Congresswoman Jane harman - Press Release

April 1, 2004


- Harman and Intelligence Dems Outline 10 Recommendations For Immediate Action -

WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to fix the many problems that have plagued United States intelligence in the post-Cold War era, Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA-36), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, with her Democratic colleagues on the Committee, sent a letter to President Bush calling on him to acknowledge shortcomings in prewar intelligence and outlining steps that he can take now to improve intelligence. U.S. intelligence is a vital weapon in the war on terrorism and a critical tool for preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Harman and her Democratic colleagues also introduced a sweeping legislative reform package to modernize and transform the Intelligence Community. The Intelligence Transformation Act will, among other things, create a Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who will have statutory and budget authority over all aspects of the Intelligence Community. Creating a DNI was one of the major reforms recommended by the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11.

The Intelligence Transformation Act would establish a "dual-hatted" Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence as the Deputy Director of National Intelligence. The legislation also proposes "jointness" in the collection and analysis of intelligence, modeled after the changes to the military that Congress mandated in the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. In addition, the Act would create a modern technological infrastructure to improve intelligence analysis and collaboration across agencies, and a new WMD Proliferation Threat Integration Center (PROTIC) to provide integrated tasking of collection and analysis on the WMD proliferation threat.

In announcing the legislation, Congresswoman Harman said: "The terrorists and the enemies of the United States will not wait until after November to plot their attacks - nor will they check our party registration before they launch those attacks against us. We cannot afford to wait. This task is urgent."

All Committee Democrats endorsed the legislation including: Alcee Hastings (FL); Silvestre Reyes (TX); Leonard Boswell (IA); Collin Peterson (MN); Bud Cramer (AL); Anna Eshoo (CA); Rush Holt (NJ); and Dutch Ruppersberger (MD).


April 1, 2004

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Nearly a year ago, following the initial failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence undertook an inquiry into the pre-war intelligence underlying the judgments that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and had ties to terrorists. While aspects of the inquiry are still ongoing, we believe steps can and should be taken now to correct some of the deficiencies already identified.

We are mindful of the many intelligence successes of the brave and dedicated cadre of people serving our country as intelligence officers - many of whom are overseas at this very hour, risking their lives for our freedom. To keep faith with them, we must ensure they have all the tools they need to succeed.

The problems that have plagued our intelligence over the years must be fixed now in order to protect our troops in Iraq, to win the war on terrorism, and to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is in this spirit that we issue this urgent call to action.

We urge you to act immediately on the following near-term recommendations:

Refrain from tainting the various inquiries into 9/11 and Iraq's WMD programs. We support greater declassification of material that can help inform the American people of what happened in these two matters. However, we believe that it is inappropriate for the White House to be involved in the declassification decisions. White House involvement will only raise suspicions that critical classification decisions are being made for partisan political reasons. We, therefore, urge the White House to recuse itself from all declassification decisions involving 9/11 or the Iraq WMD inquiry and ask the CIA to appoint a professional, non-partisan review panel to make declassification recommendations.

Acknowledge the problems in pre-war intelligence. It is difficult for the Intelligence Community to talk about shortcomings in intelligence if senior policy leaders still insist that there were no serious problems. Acknowledging the problems will allow the intelligence community to move aggressively to fix them.

Direct the intelligence agencies to scrub immediately all WMD intelligence estimates worldwide and forward updates on all areas of serious concern. The systemic analytic deficiencies that plagued estimates of Iraq's WMD programs could also have affected other estimates, including on the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran.

Direct the Intelligence Community to: (1) improve collection and vetting of hard-target information, to include new ways of deploying human intelligence collectors; and (2) adopt a more aggressive plan for diversifying the human intelligence (HUMINT) collector workforce with people who understand the cultures and speak the languages of targeted countries and groups. The Intelligence Community failed to develop reliable human intelligence sources that could provide accurate information on the true state of Iraq's WMD programs or Iraq's ties to al-Qa'ida.

Direct a crash program to develop technical tools for detecting and accurately characterizing WMD programs. Current technical collection programs, such as satellite imagery, were unable to answer key questions regarding Iraq's WMD programs prior to the war.

Direct the National Security Council to review, and report back within 30 days, options for taking immediate steps to strengthen and reinvigorate international inspections. The IAEA Iraq Action Team, UNSCOM, and the UNMOVIC not only hampered Saddam's WMD pursuits, they also provided some of the clearest insights into those programs. Stronger international inspection regimes could assist the Intelligence Community in overcoming uncertainties about other nations WMD programs.

Direct the DCI to take specific steps to improve the way the Intelligence Community analyzes intelligence and conveys that information to policymakers. Three of the most important pre-war intelligence judgments - that Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, and was developing unmanned aerial vehicles probably intended to deliver biological warfare agent and could threaten the U.S. homeland - were seriously flawed.

It is now clear that analysts did not adequately challenge assumptions stemming from old information, such as Iraq's use of WMD in the 1980s and Iraq's failure during U.N. inspections to account for WMD-related equipment and materials. The absence of proof that stockpiles had been destroyed was taken as proof that they still existed. The pre-war analysis also stated bold conclusions - such as "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons…" - that the underlying data did not adequately support.

Ensure intelligence analysts are encouraged to provide their best possible judgments, without pressure from senior policymakers. In our review, we have learned that intelligence analysts examining Iraq's ties to al-Qa'ida were subjected to intense pressure from senior policymakers to find connections between Iraq and al-Qa'ida. We believe that analysts must be encouraged to say when the reporting they are drawing on is not deep enough or sufficiently reliable to reach definitive judgments.

Ensure that intelligence information provided to policymakers is adequately vetted. Offices reporting to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, particularly the Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans, provided summaries of terrorism intelligence, including information on Iraq's ties to al-Qa'ida, to senior Defense Department policymakers, the National Security Council staff, and the Office of the Vice President. These analyses were based in part on unreliable or unvetted information. The Director of Central Intelligence, who is the President's ultimate arbiter of intelligence judgments, was apparently not aware that these materials were briefed to the Office of the Vice President. While policymakers have every right to seek information from a variety of sources, there is an inherent danger in setting up a stovepipe that forwards raw intelligence to policymakers without sufficient peer review.

Ensure public presentations of intelligence are accurate. Policymakers overstated or misstated the intelligence case with regard to Iraq's WMD programs, using phrases like "there is no doubt" and "there is no question" in public statements. While the pre-war intelligence was inappropriately categorical in several key respects, policymaker statements went even further in creating the impression that the information was even more solid than it was.

In the case of statements regarding Iraq's ties to al-Qa'ida, policymakers also often omitted important caveats. For example, they often failed to note that the reporting on Iraq's ties to al-Qa'ida was fragmentary and conflicting and from sources of varying reliability. Nor did they make clear that in the fall of 2002 the Intelligence Community had said that there was no credible information that Iraq was complicit in or had foreknowledge of any al-Qa'ida attack, including 9/11.

The DCI said in March 2004, "The steady spread of Usama bin Ladin's anti-US sentiment… ensures that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future . . . with or without al-Qa`ida in the picture" and "…that this enemy remains intent on obtaining, and using, catastrophic weapons." We need the very best intelligence now. Time is not on our side.


Ranking Democrat

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Source: Office of Rep. Harman