Congressional Record: September 13, 2004 (Senate)
Page S9104-S9106

                        INTELLIGENCE REFORM, III

  Mr. GRAHAM of Florida. Mr. President, on Saturday the Nation paused 
to observe the third anniversary of the horrible tragedy of September 
11, 2001. In the first hours and weeks after the attack on the World 
Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Nation was shocked by what had been 
the unthinkable--a terrorist plot carried out on the soil of the United 
States of America.
  We have seen grisly images of terrorism on our television screens 
from the Middle East, from Africa, from the Baltics, even from Great 
Britain. But now we have been hit here at home seemingly without 
warning, without the chance to have prevented the loss of over 3,000 
innocent lives.
  We now know that the terrorist attack of September 11 was the result 
of a sophisticated plot, a plot that developed over many months, a plot 
that required the coordination among a number of individuals and we 
know that had our national intelligence agencies been better organized 
and more focused on the problem of international terrorism this tragedy 
would have been avoided.
  Incredibly, it is now more than 3 years after that tragic event and 
the basic problems in our national intelligence community that 
contributed to our vulnerability on September 11, 2001, are now for the 
first time being seriously considered. Let me be clear.
  These problems were not a mystery before September 11. Before 
September 11, there had been a series of reviews of our national 
intelligence, reviews of our national intelligence in the context of 
terrorism and a series of very similar conforming recommendations. 
These weaknesses that contributed to September 11 were well known. They 
were well known by the administration and a majority in this Congress. 
What had occurred is that they had been essentially dismissed.
  I am delighted that the good work of the 9/11 Commission has finally 
shaken the administration and my colleagues out of their lethargy.
  In my last statement I identified five major problems and challenges 
of the U.S. intelligence community. Today I would like to suggest the 
direction the reforms should take in response to each of these problems 
and challenges.
  First, the failure to adapt to a changing adversary and a changing 
global environment.
  In the final report of the congressional joint inquiry, we 
optimistically stated:

       The cataclysmic events of September 11, 2001 provided a 
     unique and compelling mandate for strong leadership and 
     constructive changes throughout the intelligence community.

  However, the record is that since September 11 the intelligence 
community has been slow to accept the concept that a non-nation state 
can challenge the United States of America. We are all familiar with 
those scenes immediately after September 11 when the finger of 
responsibility was pointed not at al-Qaida, not at the Taliban, not at 
the place in which the terrorist plot had emerged but, rather, to Iraq 
because only a nation state could carry out a plot as complex and as 
devastating as September 11. We have taken only first steps to 
understand the real enemy, international terror.
  Satellites will not give us the understanding, the capability, nor 
the intentions of Osama bin Laden. Yet the allocation of our 
intelligence resources continues to be dominated by the maintenance of 
the cold war satellite architecture and the development of yet a new 
generation of satellite technology. The recruitment and training of 
human intelligence agents has accelerated but remains inadequate. A 
sense of urgency is required to dramatically increase the number of men 
and women in the intelligence agencies with the command of the 
languages and the cultures of the Middle East, Central Asia, and China. 
In none of our intelligence agencies is this failure to transition to 
new threats and to new demand more evident than in the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation.

  The FBI is, first and foremost, a law enforcement agency and it 
deserves its reputation as the best in the world. In that important 
responsibility, the priorities and professional rewards are for 
investigating a crime after it has occurred, arresting the culprit, 
providing the court admissible evidence to secure a conviction, and 
sending the criminal to jail. That is not the orientation of an 
intelligence agency. There the objective is to understand the threat 
before the act has occurred so the plot can be interdicted.
  So what should we do? The United States can begin by learning a 
lesson from our foe.
  Since our unfinished war in Afghanistan, al-Qaida has regrouped and 
decentralized. It has established alliances with terrorist groups in 
over 60 countries. This may seem counterintuitive, but in public 
administration there is

