running the institutions that make all of this possible.
So far I have been, along with Senator Rockefeller and Senator DeWine, very impressed in these visits by the quality and comprehensiveness of the work that our intelligence services are doing. If it were possible to describe all of this work in public, the man or woman on the street, whether in Dodge City, Kansas, my hometown, or Charleston, West Virginia, or in Washington, D.C. would be thoroughly impressed. But the men and women who do this work must labor in secret, and it is only rarely, as in Secretary Powell's speech last week, that the world gets a chance to see the products of their labors with anything approaching the detailed appreciation that they deserve. Secretary Powell revealed just the tip of our intelligence iceberg.
I know of two individuals here today to whom I would like to extend appreciation for their intelligence work. They are on the professional staff of this committee. Mr. Tom Corcoran -- and Tom, would you stand -- is an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve. He was mobilized soon after September 11th, spent the next year doing very sensitive and viable work for his country. Now he is back on the staff and sharing his knowledge with his colleagues and the members of this committee. Thank you for your service, Tom. I would also like to thank another professional staff member, Mr. Matt Pollard -- Matt, would you please stand? Matt is an intelligence officer in the army reserve who like many others has just received his mobilization orders. He departs next week for duty at a classified location. Matt, I think it's a safe bet you're not going to go to Fort Riley, Kansas. I wish you were. Matt, you keep your head down, come back to us sooner than later. Your expertise will be missed. And good luck.
Ladies and gentlemen, our hearing today will enable the public to learn more about the products which the personnel in our intelligence community, like Matt Pollard and Tom Corcoran, are producing. We will hear from the heads of our intelligence agencies about what their analysis has identified as being the most important threats our country faces. I hope that their testimony will also provide the public with some perspective upon on their intelligence agencies are adapting to our new challenges and threats.
I look forward to the testimony of our distinguished witnesses. I welcome you all to our first open hearing of the 108th Congress. I now turn to the committee's very distinguished vice chairman, Senator Rockefeller, for any remarks that he would like to make.
SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I congratulate you and welcome all new members of the committee, our witnesses, the press and the public, because this is not an ordinary occurrence but an extremely important one.
In the '90s America seemed to be in an unprecedented period of success, and the stock market soared, and the possibility of democracy spreading around the world seemed to be almost unstoppable. The Intelligence Committee's annual threat hearings during that period were I suspect not listened to closely enough, and did not get the attention they deserved. That obviously will not be the case today.
In recent weeks we have seen the country move closer to war with Iraq, North Korea taking steps toward resuming the production of nuclear weapons, increased threats by al Qaeda in dimensions that we can only imagine, and meanwhile poverty and desperation, a subject which I want to discuss a little bit this morning, continue to spread inmost parts of the world. Polling data shows increased hostility to the U.S. in many regions, especially in the Middle East. Europe seems to be splitting. NATO is in at least some form of public relations disaster if not more deeper than that.
So the American people obviously have to look to you. You are not policymakers in the classic sense, but you create policy by the excellence of your intelligence and the work that you do -- I am talking about our witnesses.
Given the many threats that we are faced with from North Korea to al Qaeda, to Iranian support for terrorism -- and the list goes on endlessly -- we clearly need to understand why Iraq has risen to prominence to the point where we are contemplating an invasion and a longer presence there to help rehabilitate the country. With that in mind, there are four questions that I would pose, and you can answer if you choose: What is the purpose of Iraq's WMD programs? -- that would be the first one. Are they intended first and foremost to try to secure the regime's survival and deter attacks from the United States and from other countries? Or does the evidence suggest that Saddam intends to become a supplier of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist organizations, even if he has not been in the past? And, on that subject, he has not in the past generally been a supplier. So what reason to we have to believe that the past is not prologue, and that his habits may change? What evidence is there to the extent that you can talk about that?
Secondly, many observers of the Middle East, including many friends and allies, believe that the administration's fears regarding terrorism, WMD, weapons of mass destruction and Iraq will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if the United States invades Iraq. Clearly once an invasion begins Saddam will have nothing to lose. Moreover, many of our allies fear that an invasion of Iraq, especially one which proceeds without explicit U.N. authorization, if that's the way it turns out, will further radicalize and inflame the Muslim community, swelling the ranks, and therefore the recruiting grounds, for terrorist groups for years and years to come. In that context, some analysts suspect that Osama bin Laden is eagerly anticipating a U.S. cooperation invasion of Iraq. In short, do you believe a U.S. cooperation invasion of Iraq will in fact increase, in spite of testimony which has already been given, the terrorist threat to the United States and the nuances of that?
Third, as you know, a serious proposal has recently been advanced that appears to offer an alternative -- alternative passive inspections, outright inspections, sort of a little bit more militarized and intense inspections by some of our NATO allies. And that involves U.N. authorization for a much expanded inspection to compel Iraq to comply with U.N. Resolution 1441. What is your assessment of this compromise, if you feel you are in a position to give that? Could an expanded force succeed in disarming or causing regime change prior to a war? I'm skeptical myself, but that doesn't matter. I'm interested in what you think -- you're the professionals. If you have not performed an assessment of this, then I think the committee would be interested in hearing nevertheless what your thoughts would be in written form.
Finally, we need your best assessment of the cost and duration and risks associated with American presence in Iraq, should there be a war, after the war. It -- I think we will agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense to invade Iraq and then walk away from it, if we are not willing to undertake the costly and painstaking work required to help rebuild the country and put it on a path to a better future. Seven years and billions of dollars later, we still have troops in Bosnia. Our commitment continues to exist, and even expanded in Kosovo. Our financial commitment to Afghanistan is expanding, and there is no end in sight to our military presence. In sum, we hope that you can help us to understand the likely cost and duration, and any other consequences of the commitment we would need to take in Iraq should we invade Iraq.
I thank you for appearing. I thank you for your service. And to you, Mr. Tenet, you have my profound -- all of our American people's profound sympathies for the duties that you and John McCoughlin (ph) will do this afternoon in attending the funeral service of one of your members. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: I thank the distinguished senator from West Virginia and the vice chairman. We will now go to the witnesses in the following order: the DCI George Tenet; the director of the FBI Robert Mueller; Admiral Jacoby, who is the head of the DIA and Assistant Secretary Ford. Gentlemen, I feel compelled to say that most senators can read. All staff can read. Staff can then read to senators and they for the most part can understand. Please feel free to read each and every word of your statement. Let me emphasize that each and every word will be made part of the record. If you so choose to summarize in your own words so eloquently as you have done in the past, to make your statement somewhat shorter, that would be allowed. (Laughter.) Please proceed, George.
MR. TENET: Undaunted. I'll read a little bit, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, last year in the wake of the September 11th attack on our country, I focused my remarks on the clear and present danger posed by terrorists who seek to destroy who we are and what we stand for. The national security environment that exists today is significantly more complex than a year ago. I can tell you that the threat from al Qaeda remains, even though we have made important strides in the war on terrorism. Secretary of State Powell clearly outlined last week the continuing threats posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, its efforts to deceive U.N. inspectors, and the safe haven that Baghdad has allowed for terrorists in Iraq.
North Korea's recent admission that it has a highly-enriched uranium program, intends to end the freeze on its plutonium production facilities, and has stated its intention to withdraw from the Nonproliferation Treaty raises serious new challenges for the region and the world. At the same time we cannot lose sight of those national security challenges that, while not occupying space on the front pages, demand a constant level of scrutiny. Challenges such as the world's vast stretches of ungoverned areas, lawless zones, veritable no man's lands, like some areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border, where extremist movements find shelter and can win the breathing space to grow. Challenges such as the numbers of societies and peoples excluded from the benefits of an expanding global economy, where the daily lot is hunger, disease, and displacement, produce large populations of disaffected youth who are prime recruits for our extremist foes.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, the United States last week raised the terrorist threat level. We did so because of the threat reporting from multiple sources with strong al Qaeda ties. The information we have points to plots aimed at targets on two fronts -- in the United States and on the Arabian Peninsula. It points to plots timed to occur as early as the end of the Hajj, which occurs late this week. And it points to plots that could include the use of a radiological dispersal device as well as poisons and chemicals. The intelligence is not idle chatter on the part of terrorists or their associates. It is the most specific we have seen, and it is consistent with both our knowledge of al Qaeda's doctrine and our knowledge of plots this network, and particularly its senior leadership has been working on for years.
The intelligence community is working directly and in real time with friendly services overseas and with our law enforcement colleagues here at home to disrupt and capture specific individuals who may be part of this plot. Our information and knowledge is the result of important strides we have made since September 11th to enhance our counterterrorism capabilities and to share with our law enforcement colleagues -- and they with us -- the results of disciplined operations, collection, and analysis of events inside the United States and overseas.
Raising the threat level is important to our being as disruptive as we possibly can be. The enhanced security that results from a higher level of threat can buy us more time to operate against the individuals who are plotting to do us harm. And heightened vigilance generates additional information and leads. This latest reporting underscores the threat that the al Qaeda network continues to pose to the United States. The network is extensive and adaptable. It will take years of determined effort to unravel this and other terrorist networks and stamp them out.
Mr. Chairman, the intelligence and law enforcement communities aggressively continue to prosecute the war on terrorism, and we are having success on many fronts. More than one third of the top al Qaeda leadership identified before the war has either been killed or captured, including the operations chief for the Persian Gulf area who planned the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole; a key planner who was a Mohammad Atta's confidant and a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks; a major al Qaeda leader in Yemen, and key operatives and facilitators in the Gulf area and other regions, including South Asia and Southeast Asia.
The number of rounded-up al Qaeda detainees has now grown to over 3,000, up from 1,000 or so when I testified last year. And the number of countries involved in these captures has almost doubled to more than one hundred. Not everyone arrested was a terrorist. Some have been released. But the worldwide rousting of al Qaeda has definitely disrupted its operations, and we've obtained a trove of information we're using to prosecute the hunt still further.
The coalition against international terrorism is stronger, and we are reaping the benefits of unprecedented international cooperation. In particular, Muslim governments today better understand the threat al Qaeda poses to them and day by day have been increasing their support. Ever since Pakistan's decision to sever ties with the Taliban, so critical to the success of Operation Enduring Freedom, Islamabad's close cooperation in the war on terrorism has resulted in the capture of key al Qaeda lieutenants and significant disruption of its regional network.
Jordan and Egypt have been courageous leaders in the war on terrorism. I can't say enough about what Jordan has done for this country in taking on this scourge.
A number of Gulf states, like the United Arab Emirates, are denying terrorists financial safe haven, making it harder for al Qaeda to funnel funding for operations. Others in the Gulf are beginning to tackle the problem of charities that front for or fund terrorism. The Saudis are providing increasingly important support to our counterterrorism efforts -- from arrests to sharing debriefing results. Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, with majority Muslim populations, have been active in arresting and detaining terrorist suspects. And we mustn't forget Afghanistan, where the support of the new leadership is absolutely essential. Al Qaeda's loss of Afghanistan, the death and capture of key personnel, and its year spent mostly on the run have impaired its ability, complicated its command and control, and disrupted its logistics.
That said, Mr. Chairman, the continuing threat remains clear. Al Qaeda is still dedicated to striking the U.S. homeland, and much of the information we've received in the past year revolves around that goal. Even without an attack on the U.S. homeland, more than 600 people around the world were killed in acts of terror last year, and 200 in al Qaeda related attacks -- 19 were U.S. citizens. Al Qaeda or associated groups carried out a successful attack in Tunisia and since October 2002 attacks in Mombasa, Bali, Kuwait, and off Yemen against the French oil tanker Limburg. Most of these attacks bore such al Qaeda trademarks as entrenched surveillance, simultaneous strikes, and suicide-delivered bombs.
Combined U.S. and allied efforts have thwarted a number of related attacks in the past year, including the European poison plots. We identified, monitored, and arrested Jose Padilla, an al Qaeda operative who was allegedly planning operations in the United States, and was seeking to develop a so-called dirty bomb. And along with Moroccan partners we disrupted al Qaeda attacks against U.S. and British warships in the Straits of Gibraltar.
Until al Qaeda finds an opportunity for the big attack, it will try to maintain its operational tempo by striking softer targets. And what I mean by "softer," Mr. Chairman, are simply those targets al Qaeda planners may view as less well protected. Al Qaeda has also sharpened its focus on our allies in Europe and on operations against Israeli and Jewish targets. Al Qaeda will try to adapt to changing circumstances as it regroups. It will secure base areas so that it can pause from flight and resume planning. We place no limitations on our expectations on what al Qaeda might do to survive.
We see disturbing signs that al Qaeda has established a presence in both Iran and Iraq. In addition, we are also concerned that al Qaeda continues to find refuge in the hinterlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is also developing or refining new means of attack, including use of surface-to-air missiles, poisons, and air and surface and underwater methods to attack maritime targets. If given the choice, al Qaeda terrorists will choose attacks that achieve multiple objective, striking prominent landmarks, inflicting mass casualties, causing economic disruption, and rallying support through shows of strength. The bottom line here, Mr. Chairman, is that al Qaeda is living in the expectation of resuming the offensive.
We know from the events of September 11 h that we can never again ignore a specific type of country -- a country unable to control its own borders and internal territory, lacking the capacity to govern, educate its people, or provide fundamental societal services. Such countries can, however, offer extremists a place to congregate in relative safety. Al Qaeda is already a presence in many parts of the world, Mr. Chairman, and I'll stop my discussion on terrorism there, where I go on to a very careful discussion of our concerns about their acquisition of chemical and biological weapons and what the history shows.
I want to move to Iraq, sir, and then China and Iran and I'll get out. There's a lot in my statement, and you can read it. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to comment on Iraq, and I will come back and answer Senator Rockefeller's questions as best I can. Last week Secretary Powell carefully reviewed for the U.N. Security Council the intelligence we have on Iraqi efforts to deceive U.N. inspectors, its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, and its support for terrorism. I do not plan to go into these matters in detail, but I will summarize some of the key points.
