[Senate Hearing 111-857]
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S. Hrg. 111-857











TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2010


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[Established by S. Res. 400, 94th Cong., 2d Sess.]

DIANNE FEINSTEIN, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri, Vice Chairman

Virginia OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
EVAN BAYH, Indiana RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
HARRY REID, Nevada, Ex Officio
MITCH McCONNELL, Kentucky, Ex Officio
CARL LEVIN, Michigan, Ex Officio
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Ex Officio
David Grannis, Staff Director
Louis B. Tucker, Minority Staff Director
Kathleen P. McGhee, Chief Clerk



JULY 20, 2010


Feinstein, Hon. Dianne, Chairman, a U.S. Senator from California. 1
Bond, Hon. Christopher S., Vice Chairman, a U.S. Senator from
Missouri………………………………………………. 3
Mikulski, Hon. Barbara A., a U.S. Senator from Maryland………. 6


Lieutenant General James R. Clapper,Jr., USAF, Ret., Director of
National Intelligence-Designate………………………….. 7
Prepared statement……………………………………. 8


Prepared statement of Senator Russell D. Feingold……………. 33
Questionnaire for Completion by Presidential Nominees………… 52
Article titled “The Role of Defense in Shaping U.S. Intelligence
Reform” by James R. Clapper, Jr…………………………. 67
Prehearing Questions and Responses…………………………. 79
Letter from Robert I. Cusick, Office of Government Ethics, Dated
June 15, 2010, to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Transmitting Public
Financial Disclosure Report……………………………… 168
Letter from Susan S. Gibson, Dated June 7, 2010, to Robert I.
Cusik…………………………………………………. 177
Letter from James R. Clapper, Jr., Dated June 7, 2010, to Susan
S. Gibson……………………………………………… 178
Posthearing Questions and Responses………………………… 179
Article titled “Reorganiztion of DIA and Defense Intelligence
Activities” by James R. Clapper, Jr……………………… 202
Article titled “The Newly Revived National Imagery and Mapping
Agency: Geospatial Imagery & Intelligence in 2002 and Beyond”
by James R. Clapper, Jr…………………………………. 210
Article titled “Desert War Was Crucible for Intelligence
Systems” by James R. Clapper, Jr………………………… 215
Article titled “Defense Intelligence Reorganization and
Challenges” by James R. Clapper, Jr……………………… 219
Article titled “Challenging Joint Military Intelligence” by
James R. Clapper, Jr……………………………………. 227
Article titled “Critical Security Dominates Information Warfare
Moves” by James R. Clapper, Jr. and Eben H. Trevino, Jr……. 235



TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2010

U.S. Senate,
Select Committee on Intelligence,
Washington, DC.
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:43 p.m, in Room
SDG-50, Dirksen Senate Office Building, the Honorable Dianne
Feinstein (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Committee Members Present: Senators Feinstein, Wyden,
Mikulski, Feingold, Nelson of Florida, Whitehouse, Levin, Bond,
Hatch, Snowe, Chambliss, Burr, Coburn, and Risch.


Chairman Feinstein. The hearing will come to order. This
room is on the cool side, probably the coolest place in
Washington today. But I’d like to welcome everyone to this
hearing. We meet today in open session to consider President
Obama’s nominee to be the nation’s fourth Director of National
Intelligence, General James Clapper. So welcome, General
The position of the DNI, as we call him, the Director of
National Intelligence, is the senior most intelligence position
in the government. The DNI is by statute, the head of the 16
different intelligence offices and agencies that make up the
intelligence community, the principal advisor to the President
on intelligence matters, and the official in charge of
developing the intelligence budget.
As has been made clear over the first five years of the
existence of the position, the true extent of the director’s
authority and the exact nature of the job he is supposed to do
are still a matter of some debate. As the articles yesterday
and today in The Washington Post have made clear, the DNI faces
major management challenges caused by the enormous growth
throughout those intelligence agencies and other parts of the
government’s national security complex since 9/11.
The articles raised several issues such as the high
infrastructure expansion of buildings and data systems.
Yesterday’s article specifically names–and I won’t read them
out, but one, two, three, four, five, six–seven, huge new
buildings, all of which, as was pointed out, will obviously
have to accommodate individuals and all kinds of support
services and positions.
The article also describes a contractor number that now
reaches approximately 28 percent to 30 percent of the entire
intelligence workforce and carries out inherently governmental
functions, contrary to policies of the Office of Management and
Budget. The authors count 1,271 government organizations and
1,931 private companies that work on programs related to
counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence.
Under the past two DNIs and CIA directors, the number of
contractors has been coming down slightly. And I’m pleased that
they are no longer being used to conduct interrogation.
Nonetheless, the use of contractors needs to continue to
decrease substantially, and I intend to keep pushing on this
point until contractors are not used for any inherently
governmental purpose.
Our original fiscal year 2010 intelligence authorization
bill contained a requirement that would have reduced the number
of contractors across the community by 10 percent from 2009 to
2010. But because of the delay in passing the bill, this cut
has not gone into effect.
Like the Post’s articles, this committee has found, as
evidenced by our report on the Christmas Day plot, that
intelligence growth has not always led to improved performance.
Growth in the size and number of agencies, offices, task forces
and centers has also challenged the ability of former Directors
of National Intelligence to truly manage the community.
As a sponsor of the first legislation calling for the
creation of the position, I have long believed that the DNI
needs to be a strong leader and have real authority. Clearly
there is need for a strong, central figure or the balkanization
of these 16 agencies will continue.
However, this cannot be just another layer of bureaucracy.
The DNI must be both a leader as well as a coordinator of this
increasingly sprawling intelligence community. But the DNI must
also be, at times, more than that. He must be able to carry out
Presidential direction and shift priorities based on national
security concerns and emerging needs.
In actual practice, the DNI is constrained from directing
15 of the 16 elements of the community because they reside in
various federal departments. And the Intelligence Reform and
Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 states that, in carrying out
his responsibilities–and this is the rub–the DNI may not
abrogate the statutory responsibilities of the Secretaries.
This is often interpreted in real life to prevent centralized
direction. The 16th agency, the CIA, is not housed within a
department, but it, too, has demonstrated its ability to thwart
the DNI’s directives it dislikes by importuning the White
We understand from former officials in the DNI’s office
that both problems have greatly frustrated past DNIs’ ability
to lead. Every day of every week, month by month, the DNI must
assure coordination between intelligence agencies to eliminate
duplication and improve information sharing. And, when
necessary, he must put an end to programs that are not working
and avoid redundancy and overlap. I increasingly believe that
this is becoming a major issue.
The 2010 Intelligence authorization bill reported out,
again unanimously, in revised form last week, which the White
House has approved and the House intelligence committee
supports, contains 10 provisions that would strengthen or add
management flexibilities for the DNI. Eight of those 10 were
requested by this or prior administrations. I urge the House to
pass this bill.
The primary mission of the DNI is to make sure that the
intelligence community produces information that enables
policymakers to make informed decisions. This mission includes
ensuring that the Department of Defense and military commanders
have the information they need to carry out military operations
and force protection. Yet it also covers the full range of
national security, foreign policy and homeland security
information needs.
I want to make sure that General Clapper, if confirmed,
will wear the mantle of the Director of National Intelligence,
not just the hat he wears today as Director of Defense
intelligence, and that he will have the necessary broad,
strategic focus and support that this position requires.
So I will be interested in continuing to discuss with our
nominee the proper role of the DNI, what the mission should be
and how strong the authority should be to carry out that
Not in question is General Clapper’s vast experience or
dedication to public service. He has served his country for
more than 40 years in a variety of capacities, 32 of those 40
years in active duty in the United States Air Force, retiring
in 1995 as a lieutenant general. He has led two of the larger
intelligence agencies, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the
National Imagery and Mapping Agency, since renamed the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA. And he is currently the
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, a position he has
held since 2007, meaning that he is one of the few national
security officials to serve under both the Bush and Obama
In short, this nominee has as much experience in
intelligence as any serving or retired official. So, General
Clapper, I want to be clear that we do not question your
service, your knowledge or your capability. We only ask that
you clearly indicate your vision and commitment to head the
intelligence community this afternoon and work to give it
direction and prevent sprawl, overlap and duplication.
Before I turn to our distinguished Vice Chairman, I
understand, General, that you have family and friends with you
today. If you’d like to introduce them at this time–well, I
think I’ll change this and ask the ranking member to go ahead,
if that’s agreeable, then ask you to introduce your family, and
then I know Senator Mikulski would like to say a few words, I
suspect, on your behalf. I call on the Vice Chairman.
Mr. Vice Chairman.


Vice Chairman Bond. Thank you, Madam Chair, and as usual, I
agree with your opening statements, and I join you in welcoming
General Clapper to the committee for consideration of his
nomination to serve as the Director of National Intelligence.
The outgoing Director of National Intelligence, Admiral
Dennis Blair, deserves our thanks for his many years of service
to the nation, including his work as the previous DNI. Admiral
Blair faced a number of unfortunate challenges during his
tenure, as other administration officials increasingly assumed
greater control over intelligence community activities. The
next DNI must have the political clout, the willpower to ensure
that our intelligence agencies are able to get their vital work
done without being micromanaged by the Department of Justice or
the National Security Council.
It is my hope that the next DNI will assert this needed
leadership over the intelligence community. Something the
George W. Bush administration got right in this area was
placing key people in the jobs who were responsible to the
Congress. For example, there was no question that John
Negroponte, and then, most notably, Admiral Mike McConnell,
were the President’s principal intelligence advisors, as they
should be under United States law. At that time, the public did
not even know the names of intelligence staffers on the
National Security Council. Today, the paradigm has been
reversed. We have a staffer on the National Security Council,
who most people in the intelligence community believe acts as
the DNI.
He calls the shots and even goes on national television to
pitch the administration’s viewpoint. A June 6 Washington Post
article was spot on in describing his role in today’s
intelligence. This is not good for the country and is contrary
to Congress’ intent for the IC. If the President would like him
to act as his principal intelligence advisor and head of the
intelligence community, then I’ll be happy to co-host his
confirmation hearing with the Chair. But if not, then this
template needs to change.
Turning to you, General Clapper, as the Chair has already
mentioned, you’ve served our nation well. You have a long
background in very demanding leadership roles in the military
and the intelligence community, and I think we all thank you
for an impressive 46 years of service to our nation in the
field of, primarily, intelligence. But you know that I have
concerns about whether you will be able to do what Director
Blair could not.
You’ve talked about leaving federal service for some time,
yet you are now seeking one of the hardest jobs in Washington,
one fraught with maximum tensions. Frankly, today I ask you to
tell us why? Our nation is at a critical point. We’re six years
into this experience of intelligence reform, and I’m afraid we
have a long way to go. The recent Washington Post top secret
series highlights what I and others on the committee have been
saying for a long time. The intelligence community is lacking
effective oversight. And today, I hope we can focus on whether
you, General Clapper, will have the horsepower needed in the
White House to use the DNI as the position for reform and
management it needs to be.
The DNI, in the next round, will need to be a fire in the
gut guy who is willing to break paradigms and trends against
business as usual. He needs to be someone who is not
reluctantly accepting the job, but is willing to take on the
old guard and change broken ways of going about intelligence.
We don’t need our top spy chief to be a figurehead who cedes
authority to the Justice Department. Instead, we need a DNI who
can oversee our nation’s terror-fighting policy.
We need a DNI who will push the envelope on his authorities
and advance the institution’s ability to lead our intelligence
agencies. Just as important, we need someone who can throw some
elbows and take back control of our intelligence agency from
DOJ, White House bureaucrats and even the DOD. Also, he must
establish a clear chain of command between the CIA and the DNI.
While the 2004 intelligence reform bill was certainly a
step forward in our efforts to reform the intelligence
community, it fell well short of what I hoped Congress would
achieve–namely, as I’ve said many times and said to you, the
DNI was given a load of responsibility without the authority or
all the tools needed truly to lead our intelligence agencies.
The arm wrestling that took place between DNI Blair and the
CIA director over who would appoint the DNI’s representatives
overseas was a clear sign to me that we do not yet have the
right balance, but we have to get it right if we hope to meet
the national security challenges ahead.
Now, previously you’ve been inconsistent in whether the DNI
should be granted additional authorities to lead our
intelligence agencies. While some have rationalized this
wavering as an example of the old adage, “Where you sit is
where you stand”–in other words, you protect the turf of
whatever institution you lead–I don’t take much comfort in
that explanation. That’s not the hallmark of the sort of leader
that we need at the head of the intelligence community.
You reference in your prepared opening statement that a
number of Members have raised concerns about your affiliation
with the Department of Defense. Well, I think that is a valid
concern. When the President called the Chair and me to inform
us of your nomination, his first selling point was that you
were strongly supported by the Defense Secretary and the Senate
Armed Services Committee.
I have to tell you, General, that’s not the best way to put
you forward to this committee as the next leader of the
intelligence community. We’re happy that the Defense Department
and Armed Services Committee love you, but frankly, that’s not
what we’re looking for.
Now, I am a big supporter of the Defense Department. And as
I said, my son was in Iraq and three of my staff on the
committee voluntarily took leaves of absence over the past two
years to serve in harm’s way in uniform in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and we appreciate their service like all of the
members of the armed services.
But at the strategic level, an overemphasis on DOD within
the intelligence community can be counterproductive. We’ve seen
this problem with the State Department, and it’s struggled to
regain the lead from the Pentagon in smart power activities.
This is one reason the memo from your office to the Senate
Armed Services Committee a few weeks ago, which criticized 13
specific provisions in this committee’s authorization bill, was
not well received here. You said you felt obligated to afford
the Armed Services Committee the opportunity to hear your
criticisms of the bill. We would have appreciated that same
courtesy being extended to this committee, first and foremost,
since you are dual-hatted as under our structure.
It is our bill; you are the DNI, Director of National
Intelligence. The memo is something that I believe you should
have addressed to us upfront, and on the record at the end of
your opening statement today I would hope you might reference
We have to get the relationship between the IC and its
overseers right. Congressional oversight is instrumental in
advancing the DNI’s leadership of the intelligence community.
Through such oversight Congress can ensure that not only the
DNI understands the expectations of his position but that other
agencies recognize the DNI’s leadership.
General, too much of your previous contact with this
committee has been too reluctant and reactive. We have to have
a DNI who works proactively to meet his obligations under the
law, to keep the Senate Intelligence Committee fully and
currently informed. And that requires a good and open working
Today is your opportunity to instill in this committee the
confidence that you’re up to the task of leading the
intelligence community while complying with your statutory
obligations to work with this committee. And I wish you the
very best, sir.
Madam Chair, we’ve had far too many DNI confirmation
hearings in our time together on the SSCI. I believe this high
turnover rate is a symptom of the inadequate authorities that
the IRTPA invested in the DNI. If we are unable to address
those legislative shortcomings in the remaining time in this
Congress, then I hope this is something you and the next
ranking Republican will begin to address next year in the new
And I thank you, Madam Chair and General.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Mr. Vice Chairman.
Senator Mikulski, it’s my understanding you have a few
comments you’d like to offer.


