[Congressional Record: November 17, 2010 (Senate)] [Page S7934-S7938] Intelligence Perspectives Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I have had the distinct privilege over the past 8 years of serving on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, serving as the committee's vice chairman for the past 4 years. In this role I have been privy to our Nation's deepest secrets, including great successes and some failures. Unfortunately, the failures usually get leaked to the media while most of the successes go unheralded. While I am not at liberty to discuss those successes here, I can witness to the fact that we have an outstanding fleet of intelligence personnel who selflessly sacrifice their time, and sometimes their lives, to protect our great Nation. Those professionals deserve our undying gratitude, and we all can be proud of their service. It has been a distinct privilege to me to oversee their work, and for their dedication to our Nation, I am ever grateful. As I leave the Senate, having served in this privileged capacity as vice chair of the Intelligence Committee, I leave for my colleagues some thoughts, and recommendations on improvements that can be made on intelligence matters going forward, which I believe will enhance our national security. First, let me start with the Congress. Members of Congress often like to criticize the executive branch, as is appropriate, but Congress needs to get its own house in order as well. I joined the Select Committee on Intelligence in 2003, and during the past 8 years the committee has had three chairmen: Senators Roberts, Rockefeller, and Feinstein; and two vice chairmen: Senator Rockefeller and me. It has been a challenging time, and we have had our highs and our lows. After December 2004, the committee failed to pass an annual authorization bill that could become law for almost 6 years; this was due purely to politics in the Congress. Although the committee was able to pass unanimously results from an investigation on pre-Iraq war intelligence failures, it was by and large hindered by political infighting for several years. In 2003, a memo was found written by a committee staffer that advocated attacking intelligence issues for political gain to damage the Republican administration and the Republican majorities. That memo was ultimately discredited by my friends on the other side of the aisle, but it marked a low point in the committee's history, and it should never happen again. Chairman Feinstein and I have worked hard to bring the committee back into bipartisan operation of intelligence oversight. We hope that the Intelligence Authorization Act that the President signed into law recently has helped in getting the committees back on track. One area where I strongly believe the Congress has yet to heed the warnings of the 9/11 Commission and other study groups is in reforming its approach to appropriations for intelligence. That is why in 2008, the SSCI passed a resolution to establish an appropriations subcommittee on intelligence, something the full Senate had already passed in 2004. Yet the Appropriations Committee has failed to act. I continue to believe this is vital to improving oversight and funding of our Nation's intelligence, and I urge the Senate in the next Congress to make this happen. The past 8 years have been ground-breaking years in Intelligence, particularly as the war on terrorism has played out in Afghanistan and Iraq. As I speak today, U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan continue to fight terrorists--al-Qaida, the Taliban, Haqqani, and others who threaten the stability and future of the region. They fight not only to bring stability to the region but to disrupt the sanctuaries and dismantle the organizations that can and do facilitate terrorist attacks against the United States at home, our troops in the field, and our allies abroad. My profound respect and gratitude goes out to those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and across the globe. We have asked so much of them and their families. They have made enormous, in some cases ultimate, sacrifices, and our Nation is forever in their debt. As we learned in Iraq, fighting the enemy is not enough. A comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy is required. It must combine kinetic power--military attacks against terrorists and insurgents--with ``smart power''--the development of host nation capabilities and infrastructure, and a sensible mix of economic, development, educational, and diplomatic strategies. We know that understanding the complexities of the region and the forces at play puts additional burdens on the resources and capabilities of the intelligence community. But we also know that without a viable and appropriately resourced counter-insurgency strategy, we will not see success in Afghanistan, and the future of Pakistan will remain in doubt. Driving terrorist safe havens out of Afghanistan is crucial but insufficient if al-Qaida and Taliban militants continue to find sanctuary in the remote border regions of western Pakistan. Eliminating the terrorist threat to the United States that emanates from terrorist sanctuaries in the region is our No. 1 goal. A U.S. withdrawal, in whole or in part, from Afghanistan in the near term would be a tacit, yet unambiguous, approval for the return of Taliban control of Afghanistan. In turn, this would lead to the establishment of more safe havens for many of the world's most violent and feared terrorists. But what happens when our forces eventually pull back? Replacing those sanctuaries with