Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I seek recognition, reasonably briefly, to introduce legislation proposed by the Brown Commission on the reorganization of the U.S. intelligence community.
The Brown Commission, which filed its report last Friday, March 1, today testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which I chair, and, as a courtesy, Senator Kerrey, the distinguished vice chairman of the committee, and I are introducing their legislative package.
The Brown Commission came to some very important conclusions, many of which I agree with, some of which I do not agree with.
I think they made an important statement on the need for continuing U.S. intelligence activities because there are still many dangers in the world, notwithstanding the demise of the Soviet Union. They have taken a step to eliminate secrecy by their recommendation on the disclosure of the total Intelligence Committee budget, a position adopted on the floor of this body several years ago but overturned in conference. The suggestion, I think, is very, very important as a start on declassification. My sense has been, in so many documents that crossed my desk as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, many are classified that need not be classified. As we have seen from the recent slush fund in the NRO, the National Reconnaissance Office, there is a need for public scrutiny, investigative reporting, so we have a better idea as to what is going on in the intelligence community. Where there is a need for secrecy--and I think the presumption ought to be in favor of secrecy, but it ought not to be absolute--if there is a need for secrecy, then let us maintain that secrecy, but let us not do so as a matter of rote, only as a matter of reason.
The Brown Commission came to the conclusion that the Director of Central Intelligence needs to have his or her hand strengthened. Senator Kerrey and I agree with that. But there is considerable feeling on the Intelligence Committee that we need to go further on that particular line.
When the Brown Commission says that an enormous amount of intelligence community work ought to stay in the Department of Defense, I have grave reservations about that. It is true that the Department of Defense is the customer and the Department of Defense provides a great deal of the resources. But, if you have agencies like NRO, NSA, and so much of HUMINT--human intelligence --remaining under the Department of Defense, it does not give the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency the authority that he needs to really be able to operate.
One of the very serious problems in the intelligence community today is an attitudinal problem. We saw that in the Aldrich Ames matter. We have seen it in the investigation on Guatemala, where, in a hearing, one of our Members, Senator Cohen, was very blunt in an open hearing saying that the CIA had lied in withholding information from the oversight committee.
Testimony was taken by the committee from a veteran of the CIA on the issue of Soviet domination in sending tainted material back to the CIA, which the CIA had known to be tainted, controlled by Soviet sources, and yet that information was passed on to the highest levels, one key bit of information going to the White House in January of 1993 for both the President and the President-elect.
When questioned by the Intelligence Committee, this ranking, ex-CIA official said, `Well, we pass it on. We know better than the customers. If we told them it was tainted, they wouldn't use it.' Really, an incomprehensible sort of a situation.
I think Director Deutch has done a very good job in his few months at the CIA. He faces a very, very difficult situation. When he concurred in testimony before the commission as to a Guatemala incident, that there had been willful failure to disclose, he later changed that view in a letter to the Intelligence Committee a few days later, showing the difficulties of being the Director of the CIA compared with a more independent role or at least a different role than the Senate Intelligence Committee has.
We also heard testimony today from former Senator, former majority leader Howard Baker of a very important nature, including Senator Baker's recommendation that there be a combination of the Senate and the House Intelligence Committees, a recommendation that at least preliminarily I agree with. We will have to pursue it and have hearings. But it is more than worth considering. It is something that really is an idea whose time, probably, has come. I am just limiting the final decision until we do have a hearing process and collaborate with our counterparts in the House of Representatives.
Mr. President, to reiterate, today Senator Robert Kerrey and I are introducing legislation as a courtesy to the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community. In August 1994, the Senate adopted a provision establishing this Commission to `review the efficacy and appropriateness of the activities of the United States Intelligence Community in the post-cold-war global environment.' On March 1, 1996, the Commission submitted its report, entitled `Preparing for the 21st Century, An Appraisal of U.S. Intelligence .' In addition, the Commission submitted proposed legislation to implement some of its proposals. We are introducing the Commission's proposed legislative package today at their request. It is our hope that other Members of the Senate and the public at large can participate fully in the upcoming debate on this important issue. Moreover, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence intends to use this legislation, and other Commission recommendations, as a basis for additional proposals of the committee.