Iraq has in place an active effort to deceive U.N. inspectors and deny them access. The effort is directed at the highest levels of the Iraqi regime. Baghdad has given clear directions to its operational forces to hide banned materials in their possession. Iraq's BW program includes mobile research and production facilities that will be difficult, if not impossible, for the inspectors to find. Baghdad began this program in the mid '90s, during a time when U.N. inspectors were in the country.
Iraq has established a pattern of clandestine procurement designed to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program. These procurements include but go well beyond the aluminum tubes that you have heard so much about. Iraq has recently flight-tested missiles that violate the U.S. range limit of 150 kilometers. They have tested unmanned aerial vehicles to ranges that far exceed both what it declared to the United Nations and what it is permitted under U.N. resolutions.
Iraq is harboring senior members of a terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a close associate of al Qaeda. We know Zarqawi's network was behind the poison plots in Europe, and we discussed earlier as well -- Secretary Powell the assassination of a U.S. State Department employee in Jordan.
Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al Qaeda. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates. One of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.
Mr. Chairman, this information is based on a solid foundation of intelligence. It comes to us from credible and reliable sources. Much of it is corroborated by multiple sources. And it is consistent with the pattern of denial and deception exhibited by Saddam Hussein over the past 12 years.
Mr. Chairman, on proliferation, it's important to talk about this for a few moments. We have entered a new world of proliferation. In the vanguard of this new world, we are knowledgeable about non-state purveyors of WMD materials and technology. Such non-state outlets are increasingly capable of providing technology and equipment that previously could only be supplied by countries with established capabilities. This is taking place side by side with the continued weakening of the international non-proliferation consensus. Control regimes, like the NPT Treaty, are being battered by developments such as North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT and its open repudiation of other agreements.
The example of new nuclear states that seem able to deter threats from more powerful states simply by brandishing nuclear weaponry will resonate deeply among other countries that want to enter the nuclear weapons club. Demand creates the market. The desire for nuclear weapons is on the upsurge. Additional countries may decide to seek nuclear weapons as it become clear their neighbors and regional rivals are already doing so. The domino theory of the 21st century may well be nuclear. With the assistance of proliferators, a potentially wider range of countries may be able to develop nuclear weapons by leap- frogging the incremental pace of weapons programs in other countries.
Mr. Chairman, my statement on proliferation is far more extensive, talking about developments of chemical and biological weapons, threats from ballistic missiles, land attack cruise missiles, and UAVs. I will want to talk briefly about North Korea.
The recent behavior of North Korea, regarding its long-standing nuclear weapons program, makes apparent all the dangers Pyongyang poses to its region and the world. This includes developing a capability to enrich uranium, ending the freeze on its plutonium production facilities, and withdrawing from the non-proliferation treaty. If as seems likely Pyongyang moves on to reprocess spent fuel from facilities where it recently abrogated the 1994 IAEA monitored freeze, we assess it could recover sufficient plutonium for several additional weapons. North Korea also continues to export complete ballistic missiles and production capabilities, along with related raw materials, components and expertise.
Kim Jong Il's attempts this past year to parlay the North's nuclear weapons program into political leverage suggests that he is trying to negotiate a fundamentally different relationship with Washington, one that implicitly tolerates North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Although Kim calculates that the North aid, trade and investment climate will never improve in the face of U.S. sanctions and perceived hostility, it is equally committed to retaining and enlarging his nuclear weapons stockpiles.
Mr. Chairman, I go through an interesting discussion of China, Russia and Iran. Perhaps we can come back to those during the question and answer question -- period. I would note the one area of the world that continues to worry us, as we worry about all these other problems, is South Asia, where we've averted a conflict but soon could return to one, and it's something that we may want to talk about but continues to bear careful scrutiny.
The statement goes through a number of transnational threats, Mr. Chairman, and I want to talk about something untraditional. You know we recently published an NIE -- open NIE on AIDS. I want to talk about HIV/AIDS because it has national security implications beyond health implications.
This pandemic continues unabated, and last year more than three million people died of AIDS-related causes. More than 40 million people are infected now, and Southern Africa has the greatest concentration of these cases. That said, the intelligence community recently projected that by 2010 we may see as many as 100 million HIV infected people outside of Africa. China will have about 15 million cases. In India, 20 to 25 million cases. And cases are on the rise in Russia as well.
The national security dimension of the virus is plain. It can undermine economic growth, exacerbate social tensions, diminish military preparedness, create huge social welfare costs, and further weaken beleaguered states. And the virus respects no border.
We rarely talk about Africa, Mr. Chairman, but it's important. Sub-Saharan Africa's chronic instability will demand U.S. attention. Africa's lack of democratic institutionalization, combined with its pervasive ethnic rifts and deep corruption, render most of the 48 countries vulnerable to crises that can be costly in human lives and economic growth. The Cote D'Ivoire is collapsing, and it's crash will be felt throughout the region, where neighboring economies are at risk from the falloff in trade and from refugees fleeing violence.
Mr. Chairman, I'll end my statement there. There's a discussion about Venezuela and Colombia we may want to pursue in the questions and answers. And I thank you for your patience, and I've set a new standard for not reading my whole statement.
SEN. ROBERTS: It's an excellent standard and a marvelous precedent. Director Mueller.
MR. MUELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As we enter the second year of the global war on terrorism, the United States and its allies have inflicted a series of significant defeats on al Qaeda and its terrorist networks, both here at home and abroad. The terrorist enemy, however, is far from defeated. Although our country's ultimate victory is not in doubt, we face a long war whose end is difficult to foresee.
Accordingly, the prevention of another terrorist attack remains the FBI's top priority. Now, the bureau's efforts to identify and dismantle terrorist networks have yielded successes over the past 17 months, and we have charged 197 suspected terrorists with crimes, 99 of whom have been convicted to date. We have also facilitate the deportation of numerous individuals with suspected links to terrorist groups. Moreover, our efforts have damaged terrorist networks and disrupted terrorist related activities across the country -- in Portland, in Buffalo, in Seattle, in Detroit, in Chicago, and in Florida, to name but a few. Furthermore, we have successfully disrupted the sources of terrorist financing, including freezing $113 million from 62 organizations, and conducting 70 investigations, 23 of which have resulted in convictions.
But despite these successes, the nature of the terrorist threat facing our country today is exceptionally complex. International terrorists and their state sponsors have emerged as the primary threat to our security, after decades in which the activities of domestic terrorist groups were in more imminent threat.
And al Qaeda -- the al Qaeda terrorist network is clearly the most urgent threat to U.S. interests. The evidence linking al Qaeda to the attacks of September 11th is clear and irrefutable. And our investigation of the events leading up to 9/11 has given rise to important insights, into terrorist tactics and trade craft -- trade craft which will prove invaluable was we work to prevent the next attack.
There is no question, though, that al Qaeda and other terrorist networks have proven adept at defending their organization from U.S. and international law enforcement efforts. As these terrorist organizations evolve and change their tactics, we too must be prepared to evolve. Accordingly, the FBI is undergoing substantial changes, including the incorporation of an enhanced intelligence function that will allow us to meet these terrorist threats. I'd like to briefly outline these changes, but first, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to address the most significant threats facing this country today.
And we start with the al Qaeda threat. The al Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most immediate and serious threat facing this country. al Qaeda is the most lethal of the groups associated with the Sunni jihadist cause, but it does not operate in a vacuum. Many of the groups committed to international jihad offer al Qaeda varying degrees of support. FBI investigations have revealed Islamic militants in the United States, and we strongly suspect that several hundred of these extremists are linked to al Qaeda. The focus of their activity centers primarily on fundraising, recruitment and training. Their support structure, however, is sufficiently well developed that one or more groups could be mobilized by al Qaeda to carry out operations in the United States homeland.
Despite the progress the United States has made in disrupting the al Qaeda network overseas and within our own country, the organization maintains the ability and the intent to inflict significant casualties in the United States with little warning. Our greatest threat is from al Qaeda cells in the United States that we have not yet been able to identify. Finding and rooting out al Qaeda members once they have entered the United States and have had time to establish themselves is our most serious intelligence and law enforcement challenge.
But in addition, the threat from single individuals sympathetic or affiliated with al Qaeda, acting without external support or surrounding conspiracies, is increasing. al Qaeda's successful attacks on September 11th suggest the organization could employ similar operational strategies in carrying out any future attack in the United States, including those cell members who avoid drawing attention to themselves and minimize contact with militant Islamic groups in the United States. They also maintain, as we have found in the past, strict operational and communications security.
We must not assume, however, that al Qaeda will rely only tried and true methods of attack. As attractive as a large scale attack that produces mass casualties would be for al Qaeda, and as important as such an attack is to its credibility amongst its supporters and its sympathizers, target vulnerability and the likelihood of success are increasingly important to the weakened organization. Indeed, the types of recent smaller scale operations al Qaeda has directed, and -- (inaudible) -- against a wide array of Western targets outside the United States could readily reproduced within the United States.
I'll tell you, Mr. Chairman, my greatest concern is that our enemies are trying to acquire dangerous new capabilities with which to harm Americans. Terrorists worldwide have ready access to information on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons via the Internet. Acquisition of such weapons would be a huge morale boost for those seeking our destruction, while engendering widespread fear among Americans and amongst our allies.
However, the most serious terrorist threat is from non-state actors who remain vigilant against the potential threat posed by state sponsors of terrorism. Seven countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism -- Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Cuba, and North Korea -- remain active in the United States and continue to support terrorist groups that have targeted Americans.
As Director Tenet has pointed out, Secretary Powell presented evidence last week that Baghdad has failed to disarm its weapons of mass destruction, and willfully attempting to evade and deceive the international community. Our particular concern is that Saddam Hussein may supply terrorists with biological, chemical, or radiological material.
Let me turn, if I could, Mr. Chairman, to some of the changes that we've brought about within the bureau in the last -- in the last year.
For nearly a century, the FBI has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the world's premier law enforcement agencies, and for decades the FBI has remained flexible in addressing the threats facing the nation at any given time -- whether it be gangsters, civil rights violations, racketeering, organized crime, espionage, and, of course, terrorism. Since September 11th, 2001, the men and women of the FBI have recognized the need for change and have embraced it. I assure this committee and the American people that just as the FBI earned its reputation as a world class law enforcement agency, so is it committed to becoming a world class intelligence agency. As evidence of that commitment, Mr. Chairman, I would like to spend a moment outlining -- outlining some of the specific steps we have taken to address the terrorist threats facing the United States today.
To effectively wage this war against terror, we have augmented our counter-terrorism resources and are making organizational enhancements to focus our priorities. On top of the resource commitment to counter-terrorism we made between 1993 and 2001, we have received additional resources from Congress. We have as well shifted internal resources to increase our total staffing levels for counter- terrorism by 36 percent. Much of this increase has gone towards enhancing our analytical cadre.
We have implemented a number of initiatives, including creating the College of Analytical Studies which, in conjunction with the CIA is training new intelligence analysts. We also have created a corps of reports officers. These officers will be responsible for identifying, extracting and collecting intelligence from FBI investigations and sharing that information throughout the FBI and to other law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
I have taken a number of other actions which we believe will make the FBI a more flexible, a more responsive agency in our war against terrorism. To improve our systems for threat warnings, we have established a number of specialized counter-terrorism units. These include a threat monitoring unit, which among other things works hand in hand with its CIA counterpart to produce a daily threat matrix. The 24-hour counter-terrorism watch to serve as the FBI's focal point for all incoming terrorist threats. Two separate units to analyze terrorist communications and special technologies and applications. Another section devoted entirely to terrorist financing operations. A unit to manage document exploitation -- whether the documents come from Afghanistan or Pakistan or elsewhere around the world, and other such units. And to protect U.S. citizens abroad, we have expanded our legal attache and liaison presence around the world to 46 offices.
To strengthen our cooperation with state and local law enforcement, we are introducing counter-terrorism training on a national level. We will provide specialized counter-terrorism training to 224 agents and training technicians from every field division in the country so that they in turn can train an estimated 26,800 federal, state and local law enforcement officers this year in basic counter-terrorism techniques.
To further enhance our relationship with state and local agencies, we have expanded the number of joint terrorism task forces from a pre-9/11 number of 35 to 66 today. The joint terrorism task forces partner FBI personnel with hundreds of investigators from various federal, state and local agencies in field offices across the country and are important force multipliers aiding our fight against terrorism within the United States.
The counter-terrorism measures I have just described essentially complete the first phase of our intelligence programs. We are now beginning the second phase that will focus on expanding and enhancing our ability to collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence. The centerpiece of this effort is the establishment of an executive assistant director for intelligence, who will have direct authority and responsibility for the FBI's national intelligence program.
Specifically, the executive assistant director for intelligence will be responsible for ensuring that the FBI has the optimum strategies, structure, and policies in place, first and foremost for our counter-terrorism mission. That person will also oversee the intelligence programs for our counter-intelligence, criminal and our cyber divisions. Lastly, in the field, intelligence units will be established in every office and will function under the authority of the executive assistant director for intelligence.
If we are to defeat terrorists and their supporters, a wide range of organizations must work together. I am committed to the closest possible cooperation with the intelligence community and with other government agencies, as well as with state and local agencies -- and I should not leave out our counterparts overseas. I strongly support the president's initiative to establish a terrorist threat integration center that will merge and analyze terrorist-related information collected domestically and abroad.
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by saying that the nature of the threats facing the United States homeland continues to evolve. My complete statement, which has been submitted for the record, emphasizes that we are not ignoring the serious threat from terrorist organizations other than al Qaeda, from domestic, home-grown terrorists, and from foreign intelligence services. To successfully continue to address all of these threats, the FBI is committed to remaining flexible enough to adapt our mission and our resources to stay one step ahead of our enemies.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to make this statement.
SEN. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Director. Let the record show that all members of the committee have been provided a list of FBI entities that have been created to address the terrorist threat since 9/11, 2001, and I would certainly recommend that to my colleagues and to all present.
Admiral, you're next.
ADM. JACOBY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My more detailed statement for the record addresses a number of substantive threats and concerns, many of which were covered by Director Tenet in his opening statement. I look forward to further discussions on those subjects during the question-and-answer session to follow.