Senator Mikulski. Thank you, Madam Chair. I’m going to be
very brief, because I know we want to get quickly to the
I’m one of the people that’s worked hands-on with Mr.
Clapper. And I would like to just say to the committee, first
of all, like you, I know we’ve been through four DNI
confirmations, four DNIs. And if there is a failure in or
questions about the authority and the functionality of the DNI,
then it’s incumbent on Congress to look at the legislation, but
not necessarily fault the DNI nominee for the failures of the
legislative framework.
But let me just say this about Mr. Clapper: One of the
things–look, you all know me as straight-talking, plain-
talking, kind of no-nonsense. And one of the things in working
with Mr. Clapper as head of the NGA was, again, his candor, his
straightforwardness, his willingness to tell it like it is–not
the way the top brass wanted to hear it–I thought was
refreshing and enabled us to work very well.
I think that in his job he will be able to speak truth to
power–which God knows we need it–and he will speak truth
about power, which we also need. And I would hope that as we
say, oh, gee, we don’t know if we want a military guy chairing
or heading the DNI, Mr. Clapper left the military service in
1995. He’s been a civilian. He doesn’t come with the whole
extensive, often military staff that people bring with them
when they take a civilian job. And I think in my mind he’s
probably the best qualified to do this job, because he’s not
only been a night hawk standing sentry over the United States
of America, but he’s actually run an intelligence agency and
he’s actually had to run a big bureaucracy. And he’s had to run
with sometimes very inadequate leadership at the top.
So we ought to give him a chance and I think we ought to
hear what he has to say today. I acknowledge the validity of
the questions the Chair and the ranking member have raised, but
I think we would do well to approve General Clapper.
Vice Chairman Bond. Madam Chair, if I may thank my friend
from Maryland for helping me get my voice back and wish her a
very happy birthday.
Chairman Feinstein. Happy birthday, Senator. We did this in
caucus and gave her a rousing verse.
Senator Mikulski. I thank you for your gallantry, but
sometimes state secrets ought to be kept state secrets.
Vice Chairman Bond. I didn’t mention any years or anything.
Just the date.
Senator Mikulski. Well done.
Chairman Feinstein. Clapper, if you would like to introduce
your family, please, we’d like to welcome them and then proceed
with your comments.


General Clapper. I’d like to introduce my family and
friends who are with me today. First, my wife of 45 years, Sue,
who herself is a former NSA employee, my daughter Jennifer and
her husband Jay. She is a principal of an elementary school in
Fairfax County and Jay is a high school teacher; my brother
Mike from Illinois, and my sister, Chris, who just moved to
North Carolina; and a close friend of ours who is with us
Chairman Feinstein. We welcome you all.
General Clapper. Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Bond and
distinguished members of the committee, it is indeed a
privilege and an honor for me to appear before you today as
President Obama’s nominee to serve as the fourth Director of
National Intelligence. Additionally, I want to thank Senator
Mikulski for your introduction. It was very thoughtful and
touching to me personally.
Being nominated for this position for me was an unexpected
turn of events. I’m in my third tour back in the government. My
plan was to walk out of the Pentagon about a millisecond after
Secretary Gates. I had no plan or inkling to take on another
position. But as in the past, I’ve always been a duty guy at
heart, and so when approached by Secretary Gates, followed by
the President of the United States of America, both of whom I
have the highest respect for, I could not say no. I’m honored
that President Obama has expressed confidence in my abilities
and experience by this nomination.
I’ve submitted a longer statement for the record, subject
to your concurrence. If I can deliver one message to you here
today, it is this: I’ve served over 46 years in the
intelligence profession in many capacities–in peace, in
crisis, in combat, in uniform, as a civilian, in and out of
government and in academe. I’ve tried hard to serve in each
such capacity with the best interests of our great nation first
and foremost. Should I be confirmed as Director of National
Intelligence, I can assure you that will continue to be my
central motivation.
We have the largest, most capable intelligence enterprise
on the planet. It is a solemn sacred trust to the DNI to make
that enterprise work for the sake of this nation and its
people. Intelligence is a team endeavor and the DNI is in the
unique and distinctive position to harness and synchronize the
diverse capabilities of the entire community and make it run as
a coherent enterprise.
I want to repeat something here today publicly that I’ve
said to many of you privately. I do believe strongly in the
need for congressional oversight, and if confirmed, I would
continue to forge an even closer partnership with the oversight
It’s the highest distinction in my professional career to
have been nominated for this extremely critical position,
particularly in this difficult time throughout the world.
This concludes my formal statement. I’d be prepared to
respond to your questions, or Madam Chairman, if you’d like, I
can respond now to your commentary as well as that of the
Ranking Member.
[The prepared statement of General Clapper follows:]
Prepared Statement of Lieutenant General James R. Clapper, Jr.,
Director of National Intelligence-Designate

Madam Chairman, Vice Chairman Bond, and distinguished Members of
the Committee, it is a privilege to appear before you today as the
President’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence: I am truly
honored that the President has confidence in my ability to lead our
Intelligence Community. My deepest appreciation goes out to him for the
nomination, and. my sincere thanks to all of you, the overseers of our
nation’s intelligence services, for the opportunity to address you and
answer your questions here today.
When President Obama asked me to lead this organization he said he
wanted someone who could build the Intelligence Community into an
integrated team that produces quality, timely, and accurate
intelligence; be his principal intelligence advisor; be the leader of
our Intelligence Community; and be someone who would tell policymakers
what they needed to know, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear.
Lastly, he needed someone who knew how to get things done in a
bipartisan, professional manner.
While humbled by the nomination, I reflect upon my 46 years of
experience in the intelligence business and find confidence in my
ability to serve diligently and competently in the position of Director
of National Intelligence, should I be confirmed.
I have heard expressions of concern about my independence; as a
long-time denizen of the Department of Defense, and whether I might be
too beholden to it, and, thus, skew things in favor of the military. I
have been out of uniform for almost 15 years, over six of which were
completely out of the government. The former Secretary of Defense ended
my tenure as Director of NGA three months earlier than originally
planned, because I was regarded as too “independent.” I am a “truth
to power” guy, and try always to be straight up about anything I’m
Having said that, I feel my experience in the military–starting
with my two tours of duty during the Southeast Asia conflict–provided
a wealth of experience in intelligence which has been expanded and
honed by the things I’ve done since retiring from military service in
1995. Thus, I have been a practitioner in virtually every aspect of
Over the course of my career, I served as a Commander in combat, as
well as a Wing Commander and Commander of a Scientific and Technical
Intelligence Center. I have also served as a Director of Intelligence
(J-2) for three war-fighting commands and led two intelligence
agencies. I learned every aspect of intelligence collection, analysis,
operations, planning and programming, and application and in all other
disciplines–HUMINT, GEOINT, MASINT, Foreign Material, Counter-
intelligence, and other more arcane forms of technical intelligence. I
have been widely exposed to the workings of the entire U.S.
Intelligence Community around the globe.
I have also worked as a contractor for four companies, with
intelligence as my primary focus. This gave me great insight into the
roles as well as the strengths and limits of contractors, how the
government looks from the outside, and what drives a commercial entity
as it competes for, wins, and fulfills contracts.
I served on many government boards, commissions and panels over my
career. Specifically, I served as Vice Chairman of a Congressionally
mandated Commission chaired by former Governor of Virginia, Jim
Gilmore, for almost three years. Based on this experience I learned a
great deal on how issues are perceived at the State and local levels,
and helped formulate recommendations, which, in part, presaged the
subsequent formation of the Department of Homeland Security.
As the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, I helped
exercise civilian control over the military, served as Program
Executive for the Military Intelligence Program, and developed and
promulgated standards and policy across the entire range of the
intelligence, counter-intelligence, and security dimensions of the
Department of Defense.
Apart from all this functional experience, I have lived the history
of the Intelligence Community for that same time span. I think the
amalgam of this experience–the breadth, depth, and scope–equips me to
deal with the demands of the DNI–a position which demands extensive
knowledge of the entirety of the US intelligence enterprise.
I think, too often, people assume that the Intelligence Community
is equally adept at divining both secrets (which are theoretically
knowable) and mysteries (which are generally unknowable) . . . but we
are not. Normally, the best that Intelligence can do is to reduce
uncertainty for decision-makers–whether in the White House, the
Congress, the Embassy, or the fox hole–but rarely can intelligence
eliminate such uncertainty.
But in order to provide the best intelligence support to our
nation, our leaders and decision-makers, the DNI can and must foster
the collaboration and cooperation of the Intelligence Community.
Intelligence is a team effort. Given the complexity and diversity of
the Intelligence Community–we must view it as an enterprise of
complementary capabilities that must be synchronized. To be specific,
the DNI will need to serve the President and work with all members of
the community and the Congress as well as with many others, to be
successful in fulfilling the President’s vision.
Madam Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, if confirmed, I pledge not only
to follow the law, but to go a step further and endeavor, as best as I
am able, to build upon and increase the trust between Congress and DNI.
That’s not to say we’ll always see things the same way. And that’s not
to say you won’t question us and hold us accountable where
appropriate–I expect nothing less. But our objective ought to be the
same: to give the Intelligence Community all that it needs to succeed,
consistent with our laws and values. If confirmed, I believe I can do
that. I have had very positive discussions with CIA, FBI, and other
leaders across the Intelligence Community, and I am quite encouraged by
their commitment to making this team work should I be confirmed.
Additionally, keeping this Committee “fully and currently”
informed is not an option. It is the law, and it is our solemn
obligation. I was a young Air Force officer at NSA in the seventies,
and watched the Church-Pike hearings, which led to, among other things,
the establishment of the intelligence oversight committees in both
Houses of Congress. I am a strong believer in the need for an informed
Congress. I say this not only as an intelligence-career professional,
but as a citizen. I have interacted with the intelligence oversight
committees since the mid-eighties in several capacities. If confirmed,
I would seek to forge a close partnership with the oversight
Moreover, I would observe that the Congress will be hugely
influential in ensuring the DNI succeeds. The Congressional DNI
partnership is crucial in all respects, and this is one of the most
important–keeping Congress fully and currently informed of
intelligence activities and receiving your feedback, support, and
oversight. Indeed, it is my conviction that, partly through the
Congress, the DNI has a great deal of authority already; the challenge
is how that authority is asserted. I believe my experience in the
community would serve me, and the position, well.
Finally, the men and women of the Intelligence Community are
courageous, smart and patriotic; if confirmed, it would be my honor to
lead them in support of our nation’s security. Thank you and I look
forward to your questions.

