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Jeremiah News Conference

2 June 1998

Thanks very much. I'd like to open my remarks with a report that we have had no advance warning that Ginger is leaving the Spice Girls and George Tenet is forming another commission to take care of that problem for us.

George Tenet asked me to conduct for him an independent evaluation of the actions taken by the Intelligence Community leading up to the Indian nuclear test. I was assisted by a number of individuals within the IC and by one of my associates at Technology Strategies and Alliances. The IC provided full cooperation across the board. We solicited and received comments from all relevant agencies and anybody who wanted to come in and ask us questions or provide information. The report and recommendations, obviously, are my responsibility.

The identification of the Indian nuclear test preparations posed a difficult collection problem and a difficult analytical problem. Their program was an indigenous program. It was not derived from the US, Chinese, Russian or French programs. It was totally within India. And therefore, there were some characteristics difficult to observe. In addition, they took pains to avoid any characteristics that they may have learned were of value to us, and the test preparations they made in 1995/96. And as you and your colleagues have reported, apparently only a limited number of senior level political and government people were aware of the tests within India. So, as a result, our policymakers, and in fact the Intelligence Community, reported back that there was no indication the Indians would test in the near term.

I suppose my bottom line is that both the intelligence and the policy communities had an underlying mindset going into these tests that the BJP would behave as we behave. For instance, there is an assumption that the BJP platform would mirror Western political platforms. In other words, a politician is going to say something in his political platform leading up to the elections, but not necessarily follow through on the platform once he takes office and is exposed to the immensity of his problem.

The BJP was dead serious and to some degree I think they were motivated by the fact that the last time they were in office they were only there 13 days. And so they were ready to move as fast as they could this time given that they were in a 14 party coalition to execute their objectives that were stated in stuff you guys all read on the web. So, first of all, we had a mindset that said everybody else is going to work like we work. Why would anyone throw away all the economic advantages associated that they would lose with testing, why would they hazard all that stuff when there is no reason to do that? And we don't think like the other nation thinks. What drives them, what are their national security requirements, what is their national pride and psyche drive them to do? And second, I think that you'll see through the recommendations that I have made to Director Tenet, a requirement for a better need to integrate all of the capabilities that we have within our Intelligence agencies so that they focus better on certain kinds of problems and cross feed and tip off each other so that we get a coordinated attack upon the problem.

I have provided recommendations that are intended to improve the process recognizing that no process will be perfect in the art of intelligence collection. These recommendations are in several broad categories in the areas of analytical practices, collection processes, manpower and training and organization. Obviously the security classification is going to prohibit me from talking about a lot of these recommendations, and in fact, to cite and provide a full range of my recommendations. The recommendation -- and that will tend to bias the balance in the report, so put that in the back of your head as you go through these recommendations.

First, analytic. More rigor needs to go into analysts' thinking when major events take place. Two mechanisms would help: A) bring in outside substantive experts in a more systematic fashion, so that we work against this "everybody thinks like us" mind set. And B) bring in experts in the process of analysis when the IC faces a transition on a major intelligence issue, like the BJP election, and like other things that you can think of. Look at establishing effective mechanisms to guarantee stronger integration of the analysis and greater collaboration and coordination of intelligence agencies and disciplines. So that instead of looking up at each of these stovepipes, we look at the product and the interaction between the stovepipes.

Realign collection priorities so that high-priority issues within individual countries compete more evenly with the rogue states, which we collect against across the board -- there are issues such as weapons of mass destruction that we want to provide the same priority to.

We have an imbalance today between the human skills associated with reading photography, looking at reports, understanding what goes on in a nation, and the ability to technically collect that information. In everyday language, that means there is an awful lot of stuff on the cutting room floor at the end of the day that we have not seen. We need to realign the priorities so that we have more ability to provide analysts depth and that those analysts have an opportunity for training so that they can improve their skills. They need better tools to allow them to course through that data more rapidly.

Within the Organization category, there needs to be a community manager with the authority to demand accountability to in carrying out the DCI decisions, directives, and priorities. Right now that only exists at the DCI and DDCI level.

There needs to be a management structure to integrate the collection systems so that we task collection as a "system of systems" rather than each of the individual pipelines and we need to look at the specific problems particularly in today's context of collection and analysis in South Asia, and specifically, the weapons of mass destruction problem.

The organization needs to be scrubbed and I am talking about the IC organization, not necessarily the CIA, to improve the clarity of the structure, to fix responsibilities, to resource the staff with appropriate tools and to inform the organization once that review has taken place.

And I would like to conclude by saying when you look at reviews like this, it always spotlights and makes more egregious problems that in retrospect might appear obvious to everybody. And, in fact, these events took place within a milieu of other events, all clamoring for attention and for increased resources and collection.

But at the end of the day, senior-level attention needed to get on the process and the problem earlier. Leadership should have been focused on critical intelligence requirements even at the expense of the traditional livelihood of Washington of looking at resource allocations and regulatory issues that tend to dominate our structures today.

To some degree, that means senior levels, and I am talking about the levels right under the DCI -- the people who have been in this organization and understand the processes, know what the requirements are, know how you do it, know what the decision makers need -- that level needs to be able to do a little more risk taking in order to pursue the things that need to be done. With that, I think I'd like to close my remarks and move forward to questions.

Harlow: We have time for just one last question, please.