What I'd like to do with these brief opening remarks is give my perspective on the state of Defense Intelligence today and outline plans for transforming our capabilities, personnel and processes to better address the security -- the very quickly-changing security environment.
As I said in my written statement, Defense Intelligence is at war on a global scale, and all of our resources, people and systems are completely engaged. I would also note, Mr. Chairman, that the two members of your staff that you recognized at the beginning of the hearing are representative of a tremendous number of intelligence reservists who are serving and have served and are still to be called to support these efforts.
Given the current state of the world and the likely future, I expect that these conditions will continue indefinitely. We're committed in support of our military forces fighting the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and other locations, such as the southern Philippines, where that war might take us. We support our military forces deployed worldwide, even as they increasingly are targeted by terrorists.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, detailed intelligence is essential long before our forces actually deploy. This effort, termed intelligence preparation in the battle space, has been ongoing for many months to support potential force deployment in Iraq.
Meanwhile, other Defense Intelligence resources are committed to a careful assessment of the dangerous situation on the Korean peninsula.
Beyond these obvious priorities, Defense Intelligence is providing global awareness, meaning that we are watching every day for developments that might be of concern or might require U.S. military employment. These situations include such varying things as internal instability and the threat of coups that could require evacuation of American citizens, an interdiction of shipments and material associated with weapons of mass destruction.
We recognize that we must know something about everything or are expected to know something about everything, and that is a daunting task when we're already at war on a global scale. Our prolonged high level of commitment is straining personnel, equipment and resources and is reducing capacity for sustaining activities such as training, education, data-base maintenance and longer-term research and analysis.
I'm increasingly concerned that Defense Intelligence is being stretched too thin and we have no choice but to sacrifice important longer-term efforts to respond to today's requirements. These longer- term efforts include weapons proliferation, instability in several key states and regions, and assessments with respect to Russia, China, South Asia, parts of Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
The old Defense Intelligence threat paradigm, which focused primarily on the military capabilities of a small set of potential adversary states, no longer applies. More importantly, today's concerns are not lesser-included cases. In the emerging environment, traditional concepts of security, deterrence, intelligence, warning and military superiority are not adequate. We must adapt our capabilities to these new conditions just as potential adversaries pursue new ways to diminish our overwhelming power.
While the challenges facing us are daunting, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity we have to fundamentally change our Defense Intelligence capabilities. Defense Intelligence transformation will be the center point of my tenure as director.
To be successful, we must move out in a number of areas. First, we must improve our analytic capabilities. We must be able to rapidly convert information into knowledge. That is what we pay our analysts to do, and we must ensure that they have immediate access to all sources of data and are supported by cutting-edge information technologies.
To be successful, we must shift our collection paradigm from reconnaissance to surveillance, discard the notion that the collectors own the information they collect, and create a collection strategy that ensures all relevant capabilities -- national, theater, tactical and commercial -- are developed and applied as a system of systems to ensure targeted, intrusive and persistent access to an adversary's true secrets.
We also must field information management tools that encompass the best commercial-sector practices and applications.
Finally, recognizing that knowledge in the heads of our people is our most precious commodity, we must recruit, train and retain intelligence professionals with the right mix of experience, skills, abilities and motivations. The importance of the human dimension will only increase as our reliance on judgment and predictive analysis is challenged by an increasingly ambiguous security environment and significantly larger quantities of information.
We're working hard to address these issues and to develop the processes, techniques and capabilities necessary to address the current threat and deal with emerging challenges. With your continued support, I'm confident we'll be able to provide our war-fighters, policymakers and planners assured access to the intelligence they need.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to the question session.
SEN. ROBERTS: Okay, we thank you, Admiral. And now we look forward to the statement by Assistant Secretary Ford.
MR. FORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would very much appreciate just simply putting my testimony into the record and moving on to the question and answers.
SEN. ROBERTS: Are you sure you're feeling all right? (Laughter.)
MR. FORD: Yes, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: All right, we thank you very much for your cooperation.
The order of questions is as follows, with a five-minute time period, the chair, the vice chair, Senator Rockefeller, Senator Warner, the distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin, Senator Bond, Senator Feinstein, Senator DeWine -- and while I mention Senator DeWine, I want to thank him for accompanying me in visiting six or seven of the 13 agencies where we hope we are learning more, and we can really fill some shortfalls in terms of the assets that we see them -- Senator Chambliss, Senator Snowe, Senator Mikulski and Senator Lott.
Let me start with Bob Mueller. And, Bob, I got a call this morning, about 10 minutes before I came to the hearing room, from my wife. And she indicated -- she said, "Dear, what did you do with the duct tape and the plastic sheet that used to cover the El Camino?"
And I was quoting an article on the front page of the local newspaper, the fountain of all knowledge in Washington, and it's down on the left-hand side -- I think you've read it -- where some nameless official indicated that people should start collecting bottled water, food and duct-tape one particular area of their home, and also have plastic sheeting. She was quite concerned that as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I didn't tell her to do this prior to this event.
And we've heard a lot of news about the increased dangers of the terrorist attacks; all three of you -- all four of you; Secretary Ford's statement. And I know this has really disturbed many Americans, and I suspect many members of the public are wondering what they can or should do in light of the increased danger.
So what advice would you offer to the man or woman on the street, other than to get out of the street?
MR. MUELLER: I would start, I believe, Mr. Chairman, by saying we have to put this in perspective, that we are in a period of heightened risks based on intelligence, and we will go through additional periods like this in the future.
I do believe that our day-in, day-out life has changed since September 11th. We do have a heightened risk of attack from terrorist organizations, most particularly al Qaeda. And during certain periods, we believe -- and this is one of them -- there is a heightened risk of an attack, both overseas and in the United States.
By saying that, we also must indicate our belief that Americans should go about their business, not cancel plans that they had, because we have no specifics as to the particular places or timing, but that we all should be more alert.
Rarely does a day go by that we do not get a call from a concerned citizen who has seen something out of the ordinary that has called a police department or has called the FBI and said, "This is a little bit out of the ordinary; perhaps you ought to look at this."
And on several occasions, and probably more than several occasions, those alert citizens have brought to our attention individuals or patterns of activity that have led us to take action that would lessen the risk in a particular community or in the United States. And so, while we're in this period of heightened risk, it is important for each of us to be more alert than we ordinarily would be, but not to change our patterns.
SEN. ROBERTS: I thank you for your response. George, do you have anything to add to that?
MR. TENET: Sir, the only thing I would say is that the strategic targeting doctrine of this organization is well understood by us. And as a consequence, translating that document to homeland security and Governor Ridge, in terms of protective measures that specific sectors of the country have to undertake to make them more immune to the attack, and to do this on a consistent basis, and to make marked improvement over time, is the most important thing we can be doing.
How they think and what they think about targets, what they've previously tried to do, and their planning as a result of the enormous amount of work, we have a lot of data. We have to beat them to the punch in terms of narrowing their approaches and narrowing the availability of targets and infrastructure that give them the mass- casualty symbolic impact that they will try to achieve. All the while you're dealing with softer targets. And there's where -- Bob's right -- your vigilance and your awareness pays a price.
But the strategic concept we have to bear in mind is, we shouldn't focus on date, time and place of an event. We should be focused on our strategic knowledge of their targeting and buttoning up the country systematically so that, over the course of time, raising alert levels become more and more effortless, less painful for people because all of these sectors have responded accordingly and are taking measures and building into the security of the country over time.
SEN. ROBERTS: I have 30 seconds left. I think, in the interest of time, I'm going to yield to the distinguished vice chairman.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This question could be for Mr. Tenet, the admiral or the secretary. One posits that if we go into Iraq, that a regime change will not be enough and that the follow-up is what will really tell the story for the future.
Now, there are several positions put forward. One is that if we stabilize the country, that would be good. Another is that if we stabilize the country, that will speak to the rest, or at least a large part of the rest of the Arab world, to say that we're not in it for our own colonialization, domination, but we're in it because we're trying to bring a better way of life for that part of the world.
And there's a third position which has been expressed, and that is that we can do that -- in fact, we can do that in several countries -- but there will always be an element in the radical world which will discount whatever we do and which will continue to come after us as if we had done nothing at all. I'd be interested in any of your points of view.
MR. TENET: Senator, the speed with which, if you want to talk about a post -- if there's a conflict, a post-conflict environment, the speed with which the infrastructure of the country is stood up, the speed with which food supplies, health supplies and the speed with which you make a transition to a group of Iraqis to run this country all are enormously important.
There are three major groups -- Shi'as, who account for about 60 percent or 65 percent of the population of this country; Sunnis, who may be about less than 20 percent; and the Kurds, who all have to be integrated in some way in some kind of confederated structure that allows equal voices to emerge. But the speed with which you can get to those points will, I think, make a big impact on the rest of the Arab world.
I am not one who believes that -- you asked a question about "Is terrorism from al Qaeda more likely?" for example. Al Qaeda and terrorist groups are going to launch their terrorist attacks at dates and times and places of their choosing, based on operational security matters. Naturally, you would be interested in the propaganda windfall of tying it to an Iraq, but that's not how al Qaeda operates on a day-to-day basis.
You may never get credit from other parts of the world, and I don't want to be expansive in, you know, a big domino theory about what happens in the rest of the Arab world, but an Iraq whose territorial integrity has been maintained, that's up and running and functioning, that is seen to be functioning in a different manner outside the rubric of a brutal regime, may actually have some salutary impact across the region.
But every country is different and everybody's got different views about their own internal situation, but it may well create some dynamic and interesting forces that, quite frankly, I can't predict to you. But there may be some positive things that come out of it.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Mr. Director, or Admiral or Secretary.
ADM. JACOBY: Senator, I think the three things you hit all have to be done, and they probably could be done simultaneously to stabilize the country. We may have quite a bit of infrastructure damage inflicted by the regime potentially creating humanitarian assistance, particularly in the South, against the Shi'a population.
At the same time, the longer sort of effects and direction of the country are dependent on freeing up the Iraqi people to bring their energy to bear on putting in place a better way of life, which would be obviously tied quite directly to the stabilization piece.
And the third part is, sir, I would have no expectation that the radical elements elsewhere, particularly the fundamentalist elements elsewhere in the world, would in any way alter their views based on this set of circumstances. That's obviously a longer-term war that we're engaged in that's based on factors other than specifically the post-regime period in Iraq.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Mr. Tenet.
MR. TENET: Senator, just one more point. I want to return to the territorial-integrity point and the unified nature that must be maintained. Every country that surrounds Iraq has an interest in what the political end game is.
The country cannot be carved up. The country gets carved up and people believe they have license to take parts of the country for themselves; that will make this a heck of a lot harder. This country must remain whole and integrated, and while these three groups --
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I understand, Mr. Tenet. But my point was to try to establish that even if we do all these things correctly, there will still probably be a fundamental terrorist element which would be unaffected even as we do a superb job, if we do, in bringing stabilization and growth to that country.
MR. TENET: We will not impact al Qaeda's calculation against the United States, Senator.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you.
SEN. ROBERTS: The distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Warner.
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I recognize the strong leadership this committee now has and commend both of you with your responsibilities.
Director Mueller, the question this morning raised by the chairman -- he utilized the report about the duct tape and so forth, well, I take that seriously in all respects, and I think it was a conscientious decision by our administration to set that out publicly.
But here's what concerns me. When the public sees that, they say to themselves, "Well, do we have in place today the laws that are necessary to enable law enforcement," principally yourself, "to search out these terrorists and apprehend them?"
Now, is the administration contemplating any further legislation to strengthen the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act or modify the Patriot Act?
MR. MUELLER: Well, there are discussions ongoing, I know, in the Department of Justice relating to changes in the FISA Act. And, in fact, there have been some bills that were suggested in the last Congress which would address several of the problems that were left unaddressed when the Patriot Act was passed, one being, as an example, our problem in tying an individual or proving an individual -- having proved an individual was an agent of a foreign power where we had individuals who may not have ties to a particular recognized organization, whether it be al Qaeda or a nation-state, and yet still presents a threat to the United States and still presents a threat of a terrorist attack.
SEN. WARNER: So, in summary, there is a package being worked on by the administration, and it is for the purpose of strengthening the existing laws. And, in your judgment, does that represent some further invasion of our rights to privacy and exercise the freedom as individual citizens, which compromise may have to be made in view of the continuing and rising threat situation?
MR. MUELLER: Well, with regard to what has been suggested as modifications to the FISA Act, I do not believe that that would be undermining the privacy of our citizens at all, and is a much-needed improvement to the FISA Act. There may be other pieces of legislation that are currently under discussion that I am not fully aware of.
And as each of those pieces of legislation is reviewed, I know that both we in the Bureau, but most particularly in the Department of Justice, where you look to balance the impact of that particular piece of legislation on privacy rights, also what it would accomplish to better enable us to address terrorism in the United States.
SEN. WARNER: In a short sentence, in your own personal professional assessment of the laws as they exist today, do they need to be strengthened, in your judgment, to enable you and others in law enforcement to protect our citizens?
MR. MUELLER: Certain of them do.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you. Director Tenet, this morning we heard another statement from a foreign country -- I believe France in this case -- to the effect that they don't even think Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. I'm not here to attach credibility to that statement.
We also saw a poll early this morning -- at least I did -- where in Great Britain they're anticipating the largest turnout in the streets of anti-war demonstrations; in fact, several of us on the Armed Services Committee yesterday had a question-and-answer session with British parliamentarians here in the Senate.
All this leads me to the following question. I support the president and I anticipate I will continue to support the president. But there seems to be a gap widening in Europe, and perhaps somewhat here at home. But in my judgment, we cannot postpone any longer the non-compliance of Iraq, even though, bit by bit, they're saying they'll do certain things. I think there comes a time when this situation has to be addressed, and if diplomacy fails, force must be used.
In the event that force is used, and after the dust settles and the world press and others can go in and assess the situation, is it your judgment that there will be clearly caches of weapons of mass destruction which will dispel any doubt with regard to the fair and objective analysis that the United States and such other nations that have joined in the use of force did the right thing at the right time?
MR. TENET: Sir, I think we will find caches of weapons of mass destruction, absolutely.