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an admonition that in order to decentralize, an organization must first 
  Since their inception, the intelligence agencies have focused on 
their specific assignments, such as the collection of communications or 
the analysis of visual images.
  As an example, the National Reconnaissance Office is paid to think 
about the capabilities of the next generation of satellites, not 
whether the relative importance of satellites in relation to human 
intelligence is declining. The larger realities--such as the changed 
nature of our enemies--go underattended. That is why the joint inquiry 
recommended that we centralize greater control over the intelligence 
agencies in a director of national intelligence to ``make certain the 
entire U.S. intelligence community operates as a coherent whole.''
  Once the agencies are retrieved into a coherent whole, I would then 
recommend that they, as the combined military commands of Goldwater-
Nichols, be then decentralized around specific missions such as 
countering global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and 
  This new architecture would itself be subject to constant change as 
old threats decline and go away and new ones emerge to replace them. 
Such a structure would require constant attention to these questions: 
Who is the enemy today? Who is the enemy likely to be tomorrow? And 
what do we need to know in order to successfully confront this enemy?
  A second reform designed to keep the intelligence community focused 
on both today and tomorrow is to increase the linkages between the 
intelligence communities and other sources of information and analysis. 
There have been some successful attempts to reach out to, for instance, 
academic programs and private sector think tanks. These initiatives 
should be expanded and integrated as a permanent component of the 
intelligence agency rather than an occasional effort.
  I also believe the intelligence communities need to reach out to the 
consumer. Just as in a commercial venture, where the needs and desires 
of the consumer drive the success of the provider, the intelligence 
community should do likewise. What a difference it might have made if 
before September 11 someone had worked with the administrators of our 
most vulnerable systems--airlines, seaports, power, and industrial 
plants--to understand their vulnerabilities and assess whether current 
intelligence would indicate the need for change in their traditional 
means of operation in order to harden them from terrorist attacks.
  It was no mystery that terrorists were considering using commercial 
airlines as weapons of mass destruction. That had been discussed for 
the better part of a decade. The problem was we did not connect that 
information with those who had a responsibility for the safety of 
commercial airlines.
  Finally, if we are to recentralize our intelligence agency so we can 
then decentralize based on specific tasks, we need to change the 
position of the Director of Central Intelligence. Since 1947, when the 
intelligence community of the United States was first established, the 
Director of Central Intelligence has also been the head of the CIA. 
Given the divergent responsibilities of both jobs, that needs to be 
  To give an analogy, we do not ask the Secretary of Defense to also be 
the Secretary of the Army. Each job has its own special perspectives 
and responsibilities. Yet that is essentially what we are doing with a 
merger of one of the intelligence operative agencies--the CIA--with the 
head of the individual who is supposed to have a view across the entire 
intelligence community. The head of the central intelligence function 
is designed to be one who can make strategic decisions regardless of 
how they affect the CIA or any other specific functional agency. It is 
time, today, to apply the same rule we have applied since immediately 
after World War II to our military, to our intelligence community.
  A second failure of intelligence is the repeated instances in which 
the intelligence community has failed to provide strategic 
intelligence. Our late colleague, Pat Moynihan, as the Presiding 
Officer knows, used to have his seat in the back row, middle section of 
the Chamber of the Senate. From there he often complained that while 
the United States intelligence services can provide us with information 
on how many telephones there were in the Kremlin and information on how 
many sailors man the latest class of Soviet warships, the intelligence 
community had not been able to figure out that the Soviet Union was on 
the verge of collapse due to its weakening economy. Sometimes that kind 
of information gleaned both from publicly available sources and a 
knowledge of the country, rather than wiretaps and satellites, is the 
most important information there is.
  Senator Moynihan had a solution. He wanted to abolish the American 
intelligence agency. I believe the need to collect, analyze, integrate, 
and disseminate intelligence is too great. Instead, rather than 
abolition, we need a series of reforms designed to enhance the 
gathering of strategic intelligence. For starters, the President should 
direct the next Director of Central Intelligence, whatever title he or 
she might have, to expand the number and orientation of voices that 
contribute to the intelligence process. The Bush administration has 
been accused--correctly, in my opinion--of practicing incestuous 
  In other words, the only people who were at the table are people who 
have the same point of view. Their views are then vetted through people 
who again share the same beliefs. As a result, the original conclusion 
is not only validated, it is amplified. After the attacks of September 
11, the intelligence community was accused of failing to connect the 
dots. Incestuous amplification is unlikely to either connect the dots 
or expand the number of dots which are visible.