secure environments and stable governance is the key to ensuring that terrorists do not gain another foothold in the future. As we have fought this war in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we have learned a lot about al-Qaida, terrorism, and our own intelligence capabilities. On July 9, 2004, the committee unanimously issued its phase I report on the prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq. I view this truly bipartisan effort as one of the committee's most successful oversight accomplishments. The comprehensive 511-page Iraq WMD report identified numerous analytic and collection failures in the intelligence community's work on Iraq's WMD programs. These underlying failures caused most of the major key judgments in the Iraq WMD National Intelligence Estimate to be either overstated or not supported by the underling intelligence reporting. In turn, American policymakers relied, in part, on these key judgments in deciding whether to support the war against Iraq. The committee's Iraq WMD Report served as a valuable ``lessons- learned'' exercise. It has had a profound impact on the way the intelligence community does business and interacts with Congress and the White House. It also set the standard for future committee reviews. In my opinion, the committee members and staff who completed the project performed a great service to our Nation. At the end of 2004, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. The Governmental Affairs Committee had the lead on this bill, and the act implemented a number of recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, including the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. After 6 years, the jury is still out on the ODNI. Some have argued the office is an unnecessary bureaucratic layer. Others have said the office is too big and needs to be downsized. Still others are concerned that the DNI's authority is being undermined by decisionmakers in the White House and the Department of Justice--a point with ample evidence over the past several years. While these observations have some merit, I believe the ODNI serves an important leadership function within the intelligence community and should not be abandoned. There is, however, room for improvement, so I sponsored a number of legislative provisions that should enhance the DNI's authorities with respect to accountability reviews and major system acquisitions. While some of these [[Page S7935]] provisions were recently signed into law, more will need to be done to strengthen the effectiveness of the ODNI. Turning to battlefield intelligence, the committee has spent a considerable amount of time conducting oversight of the CIA's detention and interrogation program. Intelligence from detainees has proven to be a most effective source of intelligence to protect the Nation. That is why we must capture the enemy if at all possible, instead of just killing them. I am concerned lately that due to our lack of effective detention and interrogation policies today our operators in the field feel compelled to kill vice capture. This is understandable, for unless you are in Iraq or Afghanistan, where would you detain enemy combatants to the United States? More troubling to me, we seem to be releasing a number of individuals whom we have already detained, only to see more than 20 percent of them take action against us on the battlefield again. I have a comprehensive approach to this issue that I have been working on with other members that will be introduced on the floor. Regarding the CIA's interrogation program, I believe the program produced valuable intelligence information. My opinion is not a partisan one. Recently, we learned that the Obama Justice Department and Judge Kaplan, a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York, agree with my assessment. Judge Kaplan is presiding over the Federal trial of Ahmed Ghailani, an alleged member of al-Qaida indicted on charges of participating in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa. Last July, Judge Kaplan agreed with the Department of Justice and found that ``on the record before the Court and as further explained in the [classified] Supplement, the CIA Program was effective in obtaining useful intelligence from Ghailani throughout his time in CIA custody.'' In March 2009, the committee began a bipartisan review of the CIA's interrogation program, based upon carefully negotiated terms of reference. Unfortunately, later that year, the Attorney General decided to re-open criminal investigations of the CIA employees involved in the CIA's detention and interrogation program. I believed then that the Attorney General's decision would impede the committee's ability to conduct interviews of key witnesses, thereby diminishing the value of the review. As a result, I withdrew minority staff from the committee's review. The majority pressed ahead and has refused to comply with committee rules to keep the minority fully and currently informed, but it soon ran into the obstacles I foresaw, with CIA personnel declining to speak with them based on the advice of counsel. And who would blame them? The majority has spent valuable time and resources on this matter, and the CIA has conveyed that it had to pull personnel off current mission requirements to support their effort. I believe that limited committee and government resources would be better spent on topics of oversight interest on programs that are in operation today. One of the most disturbing leaks that I have witnessed during my tenure on the committee occurred in December 2005, when