SEN. WARNER: And such diminution of our credibility, which we've maintained for these 200-plus years as a nation not to use a preemptive type of strike -- I don't think it's preemptive; others do, so we have to do that -- that can be reconciled and that credibility restored to the extent it's diminished. Do you believe that?
MR. TENET: Sir, I'm not going to make policy judgments. I'll stick to what my job is and focus on the intelligence.
SEN. ROBERTS: The distinguished senator's time has expired.
SEN. WARNER: I thank the chair.
SEN. ROBERTS: The distinguished senator from Michigan is recognized.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Jacoby has made the following statement in his written presentation, Director Tenet, and I am wondering if you agree, that Pyongyang's open pursuit of additional nuclear weapons is the most serious challenge the U.S. regional interests in a generation. The outcome of this current crisis will shape relations in Northeast Asia for years to come." Do you agree with that statement?
MR. JACOBY: Sir, it's very serious.
SEN. LEVIN: I think it's really useful that at least our intelligence community is willing to describe the problem with North Korea as a crisis. The administration has avoided that word. They've said it's not a crisis. And the fact that our intelligence community describes it accurately as a crisis it seems to me is at least a beginning of a fair assessment of how serious that is. Director Tenet, in early January we started sharing with U.N. inspectors intelligence on sites in Iraq that we have suspicions about. I assume that we are sharing information with all the limitations of inspections, because our intelligence community believes that U.N. inspections have value -- at least there's a possibility that those inspections would provide evidence of the presence of weapons of mass destruction or of Iraqi deception, or of violations of the resolutions of the United Nations. Do you agree that there is some value to those inspections?
MR. TENET: Sir, there's value in these inspections so long as the partner in these inspections, Saddam Hussein, complies with U.N. resolutions. And thus far he has been singularly uncooperative in every phase of this inspection process.
SEN. LEVIN: What you are saying is they have no value then unless he cooperates? That there's no chance that they will find evidence of weapons of mass destruction, even without his cooperation?
MR. TENET: Sir, unless he provides the data to build on, provides the access, provides the unfettered access that he's supposed to, provides us with surveillance capability, there's little chance you are going to find weapons of mass destruction under the rubric he's created inside the country. The burden is on him to comply and us to do everything we can to help the inspectors. But the inspectors have been put in a very difficult position by his behavior.
SEN. LEVIN: Have they been given unfettered access?
MR. TENET: By Saddam Hussein?
SEN. LEVIN: Yes.
MR. TENET: Sir, I don't know in real-time. Everything that happens on every inspection --
SEN. LEVIN: As far as you know, were they given unfettered access?
MR. TENET: I don't believe so, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Now, we have only shared a small percentage of the sites so far that we have suspicions about. I am going to use the word "small percentage," because I am not allowed to use the actual numbers of sites that you have suspicions about. I am not allowed to use the actual number of sites that we have shared with the U.N. inspectors. All I'm allowed to say is that there has been a "small percentage" of sites that we have shared the information with the inspectors. My question to you is: When will be completing the sharing of information with the U.N. inspectors?
MR. TENET: Sir, we have given the U.N. inspectors and UNMOVIC every site that we have that is of high or moderate value, where there is proven intelligence to lead to a potential outcome -- every site we have.
SEN. LEVIN: Would you say what percentage of the sites that we have on our suspect list that you have put out in that estimate we have --
MR. TENET: Sir, the -- the collect -- I'm sorry, sir. I apologize.
SEN. LEVIN: Would you give us the approximate percentage of the sites that we have in your classified National Intelligence Estimate that we have shared information on with the U.N. inspectors, just an approximate percentage?
MR. TENET: I don't remember the number.
SEN. LEVIN: Just give me an approximation.
MR. TENET: I don't know, but let me just -- can I just comment on what you said, sir?
SEN. LEVIN: Would you agree it's a small percentage?
MR. TENET: Well, sir, there is a collection priority list that you are aware of, and there is a number that you know. And this collection priority list is a list of sites that we have held over many, many years. The vast majority of these sites are low priority and against which we found little data to direct these inspectors. All I can tell you is we have given them everything we have and provided every site at our disposal, and we cooperate with our foreign colleagues to give them -- we have held nothing back from sites that we believe based on credible intelligence could be fruitful for these inspections.
SEN. LEVIN: I just must tell you that is news. That is a very different statement than we have received before.
MR. TENET: Sir, I was briefed last night, and I think that we owe you an apology. I don't know that you have gotten the full flavor of this. But in going through this last night, I can tell you with confidence that we had given them every site.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, Mr. Tenet, another question relative to al Qaeda's presence in Iraq. Does al Qaeda have bases in Iraq?
MR. TENET: Sir, you know that there is -- there's two things that I would say --
SEN. LEVIN: And would you summarize it by saying al Qaeda has bases in Iraq?
MR. TENET: Sir --
SEN. LEVIN: That is the part of Iraq that is controlled by Saddam?
MR. TENET: Sir, as you know -- first of all, as you know by secretary -- well, we won't get into northern Iraq, but I can tell you this -- bases -- it's hard for me to deal with, but I know that part of this -- and part of this Zarqawi network in Baghdad are two dozen Egyptian Islamic jihad which is indistinguishable from al Qaeda -- operatives who are aiding the Zarqawi network, and two senior planners who have been in Baghdad since last May. Now, whether there is a base or whether there is not a base, they are operating freely, supporting the Zarqawi network that is supporting the poisons network in Europe and around the world. So these people have been operating there. And, as you know -- I don't want to recount everything that Secretary Powell said, but as you know a foreign service went to the Iraqis twice to talk to them about Zarqawi and were rebuffed. So there is a presence in Baghdad that is beyond Zarqawi.
SEN. ROBERTS: The senator's time has expired.
SEN. BOND: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be joining this committee at a very interesting and challenging time. There was a question -- I would like to address the question to Director Tenet and Admiral Jacoby. There was a question asked earlier on whether the invasion of Iraq would increase the threat of weapons of mass destruction terrorist attacks in the United States. And I believe Director Tenet has given an answer. My question would be: What is the danger of an attack with weapons of mass destruction by terrorists if we continue with the hide-and-seek game and the proposed actions given by our French and German brave allies and leave Saddam Hussein in control of both caches and means of creating more weapons of mass destruction? Director Tenet would you, or Admiral Jacoby, wish to share your opinion --
MR. TENET: Sir, let me just differentiate for a moment. You know al Qaeda has an independent means which it has developed inside of Afghanistan. It's in my classified statement -- you can take a look at the BW, CW, and even interest in nuclear capabilities. So that's quite something they have been pursuing and we are trying to get on top of around the world. So there's an ongoing concern with or without. The concern of course that Secretary Powell enumerated in his speech at the U.N. was the concern that there have been some contacts, that there have been some training provided by the Iraqis -- this according to a senior detainee that we have in our custody. So how substantive that is beyond that, sir, I want to stick to the evidence and the facts that we have, but we are living in a world where proliferation of these kinds of materials to second parties and third parties, and then their subsequent transition to terrorist groups is obviously a separate issue we have to be very careful about.
MR. JACOBY: My follow-up would be, sir, obviously al Qaeda independently was pursuing these kinds of capabilities. And in my mind there are sort of two tracks running simultaneously, and the one track is sort of an independent al Qaeda WMD threat that probably operates on their timeline, their planning, their access to materials, and is independent of the discussion about the Iraqi contingency operation.
SEN. BOND: Admiral, in your written statement you've -- and other statements -- you've mentioned the challenges facing allies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries have been involved in -- actually Indonesia has obviously had a very serious and deadly terrorist attack. I would like your assessment, number one, of the importance of relationships with our friendly governments in the region which are subjected to the presence of terrorists. Number two, there has been an effort to impose sanctions on Indonesian military activity and such as cutting off IMET and other military exchanges. I have some very strong views on that. I would like to know your views as to whether these are effective means for remedying what we see as shortcomings or do you think these congressional initiatives may have the danger of disrupting these institutions and further lessening our ability to maintain a defense in the area?
MR. JACOBY: Senator Bond, obviously our relationships with these countries are extremely important, and I would only point to the operations and the cooperation, bilateral work that was done in the southern Philippines as an example with the Abu Sayyaf group. I mean, I think it demonstrates the capability and mutual effects of working together.
Without getting into the policy part on the IMET slice, I would just say that my observation over time in dealings with my counterparts in other countries is that those that have had the opportunity to interact with Americans, whether it's in our schools or other kinds of fora, then become very good partners down the road when they have the opportunity to make decisions. I think it's desperately important that we keep those kinds of ties in place wherever we can.
SEN. BOND: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: The distinguished senator from California is recognized.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Jacoby, let me thank you for your written statement. You didn't mention it in your oral remarks, but one thing really jumps out to me. Because it's brief, I want to read it. You say, "The prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict is furthering anti-American sentiment, increasing the likelihood of terrorism directed at United States interests, increasing the pressure on moderate Middle East regimes, and carries with it the potential for wider regional conflict, with each side determined to break the other's will. I see no end to the current violence." It seems to me that this is our greatest omission of putting that crisis on the back burner and not moving it forward to resolution. And I am just going to leave you with that. But I want to thank you for putting it in your statement.
Mr. Mueller, I want to thank you for your robust steps to move your department into counterterrorism and specifically domestic intelligence gathering. I think you've taken real action, and I am just delighted to see it.
Mr. Tenet, I also want to thank you. I had the privilege of going to your agency on Friday, and had an excellent briefing from a number of people, some of whom I see here this morning. And I thank you for that. And also I know you have been working very long hours along with Mr. Mueller and others, and I appreciate that.
Let me begin with this question: What is the agency's best estimate of the survival and whereabouts of Osama bin Laden?
MR. TENET: Senator, I don't think I'm going to get into all that in open session.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: I will ask you that question this afternoon.
MR. TENET: I would be pleased to respond.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Fine. Thank you very much. Perhaps I can ask one that you might be willing to answer. In the past you have mentioned on several occasions that the A Team of terrorists is Hezbollah. And putting aside capability, could you comment upon their assessment of their plans and intentions, whether they represent a domestic threat, whether there are signs of them increasing their activities in the Middle East, and what you believe would trigger a greater involvement in the United States?
MR. TENET: I will let Director Mueller talk about the United States. Of course this is a very capable organization that the Iranians have backed for a long time. It's a particularly difficult organization because of their feeding relationship with the Palestinian Islamic jihad, Hamas and others who have directed terrorist attacks against Israelis for many years. They have a worldwide presence. We see them actively casing and surveiling American facilities. They have extensive contingency plans that they have made, senator. We haven't seen something directed against us in a long time -- that would be a decision they make based on their own internal calculation. But this is certainly a group that warrants our continued attention around the world because of their capability. And truthfully, senator, one of the things we have to be mindful of and be very alert to is how all of these groups mix and match capabilities, swap training, use common facilities. So the days when we made distinctions between Shi'ites and Sunnis and fundamentalists and secularists in the terrorism world are over.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: I wanted to ask you a question, and this has been asked many times of us now by the press -- hopefully you can answer some of this in this session. When Secretary Powell laid out the information about the camps in northeastern Iraq, I wondered how long we had known about it, how we found evidence, the people coming and going from it with the innuendo that they were moving poisonous materials. And if all of that is true, there is abundant authority, if it is a threat to us, to take out that camp. Why in fact did we not do that?
MR. TENET: Senator, it's a policy question that I shouldn't answer. And, you know, I don't want to comment on what plans or contingencies were in place, what was considered or not considered, but that's something you may want to come back to with some other people and not met.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Can you publicly comment on the level of intelligence, whether it's -- the nature of the specific intelligence that indicated --
MR. TENET: Yes, ma'am. I --
SEN. FEINSTEIN: -- the poison factories?
MR. TENET: I believe that we have a compelling intelligence story based on multiple stories that we have high confidence in in understanding this network, how it's operated in Europe the connections that Secretary Powell talked about. It's something that we obviously will talk to you more about this afternoon in terms of --
SEN. FEINSTEIN: But let me narrow it down. It's not just British intelligence?
MR. TENET: No, ma'am.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: It's our own specific intelligence?
MR. TENET: That would be correct. That would be correct.
SEN. ROBERTS: The distinguished senator's time has expired. Let me say for the benefit of members that next is Senator DeWine, and then Senators Chambliss, Snowe, Mikulski, Lott and Edwards. The distinguished senator from Ohio.
SEN. DEWINE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Mueller, thank you very much for supplying us with this two-page summary. I think it is a very good summary of what you have done, the FBI, as these created to address the terrorist threat, I have commended to my colleagues in the Senate. You have talked about what the FBI is doing to attempt to reform itself and really change the overall direction. To play the devil's advocate for the moment, there are some people, director, as you know who believe that the FBI never really will be able to make that transformation, and that you can't do domestic intelligence. And I know you and I have talked about this, and of course you believe that you can make that. Let me ask you a couple questions. One, can you describe for us how well the computer upgrade process is going? The computer system at the FBI has been a mess, very antiquated. How much is it going to cost to upgrade it? How long is that upgrade going to take?
MR. MUELLER: Let me -- let me just start to discuss the essential upgrading of our computer system, and that was getting -- having a team in, bringing the team on board of former CIOs, individuals from private industry who have gone through this process before. And we over the last year have been lucky to recruit a number of individuals who regardless of the salary they are paid want to serve their country. And so we have rather than just the one or two individuals who have been in the industry before we have upwards of 15 who are shepherding our upgrade in technology. And that -- having that team on board was absolutely essential.
With regard to the hardware, we have put in over 20,000 desktops and computers over the last year to give us the capability at the desktops with Pentiums as opposed to 386s or 486s. We -- critical to our improvement is having the local area networks, and more importantly the wide area networks, the band width to exchange information, and the very technically challenging networks that are necessary, should be in place by the end of March. We have over 600 points around the country that have to be served by these networks and we expect those to be done by the end of March. Our principal software application called Virtual Case File, which is being developed by a number of agents as well as contractors, should be on board and on everybody's desk by December.
SEN. DEWINE: Which is quite an exciting prospect, as you've explained it to me. My time is very limited. When do you think that will be up?
