before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
May 6, 1997
Excerpts on FBIS and Open Source Intelligence
MR. TENET: I haven't had those kinds of discussions, Senator. Obviously we're in the process at this point of streamlining and modernizing the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, as you know, to bring it into the next century of technology and information we want to have available to us.
As to a separate agency, no such discussions other than a real commitment to ensuring that our open-source effort really access all the nodes of information that have been generated in the world we live in today.
SEN. KERREY: You recommend that we fund at current levels or increase FBIS?
MR. TENET: I think it's -- whatever our budget request is, I think, fully allows us to re-engineer and keep that effort alive. And I don't think we've sacrificed any of the targets we care about. But we simply have to be able to access new technology, get out of fixed locations, take advantage of computer networks and be able to surge against targets. I think the whole system really was quite inhibiting in that regard.
SEN. KERREY: How do you deal with some of the complaints that we've heard as well on the decision not to produce hard copy of FBIS?
MR. TENET: Well, Senator, it's a computer-based environment that we live in. That's another three and half million dollars to do it. We probably would have to ask you for another $5 million on top of that to reconstitute the hard-target capability. I just think we live on a computer-age network at this point, and I just think that that's the way we have to go. And this is a decision that was made a number of years ago, as you know. I just think that's --
SEN. KERREY: It may be -- I do think if the customers who are taking that information and converting it into things that we're using say that "It's a computer-based world, it's a network world, but it's the hard copy that I'm using to convert," I don't -- if I'm sitting where you are and you're sitting where I am and you ask me the question, I'd say, "I don't know."
So I presume that you deal with these customers all the time. And if they're converting that intel -- those broadcasts into something that you're using and that we're using and you reach the conclusion that we ought to go hard copy, go back to hard copy, you ought to feel at liberty to inform the committee that you've reached that conclusion regardless of what decision was made earlier.
And again, I'd like to -- presuming that we get some legislation passed this year pushing forward the development of a secure public network, I think it's going to present us with lots of opportunities to inform the public in an open-source way. And again, it may be that your decision is that this is not something that CIA should do, but I know that lots of activity in the community over which you have responsibility is getting more and more into that open-source arena.