Chairman Feinstein. Well, that is up to you, General. If
you would like to, proceed; otherwise we can take that up in
questions. It’s up to you.
General Clapper. Well, we have Members here waiting to ask
questions, so I would suggest we go ahead with that, and then
perhaps I’ll get to these points, or if not later, I will get
to them subsequently.
Chairman Feinstein. All right. We will begin with 10-minute
rounds, and we will proceed in order of seniority and we will
alternate sides. I hope that’s acceptable.
General Clapper, as I mentioned in my opening statement, I
believe that the DNI must be able to be a strong leader as well
as a coordinator. In the Oxford Handbook of National Security
Intelligence from February 2010, you wrote, “I no longer
believe as strongly as I once did in greater centralization of
intelligence activity or authority, and I realize that the
individual needs of each department for tailored intelligence
outweighs the benefits of more centralized management and
Secondly, in answer to the committee’s initial
questionnaire, you wrote that the responsibilities of the DNI
entail “supervision and oversight,” which to me seems weaker
than “direction and control.”
Here’s the question: If you were confirmed as DNI, in what
way specifically will you be the leader of the IC as opposed to
simply a coordinator of the 16 agencies that make up its parts?
And can you give specific examples of where you see more
forceful leadership is necessary?
General Clapper. Well, Madam Chairman, I think first that
with all of the discussion about the lack of authority or the
perceived weaknesses of the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence, I believe it already does have considerable
authority, either explicit in the law, the IRTPA, or implicit,
that can be exerted. It’s my belief that the issue, perhaps, in
the past has been the art form by which that authority has been
And it would be my intent to push the envelope, to use your
phrase, on where those authorities can be broadened. And I
refer specifically to programming and financial management,
since that’s the common denominator in this town, as one area
where, having been a program manager twice in the national
intelligence program as well as the program executive for the
military intelligence program, I think I know how those systems
work and how that can be leveraged.
When I speak of centralization, I don’t think that
everything has to be managed and run from the immediate
confines of the office of the Director of National
Intelligence. I think Director of National Intelligence
authorities can be extended by deputizing or delegating, if you
will, to various parts of the community things that can be done
on the DNI’s behalf but which do not have to be done within the
confines of the DNI staff. So I would want to clarify that.
I would not have agreed to take this position on if I were
going to be a titular figurehead or a hood ornament. I believe
that the position of Director of National Intelligence is
necessary, and, whether it’s the construct we have now or the
Director of Central Intelligence in the old construct, there
needs to be a clear, defined, identifiable leader of the
intelligence community to exert direction and control over the
entirety of that community, given its diversity and its
heterogeneity, if you will, the 16 components that you
Chairman Feinstein. Given our present budget problems, this
growth of the entire community, which has doubled in budget
size since 9/11, is unlikely to continue. We’ve all had
occasion to discuss this with recent heads of individual
departments. It’s my belief that everybody is well aware of
that. In fact, the budget may actually end up being decreased
in coming years.
So here’s the question: Has this growth, in your view, as
you’ve participated at least at DIA and other areas, been
managed correctly? Are there areas where you believe work
remains to be done to consolidate and better manage prior
General Clapper. Madam Chairman, I think, with particularly
the publication of the two articles in the Dana Priest series,
that it would seem to me that some history might be a useful
perspective. And I go back to when I served as Director of DIA
in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War where we were under
a congressional mandate to–the entire intelligence community
was–under a mandate to reduce the community by on the order of
20 percent. And put another way, that meant that one out of
every five employees that we then had on the rolls had to be
removed from those rolls.
The process started before I left active duty in 1995 and
continued through the 1990s. I left the government, was away
for six years, came back to then NIMA, later NGA, took over
there two days after 9/11. And that downward profile was then
in progress. And we were constricting facilities, fewer people,
then 9/11 occurred. We put the brakes on, screech, and then we
had to rejuvenate and re-expand the intelligence community.
And of course, the obvious way to do that, to do it
quickly, was through contractors. That certainly happened in my
case when I was director of NGA for five years in the immediate
aftermath of 9/11.
And so I think the questions that are raised in the article
that you point out about the profligate growth of contractors
and attendant facilities and all this sort of thing is, in my
view, part of a historical pattern here, a pendulum that is
going to swing back and we are going to be faced, I think, with
a somewhat analogous situation as we faced after the fall of
the Wall when the charge was to reap the peace dividend and
reduce the size of the intelligence community.
With the gusher, to use Secretary Gates’s very apt term, of
funding that has accrued particularly from supplemental or
overseas contingency operations funding, which, of course, is
one year at a time, it is very difficult to hire government
employees one year at a time. So the obvious outlet for that
has been the growth of contractors.
Now, if you go back even further in history, at least in my
mind, you think back to World War II where we had the arsenal
of democracy, which turned out ships and planes and trucks and
jeeps in unending numbers and that’s actually how we won the
war. In a sense, we’re doing somewhat the same thing
analogously today; it’s just a different war. It’s much more of
an information-driven war, where intelligence, instead of being
as it was in my day, my first tour in Vietnam in 1965, where
intelligence was a historical irritant, it now drives
So it’s not surprising, in my view, that intelligence is so
prominent and that we have so many contractors doing so many
things. I think the article today is in some ways testimony to
the ingenuity, innovation and capability of our contractor
base. That’s not to say that it’s all efficient; it isn’t.
There’s more work that needs to be done there. I think this is
a great area to work with the oversight committees.
What is lacking here are some standards. Should there be
limits on the amount of revenue that would accrue to
contractors? Should there be limits on the number of full-time
equivalent contractors who are embedded in the intelligence
community? And I think those are issues that I would propose we
work together on if I’m confirmed as the DNI. And I would
start, frankly, with the Office of the DNI, which in my
sensing, at least, I think has got a lot of contractors and we
ought to look hard at whether that’s appropriate or not.
With respect to the buildings that have accrued, most of
the buildings that–and NGA is a case in point, a $2.1 billion
facility that will go in at Springfield, Virginia, at the
former engineering proving ground at Fort Belvoir. I was very
instrumental in that and that, of course, came about because of
the BRAC, the base relocation and consolidation round that
occurred in 2005.
So the NGA facility, the consolidation of the central
adjudication facilities at Fort Meade, the consolidation and
then the co-location of the counterintelligence facilities at
Quantico, at DISA, going to the Defense Information Support
Agency at Fort Meade, all came about because of the BRAC
In the case of NGA, what the business case was, we got out
of leased facilities which over time cost more than a
government-owned facility, not to mention the quality of life
working conditions that will demonstrably improve for NGA.
Chairman Feinstein. One last quick question. It’s my
understanding that a contractor costs virtually double what a
government employee does and has cost that. We have set as a
mark 10 percent reduction a year. I don’t know that that’s
quite achievable. I know the CIA has tried to do 5 percent.
What is your view on this as to what would be a practical
and achievable number to aim for the reduction of contractors,
assuming they’re 28 percent to 30 percent of the entire
workforce today?
General Clapper. Well, ma’am, I think that we need to try
to come up with some organizing principles about where the
contractors are appropriate and where they are not, since there
are wide variances in terms of the percentages and prevalence
of contractors in various parts of the community. In the case
of the military services, with the exception of perhaps right
now of the Army, which I think is understandable, it’s a fairly
low percentage of contractors that are working in intelligence.
In the case of the intelligence agencies, the percentage is
higher and, of course, one agency in particular, the NRO, which
has classically, traditionally been heavily reliant on
contractors, not only for acquisition, but for operations.
So I think I’d want to try to come up with some organizing
principles, some standards that would determine–some formulas,
if you will, that would determine where contractors are
appropriate and where they are not rather than just keying on a
fixed percentage, which could, in some cases, be damaging or
So I certainly agree with, again, it’s time for that
pendulum to swing back as it has historically. I’m just
reluctant to commit to a fixed percentage because I’d want to
see what the impact was in individual cases.
Chairman Feinstein. Well, we will ask you for that
assessment as soon as you’re confirmed.
Mr. Vice Chairman.
Vice Chairman Bond. Thank you, Madam Chair.
General, let me pose a hypothetical that has some base in
reality. Let’s pretend you are the DNI and you worked for years
with the oversight committees to produce an intelligence
authorization text. It’s safe to say the administration’s OMB
director writes to the committees saying the President will
sign the text, and let’s pretend that an Under Secretary of
Defense, Intelligence–in a sense, it would be your successor–
sends a discussion draft to the majority staff of the Armed
Services Committee alerting them to provisions in the text that
need modification because they conflict with longstanding
authorities of the Secretary of Defense.
Let’s also pretend that you did not clear this, the Under
Secretary did not clear it with you, the DNI, or the
intelligence oversight committees.
How would you view this action of your dual-hatted Under
Secretary of Defense, Intelligence? And how would you view his
meddling in this operation? And how do you think you as the DNI
would react to the USD/I doing this?
General Clapper. Well, I probably would have chastised him
for not having provided a copy of the staff paper that was
exchanged in response to requests from the House Armed Services
Committee staff. And in retrospect, it would have been better
had I seen to it that a copy of that went to the two respective
intelligence committees. That happened anyway at the speed of
light without my taking any action, but that would probably
have been the more appropriate course.
I have been for the last three years the Under Secretary of
Defense for Intelligence and I considered it my responsibility
and my obligation to defend and protect the Secretary’s
authorities and prerogatives to the maximum extent I could. If
I were confirmed as the DNI, I will be equally assiduous in
ensuring that the DNI’s prerogatives and authorities are
protected and advanced.
Vice Chairman Bond. Well, we would hope so. Now, in our
discussion–we had a good discussion last week–I believe you
said that the Senate Intelligence Committee should have
jurisdiction over the Military Intelligence Program budget,
which is currently under the jurisdiction of the Armed Services
Would could you clarify that for me? Do I understand that
General Clapper. Well, I’m probably risking getting in
trouble with the Senate Armed Services Committee, who
apparently likes me now, so—-
Vice Chairman Bond. You used up a chit or two there.
Senator Levin. I’d continue to worry if I were you, General
General Clapper. It would be better, frankly, and I guess I
don’t want to get into jurisdictional gun battles here between
and among committees, but from my viewpoint, having done this
in several incumbencies, it would be better if the oversight
were symmetrical. In the House, the House Intelligence
Committee does have jurisdiction over the Military Intelligence
Program, and it’s a different situation here in the Senate. And
I will leave that—-
Vice Chairman Bond. That’s very clear and I appreciate
that, and you have, as anyone around here knows, entered into
the most deadly minefield in Washington, D.C.
General Clapper [continuing]. Yes, sir.
Vice Chairman Bond. So step carefully, but we appreciate
you taking that step.
A very important question about habeas. A number of habeas
decisions have resulted in release of Guantanamo Bay detainees,
government-conceded in some cases; in others, the government
argued against the release and recently the government won a
case on appeal.
We know the recidivism rate for Gitmo detainees is now
above 20 percent. Do you agree with the public statement of the
national security staffer who said that a 20 percent recidivism
rate with terrorists isn’t that bad?
General Clapper. He was comparing it, I believe, to what
the recidivism rate is here in the United States. I think in
this case a recidivism rate of zero would be a lot better. That
would be a great concern. I think it is incumbent on the
intelligence community institutionally to make the soundest,
most persuasive, authoritative and accurate case possible when
these cases are addressed, when decisions are being made to
send people back to host countries.
A particular case in point in Yemen, as we discussed in
February at a closed hearing when Steve Kappes and I appeared
before you, that’s something you have to watch very carefully
in Yemen because their ability to monitor and then rehabilitate
anyone is problematic at best. And these decisions were made,
as we also discussed, sir, this is an interagency thing, a
process in which intelligence is an important but not the only
input to that decision.
Vice Chairman Bond. Would you agree that the committee
should be given the intelligence assessments on Guantanamo Bay
detainees which we have not fully received yet?
General Clapper. As far as I’m concerned, yes, sir, you
should have that information.
Vice Chairman Bond. I have some concerns, and I would like
your views on having the DNI sit in a policymaking role for the
purposes of voting on the disposition of Guantanamo detainees.
Is that over the line of intelligence gathering and getting
into a policy area?
General Clapper. I don’t know the exact mechanics of how
those meetings work, but I would say as a general rule I don’t
believe intelligence should be in a “policymaking” role. I
think intelligence should support policy. It should provide the
range of options for policymakers, but I do not believe
intelligence–other than for intelligence policy, but not
broader policy–should be involved.
Vice Chairman Bond. But I assume you would not hesitate if
the intelligence agencies’ conclusions point to a different
direction than the ultimate policy decision, that you would
share your honest assessments with the oversight committee in
our confidential deliberations.
General Clapper. Yes, sir, I would.
Vice Chairman Bond. All right. One of the questions we have
is whether there should be a statutory framework for handling
terrorists’ habeas corpus challenges, a redefinition under the
new circumstances of the law of the war, because we are in a
different kind of battle than we have been. Do you think we
need a new law on habeas with terrorists who don’t belong to
any nation’s army?
General Clapper. Sir, that’s one I think I would need to
take under advisement. It’s kind of a legal issue, a little out
of my domain. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure I can answer
Vice Chairman Bond. If you’re confirmed, we would ask that
you work with your legal counsel and with us to see if
something is appropriate, if you would have any
In your meeting with me last week you said that the
Department of Justice, in my words, meddling in our
intelligence agencies was not an acute problem. I respectfully
The DOJ prevented IC agencies from complying with their
statutory responsibility to share intelligence with the
committee on the Times Square attack, and the DOJ did not defer
to the IC in decisions about whether to Mirandize terrorists. I
think those are acute.
If you are confirmed, what input do you expect to have over
the decision whether or not to Mirandize a terror suspect?
General Clapper. Well, we hope to be consulted and in the
decisionmaking process if such a situation arose.
Vice Chairman Bond. Have you ever had an opportunity to
discuss these issues with the Attorney General?
General Clapper. I have not.
Vice Chairman Bond. What do you think ought to take
precedence–making sure defendants’ statements can be used in
court, or obtaining needed intelligence to thwart future
General Clapper. Well, obviously my interest, or the
interests of intelligence institutionally, is in gaining
information. How the detainee is treated legally, that’s
another decision that I don’t make, but my interest is in
procuring the information.
There is some commonality here between a straight
intelligence interrogation, say done by the military or agency,
versus interrogations done by the FBI, in that in both cases
the interrogator is trying to achieve or develop rapport with
the detainee or the person being interrogated. That is a major
factor for the FBI, for example, when they are interrogating,
even in preparation for Mirandizing somebody. So again, I think
the interest of intelligence is in gaining the information.
Vice Chairman Bond. Do you believe there are legitimate
reasons for Department of Justice instructing entities within
the DOJ or elsewhere in the intelligence community not to share
intelligence information otherwise under the jurisdiction of
this oversight committee?
General Clapper. Sir, I’m not sure I understand the
question. I’m sorry.
Vice Chairman Bond. Are there situations, do you see any
situations in which the Department of Justice can or should say
to an intelligence entity, or even to the FBI, don’t share that
intelligence with the intelligence committee?
General Clapper. I can’t think of a situation like that, or
something I wouldn’t be very supportive if that were the case.
Vice Chairman Bond. I can’t either. Thank you very much.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Mr. Vice Chairman.
Senator Wyden.
Senator Wyden. Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Mr. Clapper, it is well known that the world of
counterterrorism and homeland security is a sprawling
enterprise. Yet yesterday the Washington Post made what I
believe is a jaw-dropping assertion, and I would like to get
your comment on it. It is a really extraordinary assertion of
fact, and they said here, “No one knows how much money it
costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist
within it, or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”
Now they made this as an assertion of fact. Do you agree
with that?
General Clapper. Well, no, sir, I really don’t. The
statement implies that this is completely out of control, and I
believe that it is under control because in the end the common
denominator for all this is the money that is appropriated,
whether it’s intelligence or for other purposes. The money is
appropriated with fairly specific strings attached. There are
allocations on a program-by-program basis. I know I’ve been the
recipient of that.
And in the end the intelligence community can do many
things, but printing more money is not one of those things we
can do. So that does serve, I think, as a means of control over
the allegedly profligate intelligence activities.
Senator Wyden. Let’s take the various judgments made in
that assertion. Is it clear how many people are employed?
General Clapper. We can certainly count up the number of
government employees that we have, absolutely. Counting
contractors is a little bit more difficult.
I was a contractor for six years, after I left, in the
interval after I left active duty.
And when you have–I would sign off, depending on which
company I was working for, I might charge to four or five
different contracts. So you have different parts of people, if
you will, so it gets to be a little more difficult to actually
count up, on a head count, on a day-by-day basis, exactly how
many contractors may be doing work, all or in part, for a
contract in intelligence.
Senator Wyden. I have to cover a lot of ground here. So the
answer to that is, it’s not clear how many people are employed.
Is it clear how many agencies do the same work?
General Clapper. Well, again, this is a determination that
Dana Priest made, that agencies—-
Senator Wyden. I’m asking for your—-
General Clapper [continuing]. I don’t believe that, sir. I
don’t believe, as a general commentary. There are cases, as
there have been in the history of intelligence, where there has
been a conscious decision to have some duplication. One man’s
duplication is another man’s competitive analysis. So there is
a certain amount of that that does go on, which I do think is a
healthy check and balance.
That’s not to say, sir, and I would not assert that this is
completely efficient and that there isn’t waste. There is. And,
you know, the community does work to try to eliminate that.
Senator Wyden [continuing]. Let me ask you about another
important area to me, and that’s the relationship between the
director and the Central Intelligence Agency.
And let me use a hypothetical–a short one–to get your
assessment of how you’d deal with it. Supposing a particular
foreign government has solid intelligence on al Qaeda but has
refused to share it with the United States. You’ve dealt with
the government before, and in your professional judgment, the
best way to get the cooperation is to fly there, confront them
directly, insist that they share the information.
And let’s suppose, just for purposes of this hypothetical,
the CIA disagrees with your judgment: They would say, “No,
Clapper, that’s not the way to do it. The best way to get the
foreign government’s cooperation is to be patient and wait six
months before asking for the information.” What would you do,
so that we can get some sense of how you would see your job
interacting with the CIA?
General Clapper. If I felt, for whatever reason, that the
only way to secure that information would be for me personally
to engage with that foreign government, I would do so. I would
certainly, though, consult and discuss that with the director
of the CIA.
Senator Wyden. But ultimately do you believe that you would
have the authority to overrule the CIA director?
General Clapper. I do.
Senator Wyden. The third area I want to ask you about, Mr.
Clapper, involves the contractor issue. We’ve talked about it
in a variety of ways.
One of the areas that I have been most concerned about is
that I think that this is a real magnet for conflicts of
interest. Often you’ve got a situation where one of the biggest
potential sources of conflicts is when you have expertise on a
particular topic residing mostly in the contractor base rather
than the government workforce, and you get into a situation
where the contractors are being asked to evaluate the merits of
programs that they’re getting paid to run.