MR. MUELLER: It will be up in December.
SEN. DEWINE: That will be up in December.
MR. MUELLER: November and December.
SEN. DEWINE: And the total cost of this will be what, do you think?
MR. MUELLER: I would have to check the figures. It's several hundreds of millions of dollars, but I would want to be specific. I can get you, quite obviously, the total cost.
SEN. DEWINE: And you should -- this whole process should be completed by when?
MR. MUELLER: Well, it's an ongoing process. The bulk of it will be completed by December of this year. But it is -- what we wanted to do was put into place a computer and information technology that won't serve us just in the next six months or the next year, but put in place a technology that can be upgraded yearly. So, it will be an ongoing process. But the bulk of it I expect to be done by December of this year.
SEN. DEWINE: Director, for those critics who say that you can't make this transformation, when is a fair time for us to, as the oversight committee, to look back and say -- to make the judgment of whether you have made the transformation or not?
MR. MUELLER: I think it's --
SEN. DEWINE: This is a tremendous sea change for the FBI.
MR. MUELLER: I think in some respects it is, and in other respects it is not. I think it's fair to ask what have we done since September 11th. I divide it between the collection capabilities, and I think the bureau, the agents have always had the collection capabilities, and indeed have been some of the best collectors of information in the world. What we have lacked in the past is the analytical capability, both in terms of the analysts as well as the information technology. And we have since September 11th almost doubled the number of analysts. We have developed a College of Analytical Studies. We have brought in, and George Tenet has helped us with 25 analysts to help us in the meantime on the analytical capability of the bureau. The analytical capability will be much enhanced by having the databases, the analytical tools in which to search those databases, and I would expect by the end of the year we'll be much enhanced.
But the fact of the matter is, since September 11th, I think just about every individual in the bureau understands that it is of foremost importance that the bureau protect the United States against another terrorist attack. And that mind shift came as of September 11th. And the bureau, I believe, has welcomed the opportunity to meet this new challenge, as it has in the past met previous challenges.
SEN. DEWINE: Thank you, Director, very much.
SEN. ROBERTS: The senator who has the privilege of representing the nation's number one football team has expired. (Laughter.) I will now like to recognize Senator Chambliss. And I would like to say for the benefit of committee members, having served with Senator Chambliss in the House of Representatives, and watched him closely on his service on our House counterpart committee -- it was Senator Chambliss and Congressperson Jane Harman who the speaker of the House appointed to form up a select committee on homeland security. He brings to the committee a great deal of expertise. We are very happy to have him on board. Senator, you are recognized.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And even though we finished third in rankings, we'll be there next year. (Laughter.)
Gentlemen, as all of you know, a main focus of my work over on the House side over the last two years has been on the issue of information sharing. And I don't want to get into any of that now because I'm going to continue to pound this issue with you every time we get together.
Bob, I see you've got -- I know you're putting this bulletin out every week. I think that's a major step in the right direction. I hope it's not old news by the time it gets down to the state and local level. There is still a feeling out there, I will tell you, among local law enforcement officials about some hesitancy on the part of your field officers to dialogue with them on a regular basis, and we've still got some overcoming to do there. But I commend you on making the effort to -- to let's make this dialogue more open.
The other comment I want to make before I get to my question, I -- George, you alluded to this in your statement with reference to the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. I felt like that was the weakest part of the argument that Secretary Powell was going to be able to make last week, and I was, frankly, pleased to see that he came forward as much as he did with these Zarqawi pronouncement. Your statement today with respect to the Egyptian jihadists who are operating openly in Iraq, I think it just adds to the evidence there that there is a direct link between not just al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein but the entire terrorist community and Saddam Hussein. I think that that particular issue, in and of itself, is going to be the most sensitive issue that we've got to deal with because we know that those weapons are right there, we know that the terrorist community is there. Do they have their hands on these weapons, and are they going to use them? I think that's something that frankly I'm going to want to talk with you a little bit more about this afternoon.
I want to ask you a question, though, that I get asked at home. And I hope you can all comment on this. That is, once again, as Senator Warner alluded earlier to the statements that were made in the paper again today by some of our colleagues in the other parts of the world, heads of other countries, relative to their not being convinced there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There are -- they're obviously not on board with the full force that our president is. I know our president is right. We all know our president is right. We all know that there is a relationship in the intelligence community between each of your organizations and your counterpart in France, in Germany, in Russia, in every other country. Is there something we know that they don't know? Are we not sharing information with them? Why would these countries not be as strong as we are, because the evidence is almost overwhelming? And if there is some lack of information sharing there, we need to know that. And I'd appreciate the comment of each of you on that issue.
MR. TENET: Sir, I don't know the answer precisely. I will say that we produced a white paper that became a matter of public knowledge. The British produced a white paper. The secretary of state has laid out a fairly exhaustive case at the United Nations. I know that we talk to our counterparts, so there is an enormous amount of data that flows back and forth. I can't take you farther than that, sir.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: So, the answer to the question is that the information that we have has been freely and openly disseminated with our supposed allies around the free world?
MR. TENET: Sir, we have provided a great deal of information to everybody on this case, and that's as far as I can take it.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Has there been any attitude or you notice any hesitation on the part of any of those countries with respect to the information that we've given them?
MR. TENET: I just can't comment on that, sir. I don't know.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: The senator from Maine is recognized. Senator Snowe.
SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R-ME): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We thank you all for your testimony here today. Obviously the purpose of this hearing is to measure the extent to which we have made progress, particularly in the 16 months since September 11th, and whether or not there are systems in place to make America safer and to prevail in the war on terrorism. And towards that end, I'd like to have you discuss to some extent about how the information sharing is working.
I was concerned to read that a senior official from the White House indicated that much of the information sharing that is occurring between the FBI and CIA is on an informal basis and by brute force. And I would like to know whether or not we have made significant improvements. I know the president has recommended the terrorist threat integration center, which I think is a great idea and a move in the right direction, but is that going to become operational sooner rather than later? To what extent has urgency been applied to making this functional and making sure the information is flowing in all directions, vertically and horizontally?
To that point as well, on Friday, I happened to be at the Portland, Maine Airport, and I was talking to the federal security director, who had heard at 11:00 on CNN that there would be an announcement about raising the alert level to code orange. So, this was -- and the attorney general's press conference was going to be at 12:30. So, he hears about it on CNN an hour-and-a-half before the attorney general is going to have a press conference, two hours before he will receive an official directive. I also talked to some federal law enforcement officials as well as local who had the same experience.
And I'm just hoping that we are in a better position to disseminate this information than the way we're doing it, especially when we're talking about the second highest alert, and the second time it has been instituted. And also, because security conditions maybe have to be attached to that, and these officials need to know first and foremost. So, we're saying to wait and watch it on TV. And I just hope that we can improve upon this system.
And I mention that to you today to ensure that that doesn't happen, but also to know where we are in information sharing, because last week, before the code orange alert was issued -- now these media reports may not be entirely accurate, but it seems to me that there is a lot of questions as to whether or not to even issue the alert. And I know, Director Tenet, you said that this chatter was significant, but I gather it wasn't specific enough to encourage the alert. And where were you both in terms of whether or not this alert should be issued?
MR. TENET: Well, I think -- I think it's fair to say that, with regard to the issuance of alert, we were both -- we both believed that this is something that should be done. I mean, this is a story that's been pieced together. It was very specific and credible information. It was sourced well. There were multiple sources. So, I think from Bob and I's perspective, we had to issue this alert. We made -- we made our case. Obviously, the director of homeland security and the attorney general make the policy decisions, but from where we sat, putting us at a heightened state of alert, being disruptive, throwing people off our feet, generating additional operational opportunities in this environment is important. Now, people will come back and say, Senator, well, if it doesn't happen in this time period, what does that mean? It's really irrelevant to the point of there was enough credible data that takes us to a time period and it increases our vigilance, and we have a plot line that we will continue to run and follow. So, I think -- Bob can speak for himself -- but we were both in the same place.
MR. MUELLER: I -- I mean, we absolutely were both in the same place, having access to both -- both of us, both institutions having access to the same intelligence. And the intelligence was not just foreign intelligence but also domestic intelligence. And I believe we draw the same conclusions as to the necessity of raising the alert based of -- based on our common understanding of that intelligence. And this process, I think speaks volumes about the information sharing capabilities now as opposed to before September 11th.
When a situation like this comes along, not only do our individual offices exchange information -- information that is culled from our investigation within the United States, but also information that comes from the intelligence community overseas. But also, as this process goes along, we -- individually and together -- discuss the import of the intelligence and what steps should be taken as a result of that intelligence. I will also say that the process goes on daily. In other words, once the alert is raised, every day we look at it and look at those underpinnings, or those threads of intelligence that led us to believe that the alert should be raised to determine whether or not the time has changed and that things have changed significantly enough so that the alert should be reduced to the lower level.
MR. TENET: I'd say, Senator, the FBI has done a great job of playing off what we provided and then giving it back to us in a real operational, real time transparency on all this has been exemplary. So, you know, I would say that we're making steady and important progress on data sharing. The director's got an important initiative there in terms of digital communications, the packaging of data, the sending it forward. And I think it's going to get better and better. But we have a very important and seamless lash up today that's going to get stronger over the course of time with the reforms that Bob has put in place, and things we're trying to do with our law enforcement colleagues.
SEN. ROBERTS: The senator's time has expired. Senator Mikulski.
SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First, to everyone at the table, I know that with us being on such a high alert -- we've actually been on a high alert for a long time, we just got the color called orange -- I just know that you're, under all the professional demeanor at this table, the emotional stress that you're under as you're working so hard to try to protect our country, and we want to say that to everybody who works for you, we know what you're going through. And I just want to say thank you.
MR. TENET (?): Thank you, ma'am.
SEN. MIKULSKI: And in terms of the coordination, you know, we've already been in a high alert several weeks ago -- it was called the sniper attacks. And, first of all, Mr. Tenet, Mr. Mueller, and all other agencies that were involved, I want to say, as the senator from Maryland, first of all, thank you. The coordination in the federal government with local law enforcement was outstanding in the way it worked, the way we could find the sniper, the way we could track down the killer with every federal agency doing what it needed to do, the way we were able to work with the local law enforcement, and also to be sure that this was not an international threat. So, we don't need to go into the mechanics, but I believe that what was done there was really a model of communication and cooperation, not only in finding the killers, but also the way you worked with the local government, and also managed the fear. And I think Mr. Duncan, Mr. Moose, Agent Ball, the ATF.
So, having said that, let me then go now to agent -- agent orange. I feel like it's agent orange -- there is such a toxic atmosphere. With the threats that are -- that has been announced, the question is now what should Americans do? There is a great anxiety here in the capital region about one, what we've heard in the media, you know, tape up your windows, et cetera, buy your water, to what is happening with the local law enforcement. And I wonder if Mr. Mueller, you could comment on this, which is, number one, given this threat now, what is the FBI doing in terms of working with the locals? What more, using other examples now as models, what more could we be doing? Because while you're doing the threat assessment and communicating the information, the response needs to be local, and also the vigilance needs to be local -- whether it's the Baltimore City Police Department, whether it's the Department of Natural Resource Police policing the bay around Calvert Cliffs, our nuclear power plant, along with our Coast Guard. What could you share with me about what's being done and how we could also improve it, and also do it in other parts of the country? But I'll tell you, your agent Gary Ball was really prime time.
MR. MUELLER: Well, thank you.
SEN. MIKULSKI: And all the agents.
MR. MUELLER: I do believe that when it comes to information sharing, that is yet another example of which we are changing as an organization, and better utilizing our joint capabilities -- and by joint capabilities I mean the capabilities of the federal law enforcement with state and local.
When it comes to responding to the threat, we -- last Friday we sent out another what we call another what we call "inlets" (sp) with a package of suggestions in terms of what might be done to additionally harden potential targets. Through our joint terrorism task forces, we work closely with state and local law enforcement to identify potential targets in the region, and to assure that those who are responsible for the security of those targets understand the threat alert and harden their -- harden their facilities.
As the -- as we go through this process of looking at whether or not to raise the alert, we try again through our joint terrorism task forces to keep them apprised of the intelligence that is coming in. Some of it, quite obviously, is very sensitive in terms of sources and methods, but to keep the joint terrorism task forces generally alerted.
I will tell you that whenever we have a threat to a particular place, we immediately put that threat out to the joint terrorism task force and/or through the joint terrorism task force, and through the U.S. attorney's office, those who are the state and local law enforcement, as well as most often in the political hierarchy of the city or the town or the community where we have this information. So, our belief being that those individual who are responsible for the safety, the first responders should have access to that information. And then we coordinate afterwards in trying to run the threat down and determine whether indeed it is credible or not.
The most important thing that comes out of this enhanced vigilance, as I briefly stated before, is the alertness of the citizenry. We have on a number of occasions been alerted to things that are out of the ordinary that indeed came to -- we come to find, gave us an insight, and gave us a lead to persons who were associated with terrorist groups and enabled us to take some action against them. And consequently, through this process of -- of both raising the alerts but also in discussing what should be done for our various joint terrorism task forces, we have, I believe -- and I believe intelligence would support this -- deterred terrorists from attacks because of the enhanced vigilance.
SEN. MIKULSKI: Mr. Mueller, I think I'm going to follow-up on this in the closed session, questions that I have for the CIA and the other agencies also to the closed session.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator, we will have a second round. And the distinguished senator's time has expired. Senator Lott.
SENATOR TRENT LOTT (R-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentlemen, for the work you do in your respective positions, and for what you're doing to protect our country.
You know, in Congress we have turf conflicts and disagreements between committees, the House and Senate, individual senators and congressmen. Human nature is not always to share or cooperate. I think I'm encouraged by what I hear you're saying, and you know, you are trying to change this culture, as several others have referred to that. But I think to the average American, when they were told, in effect, that you know, that sometimes the FBI and the CIA, and maybe DIA, all of you weren't exchanging, and coordinating, and cooperating in handling of information, it was a, you know, the average person couldn't understand that. So I want to emphasize again the importance of your continuing to work to get that accomplished.
