(Past focus geared toward Moscow and its satellites)  (760)

By Wendy S. Ross

USIA Congressional Affairs Writer

Washington -- During the period 1945-90, U.S. intelligence gathering was

largely geared toward Moscow and its satellites, but today the focus is

much broader, says Congressman Dan Glickman, chairman of the House

Intelligence Committee.

Information gathering today is concerned with the proliferation of nuclear,

chemical and biological weapons, as well as with terrorism, narcotics

trafficking and economic spying, he said January 5 at the U.S. Information

Agency's Foreign Press Center in Washington.

Glickman stressed that the quality of U.S. intelligence gathering, which was

the best "in the world" during the Cold War, must remain first rate,

despite the budget cutting now underway throughout the federal government.

"The amount spent on intelligence is going to fall some because of the

1udget problems and because of the nature of the threat changing.  But the

quality of intelligence cannot suffer and doesn't need to suffer," he said.

"While U.S. intelligence is not perfect and never has a general

proposition it tends to be more right than not," he said, but "policymakers

often don't listen to it because it doesn't conform to what their policy

objectives are."

According to Glickman, any alleged failures in policymaking in recent years

can be traced to presidents who "don't give the undivided attention that

they need to give to the character and texture of intelligence, why

something is happening."

For instance, Glickman pointed out, U.S. administrations in the 1980's, in

their concern about Iran, failed to take full advantage of available

intelligence information about Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

Modern technology, Glickman also asserted, has lessened the use of human

beings in intelligence gathering.  He called this trend a "grave

mistake....The old fashioned way of getting information is still the best

way," adding that all the satellites in the world "cannot get into the mind

of the president of North Korea."

Each year the U.S. Congress must approve the budgets of the U.S.

intelligence community, he pointed out, emphasizing that "the power of the

purse" is a "powerful" oversight tool.  Glickman's Intelligence Committee

in the House, and a similar committee in the Senate, as well as the

appropriations committees in both bodies, have jurisdiction over the

spending for the intelligence agencies.

In the past the intelligence community has been reluctant to be candid with

Congress, Glickman said, but in recent years, it has become more "open and

honest" in its relations with the legislature.  "They don't give us sources

and methods," he said, but "they tell us generally what their programs


Glickman added that one of his goals since he became committee chairman in

1993, is to "open up the process."  The total budget of the intelligence

community should be made public, he said.

On specific topics, Glickman had this to say:

-- Syria: "I am somewhat optimistic" about President Asad moving away from

support of terrorist groups so as not to be left out of the Middle East

peace process.  But, "he will not break all ties with these groups

overnight," Glickman predicted.  Glickman said he and some committee

staffers are planning a factfinding visit to Israel, Egypt, Syria and

Jordan in about 10 days.

-- North Korea: "We have no knowledge to a certainty" about North Korea's

ability to develop nuclear weapons, but the intelligence community thinks

North Korea has the capability to develop one or two nuclear devices.

-- Haiti: The "unfortunate" public leaks about the mental health of

President Aristide "jeopardized the administration's ability to act

independently" on the Haitian question.  He said he would not support any

international military action on Haiti.  "We have not made the case for a

military action and risking the lives of American soldiers," to restore

Aristide to power, he said.

-- the Balkans: U.S. intelligence has actually been "quite good" in the

former Yugoslavia, because "we have spent a lot of dollars on satellites

and on other things in order to get the information."  That information, he

said, has led U.S. policymakers to believe that any direct military

involvement of the United States in that region of the world could have the

potential of being "catastrophic" in terms of loss of life and injuries.

1- Pollard: Convicted American spy Jonathan Jay Pollard's chances for

clemency were hurt by a letter Defense Secretary Aspin sent to President

Clinton arguing against clemency.  Pollard is in prison in the United

States for passing intelligence secrets to Israel.