I’d like your judgment as to whether you think this is a
serious problem, and if so, what would you do about it?
General Clapper. It is a problem, sir, that you have to be
on guard for.
When I served as director of NGA for almost five years,
half the labor force at the time, of NGA, was contractors. And
you do have to safeguard against–you have to have a mechanism
for watch-dogging that to prevent this conflict of interest,
where you have contractors who can gain an unfair advantage, in
terms of competing for more work and this sort of thing. So you
must be on the look-out for it. I don’t think it is a
widespread thing, but it does happen and you must have the
management mechanisms in place to ensure that doesn’t happen.
And to me, that’s the crux here on contractors and their
management, is the maintenance of a cadre of government
employees who do have the expertise to assess and evaluate the
performance of the contractor. And when you’re in a situation
where the contractor has a monopoly of knowledge and you don’t
have a check and balance in your own government workforce,
you’ve got a problem.
Senator Wyden. I think you’re going to find that it is a
more widespread problem than you see today. But I appreciate
the fact that you’ve indicated that you understand that there
are conflicts there, and you want to be watchful for it.
The last area I want to get into is the question of
declassification abuse. And it just seems to me that so often
the classification process, which is supposed to protect
national security, really ends up being designed to protect
political security, and you and I have talked about this on the
And I would just like to get your assessment about how you
would weigh the protection of sources and methods with the
public’s right to know. Because as far as I can tell, there
really isn’t a well-understood process for dealing with this.
And in the absence of well-understood process the political
security chromosome kicks in–and everything is just classified
as out of reach of the public and the public’s right to know is
So how would you go about trying to strike that balance?
General Clapper. Well, first, I agree with you, sir, that
we do overclassify. My observations are that this is more due
to just the default–it’s the easy thing to do–rather than
some nefarious motivation to, you know, hide or protect things
for political reasons. That does happen too, but I think it’s
more of an administrative default or automaticity to it.
And in the end it is the protection of sources and methods
that always underlie the ostensible debate about whether to
declassify or not. Having been involved in this, I will tell
you my general philosophy is that we can be a lot more liberal,
I think, about declassifying, and we should be.
There is an executive order that we are in the process–we,
the community–are in the process of gearing up on how to
respond to this, because this is going to be a more
systematized process, and a lot more discipline to it, which is
going to also require some resources to pay attention to to
attend to the responsibilities we have for declassification.
Senator Wyden. Would you be the person–and this is what
I’m driving at–who we can hold accountable? Because I think in
the past there has been this sense, on classification issues,
it’s the President’s responsibility. Then you try to run down
who at the White House is in charge.
I want to know that there is somebody who’s going to
actually be responsible. I appreciate your assessment that—-
General Clapper. If it is for intelligence. Now,
Senator Wyden [continuing]. On intelligence issues.
General Clapper [continuing]. Yeah, exactly, because it’s
broader than just intelligence. But certainly if it’s
intelligence, yes, I believe ultimately the DNI, if I’m
confirmed, is the guy in charge.
Senator Wyden. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Wyden.
Senator Hatch.
Senator Hatch. Well, thank you, Madam Chairman.
General Clapper, I want to thank you for your long years of
service to this country. You have really an impressive
experience in the intelligence world, experience that I think
you can draw on to help you in this job, and I think there’s no
question that we’re grateful that you’re willing to serve
Now, I appreciated your courtesy call last week. When I
asked my first question, why you could possibly want this job,
you responded, two points: First, you said I was not the first
to ask that; and second, you said you were taking the job out
of a sense of duty. So I personally appreciate it.
Another thing I believe you told me in our meeting was that
you had no intention of shaking up the DNI structure, that you
intended to make it work as it is. Recognizing the weak
authorities and large responsibility of your office, you told
me that the DNI can enhance its authority if it has the support
of the oversight committee, and you’re certainly right about
And to have our support, you’re going to have to spend a
lot of time here sharing with us your problems and propose
solutions. Chairman Feinstein initiated a series of meetings
with your predecessor, and I was always grateful for that
participation. I know Vice Chairman Bond would agree with me
that one of the reasons we managed to pass the FISA Amendments
Act–a politically prickly piece of legislation–was because of
the long hours that then-DNI McConnell had dedicated to the
passage of it. Now, you’re only the fourth DNI, but there are
lessons that I know that you have learned from your
predecessors, and I appreciate it.
Now, reform and transformation has as much to do with new
ways of thinking as it does with new boxes in an organization
chart. Congress is good at legislating new boxes, but it’s much
harder to legislate cultural change within organizations.
We’ve seen that new ways of thinking about threats,
capabilities, doctrine and training are hard to adapt in well-
established bureaucratic cultures. You need leadership at the
IC to do this, and that of course means you. Do you believe
that organizational culture is important in the IC? And how do
you define intelligence culture? And along with that, do you
believe that cultural change is important? And how would you
address that?
General Clapper. Great question, sir. If I may sir, clarify
something that I may not have made myself clear on before—-
Chairman Feinstein. There we go.
General Clapper [continuing]. First of all, Senator Hatch,
I probably should clarify, if I didn’t make clear when I said
that no intent to shake up the DNI, that actually I do have
that intent.
What I meant to say or to clarify that remark is that I
don’t–I am in the mode of making the model we have work rather
than going through the trauma of yet another reorganization,
whether it’s to some other structure. And I believe that the
model that we have, with all its flaws and the legal
ambiguities in the IRTPA can be made to work. And that’s
certainly my intent, and I wouldn’t have taken this on at my
age and station in life if I didn’t think that were the case.
Senator Hatch. Well, that’s the way I took it, anyway.
General Clapper. A very important point–and Senator Bond
alluded to this in his opening remarks; I’d like to get back to
that–is that–and I have said this to the President, and we
spoke again about it this morning–is the fact that the manner
in which the DNI relates to the oversight committees, the
manner in which the DNI relates to the President are very
important. And both the optic and the substance of those
relationships can do a great deal to compensate for the
ambiguities of the law and the perceived weaknesses of the
That’s why I’m so intent on forging a partnership
relationship with the oversight committees, because you play a
huge role. You play a huge role in compensating for those
ambiguities. And so it would be incumbent upon me as the DNI,
if I’m confirmed, or anyone else who serves in that capacity to
ensure there is that constructive partnership relationship with
the oversight committees. So I do want to make that point
The President again assured me–and I asked him
specifically–about his support for the position as the leader
of the intelligence community. And he affirmed that when we
spoke this morning on the phone.
Cultural change, I have some experience with that,
particularly at NGA. I was brought on specifically to implement
the mandates that the NIMA commission, a commission which did
great work, mandated by the Congress, on reorienting and
refocusing and bringing the vision to life of what the original
founding fathers and mothers of NIMA had in mind.
And so I learned a great deal the hard way about how to
forge cultural change in a large bureaucratic institution in
intelligence, which is the case with NGA. And I’m very proud of
the way NGA has evolved and how it has turned out as an agency.
And I think it’s moving to the new campus here in another year
or so will further bring that cultural change about.
There is, indeed, a unique culture in the intelligence
community, and there are in fact subcultures very much built
around the tradecraft that each of the so-called “stovepipes”
And that term is often used pejoratively, whether it’s the
SIGINT stovepipe or the GEOINT stovepipe or the HUMIN
stovepipe. Well, that’s also the source of the tradecraft which
allows us to conduct those very important endeavors. The trick,
of course, is to bring them together and to synchronize them,
mesh them, and to bring together the complementary attributes
that each one of those skill sets bring to bear.
So there is an important dimension. And you’re quite right.
It’s one thing to enact laws, draw wiring diagrams, but the
cultural aspects, I think, are quite important. And that’s
where I think leadership is huge, and that’s something that you
cannot legislate.
Senator Hatch. Well, that’s great. Have you read the July
2004 report by this committee cataloging and analyzing the Iraq
WMD intelligence prior to 2002? Did you have a chance to read
General Clapper. Yes, sir. I’m very familiar with that, and
I’m also very familiar with the WMD National Intelligence
Estimate. My fingerprints were on it. I was then a member of
the National Intelligence Board, so I’m very familiar with what
were the flaws in that NIE. I believe there have been
substantial process improvements to preclude, hopefully, such
an event from occurring again.
But I will tell you that was an indelible experience for me
in how we did the country a great disservice with that National
Intelligence Estimate.
Senator Hatch. What do you believe explains the failure of
the intelligence community in assessing the presence of WMD in
Iraq in 2002? And do you believe the lessons from these
failures have been learned inside the intelligence community?
And if you do, why do you believe that?
General Clapper. Well, sir, I think that had a profound
impact on the intelligence community at large. I think we have
learned from that. The whole process used with the NIEs today
is quite different. These were actually improvements that
started under George Tenet’s time when he was still the DCI,
and they’ve continued to this day.
And so I think one of the first things we do, which we
didn’t do with that NIE, was that the standard practice when
you meet to approve an NIE is to first assess the sources that
were used in the NIE, which was not done in the case of the
infamous 2002 WMD report.
The use of red-teaming; the use of outside readers, with
their input included in the NIE; the use of other options; what
if we’re wrong; confidence levels; the degree of collection
capability gaps or not–all of those features are now a
standard part of national intelligence estimates drawn
primarily from the egregious experience that we had with that
particular NIE.
And I thought the report you did laid out exactly what went
wrong. I can attest, since I was there, it was not because of
politicization or any political pressure. It was because of
Senator Hatch. Well, thank you.
And now, General Clapper, the administration and the
previous one made great efforts to explicitly state that our
response to global terrorism was not against Islam. In my
opinion, the fact that the vast majority of adherents to Islam
are nonviolent would certainly underscore that point.
Now, do you believe that ideas and ideology have a role in
motivating violent extremist terrorism? And, if so, do you
believe that we have adequately analyzed the ideological
component? And one last thought, do you believe that closing
down Guantanamo would undermine terrorist ideology in any way.
And if so, why?
General Clapper. Well—-
Senator Hatch. That’s a lot of questions, I know.
General Clapper [continuing]. On the first issue of the
ideological dimension here, I think that’s a very important
one. My experience there most recently was my involvement in
the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings. And the question that
has certainly been a challenge, a huge challenge, for the
Department of Defense is the discernment of self-
radicalization, when people take on an ideology, internalize it
and use that for radical purposes.
And I will tell you, sir, in my view, we have a challenge
there in how to discern that, how to explain that to others,
particularly a 19- or 20-year-old soldier, sailor, airman or
Marine. How do you discern if before your very eyes someone is
self-radicalizing, and then what do you do about it.
I think with respect to the second question on a closure of
Gitmo, I think that will–when we get to that point, I think
that probably would help the image of the United States, if in
fact we’re able to close it.
Senator Hatch. Okay. I think my time is up.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Hatch.
Senator Mikulski.
Senator Mikulski. Madam Chairwoman, first of all, I want
you to know, I’ve really enjoyed listening to the questions
raised by you and the Ranking and the other members. Once
again, we’re learning from each other.
Senator Feinstein, I would just like to suggest to you,
with the presence of Senator Levin–presuming you’re in charge
in November, but whoever is–that the first area of reform has
to be with Congress. My concern is that DNI, whoever he is–and
I hope it’s General Clapper–appears before so many committees
and so many subcommittees–I think by my count, it’s over 88
different committees and subcommittees between the House and
the Senate–that the oversight–that’s one thing.
And the other, that we really press for the reform of the
9/11 Commission that we establish the Intelligence
Appropriations Subcommittee. I think Mr. Clapper makes a great
point, that it does come in appropriations. I have it in the
FBI; Inouye has DOD. It’s not the subject of this conversation
here, but I think we need to just get together among ourselves
and discuss how reform starts with us, meaning the Senate and
the House.
Chairman Feinstein. If I might respond, with respect to the
Appropriations Committee, the three of us that serve on it–
yourself, Senator, Senator Bond and myself–we have all
supported that. The problem is, we’re only three out of a
couple dozen members, and it’s those couple dozen members that
need to be convinced.
Senator Mikulski. Well, I think they will be.
But, picking up, General Clapper, Dana Priest has done her
series, and I believe that once again she’s done a great
service to the nation. It was Ms. Priest who brought to the
public’s attention the terrible stuff going on at Walter Reed.
Secretary Gates and the President responded, and we dealt with
it. I’m not saying there is a scandal within the intelligence
community, but it has grown.
And my question to you, if confirmed, will you look at the
series in the Post and others that have raised similar ones,
for a review of the allegations, flashing yellow lights, about
the growth and duplication, et cetera, and make recommendations
to the executive and legislative branch for reform?
General Clapper. Yes, ma’am.
Senator Mikulski. Well, and thank you, because I think it
would give us an important guidepost.
The second is, I’d like to go to the issue of
cybersecurity. As you know, you and I have worked on signals
intelligence, but cybersecurity is a–we’re part of a task
force chaired by Senator Whitehouse, Senator Snowe, and myself.
And we’ve looked at four issues–governance, technology,
technology development, maintaining our qualitative edge in
that area, workforce, and the beginning of civil liberties and
Governance has befuddled us. Governance has befuddled us.
We know how to maintain our technological qualitative edge.
We’re making progress on how to have an adequate workforce. But
what we see is overlapped turf warfare, turf confusion. And I
wonder, as DNI, what role do you have, and what role will you
assume in really straightening out this governance issue?
Congress has the propensity to create czars. We’ve got
czars and we’ve got czars by proxy. You know, a czar–we have a
White House now on cyber, a very talented and dedicated man. We
have you as the DNI; you’re a czar by proxy. But we don’t give
those czars or czars by proxy any power or authority. Now, we
get into cybersecurity, and I think the governance structure is
mush. There’s no way for clarity, there’s no answer to who’s in
charge, and there’s no method for deconflicting disagreements
or turf warfare. Do you have a comment on what I just said.
General Clapper. Well, first, I think I’ll start with, the
commentary about NSA–I know an organization near and dear to
your heart. NSA must serve, I believe, as the nation’s center
of excellence from a technical standpoint on cyber matters. I
think the challenge has been how to parlay that capability, the
tremendous technical competence that exists at NSA, in serving
the broader issue here of support, particularly to supporting
the civilian infrastructure.
The Department of Defense’s response has been to establish
Cyber Command by dual-hatting the Director of NSA, General
Keith Alexander, as the commander. So in a warfighting context
in the Department of Defense, that’s how we organize to do
I think we need something to fill that void on the
civilian–if you will–the civil side. Now, there’s some 35
pieces of–there are legislative proposals, as I understand it,
throughout the Congress right now. I think the administration
is trying to figure out what would be the best order of march
or combination.
I think, though, the bill that Senator Bond and Senator
Hatch have sponsored, without speaking specifically, but it
certainly gets to what I would consider some sound organizing
principles and having somebody in charge, having a budget
aggregation that—-
Senator Mikulski. But what will your role be in this, as
General Clapper [continuing]. Well, I think the role of the
DNI is to ensure that the intelligence support for cyber
protection is provided and that it is visible to the governance
structure, whatever that turns out to be. I do not believe it
is the DNI’s province to decide what that governance structure
should be, but rather to ensure that it gets sufficient and
adequate and timely intelligence support.
Senator Mikulski. But what advisory role do you play to the
President? There’s Howard Schmidt, a great guy. We’ve met with
him and so on, but he has no power. So we have what has been
stood up with the United States military–excellent. I think we
all recognize that. But when it gets to the Department of
Homeland Security, when it gets to the FBI, when it gets to the
civilian agencies, and also it gets–what gateways do the
private sector have to go to who to solve their problems or to
protect them, it really gets foggy.
General Clapper. Well, one solution, I believe, is in the
legislation that has been proposed by Senators Bond and Hatch
on this committee.
Senator Mikulski. I’m not asking for your comment on
legislative recommendations. I’m asking what is the role of the
DNI to help formulate, finally, within the next couple of
months, the answer to the question, who is in charge? What is
your role? Who do you think makes that decision? I presume
you’re going to say the President.
General Clapper. Well, I guess—-
Senator Mikulski. How is the President going to get to
that? Is he going to be having, you know, coffee with Brennan?
Is it going to be you? Is it Howard Schmidt? Is it what?
General Clapper [continuing]. I do not believe it is the
DNI who would make the ultimate decision on the defense for
cyber–and particularly in the civil sector. I don’t believe
that is a determination or decision that should be made by the
DNI. I think I should play a role there.
Senator Mikulski. Again, what role do you think you should
play, with whom?
General Clapper. For the provision of adequate intelligence
support, what is the threat posed in the cyber domain, to this
nation. And I think that is the oversight responsibility of the
DNI, to ensure that that is adequate.
Senator Mikulski. I think maybe we’ve got a little–well,
then let’s go to the role of the DNI with the civilian
agencies, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. What
authority do you have in those domains?
General Clapper. Well—-
Senator Mikulski. And bringing them in more, now,
particularly the FBI, which has, I think, done a great job. In
fact, I think it’s all been great, because here it is 2010,
July 20th, and there’s not been an attack on the homeland.
General Clapper [continuing]. I think the FBI has done
great work, and I spent some time with them in the last week or
two. And I think the transformation that they are effecting to
become an effective part of the intelligence community has been
actually very–is very impressive. I think they have a rigorous
management process to ensure that this takes place at the
They too have a cultural challenge that we spoke of earlier
in the preeminence of the law enforcement culture in the FBI,
which is still important, and how they bring along their
intelligence arm and their intelligence capabilities to match
that in terms of its prestige and stature within the FBI; that
is a work in progress, and they acknowledge that. But I think
they’ve made great headway.
And I think the conversations that I’ve had with Director
Mueller, who’s been marvelous and very supportive of making the
DNI function work. The FBI is one of the elephants in the
intelligence living room, if I can use that metaphor. It has a
huge responsibility and a huge contribution to make, and I
intend to work with the FBI closely if I’m confirmed.
Senator Mikulski. Very good.
Madam Chair, I think my time is up.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Mikulski.
Senator Snowe.
Senator Snowe. Thank you, Madam Chair, and welcome, General
You certainly bring an illustrious career and
qualifications to bear on this particular position, and it
certainly comes at a critical juncture, once again, for this
position and for this office that we continue to struggle with
in terms of its definition and the type of leadership that
should be brought to oversee the intelligence community.
And that’s what I’d like to explore with you this afternoon
first and foremost on an issue that I have been advocating,
actually, even since before we passed the legislation that
created the position for which you have been nominated and even
before the 9/11 commission report, and that was to have a
community-wide Inspector General. Because I think that one of
the issues that has evolved from all of this in creating this
vast department is being able to look across the spectrum
And one of the things that’s developed in all this and the
number of reports that have been issued by this committee, and
of course most recently, which was the scathing review of what
happened on the Christmas Day attempted attack and the systemic
breakdown both in terms of policy, follow-through, information-
sharing, technology, to name a few, across the agencies. And
clearly, it is something that I think underscores the serious
and fundamental problems that we continue to have, and
obviously we’ve got an unwieldy bureaucracy before us with this
In addition, of course, with The Washington Post series
that was written by Dana Priest this week, I think it’s also a
manifestation of many of the problems that continue to exist.