the New York Times published a story describing the President's Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP. Some view the leakers as heroes. I do not share that view. In fact, intelligence operators in the field at the time told me that their ability to gain valuable information was reduced dramatically. Michael Hayden, then Director of the CIA, stated that we had begun to apply the Darwinian theory to terrorism because from then on we would only be catching the dumb ones. Frankly, I am amazed the Department of Justice has yet to prosecute Thomas Tamm, a DOJ attorney who openly bragged in a Newsweek article that he intentionally revealed information about this highly classified and compartmented program. Tamm and his fellow leakers are traitors who have done serious damage to our national security. Yet this administration refuses to prosecute this open and shut case. Why? In order to ease concerns of critics, the President's TSP was submitted to and approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Unfortunately, in May 2007, this new arrangement started to unravel when the FISA Court issued a ruling that caused significant gaps in our intelligence collection against foreign terrorists. Although DNI Mike McConnell pleaded to Congress for help, the Congress failed to respond. Under the looming pressure of the August recess, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and I co-sponsored the Protect America Act which Congress passed in the first week of August 2007. The act did exactly what it was intended to. It closed the intelligence gaps that threatened the security of our Nation and of our troops. But it was lacking in one important aspect. It did not provide civil liability protections from ongoing frivolous lawsuits to those private partners who assisted the intelligence community with the TSP. Following the passage of the Protect America Act, I worked to come up with a bipartisan, permanent solution to modernize FISA and give those private partners needed civil liability protections. The committee worked closely for months with the DNI, the Department of Justice, and experts from the intelligence community to ensure that there would be no unintended operational consequences from any of the provisions included in our bipartisan product. In February 2008, after many hearings, briefings, and much debate on the Senate floor, the Senate passed the FISA Amendments Act by a strong, bipartisan vote of 68-29. The Senate's bill reflected the Intelligence Committee's conclusion that those electronic communications service providers who assisted with the TSP acted in good faith and deserved civil liability protection from frivolous lawsuits. The Senate bill also went further than any legislation in history in protecting the potential privacy interests of U.S. persons whose communications may be acquired through foreign targeting. After months of protracted and difficult negotiations with the House, Congress finally passed the FISA Amendments Act on July 9, 2008, and the President signed it into law the very next day. The final law achieved the goals of the original Senate bill, albeit less elegantly. While the act is more burdensome than I would prefer, we did preserve the intelligence community's ability to keep us safe, and we protected the electronic communications service providers from those frivolous lawsuits. I consider my involvement in the passage of the Protect America Act and the FISA Amendments Act to be two of the highlights of my legislative career. There is, however, still work to be done. A number of provisions in the FISA Amendments Act are set to sunset at the end of next year. Also, there are three additional FISA provisions related to roving wiretaps, business records court orders, and the lone wolf provision, that are set to expire on February 28, 2011. I urge Congress and the President to work closely together to ensure that the provisions are made permanent, without adding unnecessary requirements or limitations that will hamper our intelligence collection capabilities. I mentioned earlier that recently the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010 was signed into law. When I became vice chairman of the committee in 2007, my top priority was to get an intelligence authorization bill signed into law, and I am thankful that with the leadership of Senator Feinstein, we finally met that goal. The 2010 intelligence authorization bill, while light on authorization, was heavy on legislative provisions. I am pleased that a number of good government provisions which I sponsored were included in the bill. The law imposes new requirements on the intelligence community to manage better their major systems acquisitions. Too often, we have seen IC acquisitions of major systems, i.e., over $500 million, balloon in cost and decrease in performance. These provisions will operate together to address the long-standing problem of out-of-control cost overruns in these acquisitions. Modeled on the successful Nunn-McCurdy provisions in title 10 of the United States Code, these provisions encourage greater involvement by the DNI in the acquisitions process and help the congressional intelligence committees perform more effective and timely oversight of cost increases. [[Page S7936]] Another good government provision established a requirement for the intelligence community to conduct vulnerability assessments of its major systems. A significant vulnerability in a major system can impede the operation of that system, waste taxpayer dollars, and create counterintelligence concerns. This provision