Because of our limited time, let me try to get to a couple of specific questions. One of the areas I've been concerned about is security of seaports and the capabilities of the Coast Guard and the threat of how some weapon of mass destruction could be brought into ports big or small, whether it's Gulfport, Mississippi or Baltimore.
So elaborate on how you're doing to deal with that threat, if you can, as much as you can in open session. And how is the relationship with Coast Guard? And you might just tie into that, there was a lot of discussion, when we were passing the homeland security legislation, about the categories that would go into homeland security. And what kind of progress are you making in terms of cooperation with this new department?
MR. MUELLER: Let me just start, if I could, Senator, with the ports. Each of the major ports, as an adjunct to our -- at least I'm pretty certain almost every one of the ones I know about, as an adjunct toward a joint terrorism task force, in Norfolk or Charleston or elsewhere, there is a group that looks at port security. In that group is the FBI. In that group is the Coast Guard and the local police chiefs. If it's a federal facility, members from the federal facilities come together as a task force to address the security of ports.
Since September 11th, we have had certainly in excess of 10, probably more than 20, and perhaps more than that, threats of ships coming into various ports with anything from nuclear weapons to bombs or what have you. And on each of those occasions where we have received such a threat, we have worked closely together with the Coast Guard to identify the vessel or vessels, to search those vessel or vessels, and to assure that the threat was not credible.
We are working exceptionally well with the Coast Guard, have been since September 11th, and I expect that that will continue as the Coast Guard goes within the Department of Homeland Security. We certainly have seen no diminution in efforts to coordinate and cooperate whenever we get a threat against a port.
SEN. LOTT: Director Tenet, maybe Admiral Jacoby, there's been discussion about this in the past, and I presume there's an ongoing aggressive effort -- and I'm not sure exactly who's in charge of it -- but to try to keep up with and track fissionable material that could be used, obviously, in nuclear weapons. What can you say publicly about how aggressively we're pursuing that dangerous material?
MR. TENET: Senator Lott, actually, it's very much combined, Defense and CIA effort in that regard. And I think it would be better to follow up with some detail in the closed session. But it also joins up with your last question about seaports.
Obviously the concern is the movement of such materials. And there's a real good-news story in here. The Navy, through the Office of Naval Intelligence, has the intel community's responsibility for Merchant Marine and tracking of materials that are in those ships. That is a coordinated, consolidated, integrated effort with the Coast Guard. And there's some linkages in here that there are really good- news stories in terms of information-sharing.
SEN. LOTT: I've been surprised at some of the technology I've found that we have. I'll ask more questions about that this afternoon.
One final question, because I'm afraid that my time is going to be gone. You know, members of Congress are supposed to get briefings, and we do on occasion. Some of them are classified and very sensitive. But I've found recently that I find out more about what's happening with the intelligence community in a book than I'd ever gotten in a briefing about what happened in Afghanistan, "Bush at War."
Now, I think there's a lot of material in that book that probably shouldn't have been there. Do we have some process of trying to control leaks like that or deal with information like that that is disclosed and it shouldn't be? I guess I'm looking at you, Mr. Tenet.
MR. TENET: It's an interesting book, sir.
SEN. LOTT: Interesting book. Yeah, very interesting information in there, too.
MR. TENET: And I think that obviously any time operational detail and other issues are given away, it causes us concern. It's one of the issues we work at all the time. So it's a complicated and difficult problem to deal with.
SEN. LOTT: Well, I think you need to have an ongoing effort to try to stop that kind of information from getting into that type of medium.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: The time of the distinguished senator has expired. If the senator has any suggestions on how we could put that duct tape on the mouths of congressmen and senators, perhaps it wouldn't happen as often as it does.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Tenet, I have seen reports that a new bin Laden tape will be broadcast today. Can you tell us, first, whether that's true, and second, what you know about it?
MR. TENET: I've heard that on the way in, sir. I don't know what the contents will be. We'll just have to wait and see what is on this tape.
SEN. EDWARDS: You've not seen the tape yourself?
MR. TENET: No, sir, I have not.
SEN. EDWARDS: Nor have you received any reports about what's contained on the tape?
MR. TENET: I had some reports last night, sir, about the possibility that this would exist. In preparing for today, I honestly have not spent any time looking at it. So we'll see whether it runs and what it sounds like.
SEN. EDWARDS: Director Mueller, you and I have discussed the subject of the FBI's reform efforts and a fundamental disagreement that you and I have about this. Over 17 months, we have learned and the American people have learned about case after case where the FBI missed clues or failed to connect dots, ranging from the failure to follow up on the Phoenix memo to failing to get the Moussaoui computer to failing to track two of the hijackers who the FBI knew were in the United States.
And during that 17 months since September 11th, the FBI obviously has had a chance to reform itself. As we've discussed, I don't believe the FBI has met that challenge. I think there are two fundamental reasons for that. One is, I think there's bureaucratic resistance within the FBI. The FBI is by nature a bureaucracy. There are people within the FBI who work to protect their own turf and they resist change, which is the nature of bureaucracy.
And second, I think the Bureau is just the wrong agency to do intelligence work. I think there's a fundamental conflict between law enforcement and intelligence-gathering. And law enforcement is about building criminal cases and putting people in jail and indicting people.
The FBI is clearly very good at law enforcement; there's no doubt about that. But law enforcement is not intelligence. Intelligence isn't about building a case; it's about gathering information and putting it together and seeing how it fits into a bigger picture.
Now, as you know, I'm not the only one to reach this conclusion; there are many others. In fact, I believe all of the objective reviews have found that the FBI is not up to this task. Let me just quote some of them first.
The Markle task force, which was October of 2002, and I quote, said, "There is a resistance ingrained in the FBI ranks to sharing counterterrorism information. The FBI has not prioritized intelligence analysis in the areas of counterterrorism," end quote.
The Gilmore Commission, December of 2002, quote: "The Bureau's long-standing tradition and organizational culture persuade us that even with the best of intentions, the FBI cannot soon be made over into an organization dedicated to detecting and preventing attacks rather than one dedicated to punishing them."
The Joint Congressional Inquiry; the report came out in December. "The FBI has a history of repeated shortcomings within its current responsibility for domestic intelligence. The FBI should strengthen and improve its domestic capability as fully and expeditiously as possible by immediately instituting a variety of recommendations."
And finally the Brookings Institution, in January of this year, said, "There are strong reasons to question whether the FBI is the right agency to conduct domestic intelligence collection and analysis."
My view, and I've expressed to you, is that the FBI's effort at reform is too little, too late. I also think, because of the nature of the FBI, that it will never be able to reform itself to do this job.
The New York Times reported from the second-ranking official at the Bureau -- this is in November, November 21st -- that he told field-office chiefs in a memorandum that he was -- I'm quoting him -- "amazed and astounded by the failure of some unidentified FBI field offices to commit essential resources and tools to the fight against terrorism."
I will introduce legislation this week -- I'm going to give you an opportunity to respond. I will introduce legislation to take the domestic-intelligence function out of the FBI and put it into a new agency. I think it'll improve our ability to fight terrorism. I also think it will improve, because of the structure that I'm proposing, our ability to protect freedoms and liberties here within our country.
I do want to ask you about --
SEN. ROBERTS: The senator's time has expired.
SEN. EDWARDS: I think we should give him a chance to respond.
SEN. ROBERTS: I think that's pretty obvious. Let me just say to the distinguished senator, Senator Rockefeller and I have agreed that, prior to the budget hearings, the first hearing we will have will be on FBI reform so the director can come before us and certainly tell his side of the story. And I will now recognize the director to respond to the comments made by the senator.
MR. MUELLER: Senator, you have overlooked a great deal of the good work that the FBI has done in the last 17 months in connecting the dots. You also, I think, have overlooked the capability of the Bureau to collect facts through investigations, through interrogations, as it has done for 90 years.
The only other point I would make, Senator, is I've offered you an opportunity personally to come down to the Bureau and be briefed on the changes that we have made since September 11th. You have declined --
SEN. EDWARDS: I'd be happy to do that.
MR. MUELLER: -- to come down. And I asked you in particular, before you introduced the legislation, that you come down and see the changes we have made to augment the intelligence-gathering capability of the Bureau, both the gathering as well as the analytical capability of the Bureau. So I ask you to do that before you submit that legislation.
Thank you, sir.
SEN. EDWARDS: May I just respond briefly to the director? I will be happy to do that. I would like to see what changes you've made. But I think there is a fundamental issue here, which I, again, will be happy to talk with you about.
MR. MUELLER: If I can make one more point, as you have quoted pieces from a number of reports. I also know that you have received letters from state and local law enforcement who do not share your view that the Bureau cannot undertake this, and to the contrary, believe that the Bureau ought to undertake this responsibility because so much of it relies on the integration of the federal government with state and local law enforcement.
SEN. EDWARDS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: If we can adhere to the five-minute rule in the future, it would be appreciated. The senator from Oregon.
SEN. RON WYDEN (D-OR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Tenet, if no military action is taken against Saddam Hussein this winter and spring, and U.N. inspectors continue their work in Iraq through the summer, I would like to know if you believe Hussein will be a greater threat to our country and our allies in the fall.
The question is relevant to me, because obviously we're going to keep the U.N. inspectors there, canvassing the country. And we're concerned about his military and weapons-of-mass-destruction capability. And I'm wondering if you can -- given that, if no action is taken this winter and this spring, whether Hussein will be a greater threat to our nation in the fall.
MR. TENET: Senator, if the inspections regime continues on its current course, with the non-cooperation and non-compliance of the Iraqis, essentially their continued effort to deceive, to make it possible for these inspectors to work -- and there's not much of a record to indicate that that's going to change -- that's something you have to factor into your calculations.
But one thing you have to remember is Saddam Hussein built the WMD program with inspectors living in his country for years.
He understood how to acquire chemical and biological capabilities. He understood how to establish a clandestine procurement network. He understands how to cross borders. Now, the policy decision you make or others make is not my purview. He will continue to strengthen himself over time, and the greatest concern is how fast he gets to a nuclear capability, which then magnifies the impact of his already large chemical and biological program. So, from a professional perspective, it never gets any better with this fellow, and he's never been a status quo guy.
SEN. WYDEN: We'll get into it some more in the closed session, and I appreciate it just because time is short.
Gentlemen, let me ask you about the Total Information Awareness program. This, of course, is a Defense Department program. I'm sponsor of an amendment now, an omnibus bill to put some restrictions there so we can have some safeguards for the civil liberties of the American people. And of course, the technology from the Total Information Awareness program as envisaged would be given to various agencies so they could track various databases. I'd like to know from you all what your view is of the Total Information Awareness program's planned capabilities, and whether you have any concerns about privacy and if so, what safeguards you think are necessary?
Perhaps, Mr. Mueller, it would be better to start with you on this.
MR. MUELLER: I am not totally familiar with all aspects of what has been called the Total Awareness -- I guess, Total Awareness Program?
SEN. WYDEN: Total Information Awareness.
MR. MUELLER: Total Information Awareness program. We have had discussions with DARPA with regard to utilizing certain of their tools with our information, but have not discussed participating in what is called Total Information Awareness program. I don't know enough about it to really comment about the impact on privacy. I would say that whenever we have a databases -- whenever we have databases that are interrelated, the impact on privacy should be considered as we move forward. And to the extent that we institute new databases within the bureau, we look at the privacy aspects of those databases.
SEN. WYDEN: Well, I certainly hope so, because this is a program that involves the question of snooping into law-abiding Americans on American soil. It's something I feel strongly about. And we're talking about the most expansive surveillance program in American history, and this is something we've got to nail down the safeguards before we go forward with -- and suffice it to say there is substantial bipartisan concern up here on this.
One last question, if I might, for you, Mr. Tenet: The terrorist tracking system, the TIC system, the Terrorist Identification Classification System, was something I wrote in the intelligence authorization bill, so we could store and retrieve the critical information on known or suspected terrorists and essentially track them on an ongoing basis. I'd like to know what the status of this is and particularly what's been done to improve the sharing of information regarding these known and suspected terrorists, and whether it's now getting to the state and local level, because, again, I'm hearing at home concerns on this point.
MR. TENET: Sir, I know that we're hard at work in building this database. One of the things that is involved in this Threat Integration Center that we're trying to establish and we hope to establish soon is that this will be the repository to make sure that these databases are kept and updated here. We are building. We're making progress. I'd ask Director Mueller to comment about the transferral of the data to the --
SEN. WYDEN: That would be good. And particularly, Director Mueller, tell us how the TIC system -- and I'll finish right up, Mr. Chairman -- could -- was going to be integrated with the terrorist threat center that the president is talking about.
MR. MUELLER: Excuse me. Just one second.
It's called TTIC.
Mr./SEN. : We know that. We know that.
MR./SEN. : Okay. That's the acronym. (Laughter.)
MR. MUELLER: The question, again, was, Senator -- I apologize --
SEN. WYDEN: The question was, where are we with respect to the Terrorist Identification Classification System, and how is going to be fit into the center that the president envisages?
MR. MUELLER: I would have to get back to you on that. I'm not, off the top of my head, familiar with where we are in the TIC and how it will relate to the TTIC.
MR. TENET: Sir, it's -- if I can just fill in for a moment, one of the organizing principles here will be to have this database developed and maintained in this center, and this will be something that we provide accessibility to, to federal, state and local levels. And we'll put it in the center.
SEN. WYDEN: We'll do more in closed session.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: I thank the senator.
We are ready for the second round. There will be the chair -- we will strictly adhere to the five-minute rule. Senators who go over five minutes will be taken to Dodge City, put in the local jail and, after five days, hung by the neck until they are dead. (Subdued laughter.) That may be a bit harsh. We'll consider amnesty.
I have some observations. I know that the senator from North Carolina made mention of several commissions.
There's the Bremer Commission, the Gilmore Commission, the Aspin-Brown Commission, the Hart-Rudman Commission, the CSIS study -- all made possible by Senator Warner when he set up the Emerging Threats Subcommittee in the Armed Services Committee and I was the chairman. It was like a fire hose in your face. This is before 9/11. Most of what has been said about connecting the dots; and the oceans no longer protect us, et cetera, et cetera; not a matter of if, but when; access denial; asymmetrical warfare -- all the buzz words that we hear were said back then in 1999. I even said some; I was even prescient. Somebody said I was even intelligent.