The legislation proposed by the Commission would make a number of changes in the way the intelligence community is organized and managed. First, it replaces the current Deputy Director of Intelligence with two new Deputies: one to manage the community and one to manage the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, it amends the National Security Act to require DCI concurrence with respect to the appointment by the Secretary of Defense of the heads of the National Security Agency [NSA], the Central Imagery Office [CIO], and the National Reconnaissance Office [NRO]. In addition, it requires consultation with the DCI by the Secretaries of Defense, State, and Energy, as well as the Director of FBI, before the appointment of the heads of the intelligence elements within these agencies. This bill also mandates that the DCI provide to the Secretary of Defense an evaluation of the performance of the heads of NSA, NRO and the proposed National Imagery and Mapping Agency. The Commission's legislation also replaces the National Intelligence Council with a National Assessments Center that would remain under the purview of the DCI but would be located outside the CIA to take advantage of a broader range of information and expertise.
The most extensive aspect of this legislation is that which addresses personnel issues. The Commission is proposing new legislative authority for the most severely affected intelligence agencies, for 1 year, to `rightsize' their work forces to the needs of their organization. Agencies wishing to downsize by at least 10 percent over and above the current congressionally mandated levels would identify positions to be eliminated `in order to achieve more effectively and efficiently the mission of the agencies concerned.' The incumbents of such positions, if close to retirement, would be allowed to retire with accelerated eligibility. If not close to retirement, they would be provided generous pay and benefits to leave the service of the agency concerned, or, with the concurrence of the agency affected, exchange positions with an employee not in a position identified for elimination who was close to retirement and would be allowed to leave under the accelerated retirement provisions. This bill also creates a single `senior executive service' for the intelligence community under the overall management of the DCI.
The Commission did an excellent job identifying the key issues and the Vice Chairman and I agree with some of their recommendations, particularly regarding institutional mechanisms for getting the policymakers more involved in identifying and prioritizing their information needs and for addressing transnational threats, ways to improve intelligence analysis, and the need to enhance accountability and oversight--to include declassifying the aggregate amount appropriated for the intelligence budget. The committee also will consider the Commission's recommendation to make the Select Committee on Intelligence a standing committee. However, I believe that the Commission did not go far enough in some areas.
The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union have dramatic implications for U.S. intelligence efforts. The demands for rapid responses to diverse threats in a rapidly changing world necessitate a steamlined intelligence community and a DCI with clear lines of authority. This is lacking in the intelligence bureaucracy that emerged during the bipolar world of the cold war.
As the Commission noted: `The Intelligence Community has evolved over nearly 50 years and now amounts to a confederation of separate agencies and activities with distinctly different histories, missions, and lines of command.' Recognizing the pitfalls of decentralized intelligence --less attention devoted to non-Defense requirements, waste and duplication, the absence of objective evaluation of performance and ability to correct shortcomings, and loss of synergy--the Commission supported centralized management of the intelligence community by the DCI. The Commission concluded, however, that the DCI has all the authority needed to accomplish this objective of centralized management, if only he spent less time on CIA matters and had the budget presented to him in a clearer fashion.
It is my sense that the current disincentives for intelligence to operate as a community, reduce unnecessary waste and duplication, and become more effective and efficient in meeting the Nation's needs can only be overcome by enhancing the DCI's statutory authority over the budget and administration of all nontactical intelligence activities and programs. A key issue for congressional oversight of the intelligence community is accountability. It has become increasingly clear that a single manager, the DCI, must be accountable for the success or failure of the intelligence community. Therefore, the DCI must be given the authorities he needs to carry out this responsibility.
For example, the Commission recommends that the DCI concur in the appointment or recommendation of the heads of national intelligence elements within the Department of Defense, and be consulted with respect to the appointment of other senior officials within the intelligence community. We believe the DCI should recommend the appointment of all national agency heads, with concurrence from the heads of the parent organizations. Along these lines, the heads of the major collection agencies should be confirmed to that position; today they are confirmed only with respect to their promotion to the rank designated for each position.
The Commission noted in its report: `The annual budgets for U.S. intelligence organizations constitute one of the principal vehicles for managing intelligence activities. How effectively and efficiently the intelligence community operates is to a large degree a function of how these budgets are put together and how they are approved and implemented.' I agree with this assessment and conclude that the DCI must have ultimate control over the formulation and execution of these budgets if he or she is to effectively manage the intelligence community.
The Select Committee on Intelligence will consider these and other alternative proposals over the upcoming weeks as we move toward mark-up of legislation to renew and reform the U.S. intelligence community to meet the challenges of our changing world.
Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I rise today to join with Chairman Specter to introduce legislation. We are embarking on a course to change the U.S. intelligence community, and this legislation is the chart upon which we will be marking that course.