  Two places to start this report would be the State Department and 
openly available sources of information. Unfortunately, the State 
Department has been the orphan of this administration. This is a 
particular shame, given the fact that the State Department has gotten 
it right more often than any other security agency.
  From the beginning, the Secretary of State was skeptical of the 
stories coming out of Africa and Damascus about the status of Saddam 
Hussein's restoration of his nuclear capabilities. Using information 
from our own sources as well as European allies, the State Department 
had the best assessment of conditions in postwar Iraq. The intelligence 
community needs to be more amenable to the use of open source 
  The percentage of information which we contributed to a wise ultimate 
judgment derived from open sources--such as journalists, regional 
television and the Internet--is increasing. The duty of reading and 
assessing the significance of events reported openly in a foreign post 
is too often assigned to the newest, the least experienced intelligence 
officer or Foreign Service officer. There are indicators, for example, 
that press and television reports in the Middle East should have raised 
concerns before September 11 that a tragedy in the homeland of the 
United States was in the making.
  It is for that reason that the joint inquiry recommended that 
``Congress and the administration should ensure the full development 
within the Department of Homeland Security of an effective all-source 
terrorism information fusion center that will dramatically improve the 
focus and quality of counter terrorism analysis and facilitate the 
timely dissemination of relevant intelligence information both within 
and beyond the boundaries of the Intelligence Community.''
  I wish to pause to give particular credit to those words and that 
wise policy to our colleague, Senator Richard Shelby. He served for an 
extended period of time as both chairman and vice chairman of the 
Intelligence Committee and throughout that period was particularly 
adamant in his support for integrating intelligence collection sources 
so that all could be taken into account with the wisest analysis and 
use of intelligence.
  This idea--the fusion center--was signed into law within the 
Department of Homeland Security. But what has happened since? What has 
happened since is this very good idea has languished. The goal of the 
fusion center was not only to perform analysis that would fill the gap 
between foreign and domestic intelligence, but it also was

[[Page S9106]]