And certainly we’ve had many definitions of the type of
leadership that has been brought to bear in this position,
whether it’s an integrator, a coordinator, a facilitator, and
whether or not we should have a strong acknowledged leader that
oversees all of these agencies who’s going to exert that
And so I would like to explore with you today in terms of
whether or not you would support a community-wide Inspector
General. That is pending in the current legislation between the
House and Senate. It’s in conference at this point. I have
fought tooth and nail for it in the past because I happen to
think that it could initiate, conduct investigations and,
frankly, could produce the types of reports that were put
forward by The Washington Post this week in illustrating the
redundancies, the inefficiencies, and also producing, I think,
the type of information that is sorely lacking because you
cannot reach across the spectrum across all agencies in terms
of ascertaining what types of problems have emerged and how you
solve them. And that’s where this Inspector General could come
in and play a critical role.
That’s what I argued from the outset because I do believe
it will break down the barriers and stovepipes and the
parochial concerns and the turf wars that have evolved and
emerged. I mean, I think that that’s indisputable. And so I
believe that you would find this as a tremendous asset in
having someone that can conduct an overview and examine those
issues independently and to give you I think the vantage point
of seeing the forest through the trees, and many of the issues
that arose in this Washington Post series and other problems
that have emerged and certainly in the problems that have been
identified in the Christmas Day terror bomb plot that was
identified by this committee in its very extensive analysis
certainly could have been averted if we had somebody at hand
who was looking across the spectrum.
So I would like to have you respond to that, because I
noticed in your pre-hearing questions you said that you support
a strong and independent Inspector General and will ensure the
Inspector General has access to appropriate information and
cooperation from the Office of DNI personnel. But you limit it
by virtue of the wording of your statement to imply that the
access only would be accorded to the 1,500 or so personnel that
reside within that office, as opposed to all the other agencies
and most notably the Department of Defense that obviously has
the preponderance of the personnel and certainly the
overwhelming majority of the budget.
General Clapper. Well, Senator Snowe, first of all, I guess
at some risk, but I would refer to my military background in
having served as a commander and used IGs. I think they are a
crucial management tool for a commander or a director. The two
times I’ve served, almost nine years as director of two of the
agencies, DIA and NGA, I considered an IG crucial. So I feel
similarly about a community-wide IG.
My only caveat would be to ensure that I use the IG who–
they have limited resources as well–would do systemic issues
that apply across more than one agency, and using the agency
IGs or the department IGs, in the case of those that don’t have
large agencies, to focus on agency- or component-specific
issues. But I think there’s great merit in having a
communitywide Inspector General.
Senator Snowe. So, in the responses that you submitted to
the House Armed Services Committee in which you said that a
community-wide IG would overlay the authority for the IG for
the entire community over all matters within the DNI’s
responsibility and with similar authority of the DOD and the IG
of the Armed Services and certain DOD combat support agencies,
that, obviously, you were suggesting that it would duplicate
those efforts.
General Clapper. No. What I’m saying now is that I do think
there is merit in having an ODNI IG, a community-wide IG, who
can look across intelligence as an institution for systemic
weaknesses and problems and identify those.
All I would try to foster, though, is a complementary
relationship rather than a competitive one with either agency
IGs, particularly in the case of DOD, or the DOD IG, which also
has an intelligence component.
So I would just try to use–marshal–manage those resources
judiciously so they’re not stepping on one another, but I think
there is great value in having a community-wide Inspector
General to address community-wide issues.
Senator Snowe. Well, I appreciate that because I think that
that would be critical and a useful tool to ferret out a lot of
the inefficiencies, anticipate the problems before they
actually occur, and, obviously, redundancies and the waste.
Was there anything that surprised you in The Washington
Post series this week?
General Clapper. No, ma’am.
Senator Snowe. No? I mean, they saw the redundancy in
functions and so on. Do you think—-
General Clapper. I didn’t agree with some of that. I think
there was some breathlessness and shrillness to it that I don’t
subscribe to. I think she’s extrapolated from her anecdotal
experience in interviews with people.
I must say I’m very concerned about the security
implications of having–you know, it’s great research, but just
making it easy for adversaries to point out specifically the
locations of contractors who are working for the government,
and I wouldn’t be surprised, frankly, if that engenders more
security on the part of the contractors which, of course, the
cost will be passed on to the government.
Senator Snowe [continuing]. Well, are you going to evaluate
this, though, on that basis? I just think it is disturbing to
think in terms of the number of agencies and organizations of
more than 1,200, for example. I mean, nothing disturbs you in
that article from that standpoint?
General Clapper. Well, it depends on what does she mean by
an agency. It’s like in the Army. You know, an organization can
be a squad or a division. So, you know, I think she’s striven
for some bit of sensationalism here. That’s not to say that
there aren’t inefficiencies and there aren’t things we can
Threat finance is a case in point. She cites, I think, some
51 different organizations that are involved in threat finance.
That is a very important tool these days in counternarcotics,
counterterrorism, weapons of mass destruction because it is, in
the end, the common denominator of how money works and how
money supports these endeavors. If I’m confirmed, that’s one I
would want to take on with Leslie Ireland, the new Director of
Intelligence for the Department of Treasury, because it’s my
view that Treasury should be the lead element for threat
finance. So that’s one area I will take to heart.
But I think the earlier discussion is germane to the number
of contractors and what contractors are used for, and this
article certainly brings that to bear.
Senator Snowe. Well, I just hope that you won’t dismiss it
out of hand.
General Clapper. No.
Senator Snowe. Because I always think that it’s worthy
when, having other people who are doing this kind of work at
least to examine it very carefully, very thoroughly, obviously.
I mean, I think just given the mega bureaucracy that has been
developed, we certainly ought to be looking at it, and
certainly, this committee as well. So I hope that you are going
to give it that kind of consideration it deserves.
One other question. On the April paper, the response that
you gave to House Armed Services Committee and the information
paper, you mentioned these grants of unilateral authority,
referring to the Intelligence Authorization Bill, that it was
expanding the authority to the DNI are inappropriate,
especially for personnel and acquisition functions. You said
that some intelligence community efforts could be decentralized
and delegated to the component.
I’m just concerned, on one hand, that you would subscribe
to sort of embracing some of the cultural and territorial
battles that we’re trying to overcome. When you’re using words
such as “infringe” or “decentralize” to all of the other
agencies, to have them execute many of those functions, it
concerns me at a time in which I think that your position
should be doing more of the centralizing with respect to the
So I’m just concerned about what type of culture that you
will inculcate as a leader, if you’re suggesting
decentralizing, infringing upon other agencies’ authority at a
time when, clearly, you should be moving in a different
direction to break down those territorial barriers.
General Clapper. I agree with that, but I do not think that
everything in the entire intelligence community has to be run
within the confines of the office of the Director of National
Intelligence. I do think there are many thing that can be
delegated to components in the intelligence community that can
be done on behalf of the DNI and with the visibility of the
DNI, but does not have to be directly executed by the DNI at
its headquarters staff, which I believe is too large.
Senator Snowe. Thank you.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Snowe.
Senator Whitehouse, you’re next.
Senator Whitehouse. I yield to Chairman Levin.
Chairman Feinstein. Please go ahead.
Senator Levin. Madam Chairman, first, we thank Senator
Whitehouse for that courtesy, as always.
General, let me ask you first about information sharing. In
your answers to the committee’s prehearing questionnaire, you
state that you believe obstacles remain to adequate information
sharing. You said that the obstacle was cultural. Our
congressional investigations by a number of committees of
recent terrorist attacks reveal, for instance, the CIA will not
share its database of operational cables with the DOD’s Joint
Intelligence Task Force for Counterterrorism or with the NSA’s
counterterrorism analysts and watch center.
NSA itself feels it cannot allow non-NSA personnel to
access the main NSA signals intelligence databases on the
grounds that these personnel cannot be trusted to properly
handle U.S. persons’ information. Can you comment on that
question, on information sharing among agencies?
General Clapper. Well, sir, it continues to be a problem. I
think we’ve got a challenge, I guess. It’s better than it was.
It’s better than it was before 9/11, but it needs improvement.
I think NSA is, understandably, very conscientious about the
protection of potential data on U.S. persons. They’re very,
very sensitive to compliance with the FISA, as they should be.
So that does, that is one inhibitor to full and open and
collaborative sharing that we might like. That’s an area that I
intend to work, if I’m confirmed.
Senator Levin. You also said that you’ll achieve progress
in information sharing by the “disciplined application of
incentives, both rewards and consequences.” Why do we need
incentives? Why don’t we just need a directive from the
President by executive order, for instance, or otherwise? Why
do we need incentives, rewards and consequences?
General Clapper. Well, that’s one way of inducing change in
culture, is to provide rewards for those who collaborate and, I
suppose, penalties for those that don’t.
Senator Levin. Should they be needed?
General Clapper. And obviously, directives are effective,
Senator Levin. Should they be needed? In this kind of
setting, where this has been going on so long, should—-
General Clapper. Yes, sir. That’s an area, if I’m
confirmed, I’ll certainly look at to see if there is a need for
further direction, or what other remedy there might be.
Senator Levin [continuing]. Now, you also indicated,
relative to a related subject which has been very much on our
minds here in the Congress, the need for a single repository of
terrorism data. Your statement in the prehearing questions is
the following. “An integrated repository of terrorism data
capable of ingesting terrorism-related information from outside
sources remains necessary to establish a foundation from which
a variety of sophisticated technology tools can be applied.” I
gather that does not exist now?
General Clapper. I think, sir, and I, at least, this is my
own observation watching from somewhat afar, the Christmas
bomber evolution. And I believe what is needed, and this is
from a technology standpoint, is a very robust search engine
that can range across a variety of data and data constructs in
order to help connect the dots. I think we still are spending
too much manpower to do manual things that can be done easily
by machines. And if confirmed, that’s an area I would intend to
Senator Levin. Do you know if it’s true that NCTC analysts
have to search dozens of different intelligence databases
separately, that they cannot now submit one question that goes
out to all of them simultaneously? Is that true, do you know?
General Clapper. I don’t know the specifics, but that’s
certainly my impression, and that’s why I made the statement in
response to your previous question. I think what’s needed here
is a very robust, wide-ranging search engine or search engines
that can do that on behalf of analysts so they don’t have to do
that manually.
Senator Levin. I want to go to some structural issues now.
The Intelligence Report and Terrorism Prevention Act says that
the director of the CIA reports to the DNI. Is that your
General Clapper. Yes, sir.
Senator Levin. Is that clear enough? Is that the reason for
some complications in this area?
General Clapper. Well, I think it’s–yes. That language is
clear, but there’s also language in there about, for example,
the governance of foreign relationships, which are the province
of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and they
are to be “overseen” by the DNI, and so that is an area of
ambiguity, I think.
Senator Levin. Is section 1018 of the Act, which says that
the President shall issue guidelines to ensure the effective
implementation and execution within the executive branch of the
authorities granted to the Director of National Intelligence,
and these are the key words, in a manner that respects and does
not abrogate the statutory responsibilities of the heads of
departments, have those guidelines now been–were they issued
by President Bush?
General Clapper. Well, yes, sir, they were essentially
promulgated in the revision to Executive Order 12333. And in
that, Secretary Gates and I and Admiral McConnell, at the time,
worked to attenuate some of the ambiguities created by the
famous section 1018. The specific case in point is the
involvement of the DNI in the hire and fire processes involved
with intelligence leaders who are embedded in the Department of
Senator Levin. And are you satisfied with those guidelines?
General Clapper. I am at this point. Yes, sir. My view may
change, if I’m confirmed.
Senator Levin. Do you know in advance that your view is
going to change?
General Clapper. No, I don’t.
Senator Levin. But as of this time, you’re satisfied with
those guidelines?
General Clapper. Yes, sir, I am.
Senator Levin. Now, in answer to our committee’s prehearing
questionnaire regarding the DNI’s role with respect to the DIA,
NGA, NSA and NRO, you said that the DNI supervises their
performance, sets standards and formulates policies governing
these agencies and ensures that they fulfill their missions.
You noted multiple times that three of those agencies are
combat support agencies, which means that they provide critical
wartime support to the combatant commands.
And my question is the following: Do you believe that that
authority which you mention is a shared authority with those
agencies or is this exclusive in the DNI?
General Clapper. You mean the combat support agency?
Senator Levin. Those agencies, yes. Do you believe, for
instance, that they must ensure that they fulfill their
missions, that they supervise their performance? Is this a
shared responsibility or are you, if you’re confirmed,
exclusively responsible for those functions of supervision and
ensuring that they—-
General Clapper. I believe that is a shared responsibility.
I think obviously the Secretary of Defense has obligations and
responsibilities both in law and executive order to ensure that
the warfighting forces are provided adequate support,
particularly by the three agencies who are designated as combat
support agencies. Obviously the DNI has at least a paternal
responsibility to ensure that works as well.
Senator Levin. Was that word “fraternal”?
General Clapper. “Paternal.”
Senator Levin. Paternal, not fraternal.
General Clapper. Institutional obligation. I’ll amend what
I said.
Senator Levin. All right. Now, in your current position
have you taken a look at the Haqqani network? Have you
determined whether or not they have engaged in terrorist
activities that threaten U.S. security interests and, if so, do
you support them being added to the State Department’s list of
foreign terrorist organizations?
General Clapper. Sir, I’d rather not answer that off the
top of my head. I’ll take that under advisement and provide an
answer for the record.
Senator Levin. All right. Now, during the previous
administration, we got conflicting prewar intelligence
assessments from the intelligence community and the
administration said in public and what the intelligence
community was willing to assert in private. Do you believe that
the importance of Congress as a consumer of intelligence
products and advice is no less than that of senior officials of
the administration? Do you owe us? Do you owe us, if you’re
confirmed, all of the unvarnished facts surrounding an issue,
not just the facts that tend to support a particular policy
decision, and do you believe that Congress, as a consumer of
intelligence products, is entitled, again, to no less than that
of senior officials of an administration?
General Clapper. I believe that and not only that, but it’s
required in the law. The IRTPA stipulates that the DNI is to
attend to the proper intelligence support to the Congress.
Senator Levin. On an equal basis.
General Clapper. Yes, sir.
Senator Levin. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Levin.
Senator Chambliss.
Senator Levin. Thank you.
Senator Chambliss. Thanks, Madam Chairman. And welcome,
General. As I told you in our telephone conversation after the
President nominated you, I’m not sure why you want to come back
before this committee again for this job because, as you stated
in your article you wrote recently, this is probably the
toughest job in the intelligence community, and your
willingness to serve, particularly with your background in the
intel community, says an awful lot about you, and we’re
fortunate to have you.
Obviously, though, General, there’s some problems out there
within the office of the DNI, within the community itself that
are going to have to be addressed. And these issues are very
serious. They’re not just matters of the size of the
bureaucracy and I’m not sure what all they are. But again, as
you and I talked, there are going to have to be some major
changes. We just can’t afford for another Christmas Day
situation or a New York Times bomber situation to occur because
we were fortunate there and it was not necessarily the great
work of the intelligence community that prevented a very
serious situation occurring within the United States.
You do bring a wealth of intelligence background to this
job, but so did the three predecessors to this job. You
probably have more experience than all of them. But still, you
have been involved. And these are friends of yours. They’re
individuals you have worked with, you’ve associated with and
somewhere along the line there have been some apparently
systemic failures that are going to have to be addressed to
individuals that you have worked with. So it’s not going to be
any easier for you than for any of your predecessors.
My question is, knowing that we can’t afford for another
situation like Christmas Day or the New York Times Square
situation or the Fort Hood situation to occur where we had an
awful lot of signs and where nobody connected the dots in spite
of the statute being very clear as to who is to connect those
dots, and that’s going to be under your jurisdiction, what
specific changes do you know now that you think need to be made
as we go forward to make the community better, to make the
office of the DNI stronger and to make the colleagues that
you’re going to be working with on a day-to-day basis more
responsive to you as the chief intelligence officer of the
United States?
General Clapper. Sir, first of all, thanks for your
introductory comment. I appreciate that. I think that I–or at
least I would hope I can bring to bear this experience I’ve had
over the last 46 years of having run a couple of the agencies,
having been a service intelligence chief, having spent two
years in combat getting shot at, what the value of intelligence
is, that understanding of the intelligence community
institutionally and culturally, that I can bring about a better
working arrangement.
I think, in my book at least, to be very candid, I think
our most successful DNI to this point was Admiral Mike
McConnell precisely for the same reason, because he had some
experience in the business. He had run an agency, NSA, and had
done other things in intelligence. And I think that does give
one an advantage, an understanding where the problems are,
where the skeletons are, if you will, and where the seams are
and how to work those issues.
I think that is in fact the value added, potentially, of
the DNI, is to get at those seams and to work those issues
where I perhaps don’t require a lot of time learning the ABCs
of intelligence. So I can’t at this point list you chapter and
verse. I certainly will want to get back–if I’m confirmed–get
back to the committee on specific things. I do have some things
in mind but some of the people affected don’t know what those
are and I certainly didn’t want to presume confirmation by
announcing those ahead of time. But certainly, if confirmed,
I’d want to consult with the committee on what I would have in
Senator Chambliss. And have you, as a part of your
communication and conversation with the President, prior to
your nomination and maybe subsequent there to, engaged him in
the fact that there are some changes that are going to need to
be made and you’re going to have to have the administration’s
General Clapper. Yes, sir, and I had done that in writing
before I was nominated. Whether it was me or someone else as
DNI, at Secretary Gates’ suggestion, I wrote a letter to the
President and made that point clear.
Senator Chambliss. And you mentioned that letter to me and
that you had hoped that the White House would at least share
that with the Chairman and Vice Chairman. Do you know whether
that’s been done?
General Clapper. I don’t know, sir. I don’t know that
actually the request has been made to the White House.
Senator Chambliss. Okay. Well, General, I’ve known you for
a long time, seen you operate, and you are certainly well-
qualified for this job. It is going to be a tough job, but I
hope you know and understand that this committee’s here to help
you and we want to make sure from an oversight standpoint that
you’ve got the right kind of policy support and political
support from this side of Pennsylvania Avenue. And we know soon
that it will be there from the other side. So we look forward
to working closely with you.
General Clapper. Sir, I appreciate that. And that is
absolutely crucial. I don’t believe oversight necessarily has
to be or implies an adversarial relationship. And I would
need–if I’m confirmed, I would need the support of this
committee to bring about those changes that you just talked
Senator Chambliss. Well, thanks for your willingness to
continue to serve. Madam Chairman, I don’t know whether we’ve
formally requested that, but I think certainly we should.
Vice Chairman Bond. I would join with Senator Chambliss if
we can make that request.
Chairman Feinstein. Fine. Certainly can. Thank you. Thank
you, Senator Chambliss.
Senator Feingold.
Senator Feingold. Thank you, Madam Chair. Congratulations
again, General Clapper, on your nomination to this critically
important position. I agree you are clearly well qualified for
Madam Chair, I’d like to put a statement in the record.
[The prepared statement of Senator Feingold follows:]