requires the DNI to conduct initial and subsequent vulnerability assessments for any major system, and its items of supply, that is included in the National Intelligence Program. These assessments will ensure that any vulnerabilities or risks associated with a particular system are identified and resolved at the earliest possible stage. A third good government provision gives the DNI the authority to conduct accountability reviews of intelligence community elements and personnel in relation to their significant failures or deficiencies. It also encourages IC elements to address internal failures or deficiencies, something they at times have been reluctant to do. In the event these elements are reluctant or unable to do so, this provision gives the DNI the authority he needs to conduct his own reviews. Finally, my future budget projection provision requires the DNI to do what every American family does on a regular basis--map out a budget. The DNI, with the concurrence of the Office of Management and Budget, must provide congressional Intelligence Committees with a future year intelligence plan and a long-term budget projection for each fiscal year. These important planning tools will enable the DNI and the congressional intelligence communities to ``look over the horizon'' and resolve significant budgetary issues before they become problematic. As I leave the Senate and contemplate what I have learned during my service in Congress and on the Intelligence Committee, I have a number of recommendations for future members and leaders of the committee. One of the intelligence community's greatest failures was its complete waste of billions of dollars spent to develop satellites that never took a single picture. Senator Feinstein and I have strongly voiced our abiding concern to all four DNIs that the Intelligence Community is still spending far too much money on imagery satellites that are too big, too few, and too costly. We have put forth solid alternatives that would produce more satellites at far less cost, be less fragile, and perform as well or better than the unaffordable plan in the President's budget. Just this month, an independent analysis by some of the country's very best astrophysicists confirmed that such an alternative, based on a combination of commercial and classified technologies, was essentially as capable, but about half as expensive as the administration's program. Sadly, our ideas have met with ``NIH'' resistance--``not invented here.'' Even worse, it appears that this resistance has been based in part on the NRO's unhealthy reliance upon, and apparent subordination to, the contractor that builds these incredibly expensive satellites. In spite of this resistance, Congress saw fit to appropriate over $200 million to explore a better path forward, and I urge my colleagues in both Houses of Congress to sustain that effort. I also urge the new DNI, in the strongest terms, to reconsider this issue afresh, and with an open mind. Our committee recommended his confirmation on the hope and expectation that he would do so. The committee has been following the cyber threat issue for a long time. Cyber attacks happen every day. Our government, businesses, citizens, and even social networking sites all have been hit. In an ever increasing cyber age, where our financial system conducts trades via the Internet, families pay bills online, and the government uses computers to implement war strategies, successful cyber attacks can be devastating. Unless our private sector and government start down a better path to protect our information networks, serious damage to our economy and our national security will follow. Senator Hatch and I introduced a legislative proposal that takes the first step by creating a solid infrastructure that is responsible and accountable for coordinating our government's cyber efforts. The bill is built on three principles. First, we must be clear about where Congress should, and, more importantly, should not legislate. Second, there must be one person in charge--someone outside the Executive Office of the President who is unlikely to claim executive privilege, but who has real authority to coordinate our government cyber security efforts. Third, we need a voluntary public/private partnership to facilitate sharing cyber threat information, research, and technical support. We believe that once this infrastructure is established, the assembled government and private sector experts will be able to provide guidance on the next steps--including any further legislation--needed to enhance our our cyber safety. In the aftermath of 9/11, we captured hundreds of al-Qaida terrorists and associates. Many of these could be called low-level fighters--of the same type as the 9/11 hijackers but no less dangerous to our security. Others, such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and senior al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, were identified as high-value detainees and placed in the CIA's interrogation and detention program. After details about the program were leaked in the Washington Post, the President announced, in September 2006, that these high-value detainees would be transferred to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Since 2002, Gitmo has housed terrorists picked up on the battlefield or suspected of terrorist activities. Today, 174 detainees remain at Gitmo. In 2008, in a sharply divided opinion and despite clear language from Congress to the contrary, the Supreme Court gave Gitmo detainees the constitutional right to challenge their detention in our