And the thing that I would say is that after all of that and all of this discussion, still we have the question, does the situation in Iraq merit the United States going to war? And the observation that I would like to make, that in the last decade 6,000 Americans have lost their lives either overseas or in this country, and have been killed by terrorist cells, either state-sponsored or non-state-sponsored, we are at war. That's the key. Now, what we do as a result of that, what would be the best way to win this war over the long term, it seems to me that is the question. And I don't question any senator's intent, but I think we ought to make that very clear.
And it seems to me that all this is related. We have a tendency to say -- or, you know, "Admiral, you're right, you rated North Korea as the number one issue." And then Director Tenet says it's al Qaeda that's the number one issue. And then the president says it's Iraq that's the number one issue. They're all interrelated. And if we start drawing the line in the sand and then drawing a new line in the sand and a new line in the sand, as we saw in the Balkans with Slobodan Milosevic, we end up in the sandbox. I don't think we can afford to draw about six or seven lines in the sand because of the message that that sends to somebody like Kim Jong Il, who is a ruthless theological dictator -- very bizarre man, very surreal man, very surreal country.
So I think it's all interrelated. And I think we make a dangerous assumption by trying to rate one over the other. They are all equally extremely important in regards to our vital national security.
George, if the U.S. takes military action against Iraq, what is the likelihood that Saddam will use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S.?
We've heard a rumor, I guess, or a precursor, that Osama bin Laden might be on television, Al-Jazeera.
But if the U.S. does not take military action against Iraq, what is the likelihood that Saddam will use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., especially with consideration to that northeast poison center that the Secretary of State so clearly demonstrated in his testimony before the Security Council?
MR. TENET: Sir, you asked a couple of questions. I think you need to go back to the secretary's statement and look at how carefully crafted that language was in terms of the linkages that are made.
I ask everybody to do that. This is a story we're developing very carefully. So before you leave to operational direction and control the safe haven and harboring piece, it is very sound and established. And how much they know and what they know is something you're still developing. although we're certainly aware that the Iraqi Intelligence Service is knowledgeable about the existence of this capability. So people have to be very careful about how we used our language and how far we take the case.
Now, you know that in -- when we wrote our national intelligence estimate in the -- I guess in October we talked about the fact that if he believed at the time that -- well, I'll paraphrase here -- that hostilities were imminent or his regime was going down, we had a great concern that he would use weapons of mass destruction. The truth is, is we don't know what he's going to do. And now we're at a different point in time. And this -- some things we need to talk in classified session --
SEN. ROBERTS: I'll be happy to do that. I've just got a couple more questions.
MR. TENET: -- I would just say -- yes, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: I've got 46 seconds, and I may be taken to Dodge City if I'm not careful.
MR. TENET: Sorry, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: All right.
Admiral, what do we have new on Scott Speicher, the man that we left behind?
ADM. JACOBY: Sir, we have a number of leads, and we've done notification on those. And so we're continuing to pursue very aggressively. Right now we have no conclusive information, and so our assessment is we are pursuing it as if Captain Scott Speicher is alive and being held by the Iraqis. We continue with our assessment that the Iraqis know of his fate and that -- and that are not forthcoming with the information that they have available.
SEN. ROBERTS: I thank you for your efforts, and please relay my heartfelt thanks to your team, the Speicher team, to determine that's the case. I am out of time. And don't bring the sheriff yet.
I'd like to ask of you just one real quick question. We've heard a lot about -- and I'm going to submit for the record to you, George, and to you, Bob, more especially, whether we need a director of national intelligence, whether the FBI should be involved in counter- terrorism, and the series of things that came from the joint investigative staff investigation on 9/11. And you can respond, and you don't have to do it next week. But -- or we can talk about it in the classified session.
Senator Lott, who is not with us here today, pointed out -- or, actually, it was Senator Warner that actually pointed it out -- in July prior to 9/11 that we had 14 committees in the Senate alone -- 14 committees; Lord knows how many subcommittees -- that had jurisdiction over homeland security and national security. Senator Lott informed me after 9/11, about several months ago, there are now 80, if you combine the House and the Senate. I don't know which door you knock on. You're going to have to give that same presentation to Armed Services, and you should, because of the different tenor of that. Would you all think that it might be a good idea for the House and Senate to reform itself so that you would know which door to knock on and you could give a cogent answer and there would be a one stop shopping center, or at least a belly button-kind of committee that at least would, you know, be able to do the job rather than trying to report to 80 different committees and listen to 80 different speeches, times about 10 members of each committee? I think the answer is yes. Is that correct?
MR. TENET: Sir, I don't think any of us would tell you how to reform the Congress. (Laughter.) We'll work on reforming ourselves.
SEN. ROBERTS: Well, whisper in my ear. You could sort of nod your head or raise your eyebrow or something like that. (Pause.)
MR. TENET: Maintaining very good discipline --
SEN. ROBERTS: I got it, George, I got it. (Laughter.)
MR. TENET: Being disciplined at this moment, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: All right. Senator Rockefeller?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral, on your excellent preparation -- testimony, you talked about North Korea being fundamentally destabilizing potentially and probably. And you talked about its missile system, Taepo Dong II. If it's a two-stage thing, it reaches parts of America; if it goes to three-stage, it can reach all of America; that is, plutonium, nuclear bomb. All the others have mentioned -- at the panel table have mentioned all of the other kinds of threats around. North Korea I have in my own mind.
Is South Korea going to seek a different kind of relationship? It would be my judgment that it would over the next 10 to 20 years. That either can be, you know, handled by redeployment of forces, or there is something going on inside South Korea which is more than just young people going to coffee shops and saying un-nice things about America, but a fundamental desire of that country to establish itself on its own, to be seen as less than, you know, a part of our protection posture in Asia, in South Asia.
You have in addition to that the problem that you spoke of, Admiral, of poverty worldwide, of 95 percent, I think you said, of all the people who are in poverty will be in undeveloped nations in the population growth that occurs. So you have this enormous array, and each of you have ticked off all the countries that you worry about.
My question is to this point. And it's not a softball question or a set-up question, but it's one that needs to be asked. You can combine, coordinate, we can have a DNI or not have a DNI; at some point you have to have the resources and the people to be able to do all of this. Now, we're focused on Iraq, but we have to be -- I mean, we haven't even talked about South America.
Various ones of you in the past have talked to me about fatigue, the fatigue factor, that people just have -- they're overworked, they're overloaded, they have so much, that they simply make mistakes, like we do, because they're tired and there aren't any replacements, or they're 24/7, all the time.
And I'm interested in, one, the answer to the first.
And secondly, what are we in danger of not being able to cover? Your responsibility is everything. You cannot perform on everything. That becomes a serious national security question. Director?
MR. TENET: Well, Senator, I think it is a very important question. Where we are today is as we've -- in building our budgets and thinking through the future, we basically have been made whole in terms of problems we were fixing and worries that we had, and there's an enormous infusion of dollars that have come to the community over the last two years with the president and the secretary of Defense's support, so we're beefing up capabilities. People are an issue; we can't bring them on fast enough. And we're doing everything we can to bring them on.
The key question that we're now thoughtfully talking about with the secretary of Defense and others is in the world that you're headed to where information is going to have absolute primacy, do we really have the global coverage that we need? Do you really have the redundancy that you need? Is the architecture that we designed for collection in the early '90s sufficient? I think we all believe that there are dramatic improvements that have to be made -- worth thinking about that very, very hard and what the resource implications are.
But it's very clear that the kind of global coverage, the connectivity -- just the one issue that I talked about in my testimony, this issue of safe havens that are derived in states that basically can't deliver goods and services to their people, thereby creating new safe havens for terrorist organizations; coverage of these places is a nontrivial event. We can't tell you that we cover it with any speed or grace today. We make every effort we can. You put your finger on something that's very important and worth thinking about it right now as we made ourselves whole from lots of shortfalls in the '90s, and we're now asking the same question you're asking.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I'll stop there -- just say that the world of intelligence is incredibly important, and therefore, it has to be done properly and thoroughly. That's your responsibility, that's also our responsibility to make sure it can happen.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Warner?
SEN. JOHN W. WARNER (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Rockefeller raised the important question about North Korea. And I want to make this point. This president is working as hard as any president could to get to a diplomatic solution in both areas. And people say, well, there's no difference between the threats of North Korea or they're equally as -- some say North Korea's more of a threat. But I think we should point out that the issue with North Korea basically -- under this presidency, has just begun, and he's dealing with it diplomatically, as he should.
In the case of Iraq, we've been at it with the world for 12 years and 17 resolutions, and we're now at the point where other nations are thinking of prolonged inspections, doubling or tripling the size of the inspectors for an indefinite period of time, and I'll return to that.
But also, the chairman brought up this question of weapons of mass destruction. And I think the importance of these hearings open is that the public can look each of you in the eye through the cameras and hear your response.
In response to the chairman, Mr. Tenet, you say, frankly, you don't know whether Saddam Hussein would or would not employ weapons of mass destruction. But the troops deploying from my state by the tens of thousands, their families, I think we have to go a step further and point out there is a risk because he has a known record of having used them, and it is not simply that we don't know that.
MR. TENET: Sir, if I may --
SEN. WARNER: Yes? Let me just finish.
And then, Admiral, the same question.
Now, you made no reference, Director Tenet, to the weapons in your opening statement, that is the prepared statement. But the Defense Intelligence Agency did, and I read it: "Saddam's conventional military options and capabilities are limited, and we know that. They're significantly degraded since 1991. But I expect him" -- this is I, you -- "to preemptively attack the Kurds in the north, conduct missile and terrorist attacks against Israel and U.S. regional and worldwide interests, perhaps using WMD and the regime's link with al Qaeda."
So you seem to go a step further. Is there unity of thinking between DIA and CIA on this issue? Or, frankly, do you have a difference of view? Because I think in fairness, here in open we should tell the men and women of the armed forces, indeed, the civilians deployed, and the families, exactly what your professional opinions are.
MR. TENET: Sir, I think you have to plan on the fact that he would use these weapons.
SEN. WARNER: Yes.
MR. TENET: I mean, that's what --
SEN. WARNER: Yes.
MR. TENET: Now, I was remarking -- do I know what's in his head? I don't know. Do I know whether his subordinates will take the orders? I don't know. There are some unknowables, but you must plan as if he will use these weapons.
SEN. WARNER: Clear.
ADM. JACOBY: And, Senator, my comments are that in a period of time when he believes that the regime is going down, he will take every effort to divert attention, whether it's an attack on the north, an attack in Israel, or use the capabilities that are available to him in his own arsenal. And that's the projection they're based on, that situation.
SEN. WARNER: So that the parallel views of the two principal agencies, correct?
ADM. JACOBY: I believe so.
SEN. WARNER: The second question, Mr. Tenet, and to the director of the bureau, my constituents say: Well, let's look at this proposal maybe of extended time and enlarging the regime because Saddam Hussein is 6,000 miles away, he's no risk to us.
But I reply to them that these weapons of mass destruction in his possession can be disseminated through the worldwide terrorist groups and brought to the shores of the United States, in perhaps small quantities.
One envelope, which was never opened, resulted in the deaths attributed to anthrax here, of courageous postal workers, and in some ways debilitated the Congress to operate for a significant period of time.
Now, what evidence can you share publicly that Iraq is disseminating through worldwide terrorist organizations or in other ways any of their alleged cache of literally tons of these chemicals and biological agents which can bring about mass destruction of our people?
MR. TENET: Sir, we have provided the committee with a number of classified papers that are well written and well done. And I think it documents the extent of what we have learned today. Obviously we have some concerns about the safe haven that's been created, and I did not suggest operational direction and control. But over time you learn more things. How that plays out is -- and whether, you know, these things get to second- or third-hand players is something that you're always worried about. So I think we've -- we've taken these cases as far as we can and given all these papers to you. And I'd like to let it rest with that. As we develop more data on this, I think what --
SEN. WARNER: But that is a threat to the security here at home. Am I correct?
MR. TENET: Sir, you have to -- you have to worry about how those things can ultimately be transported in the hands of multiple groups to affect the security of the American people.
SEN. WARNER: The views of the bureau?
MR. MUELLER: I fully support that. I am concerned always about the threat of WMD in an attack on the United States. You look at a -- what would have happened if we had not gone into Afghanistan when we did to go after al Qaeda. Once we go into Afghanistan, we do find that they have research into developing WMD capabilities. And had we not gone in then, those capabilities could have matured to the point now where we would be in desperate, desperate shape.
SEN. WARNER: Lastly, Mr. Ford, do --
SEN. ROBERTS: The senator's time has expired, if I could --
SEN. WARNER: Could I just ask him if the department of State -- he's been very silent here -- give him a chance to participate -- on this alleged resolution coming up through France and others, that triple, quadruple inspectors, leaving them for an indefinite time, does that merit consideration by the U.S., or are we prepared to try and go into that Security Council and knock that down?
MR. FORD: Senator Warner, the question and response of Director Tenet earlier about the -- whether or not the inspectors or inspection process is effective I think is relevant in answering your question.
SEN. WARNER: Yes.
MR. FORD: At least from an intelligence officer's perspective, you can keep those inspectors in there forever. You can triple or quadruple them. You can give them all kind of new rules, and you can't guarantee me that you can deal with the question of chemical, biological and nuclear programs of Saddam Hussein.
It's a case where the inspections have allowed these weapons of mass destruction to exist, and anyone who doesn't believe there's not enough evidence about these weapons of mass destruction hasn't looked or doesn't want to see; it's there.
And sure, if there's a diplomatic way to solve this problem, I, for one, would like to take it. The problem is is that we've had 12 years and all kinds of suggestions from friends and allies: Well, give him another day; give him another week. What I see as an intelligence officer, he's taken full advantage of that week, that day, that month, that year, those 12 years. So, when you come to me and say inspections; sure. It's a great idea; it's good; they have a hard job. But I'm not -- as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't solve the problem of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
SEN. WARNER: I thank the chair.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Levin?