Prepared Statement of Senator Russell Feingold

General Clapper’s nomination comes at a critical moment for the
Intelligence Community and for our national security. Reform–of the IC
and of congressional oversight–is long overdue. To save taxpayer
dollars, I have supported in this committee, and incorporated into my
own Control Spending Now bill, provisions requiring reporting on long-
range budget projections for the IC, the costs of acquisition systems,
cost overruns, and the risks and vulnerabilities of intelligence
systems. We must also ensure that the GAO has access to the IC and that
there is accountability for impediments to auditing.
At the same time, we cannot afford so much overlap and redundancy
when there are still parts of the world, as well as emerging threats,
about which we know very little. This is why the Senate has approved,
as part of the intelligence authorization bill, legislation I proposed
to establish an independent commission that will address these gaps by
recommending how to integrate and make best use of the clandestine
activities of the IC and the open collection and reporting of the State
Intelligence reform also requires reform of the oversight process.
That is why I have introduced a bipartisan resolution to implement the
recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to grant appropriations authority
to the Intelligence Committee, as well as a bipartisan effort to
declassify the top-line intelligence budget request, a requirement if
there is to be a separate intelligence appropriations bill as called
for by the 9/11 Commission. Finally, we must eliminate once and for all
the “Gang of Eight” briefings that leave the full committee in the