to share information with State and local law enforcement and to access 
their capability. This is not happening.
  The third failure is the failure to establish within the intelligence 
community priorities and then deploy behind them. Rather than set up 
intelligence systems to validate convenient political notions, we need 
a system that pursues mutually agreed upon intelligence priorities. To 
that end, the President must assure that clear, consistent, and current 
policies are established and enforced through the intelligence agency. 
The President needs to charge the National Security Council with the 
preparation of a governmentwide strategy for combating terrorism at 
home and abroad. It is an outrage that we are now more than 3 years 
from September 11 and we do not have a clear national strategy of how 
we are going to eradicate international terrorists.
  The restructuring of the intelligence community suggested above can 
significantly contribute to a more coherent set of intelligence 
initiatives, but without leadership and commitment from the President, 
little progress will be made.
  Fourth, the intelligence community has not implemented the policies 
necessary to recruit, train, reward or sanction, maintain the talents, 
or diversify its human intelligence capabilities. The intelligence 
community's current recruitment and training regime has been inadequate 
to overcome this handicap.
  Of particular concern to me is the difficulty of receiving a security 
clearance for a first-generation American of Arabic ancestry. These 
young Americans, who have a heritage in the countries of the Middle 
East and Central Asia, are most likely to have absorbed colloquial 
Arabic, Farsi or Pashtun, at home, and could have the personal skills 
that will increase their value as a case agent. Of course, they are 
likely to have something else; that is, they are likely to have a 
  An intelligence security background check--an important part of 
assuring the patriotism of our intelligence community--includes 
interviews with family members. And if those family members live in 
Syria, for example, it may be difficult or impossible to get a 
clearance. If one of the family members, even a distant one, has been 
in the service of that foreign government, the recruit is likely to be 
rejected, even though he or she may meet every standard of being a 
patriotic American. By failing to find ways to overcome this bias, we 
are denying ourselves the benefit of one of our Nation's greatest 
assets, our diversity.
  Another frequently cited reason for difficulty of recruitment of 
intelligence officers is the mid-1950s culture of the intelligence 
community. While most other aspects of our society have become 
accustomed to frequent turnover in careers--in fact, the average 
American can anticipate working at seven or more distinctly different 
jobs or places of employment throughout his or her worklife--
intelligence agencies continue to seek to employ people who are 
prepared to make a lifetime commitment.
  Our Joint Inquiry recommended a series of reforms to bring the human 
talent in the community, which is in line with the current challenges, 
to the intelligence community. Those included a focus on bringing 
midcareer professionals into the intelligence community, allowing for 
more time-limited service for college graduates, finding ways to bring 
more native language speakers into the intelligence agencies, and other 
efforts at diversification.
  At this point, I commend the former Director of Central Intelligence, 
Mr. George Tenet, for the work he has done to initiate these policies. 
I am pleased that the recently enacted Defense appropriations bill for 
fiscal year 2005 includes seed money for the development of a reserve 
officers training corps style program for the intelligence community at 
several universities, a recruitment and training program which will 
provide financial aid in exchange for a commitment of service within 
the intelligence community.
  This could be a significant response to the need for proficiency in 
some of the world's most difficult languages and least known cultures 
and histories. Having these students under supervision during their 
college careers would also facilitate the clearance of first-generation 
Americans of Arab background into the intelligence services. And it 
would have, as does the military reserve officers training corps, the 
further attribute of facilitating jointness; that is, the willingness 
of people to see the mission rather than stop their vision at the 
particular agency at which they serve. Once these young people enter 
their respective intelligence agencies, many of them will have known 
each other during their shared preparatory experience and, therefore, 
will be more likely to work effectively together.

  The fifth failure is the failure to realize that many of the most 
important decisions made by the intelligence community that were 
previously described as tactical have now become strategic.
  There have been too many instances, most of which we cannot talk 
about in open session, when mid-level bureaucrats in the intelligence 
community have made decisions at a tactical level without a more 
strategic view as to the implications of those decisions. These can be 
seemingly as simple as the rotation of surveillance aircraft or other 
means of surveillance which, when discovered, set off a diplomatic 
firestorm with one of our friends or with one of our enemies.
  The leadership of the intelligence community has a special 
responsibility to determine if there is a full understanding of the 
implications, rewards, and risks of an action. Review and ultimate 
judgment on tactical measures must be made by someone with the 
requisite strategic vision and authority.
  For that reason, and because of the significant confusion that the 
FISA process--the process by which a warrant was obtained to either 
place a wiretap or review the effects of a foreign person--caused for 
the FBI in seeking to investigate suspects prior to 9/11, it is 
important we reform the way the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 
is now taught and applied.
  For example, the officials of our Government who are charged with 
making the ultimate decision on these warrants, the Attorney General 
and the Secretary of State or their delegates, must place the 
individual application of such a warrant into the context of U.S. 
strategic global interests.
  There are areas where the Congress, through oversight, can and must 
play a significant role. In a subsequent statement, I will review in 
more detail the role of Congress in the oversight and direction of the 
intelligence community and some of the reforms that I suggest should be 
made in order to more effectively carry out that responsibility.
  America lost more than 3,000 of our people on September 11. But we 
lost something else. We lost our innocence. We can never bring back 
those people we lost, nor will we ever restore America's innocence. 
What we can do is honor their memories. What we can do is learn from 
their loss by embarking on the road from innocence to wisdom.
  Government must lead when the people hesitate. And the people must 
lead when our Government, as it has under our current President, 
falters. Our safety and our future are too important to be left to 
change. Luck may spare us. It will never protect us.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. DAYTON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding the previous order I be allowed up to 10 minutes to 
speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.