courts. Since then, 38 detainees have successfully challenged their detention. With the recidivism rate for former Gitmo detainees at over 20 percent, Congress must step in once again and draw some boundaries. We cannot afford to let more potentially dangerous detainees go free. We need a clear, consistent framework for these habeas challenges with a standard of proof that takes into account the wartime conditions under which many of these detainees were captured. It is unreasonable to hold the government to the standards and evidentiary tests that apply in ordinary habeas cases. There is nothing ordinary about war and our habeas laws must reflect that. Now that the President has abolished the CIA's program and ordered the closure of Gitmo, we need clear policies for holding and questioning suspected terrorists, especially overseas. We must abandon the automatic impulse to Mirandize terrorists captured inside the United States. Prosecution can be a very effective response to terrorism, but it must never take precedence over getting potential lifesaving intelligence. I have been working with several of my colleagues on legislation that would set clear lines for law of war detention and habeas challenges. Our Nation should not risk another Gitmo detainee rejoining the fight. We cannot risk losing more and timely intelligence because we have no system for detaining and interrogating terrorists. These are critical national security issues and Congress's voice must be heard as soon as possible. Last December, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight as it headed to Detroit. Shortly after the failed attack, al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula claimed responsibility. AQAP counts among its senior leadership and members former Gitmo detainees who have returned to their old ways. As the Christmas Day attack reminded us, rising recidivism rates for Gitmo detainees are more than just a statistic and claims that a 20-percent recidivism rate ``isn't that bad''--as one senior administration official put it--must be challenged. As part of its goal to close Gitmo, the administration continues its efforts to persuade other countries to accept detainees. Whatever one's views on closing Gitmo, we all have an interest in making sure that no former Gitmo detainee kills or harms us or our allies. As these transfers continue, the Intelligence Committee--and Congress--must pay close attention to these and earlier transfer decisions. [[Page S7937]] As part of the committee's oversight responsibilities, staff have been traveling to those countries that accepted detainees under the current and previous administrations. They have also been reviewing assessments prepared by the intelligence community and the Guantanamo Review Task Force and other documents. A lot of work has been done, but there is more to do. Thus far, our review has raised some significant concerns. We all know that transfers to Yemen are a bad idea, but other countries may not have either the legal authority or capability to keep track of these detainees effectively. Still others simply view these former detainees as being free. If we do not know what these detainees are doing, we end up relying on luck that we will catch them before they act. Having luck on your side is always a good thing, but it stinks as a counterrorism policy. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pay close attention to this issue. Unfortunately, it is one that I think will continue to be around for a very long time. I hope these reflections, observations, and recommendations will be of use to the members of the next Congress. I have been deeply honored to serve on the Intelligence Committee with my distinguished and talented colleagues. I also salute the fine men and women of the intelligence community who have given so much for the safety of our country. I wish them all well in their future endeavors. In addition, I wish to address an obvious problem--leaks. I have already made reference to some of the more disastrous leaks that occurred during my tenure, but unfortunately, these were just the tip of the iceberg. There are simply too many to list. I shudder to think about the sources and methods that have been disclosed, and the lives that will likely be lost, as a result of the obscene amount of classified information compromised by Wikileaks. Of course, to call this a leak case is gross mischaracterization; it is more like a tidal wave. We are blessed with our open society and our many freedoms. However, our ability to protect these freedoms and preserve our national security depends upon our ability to keep our secrets safe. This problem needs a multifaceted solution. We must first deter and neutralize the leakers. There should be significant criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions that can be imposed on leakers. Leakers should face significant jail time, pay heavy fines, forfeit any profits, lose their pensions, and be fired from their jobs. We should also not allow the first amendment to be used as a shield for criminal activity. It should be a crime to knowingly solicit a person to reveal classified information for an unauthorized purpose or to knowingly publish or possess such information. Leaks will not stop until a significant number of leakers have been appropriately punished. Other steps may lessen the problem. Government agencies in possession of classified information should ensure that information is properly classified in the first instance and that their employees are thoroughly trained in security procedures. Also, we should