Since our meeting last week I hope you had a chance to
review the congressional notification requirements in the
National Security Act. Have you had a chance to do that?
General Clapper. I have, sir.
Senator Feingold. And do you agree that the so-called Gang
of Eight notification provision applies only to covert action
and not to other intelligence activities?
General Clapper. Sir, you’re quite right. Section 502 and
503 of the National Security Act of 1947 do only call out
covert action as requiring more limited notification. In the
opening statement, however, of Section 502, it does allude to
the protection of sources and methods, which I think in the
past has been used to expand the subject matter beyond covert
action, which would require a limited notification.
That all said, I will be a zealous advocate for full
notification and timely notification to the Congress.
Senator Feingold. I appreciate the statement and the spirit
of it. I just want to point out that when you refer to that
preliminary language, that language is in both sections, but
the additional language about the Gang of Eight notifications
in the section on covert action means, in my view, that limited
notifications were not intended for other intelligence
General Clapper. Yes, sir, but as I say that, that opening
verbiage has been interpreted to expand that and I’ll tell you
what my personal attitude is, but at the same time I don’t feel
it’s appropriate to preempt what the President might want to
decide. So I’ll tell you my attitude again is I will be a
zealous advocate for timely and complete notification.
Senator Feingold. And I appreciate that. I just want to say
for the record, I think that is an incorrect interpretation,
but obviously you’re not alone in your view that that can be
done. But I really feel strongly that’s incorrect.
Senator Feingold. While many of the operational details of
intelligence activities are justifiably classified, I believe
the American people are entitled to know how the intelligence
community, the Department of Justice and the FISA Court are
interpreting the law. Do you agree with that general principle?
General Clapper. Yes, sir, in general, I do.
Senator Feingold. And I have identified a number of areas
in which I think the American people would be surprised to
learn how the law has been interpreted in secret. As you
consider these types of requests for declassification, will you
keep this principle that you and I just agreed upon in mind?
General Clapper. Yes, sir, I will.
Senator Feingold. One of the issues that has arisen in the
context of your nomination is the Department of Defense’s
perception that provisions of the intelligence authorization
bill may be in tension with the secretary’s authorities, but I
want to focus for the moment on the reason these are in there
in the first place and why I’ve incorporated them into my own
bill, which I call my control spending now legislation. They
would improve accountability and help save taxpayer dollars.
General, at our meeting last week, you told me that not all
problems require statutory solutions. So how as DNI would you
go about fixing the cost overruns and other problems that this
legislation is designed to address?
General Clapper. Well, I would continue to support the
management mechanisms that have been established, specifically
an agreement on acquisition oversight signed by, I think, then-
Director McConnell and Secretary Gates. That said, of course,
acquisition is, in general, a huge challenge, whether it’s in
intelligence or elsewhere. And so I don’t have any magic silver
bullets here to offer up because if I did, I wouldn’t be here
to solve these significant acquisition problems.
It does require systematic program reviews. It requires, I
think, integrity on the part of program managers to ensure that
they are honestly reporting out their problems and identifying
issues early enough so that remedies can be afforded.
Senator Feingold. The intelligence authorization bill would
also establish an independent commission that would recommend
ways to integrate the intelligence community with the U.S.
government personnel, particularly State Department personnel
who openly collect information around the world. This reform
was first proposed by Senator Hagel and myself and I think it’s
critical if we’re going to anticipate threats and crises as
they emerge around the world.
Would you be open to a fresh look and a set of
recommendations on this issue from this commission?
General Clapper. I would.
Senator Feingold. In responding to yesterday’s Washington
Post story, Acting Director Gompert defended overlap and
redundancies in the intelligence community. But given finite
resources and budget constraints, to what extent should we be
prioritizing efforts to understand parts of the world and
emerging threats that no one is covering?
General Clapper. Well, you raise a good point, sir, and we
did discuss earlier that in some cases one man’s duplication is
another man’s competitive analysis. So in certain cases, I
think, as it was during the Cold War, when you have an enemy
that can really damage or mortally wound you, that’s merited.
I think in many cases what was labeled as duplication, a
deeper look may not turn out to be duplication; it just has the
appearance of that, but when you really look into what is being
done particularly on a command-by-command basis or intelligence
analytic element on a case-by-case basis, it’s not really
I think the important point you raise, though, sir, has to
do with what about the areas that are not covered, and that has
been a classic plague for us. I know what the state of our
geospatial databases were on 9/11 in Afghanistan, and they were
awful, and it’s because at the time the priority that
Afghanistan enjoyed in terms of intelligence requirements.
So we can’t take our eyes off the incipient threats that
exist in places, an area that I know you’re very interested in,
for example, Africa, which is growing in concern to me,
Senator Feingold. Thank you, General. What is your view of
GAO access to the intelligence community?
General Clapper. Well, sir, the GAO–in several
incumbencies over my time the GAO has produced very useful
studies. I would cite as a specific recent case in point the
ISR road map that we’re required to maintain and the GAO has
critiqued us on that. I’ve been very deeply involved in
personnel security clearance reform. The GAO has held our feet
to the fire on ensuring compliance with IRTPA guidelines on
timeliness of clearances and of late has also insisted on the
quality metrics for ensuring appropriate clearances.
So I think the GAO serves a useful purpose for us.
Senator Feingold. I appreciate your attitude on that as
well. Meaningful intelligence reform is also going to require
some reform of the oversight process. Is it time for the Senate
to grant appropriations authority to this committee, as the 9/
11 commission recommended? For that to work, however, there has
to be an unclassified topline intelligence budget request that
would allow for a separate appropriations bill.
Would you support the declassification of the President’s
topline intelligence budget request?
General Clapper. I do support that. It has been done. In
fact, I also pushed through, and got Secretary Gates to
approve, revelation of the Military Intelligence Program
budget. I thought, frankly, we were being a bit disingenuous by
only releasing or revealing the National Intelligence Program,
which is only part of the story. And so Secretary Gates has
agreed that we could also publicize that, and I think the
American people are entitled to know the totality of the
investment we make each year in intelligence.
And sir, I was cautioned earlier by members about delving
into congressional jurisdiction issues. I prefer not to touch
that with a 10-foot pole other than to observe that it would be
nice if the oversight responsibilities were symmetrical in both
I’ve also been working and have had dialogue with actually
taking the National Intelligence Program out of the DOD budget
since the reason, the original reason for having it embedded in
the department’s budget was for classification purposes. Well,
if it’s going to be publicly revealed, that purpose goes away.
And it also serves the added advantage of reducing the topline
of the DOD budget, which is quite large, as you know, and
that’s a large amount of money that the department really has
no real jurisdiction over.
So we have been working and studying and socializing the
notion of pulling the MIP out of the department’s budget, which
I would think also would serve to strengthen the DNI’s hand in
managing the money in the intelligence community.
Senator Feingold. Thank you for all your answers, and good
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Feingold.
Senator Burr.
Senator Burr. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
General, welcome. We’re delighted to have you here, and I
think you’ll be the next DNI, hopefully sooner versus later–
and I say that for the Chair and the ranking member. I hope
we’ll move this as expeditiously as we can. And, as I’ve
publicly said, I think that you bring to this position a rich
experience that many have covered, as well as yourself, that
benefits one’s ability to be successful, and our intelligence
community needs that desperately right now.
I’ve got to say, as it relates to the members’ references
to The Washington Post article–or articles, plural–it pains
me, because I don’t believe that what happens within the
intelligence community is something that needs to be as public
as it sometimes is. It disturbs me as we promote Unmanned
Aerial Vehicles on TV, and we do it with the full knowledge of
knowing that we give away something every time we do it. I
think the American people understand that if you have
sufficient oversight in place, you trust the individuals that
you’ve chosen to put in those roles.
So I see this explosion of publicity about what happens
within our intelligence community really as a blow to us, the
oversight committee, and the inability for us to work
effectively with those within the community. So I hope you
understand, at least from myself, that I believe the committee
has to be robust in our oversight.
It’s not a reflection of the leadership of our committee, I
might say to the Chair and ranking member. I think it’s an
overall level of cooperation between the intelligence community
and the committee, and I hope that we will work as partners to
make sure that the trust of the public, but also the trust of
our colleagues, is entrusted in this committee, that we’re
doing our job and that we’ve got our eye on the right thing.
Now, you said earlier that the DNI needs to be a leader of
the intelligence community and provide direction and control.
Can you define direction and control for me in this context?
General Clapper. I think what’s intended in the term
“direction and control” is that the DNI, I think, is
ultimately responsible for the performance of the intelligence
community writ large, both the producers of intelligence and
the users of intelligence which are represented in those 16
And I believe that under the, obviously, the auspices of
the President, who I believe intends to hold the DNI–whether
it’s me or somebody else–responsible for that performance, and
that that therefore empowers the DNI to direct the intelligence
chiefs as to what to do; what the focus should be; what the
emphasis should be, or, if that should change; if there needs
to be–if we need to establish ad hoc organizations to perform
a specific task; if we need to have studies done, whatever it
I believe that inherent in the DNI–at least the spirit and
intent of the IRTPA legislation–was that he would, he or she
would direct that and be responsible for it.
Senator Burr. Do you believe there will be times where the
DNI has to be a referee?
General Clapper. I think there could be times when–yes, I
Senator Burr. This has already been covered, General, but
I’ve got to cover it just one more time. I believe that this
committee is to be notified quickly on any significant attempt
to attack, once an attack’s carried out, or there is a
significant threat that we have credible evidence of.
Do I have your commitment today that you will, in a timely
fashion, or a designee by you, brief this committee on that
General Clapper. Absolutely, sir. Of course, it carries
with it the potential of it not being exactly accurate, because
my experience has been most critics are wrong. But I believe
that what you ask is entirely appropriate and reasonable.
Senator Burr. And General, do you have any problem if this
committee asks for a level of raw data to look at on pertinent
threats or attempts–at sharing that raw data with us?
General Clapper. I don’t have a problem with it
philosophically, sir. Just that I would want, as the DNI, if
I’m confirmed for that position, would want to ensure that at a
given time, to give you the most complete picture I can, which
is as accurate as possible. And oftentimes with raw–so-called
raw material, it’s erroneous or incomplete or misleading. So,
with that caveat, I don’t have a problem with it, but I just
want you to understand what you’re getting when you get that.
Senator Burr. I accept that caveat, and I think most
members would. I think that the raw data is absolutely
essential for us to do the oversight role that we’re charged
with. It’s certainly not needed on every occasion, but on those
that it might play a role, I hope you will, in fact, provide
Now, you covered the history of the intelligence community,
especially as it related to the 1990s, and how that affected
our capabilities post-9/11. Would we have been able to meet the
intelligence community needs had we not had contractors we
could turn to, post-9/11?
General Clapper. No, sir.
Senator Burr. Do you believe that we’ll always use some
number of contractors within the intelligence community?
General Clapper. Yes, sir, I do.
Senator Burr. And I know this has been a focus of a lot of
members about downsizing the contractor footprint, and I’m fine
with that. But there’s a big difference between downsizing and
eliminating. And there’s a tremendous talent out there that,
thankfully, we were able to tap into.
I would hate to see us become so adverse to the use of
contractors that we would sacrifice potential. And I applaud
the effort to try to downsize the footprint of them, but hope
that we leave the flexibility to use them where it’s
General Clapper. Absolutely sir. I couldn’t agree with you
And I worked as a contractor for six years myself, so I
think I have a good understanding of the contribution that they
have made and will continue to make. I think the issue is,
what’s the magnitude? And most importantly, regardless of the
numbers of companies, the number of contractor employees, is
how the government, and specifically the intelligence
community, how do we manage them; how do we ensure that we’re
getting our money’s worth?
Senator Burr. Lastly–and it’s covering ground already
discussed–you indicated that not all of the intelligence
community efforts need to be exclusively managed out of the
ODNI, that they can be decentralized and delegated where
Do you have any concerns that that might undercut the
authority of the DNI?
General Clapper. No, sir, I don’t. And I’ll give you a
specific case in point:
When I came into this job, early on–in fact, in May of
2007–and I prevailed upon both Secretary Gates and then-DNI
McConnell to dual-hat me as the Director of Defense
Intelligence, a position on the DNI staff, as a way of
facilitating communication and bridging dialogue between the
two staffs. And I think the record will show that we’ve worked
very well together.
I would propose to–Director Blair, to his great credit, I
thought, breathed life, great life into that concept–and I
would propose, if I’m confirmed, to do the same, and have the
same relationship with my successor, if I’m confirmed for
this–as USD/I, if I’m confirmed for DNI. And I think that same
approach can be used in other relationships, perhaps with the
Department of Homeland Security, just to cite an example off
the top of my head.
All I’m saying is, I don’t think that everything has to be
executed from within the confines of the Office of the Director
of National Intelligence, that there are things that can be
delegated and done on behalf of the DNI, as long as they are
visible to, and with the approval of, the DNI.
Senator Burr. General, I thank you for your candid answers.
In our telephone conversation, I said to you that your
tenure as DNI would determine whether the structure we set up
actually can work, will work, or whether we need to rethink
this. I believe that we’ve got the best chance of success with
your nomination, and I look forward to working with you.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
General Clapper. Thank you, sir.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator Burr.
And finally, Senator Whitehouse. Thank you for your
courtesy to your colleague, too.
Senator Whitehouse. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Welcome, General Clapper. Near the bitter end.
I’d like to go back to cybersecurity and ask you about five
topic areas within it.
The first is the information that the public has about
cybersecurity. Are you comfortable that the public is
adequately aware of the scope and severity of the cybersecurity
threat that the country faces?
General Clapper. Candidly, no, sir. I don’t think there is
a general appreciation for the potential threat there.
I think there is widespread knowledge in the cyber
community, meaning the cyber industry, if you will. I think
there’s a less acute awareness, perhaps, out there in what I’ll
call the civil infrastructure. But I think the general public
is not aware of the potential threat, no.
Senator Whitehouse. The reason that I ask that is that it’s
difficult in a democracy to legislate in an area where the
public is not adequately aware of the threat.
So I hope that, as we go forward through the 35, 40, 45
pieces of legislation that are out there, that you will help us
bring to the attention, in a–you said we do over-classify, I
think we particularly over-classify here–that in areas where
it really doesn’t adversely affect national security, there’s a
real advantage to getting this information out to the public.
And I hope you’ll cooperate with us in trying to do so, so that
we’re dealing with a knowledgeable public as we face these
legislative questions.
General Clapper. I will, sir. And I believe that it is, in
fact, incumbent on the intelligence community to help provide
that education to the maximum extent possible without the undue
revelation of sources and methods.
Senator Whitehouse. The basic sort of protective hardware
that is out there right now could protect the vast majority of
cyber intrusions that take place. Do you agree that trying to
establish and monitor basically what I would call rules of the
road for participation in our information superhighway is an
area that could stand improvement?
General Clapper. If you mean, if I understand your
question, sir, sort of conventions or rules that, in order to
participate, this is what was required, and at sort of minimum
levels of security. Is that—-
Senator Whitehouse. Yes. For ordinary folks who are getting
on, to be aware that their laptop, for instance, is
compromised, and willing to do something about it, and that we
put a structure in place so that you can’t do the cyber
equivalent of driving down the road with your headlights out,
your tail lights out, your muffler hanging, at 90 miles an
General Clapper [continuing]. Well, I personally agree with
that. I think there’ll be a sales job, a marketing job required
to get people to buy into that.
Senator Whitehouse. And in terms of if you sort of step it
up to America’s business community, do you feel that the
private sector or the business community is adequately situated
with respect to their own independent self-defense against
cyber attack? Or does the networking of private business, say
by industrial sector, and the relationship with government need
to be improved so that our major businesses can protect their
critical infrastructure better?
General Clapper. Sir, I’m not technically fluent here, but
my general sensing is that, given the sophistication of some of
our major adversaries, nation-state adversaries, I’m not sure
that, given the rapidity with which new ways of accessing
computers, I’m not sure that they’re as current on that–those
sectors to which you refer are as current as they could or
should be.
Senator Whitehouse. And if we’re to the point where a
private business which provides critical American
infrastructure–a major bank, a major communications entity, an
electric utility, some other form of infrastructure upon which
American lives and property depend–were to be the subject of a
sustained and damaging cyber attack, are you confident that, at
the moment, we have adequate authorities for the government to
be able to step in and do what it needs to do in a clear way to
protect American lives and property?
General Clapper. Again, I’m not expert on this, but my
general sensing is, no, we’re not. I think the whole law on
this subject is a work in progress. It’s still an issue,
frankly, even in a warfighting context.
Should we have a declaratory policy or not on what we would
do? I would be concerned about the rapidity of response and–
which I think is the key, and I think if you speak with General
Alexander about that, who I do consider an authority, that he
would raise that same concern.
Senator Whitehouse. And lastly on this subject, are you
confident that the rules of engagement for our covert agencies
in addressing attacks and intrusions that take place on our
cyber infrastructure are adequate and fully robust for the
challenge that we face, or is that another area of work in
General Clapper. Yes, sir. It’s a work in progress, and I
think perhaps best left for detailed discussion in a closed
Senator Whitehouse. I won’t go any further than that in
this session, but I did want to get your general perspective on
I’ve only been in the Senate for three years. You are my
fourth Director of National Intelligence already. You gonna
stick around?
General Clapper. Yes, sir. I will. I wouldn’t take this on
without thinking about that.
And I do think my experience has been that it does take
time to bring these changes about. When I was asked to take
NIMA in the summer of 2001, I was specifically asked would I be
willing to stay for five years, and I agreed to do that. Didn’t