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): Mr. Tenet, until your statement this morning that all valuable intelligence information in our possession has now been shared with U.N. inspectors, two public statements of the administration have been the following:
One, Secretary Powell on January 9th, saying that we began sharing information, significant intelligence information, on Iraqi weapons programs a few days before -- that's early January. He also said that we were withholding some of the sensitive information, waiting to see if inspectors are able to handle it and exploit it.
And then later in the month, at the end of the month, Secretary Rumsfeld and others said the following: That inspectors have been given as much information as they can digest.
Very different from what you are now saying, which is that as of today, all relevant information has now been provided to the U.N. that has intelligence value. My question to you is, has the U.N. -- have the U.N. inspectors been notified that they have been given all that they're going to get from us?
MR. TENET: Sir, all that they're going to get is as we may --
SEN. LEVIN: All that we believe is of significant intelligence value. Have they been notified --
MR. TENET: I believe they have in our daily conversations. In fact, sir, we've given them a large packet of sites and then we have conversations with them every day.
SEN. LEVIN: My question is have they been notified that we have no more packets of information that we plan on giving them --
MR. TENET: Sir, we may develop more packets over time --
SEN. LEVIN: As of what we have, have we notified --
MR. TENET: I believe so, sir. I'd have to check. I haven't been the person in direct dialogue with them.
SEN. LEVIN: Secondly, do you support U.N. inspectors using U-2 surveillance planes over Iraq?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Pardon?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Why?
MR. TENET: Because in the absence of surveillance before, during and after an inspection -- and I want to be careful about what I say here -- you really have little ability to understand what they've done.
SEN. LEVIN: So the U-2s would help the inspectors?
MR. TENET: I believe so, sir, yes.
SEN. LEVIN: So you support giving the inspectors those U-2s.
MR. TENET: Yes, I do.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, relative to the relationship -- by the way, I'm glad to hear that. That's sort of positive towards the possibility of inspections that we hear from the State Department representative that they can't guarantee anything, which is obvious. The question is whether they have a use or might actually provide some information that is available. I'm glad you acknowledge that providing them with the U-2s does, in fact -- does, in fact, make sense. That's the first hint of support we've heard this morning for the inspection process, but it's welcome.
Would you say, Mr. Tenet, that the Zarqawi terrorist network is under the control or sponsorship of the Iraqi government?
MR. TENET: I don't know that, sir, but I know that there's a safe haven that's been provided to this network in Baghdad.
SEN. LEVIN: So you're not -- well, you're saying that you don't know if they're under the support -- that they are under the control or direction?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir. We have said -- what we've said is Zarqawi and this large number of operatives are in Baghdad. They say the environment is good. And it is inconceivable to us that the Iraqi intelligence service doesn't know that they live there or what they're doing.
SEN. LEVIN: In the February 7th Washington Post, senior U.S. officials contacted by telephone by the reporter said that although the Iraqi government is aware of the group's activity, it does not operate, control, or sponsor. Do you disagree with that?
MR. TENET: I'm sorry, sir; it's -- on the basis of what I know today, I can't say "control" in any way, shape or form, but I will tell you, there's more data coming in here. So what you just read, I will stand by today, maybe not tomorrow, but we'll see where the data takes us.
SEN. LEVIN: All right.
Next. Is Zarqawi himself a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner? Is he --
MR. TENET: He's a senior al Qaeda terrorist associate, yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: No, is he a planner?
MR. TENET: Yes, sir. He's met with bin Laden. He's --
SEN. LEVIN: So he works for al Qaeda?
MR. TENET: He's been provided money by them. He conceives of himself as being quite independent, but he's someone who's well known to them, has been used by them, has been contracted by them. And --
SEN. LEVIN: Is he under their control or direction?
MR. TENET: He thinks of himself as independent, sir, but he draws sustenance from them.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Do you disagree, then, with the senior administration officials in The Washington Post quoted on February 7th who say that although Zarqawi has ties to bin Laden, he is not under al Qaeda's control or direction?
MR. TENET: Sir, I don't agree with that statement. I believe they're witting about what he's doing. I believe they provide him sustenance, and I believe they use him effectively for their purposes and they know precisely what he's up to.
SEN. LEVIN: And therefore you do not agree with the senior officials who said this?
MR. TENET: No, sir. I think the relationship with him is more intimate than that.
SEN. LEVIN: Unnamed. These are unnamed officials, of course. But it's --
MR. TENET: (Off mike) -- are.
SEN. LEVIN: But even when they come from the CIA, they're unnamed.
MR. TENET: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Yeah.
The reason I ask you about the statement whether or not they have bases -- al Qaeda has bases in Iraq is because of the statement this morning of Mr. Ford. He said you couldn't say that they have bases one way or the other. But I just want to let you know, on page 3 of Mr. Ford's testimony, he says that Saddam has allowed al Qaeda increasingly to secure bases from which to plan terrorist attacks.
MR. TENET: Well, sir, you said to me (the main are at ?) -- you told me not about the -- well, of course, in regard to this Kurdish -- these --
SEN. LEVIN: No, no. He's allowed. Saddam has allowed. That's not the Kurdish area.
MR. TENET: Yeah. Well, he's allowing them to operate in Baghdad. Whether it's a base or not, I --
SEN. LEVIN: But tell Mr. Ford you don't know whether their base -- so his next testimony will reflect some consistency with the CIA.
MR. TENET: It would be a base of operation, sir, is the way I'd characterize it.
MR. FORD: We've never had an agreement that we had to be consistent with the CIA. We give our own view.
SEN. LEVIN: That sounds good. That -- that's -- there's not unanimity about these issues in the intelligence community. That's a useful bit of information.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. ROBERTS: Well, let the record show that each senator on the committee has a different view about what is going on.
SEN./MR. : (Laughs.)
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator DeWine.
SEN. MICHAEL DEWINE (R-OH): Director Tenet, in regard to Afghanistan, talk to me a little bit about al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. What impact are they having there now?
MR. TENET: I think, sir, that the area of our greatest worry, as you know, are the eastern provinces that abut the northwest frontier with Pakistan. And that's where we think that they continue to try and either Taliban remnants or al Qaeda remnants continue to operate. I think we'd paint a picture of a country that, in relative terms, is pretty secure in the rest of the country. That doesn't obviate warlordism, factionalism that's occurring, but this is the part that of the world that creates -- these eastern provinces and the northwest Pakistani frontier are the area where we have our greatest worry, greatest insecurity, greatest number of attacks on our forces and our people on the ground. So it's something that we have to work on pretty hard.
SEN. DEWINE: Has that changed? I mean, what's the progress there? And what's the --
MR. TENET: Sir, I think the progress is --
SEN. DEWINE: Getting -- is it worse than 60 days ago or --
MR. TENET: I wouldn't say -- no, I don't say it's worse. I will say it's something that is a steady state of worry for all of us.
SEN. DEWINE: Admiral, do your analysts have, do you feel now, today, after the changes that we have seen made, do you feel your analysts have access across the community to the information that they need?
ADM. JACOBY: Sir, we've made steady progress. I'm not in a position to know sort of what I don't know at this point, but --
SEN. DEWINE: It's a problem, isn't it?
ADM. JACOBY: It is, sir. And it's a point of ongoing discussion and work.
SEN. DEWINE: Where are we with the FISA information?
MR. MUELLER: The FISA information is disseminated to the community in real time now, in ways it had not been before September 11th. And I would let Mr. Tenet speak to that.
MR. TENET: FISA, sir --
SEN. DEWINE: I asked about dissemination about FISA.
MR. TENET: Yeah, we get this material real time now as a result of the Patriots Act. So it's been quite beneficial to both of us. So there's a real-time access so that we can monitor operational data, and Bob uses it for other purposes, for operational data as well. But it's moving very quickly.
SEN. DEWINE: What about you, Admiral?
ADM. JACOBY: Sir, we see it as part of product, very carefully and clearly identified with the appropriate handling requirements attached to it.
SEN. DEWINE: Director Mueller, your written testimony mentioned the FBI's efforts to work with suppliers and manufacturers of WMD materials to coordinate their voluntary reporting of any suspicious purchases or inquiries. How broadly is this effort being conducted, and have the suppliers and manufacturers actually been cooperative?
MR. MUELLER: It's an effort throughout all of our field offices, and indeed they have. We've had a number of investigations initiated because a manufacturer will come to us, having received an order from, say, two or three separate countries, and the order for this particular product will be a product that can be used to develop some form of WMD product, and they'll see that the order is all the same. And it may come from countries in the Middle East or the Far East, it raises some suspicion, and we've had a number of investigations that have been triggered by just such information coming from manufacturers in the United States.
SEN. DEWINE: So this is working?
MR. MUELLER: It is working.
SEN. DEWINE: Progress?
MR. MUELLER: Yes.
SEN. DEWINE: Admiral, your written testimony also describes the long-term trends with respect to weapons of mass destruction and missile proliferation. You describe this as "bleak" -- this is your words. You note that 25 countries either possess now or are actively pursuing WMD or missile programs.
At this point we're focusing, of course, on preventing further proliferation and limiting the ability of rogue nations and unstable regimes from obtaining these weapons. But it's only a matter of time before these technologies are widely spread around the globe.
Let me just ask any members of the panel, you know, how are we planning for that future time, when we get up to that number? Twenty- five countries would certainly change the dynamics of that. And I wonder if anyone wants to comment on that.
Director, you're nodding. Anybody that nods gets to go the first.
MR. TENET: Okay. Sir, I think as I talked about in my statement, one of the things that worries me the most is the nuclear piece of this. I talked about the domino theory may be the nuclear piece. And you've got networks based on a country's indigenous capability, individual purveyors, and I think that we need to think -- and this is a very important policy question, not my question -- we need to think about whether the regimes we have in place actually protect the world. In time periods where you could contain this problem to states with regimes, that's one thing. Today I'm afraid the technology and the material and the expertise is migrating in manners in a network fashion that belies a theory that's based on borders and states. And I think this is a problem because it will play right into ballistic missile proliferation, the mating of nuclear weapons to missiles, and the proliferation piece when mated to issues like terrorism I think is the most difficult and most serious threat the country's going to face over the next 20 or 30 years.
SEN. DEWINE: Thank you.
SEN. ROBERTS: The director must leave very quickly to go to attend services for a fellow colleague and -- an intelligence officer. And at this juncture, on behalf of the entire committee I would like to express our condolences. And if you would (pass) that to the family, and our prayers, and our heartfelt thanks.
MR. TENET: Thank you, sir.
SEN. ROBERTS: Senator Snowe is next. If you feel --
Senator Snowe, did you have a specific question of the director?
SEN. OLYMPIA J. SNOWE (R-ME): Well, it's just one -- I'd just ask one question.
SEN. ROBERTS: Okay.
SEN. SNOWE: And it's just on Iraq's nuclear -- potential nuclear capability. And I think that that is an issue that I would hope that, to the extent that you can, to give your perspective. I think we've seen, you know, nuclear-capable regimes and the complexities and challenges they represent to us and to the entire world. And I know you mentioned in your statement that -- referring to procurement that had been made or attempted to be made by Iraq, but they go beyond the aluminum tubes. And there was a question -- dispute about the aluminum tubes and whether or not it's used for rockets -- could you just explain that? Thank you.
MR. TENET: Yes, ma'am. Let me -- let me just -- first, some history is important, you know? At the time of the gulf war the Iraqis were pursuing over five different routes to a nuclear weapon. In fact, when people walked into a facility after the gulf war, they didn't even realize that there was a nuclear capability there until a defector told us to go look there. So he's had a concerted interest and an abiding interest in developing this capability, all while we have this period of inspections.
Now, aluminum tubes are interesting, and I know there's controversy associated with it.
Except that when you look at the clandestine nature of the procurement, and how they've tried to deceive what's showing up and then you look at the other dual-use items that they're trying to procure, we think we've stumbled onto one avenue of a nuclear weapons program. And there may be other avenues that we haven't seen. But that he is reconstituting his capability is something that we believe very strongly. If he had fissile material, we believe he could have a nuclear weapon within a year or two; that's our analytical judgment and our estimate.
The question that we have to worry about in this regard as you look at ballistic missile -- developments in his ballistic missile force, the delivery systems, is are you going to be surprised on the short side of that estimative process, with or without fissile material, because he's pursuing other routes that we have not yet understood?
So for him, the whole game is about acquiring this nuclear capability. He's not someone -- he's acquired these capabilities because he's aggressive and he intends to use them. And the question is, what do you do about somebody who continues to march down the road? Policy choices are yours, but no one should deceive themselves about what he intends to do.
And he's living in a region that's different than the region Kim Jong Il lives in. His standing army is larger -- even though it's a third a size that it was during the Gulf War, it's still larger than all the GCC states and fellow Arab nations combined. And he's used force in the region twice. So, what is this all about for him? Domination of a region where there are vital national security interests at stake for us and we're going to have very fragile regimes.
And that's a context that's a little bit different than the North Korean context, where facing down the South Koreans with American presence, the Japanese, the Chinese, or the Russians is a little bit of a different -- not to mitigate the importance and seriousness of what's going on in -- on the peninsula of North Korea. But you have to be able to think about these things in somewhat separable terms and in terms of how policy makers think about it. That's all I'd say.
SEN. SNOWE: But where is he most likely to acquire this fissile material?
MR. TENET: Well, this is the $500 question that maybe we can talk about in closed session.
SEN. SNOWE: Yeah. But I think the important thing is here he could have the capability within a year --
MR. TENET: If he had the material. And of course, we're looking for signs that he's acquired it. We haven't seen it yet, but this is a whole other issue and area that's of deep concern to us in terms of how this material moves around the world.
SEN. SNOWE: Thank you. Thank you.
SEN. ROBERTS: I would like to thank all of the witnesses for your patience and your time and what you're doing for our country.
Let me say again that outside the budget hearings, which we must hold to address some asset deficiencies, we will have a structural reform series of hearings with the FBI going first and the community second. There will be public hearings and there will be private.
And with that, again, I thank the witnesses, and the committee is adjourned.