explore technological solutions for tracking classified documents and establishing singular audit trails. On a related issue, we also need to ensure that the security clearance process is repaired. An excellent interagency reform process has applied more resources and better processes to increase the efficiency of the system, eliminate backlogs, and in many cases, shorten the time required to process a security clearance. Although significant progress has been achieved in recent years, there is still a lot of room for improvement. We must continue to use technology to wring more efficiency from the security clearance system, and make it less of an obstacle to success for our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Just as importantly, we must modernize the security clearance system to make it a more useful measure of suitability for serving in sensitive government positions. The interagency security clearance reform process is studying a new process, called ``continuous evaluation,'' which seeks to use automated records checks and other similar processes to assess risk in populations of cleared personnel on a regular basis, rather than waiting five years to conduct a reinvestigation, as we currently do. The devil will be in the details, but I believe a ``continuous evaluation'' system could be much more effective than our current practices in detecting security threats in our agencies before they become a problem. The use of biometrics--fingerprints, DNA, facial recognition scans, and the like--has yielded dramatic dividends on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and is a vital tool for detecting terrorist threats before they arrive on our shores. Biometrics help us separate the good guys from the bad guys on the battlefield, and can ensure that we know that the foreign tourist, businessman, or student who wants to visit the United States is not actually a dangerous terrorist. We have made significant progress in the collection and use of biometric data in the last decade, but there are still too many policy and procedural obstacles to sharing biometric data between U.S. Government agencies. Moreover, far too much of the funding for these important biometric efforts is contained in supplemental funding requests. We need to continue breaking down the barriers to sharing biometric data. We need a roadmap in the base intelligence budget for the permanent sustainment of our biometric efforts in the decades to come. Biometrics must remain an important tool for dealing with national security threats well beyond the end of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The committee spent much of 2005 and 2006 working on legislation related to the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. We held numerous hearings and reported out a bill that contained a number of provisions that were ultimately included in the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act. Among other things, the act made permanent 14 of the 16 USA PATRIOT Act provisions that were set to expire at the end of 2006. It extended the sunsets of three FISA provisions--roving wiretaps; business record court orders; and lone wolf--until the end of 2009. Also, it created a new National Security Division within the Department of Justice, supervised by a new assistant attorney general, with the goal of ensuring that the information sharing walls that existed prior to 9/11 are never reconstructed. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, the size and budget of the intelligence community has nearly doubled, and much of that growth has been in the IC's analytic community. Even as we hire more and more analysts to focus on national intelligence priorities, most of them work on current and tactical missions--answering questions and giving briefings on near-term issues--without ever producing a deep understanding of longer term critical issues. Furthermore, the intelligence community continues to operate as a loose confederation, with no universal standards for analytic training, tools, technology, and personnel policies. These issues, coupled with a lack of a federated communitywide analytic work plan, often result in redundant or conflicting analyses, and in some cases, a major gap in coverage or understanding of issues of significant concern. It is time for the ODNI to bring analytic direction and standards to the IC so that the analytic community can become a true community of analysts. I have often voiced my concern about the abysmal state of the intelligence community's foreign language programs and the slow pace of progress in correcting deficiencies. The collection of intelligence depends heavily upon language, whether information is gathered in the field from a human source or from a technical collection system. More than 9 years after 9/11, and more than a year after a major shift in focus in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the cadre of intelligence professionals capable of speaking, reading, or understanding critical regional languages such as Pashto, Dari, or Urdu remains in critically short supply. In spite of significant congressional interest and funding, progress has been disappointing. Persistent critical shortages in some languages could contribute to the loss of intelligence information and affect the ability of the intelligence community to exploit what it does collect. I [[Page S7938]] encourage IC leaders to make foreign language learning and maintenance a priority mission and a ``must fund'' for resource allocation. I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.