Over a year ago, Congress created a Presidential commission to evaluate the intelligence community's ability to respond to a rapidly changing world. Sadly, the commission's first chairman, the Honorable Les Aspin, passed away after he had ably established the Commission and they had started their work. We owe many debts of gratitude to Les Aspin, and this legislation is one more example of the fine work he did in the service of his country.
Chairman Harold Brown and our former colleague, Vice Chairman Warren Rudman, quickly took the helm, and the Commission embarked on almost a year's evaluation of the U.S. Government's intelligence needs and the intelligence community's ability to meet those needs. We are especially grateful to our able colleagues, Senator John Warner and Senator Jim Exon, who played important and active roles in the Commission's work. Their broad base of experience coupled with the other Commission members' outstanding credentials permitted a wide variety of views and ideas to come together. There are no assumptions here. They looked wide and deep. They interviewed over 200 experts and received formal testimony from 84 witnesses. It was a remarkable effort which has produced a significant report. I do not concur with all their recommendations, and there are some areas in which they do not go as far as I would. I look on their report as a solid base upon which Congress and the administration can build.
For me, one of the most important results of their evaluation is their reaffirmation of the need for intelligence . Intelligence contributes heavily to most of our national decisions about foreign policy, law enforcement, and military matters. I am convinced intelligence is the edge we must have in the face of stiff global competition for leadership, and as our Government fulfills its responsibility to protect Americans in an increasingly dangerous world. The Brown Commission clearly explains why this is so.
The Brown Commission recognized the world today is very different from the world which existed while the Intelligence Community was growing up. Confronted with the overwhelming military threat of the Soviet Union, the intelligence community responded by organizing itself to examine every part of that military threat as best as it could. While some critics argue that the intelligence community missed the big ones--the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet economy--there is no question the United States was ably informed on the Soviet Union's military threat. But that threat, while still capable of attacking us, is receding.
Today, the threats facing the United States do not initially present themselves as military threats--although if we fail to recognize them in time, we have to deploy our military when nothing else works. The erosion of nation-state power in many places, the rise of transnational movements and global crime, and the fierce economic competition we face, have together created a new set of threats that are not military soluble.
Insight and predictive analysis is as important in charting the American course in this new world as it was in the old world of superpower military confrontation. We must make sure the intelligence community is optimally organized for this new world. That is why I urge consideration of the Brown Commission report, and why the Intelligence Committee will take up these and other reform proposals in the months ahead.
The Brown Commission establishes three recurring themes about intelligence : The need to better integrate intelligence into the policy community; the need for intelligence agencies to operate as a community; the need to create greater efficiency.
These themes are clearly discernible and they also are quite consistent with a large segment of the public's view on intelligence : Something is wrong. If everything was all right, we wouldn't have a heinous spy like Aldrich Ames; we wouldn't have missed the fall of the wall or the collapse of the Soviet Union; we wouldn't have a palace for an NRO headquarters building; we wouldn't have unspent billions of NRO dollars sitting around unused and waiting for a rainy day. I agree that we need to better integrate intelligence with policy, enhance the effectiveness of the community and improve its efficiency. The time for reorganization is upon us.
The Brown Commission has made many important recommendations that address each of these themes. The Intelligence Committee will evaluate them closely. But I have already concluded that in some areas the Commission did not go far enough to ensure intelligence is integrated, effective, and efficient in a world continuing to evolve. In my view, the authorities of the Director of Central Intelligence need to be strengthened beyond what the Commission recommended, and the many agencies of the Intelligence Community need to be pulled into a closer relationship. There is no other way to make sure both the national and military customer get what they need, and there is also no other way to wring redundancy and excess cost out of the system.
I do not want leave the impression that U.S. intelligence is broken. Something is wrong, but the Nation is well-served by the men and women of the intelligence agencies serving around the world. Their patriotism and technical competence is unquestioned. Moreover, the director of Central Intelligence , John Deutch, has brought outstanding leadership to the community. Working closely with Secretary Perry, he already has set a new course for intelligence . The corporate culture which allowed an Aldrich Ames to continue is being dismembered. Congressional notification of significant intelligence activities has never been more prompt and complete. We need to institutionalize these changes and the superb cooperative relationship that exists between Director Deutch and Secretary Perry. Intelligence must and will serve all of its customers with timely, comprehensive, and hard-hitting analysis. The Brown Commission's recommendations have provided us with the basis to make this happen.
In conclusion, I want to thank Chairman Specter for his leadership on this issue. His close attention to the challenges facing the intelligence community and their solutions has created an environment where the committee can draft this legislation in a thoughtful, informed environment.