Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld

DoD News Briefing


Q: Mr. Secretary, CIA Director Tenet is currently reviewing how to streamline and improve the intelligence flow in the government. One of the things he's looking at is having all of the agencies report to the CIA director instead of some of them reporting -- some of the Defense intelligence agencies reporting to you. Are you comfortable with that notion of having everything go channeled through the CIA, all the intelligence?

Rumsfeld: Well, we've -- Brent Scowcroft had a report that had some -- a number of -- what would you call them? -- descriptives, concerns, about intelligence gathering that properly raised some issues about various activities and how they're working and how they might work better, that were quite useful. He also had some proposals how you would move boxes and change lines, and both have been discussed in the government. Nothing has been decided with respect to it. And indeed, I don't believe that it's correct to say, as you say, that George Tenet has landed on any of those specifically, because I had lunch with him Friday, and he seemed to feel that he had not.

Q: You don't think anybody -- they're not impinging on your turf?

Rumsfeld: Oh, I really don't look at it that way. I look at it, what's the best way to do it? And I've always felt that in intelligence gathering, as in research and development, what you need is multiple sources of information. And it is -- those types of things are the few things where you may lose more by going for efficiency, by centralization, than you gain. You lose more than you get in -- often, if you do that.

For example, pharmaceutical companies make a practice of having research and development activities in different countries and different states, recognizing that may cost a little more, may be a little less efficient, but in fact, you're not looking for efficiency, you're looking for creativity, you're looking for innovation, you're looking for information, in the case of intelligence gathering. And to be dependent upon a single source or a single line or a single viewpoint is probably not a great idea. I doubt if it will happen. Don't know. We'll see.