quite last that long; ran afoul of the previous Secretary of
Defense. But I believe that kind of commitment is required.
I also would be less than forthright if I said that I’m
going to sit here and guarantee that the intelligence community
is going to bat a thousand every time, because we’re not. And I
think I am reasonably confident I can make this better. I don’t
think I’m going to be able to cure world hunger for
intelligence, just to be realistic.
Senator Whitehouse. And I’m not going to hold you to this.
It’s not intended to be a question of that variety, to pin you
down; it’s intended to be a question to sort of illuminate the
areas that you’re most focused on.
Going into this job now, and knowing what you know now,
when it comes time for you to go–and let’s hope it’s five
years from now–what now would you think would be the most
important things that, at that later date, you would like to
look back on as having accomplished?
General Clapper. I think, for starters, that I kept the
nation safe. I think, obviously, this is somewhat a high-wire
act with no safety net. And I think that’s probably the thing
that will keep me up at night, is worrying about that. So, for
whatever my tenure is, if the intelligence community has at
least contributed to preserving the safety of the nation and
its people, then I think that would be the main thing I’d worry
Senator Whitehouse. Well, I wish you well. You’ve got a
hell of a tough job in front of you, if you’re confirmed. And
any support that we can give you, obviously we’d like to do.
There are significant questions about what the role of the
DNI should be, what its authorities should be to complement
that role. Some of that is a chicken and egg question, that you
have to settle on one to resolve the other. And we really look
forward to working together with you to try to get this settled
for once and for all.
General Clapper. Thanks, Senator.
Senator Whitehouse. Thanks, Madam Chairman.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator Whitehouse.
Senator Nelson.
Senator Nelson. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Good afternoon, and thank you, General, for your public
The Congress created this position in order to try to exert
some control over the multiple intelligence units that were at
times going off in their own directions. And in the compromises
that we had to make in enacting this legislation that creates
the post that you seek, a great deal of control was still left
within the Department of Defense at the insistence of then-
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
How can you bring the Department of Defense intelligence
operations in under your orbit so that you can function
General Clapper. Well, sir, I don’t anticipate a problem
I think I know the Department of Defense pretty well, and
that is where roughly two-thirds of the manpower and the money
for the National Intelligence Program is embedded. And I would
argue or suggest, respectfully, that having run two of the
agencies in the Department of Defense and having served as a
service intel chief actually will help empower me to, you know,
sustain having I’ll call it a positive relationship with the
Department of Defense components. I’ve been there, and done
that, got the t-shirt, so I think I know how to take advantage
of that.
Senator Nelson. Well, the old adage, he who pays the piper
calls the tune, and a lot of that Defense intel activity does
not have to report directly to you on the appropriations. How
do you get into that when somebody wants to go off on their
General Clapper. Well, I would intend to further
crystallize the relationship that Secretary Gates, and then-DNI
McConnell established in May of 2007 designating the Under
Secretary of Defense for Intelligence as the Director of
Defense Intelligence.
I have fostered, with the two DNIs I’ve served with in this
job, a close working relationship on synchronizing the two
programs–the National Intelligence Program and the MIP. In
fact, Director Blair and I, you know, twice, two rounds,
testified together on those two programs.
We’ve had an aggressive program effort, which has been
going on for a couple of cycles now, to further synchronize and
deconflict the two programs, and to coordinate between the NIP
and the MIP. And I would certainly want to continue that with
my successor in the USD/I job, if I am confirmed to be the
Director of National Intelligence.
I don’t think, frankly, although there’s much made of it
sometimes, I think it’s somewhat hyperbole about the strained
relationship between the DNI and the Department of Defense. I
just don’t think that that’s–I haven’t seen that. And I have
certainly endeavored, working with Secretary Gates, to actually
enhance and strengthen the role of the DNI. The DDI is one such
approach. And certainly Secretary Gates and I worked during the
revisions to the Executive Order 12333 to actually strengthen
the position of the DNI.
Senator Nelson. Why don’t you share, for the record, what
you shared with me privately about your forthcoming
relationship with the Director of the CIA?
General Clapper. I’ll provide that for the record. Yes,
Senator Nelson. Well, I mean, share it now.
General Clapper. Well—-
Senator Nelson. Basically, you saw the relationship was
strained. There was a little dust-up between the two in the
immediate past DNI. How do you intend to smooth that out?
General Clapper [continuing]. Well, just to continue, sir,
with my comments earlier, as you know, the intelligence
community is, as you know, composed of 16 components, 15 of
which are in someone else’s Cabinet department. And actually
the most strained relationship has been with the one component
that isn’t in someone’s Cabinet department, and that is the
Central Intelligence Agency.
That has been true regardless of who the incumbents were.
It has nothing to do, really, with the people involved. All of
them are good people. I have had some excellent discussions
with Director Panetta about this, and I think I’m very, very
encouraged and pleased by his support. He’s been extremely
gracious and supportive, and I think he wants to make this
arrangement work as much as you do.
Senator Nelson. Will you participate in the President’s
daily morning brief?
General Clapper. I will participate–I plan to participate,
yes, sir. I don’t plan to give it, necessarily, but I plan to
participate in it.
Senator Nelson. Will the Director of the CIA participate as
General Clapper. He could, depending on the subject matter,
I suppose. But I wouldn’t–I certainly wouldn’t object to that.
Senator Nelson. Do you get the sense that that was a little
bit of contention since suddenly what had been historically the
role of the CIA Director was suddenly not the role once the DNI
was established?
General Clapper. That obviously has been a challenging
transition. It’s my belief and my observation from somewhat an
outside perspective that that is an arrangement that has
evolved for the better, since increasingly more input finds its
way into the PDB from other than the CIA.
The CIA will continue to provide the lion’s share of the
finished intelligence analysis that goes into the PDB. But
under the new structure and the new set-up, under the auspices
of the DNI, it is much more–it’s much broader and involves
more of the community. I recently reviewed some statistics that
bear that out.
Senator Nelson. Recently we’ve had some cases of homegrown
terrorists–the Colorado folks, the Times Square folks, the
Fort Hood person. Do you want to comment for the committee
about what you think ought to be done?
General Clapper. Well, I think, sir, this is a very–we did
speak about this earlier–a very serious problem. And I was
pretty deeply involved and intensely involved in the Fort Hood
aftermath, particularly with respect to the e-mails exchanged
between the radical cleric Aulaqi and Major Hasan.
And what it points out, in my view, is a serious challenge
that I don’t have the answer for, and that is the
identification of self-radicalization, which may or may not
lend itself to intelligence detection, if you will. And this
requires, you know, in the case of the Department of Defense,
some education on how to tell people, or instruct people, or
suggest to people how they discern or identify self-
radicalization that’s going on right in front of them with an
And to me it’s almost like detecting a tendency for suicide
ahead of time. It’s a very daunting challenge and we cannot
necessarily depend on intelligence mechanisms to detect that
self- radicalization.
Senator Nelson. On page 23 of your testimony, you consider
counterintelligence to be under-resourced. You want to share
with us why and also where you would increase the resources?
General Clapper. I think, given the profound threats posed
to this country both by nation-states and others who are trying
to collect information against us, and we have some very
aggressive foreign countries that are doing this, I’m not
convinced that–and this is more intuitive or judgmental or
impressionistic–that we have devoted sufficient resources to
counterintelligence in the Department of Defense, certainly,
which is a major player in counterintelligence, or with the FBI
or CIA which are the three poles, if you will, involved in
And this is something I intend to explore to see what we
can do to expand resource investment in counterintelligence.
This is particularly crucial in the case of cyber. We have the
same challenge in cyber for counterintelligence as we do more
Senator Nelson. Madam Chairman, are we going to do a
classified session at any point?
Chairman Feinstein. We can if there is a request. We will
not do it today, however.
Senator Nelson. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Chairman Feinstein. You’re very welcome. Thank you,
General Clapper, let me just say I think you’ve done very
well. I think what comes through very clearly is your expertise
in the specifics of intelligence. I think that’s appreciated
and I think it’ll make your job a lot easier. I do have a
couple of questions, and I know the Vice Chairman has a couple
of questions. So I’d like to just continue this a little bit
longer, if I might.
Have you had a chance to take a look at the 13
recommendations we made on the Abdulmutallab situation?
General Clapper. Yes ma’am, I have, and I had an excellent
session with Mike Leiter last week on this very topic, so he
kind of went over that with me.
Chairman Feinstein. Okay, then the problem clearly is for
me, still, connecting the dots. Huge expenditures in computer
programs, often bought separately by various departments,
organizations, et cetera, can’t connect in certain critical but
very simple areas. I would like to suggest that that be high in
your portfolio and that you take a very careful look at it,
because I would think we are spending billions of dollars on
high technology which, candidly, doesn’t work nearly as well as
it should, particularly in this area, where an identification
can be really critical and one letter or one number should not
make a difference. Do you have a comment?
General Clapper. No, I agree with you. As I alluded to
earlier, I think, despite all the huge investments in IT that
we’ve made, that we still depend too much on the minds of
analysts to do things that we ought to be able to harness with
our IT to connect those dots.
Chairman Feinstein. Okay, the second is PREDATOR-REAPER
oversight. I think this is an area that we have been very
concerned about, and this committee is taking that oversight
very seriously and has been very active in seeing that this is
carefully done, that the intelligence is excellent. And I’m one
that believes that the CIA in particular has had a remarkable
record, with very good intelligence, and in some ways really
the best of what can be. I just hope that you will have this at
a high level for your own oversight.
General Clapper. Absolutely.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you.
The third is Afghanistan. I read a quote by Major General
Michael Flynn earlier in the year that said–and I’m
paraphrasing–that eight years into the war, the intelligence
community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy.
U.S. intelligence officers and analysts can do little but shrug
in response to high-level decisionmakers seeking knowledge.
Would you take a look at that and perhaps talk with him and see
where we are, if we are in fact lacking?
General Clapper. Well, I already have had extensive
dialogue with Mike Flynn when the article first came out. And a
careful read of it I think is–I think it’s a Pogo article. We
weighed the enemy, and it’s ourselves, because what the article
really talks to is the situation in Afghanistan, much of which
is, I think, under his control.
I think what occasioned the article was the change in our
strategy from a classic CT or counterterrorist mission to a
much, much broader counterinsurgency mission. And it’s true. We
did not have the intelligence mechanism there to make that
shift that quickly. I think what he’s really getting to is the
cultural, the human terrain–if I can use that phrase–
perspective and insight that’s required to understand the
village dynamics down to the very nitty-gritty level. And so
that’s what his complaint was about.
As I told him, if he felt that they had too many
intelligence analysts at the brigade combat, at the BCT level
and he needed more down at the battalion or company level, it’s
up to him to move them. We’re certainly not going to sit back
here in the confines of the beltway and orchestrate
intelligence in Afghanistan. He’s the senior intelligence
officer; that’s his responsibility, and we back here will
certainly support him.
Chairman Feinstein. Okay, and finally, contractor analysis.
Could you put that high on your agenda? I very much appreciate
what you said. And that was that it all depends on what, where,
the necessity, the type of thing. And I think we need to get
that under control, and we do not currently have it under
control. We need to know where, from an intelligence
perspective, contractors should serve a vital use, and where
they do not.
As you know, the cost is about 70 percent more than a
government employee, so it is a very expensive enterprise as
General Clapper. Yes, it is. And of course, per our earlier
discussion, you know, the reason why we got to where we are and
the sudden re-expansion of the intelligence committee after 9/
11 and intelligence being an inherently manpower-intensive
activity, so the natural outlet for that was contractors, whom
we can hire one year at a time, which you can’t do with
government employees. And you can also get rid of them more
quickly, so the expansion or contraction.
So, for example, the Army right now has about 6,000
contractor Pashtu linguists. Well, I’m not sure we want to keep
them on as government employees when the need for Pashtu
linguists hopefully goes down in the future. So I think rather
than rote numbers or percentages, I think what we need to–and
I do intend to get into this, if I’m confirmed–what are the
ground rules, the organizing principles that govern where it’s
proper to use contractors and where it’s not.
Chairman Feinstein. Well, we will schedule a meeting in
your ascendancy to come in and brief us on that, so be
prepared. But I’d like just quickly to tell you what my
intention is.
I’m going to request that all members submit questions by
noon tomorrow and ask you to answer them as quickly as you can.
And as soon as we receive the answers, Members have a brief
opportunity to digest them, we will schedule a markup. If we
can do it in a week or ten days, that’s fine; hopefully we can.
Is that agreeable with you?
General Clapper. Yes, ma’am. I would hope that whatever
action is taken would be taken before the Senate adjourns in
Chairman Feinstein. Well, we will certainly strive to do
that, and the questions become a vital part, first of all, of
us getting them, and secondly, your responding. But you’ve been
very prompt in your responses, and I’ve no reason to believe it
would be otherwise, so we will try to do our best to
accommodate that.
Let me just end by saying I think you’ve performed really
very well. And once again, your expertise in this area is very
much appreciated and I think will be very well used.
General Clapper. Thank you.
Chairman Feinstein. Mr. Vice Chairman.
Vice Chairman Bond. Madam Chair, thank you for making it
clear that we will have more questions for the record. I
frankly have some questions for the record. I’d like to have
your fuller explanation because they seem to be inconsistent
with previous positions and some are not clear. I do want to
have those.
Madam Chair, if it’s possible, Senator Nelson said that he
would like to have a closed hearing.
I think there are some things that you are interested in
that might be best covered in a classified hearing, and I have
a couple of areas of overlap between military and civilian that
I prefer not to discuss in an open session. So we will do that,
and I would join you saying that the nominee has certainly
stayed with it for a long time. We appreciate that.
Chairman Feinstein. He says he does not need one. But if
you do—-
Vice Chairman Bond. Well, we might be able to have some
classified questions at least then that we can submit for
response, because there’s just a couple of things that probably
I’d prefer not to discuss in an open session.
But let me go back. A general question you’ll be asked in
writing–and I think it’s good to have on record–will you
cooperate with both the Chair and the Vice Chair, as well as
with our staffs, by promptly responding to written and phone
inquiries, sharing information, being proactive in sharing it
with us?
General Clapper. Yes. Yes, sir.
Vice Chairman Bond. That’s something we talked about, and I
wanted to–we mentioned that. I wanted to make sure that the
staff knows that on both sides. And we will look forward to
your full answers, but I want to go back–I was going down a
road talking when I ran out of time on the first round.
Talking about Guantanamo detainees and their release, when
I communicated to the national security advisor that members of
this committee had been told that the CIA and the DIA did not
concur in sending a particular detainee back to Yemen, the
national security advisor told me that those agencies would be
reminded of the administration’s decision.
Now, as I think we discussed once before, the
administration’s decision is their decision, but if there is an
implication that the intelligence committee should not be told
honestly and frankly of advice that you give to the
policymakers–whether it’s accepted or not–that troubles me.
So will you commit to providing the committee the honest and
forthright recommendations and assessments that you make,
regardless of whether they are accepted ultimately by
General Clapper. Yes, sir, I would. Again, as we discussed
before, this is an interagency process. Intelligence is a very
important, but not the exclusive, determinant. And it would be
my view that intelligence should be as thorough and accurate as
possible on making such assessments. And I don’t see any
problem with, once we’ve spoken our piece and if that was
ignored, that’s the process. And I certainly have no trouble–I
wouldn’t have any trouble conveying that to the committee.
Vice Chairman Bond. Good, because in case you’re advised of
the position, we want the intelligence regardless of what the
position may come up with.
Let me go into another interesting area. You gave a
conference speech in 2008 to GEOINT, which my staff managed to
track down. And you said that at that point, “I hope the next
administration will give some thought, I mean the Congress as
well, to maybe another look at the National Security Act of
1947, maybe a Goldwater-Nichols for the interagency.”
But in the answers to the committee’s questionnaire you
said you had no plan to recommend to the President any dramatic
change, but rather look to improve it. There are some of us
that think the Goldwater-Nichols recommendation was similar to
what came out of the Project on National Security Reform that
General Jones, Susan Rice, Jim Steinberg participated in before
they joined the administration. The administration apparently
has not gone along with that. As your recommendation–did your
recommendation change as a result of the administration’s
position, or do you think we need to take another look at the
National Security Act of 1947?
General Clapper. I think–what has been discussed about it,
and I don’t exactly remember the GEOINT discussion. I think it
had to do with the discussion that was at the time. I remember
specifically former chairman of the JCS, Pete Pace, who was a
proponent for a Goldwater-Nichols for the interagency, which
could–you know, that might have merit.
I do think it’s a different proposition, as Secretary
Gates, I think correctly, points out, that Goldwater-Nichols in
its original form, of course, only applied to one department.
So perhaps the principles of Goldwater-Nichols could be applied
perhaps in an interagency context.
Vice Chairman Bond. Well basically, that’s what the DNI is;
it’s an interagency agency. And that’s maybe–well, we will
discuss that further. But are there any particular aspects of
Goldwater-Nichols you believe should apply to the interagency?
General Clapper. Well, one of the benefits of Goldwater-
Nichols–and I was around and was probably part of the legion
of people that wrote papers in the Pentagon against it at the
time in the early 1980s, but now of course it is the accepted
norm. And what it meant in the department was placing a very
high premium on jointness and on joint duty. And so that is one
of the principles that was taken on, particularly by Director
McConnell, which I certainly agree with.
And we are experiencing a lot of mobility in the
intelligence community so that people get out of their home
stovepipe and move to other parts of the community. So that’s a
principle of Goldwater-Nichols that I think applies in the
intelligence community and, for that matter, could apply in the
Vice Chairman Bond. You suggest in answers to the committee
questionnaire that the area of greatest ambiguity in IRTPA is
the relationship with and authority of the DNI over the CIA.
What do you think is ambiguous in the law?
General Clapper. As I cited earlier, the IRTPA does
stipulate that the Director of CIA–Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency–is in charge of foreign intelligence
relationships. And of course, that’s what gave rise to the
dispute between DNI Blair and the Director of CIA. And I think
the law says that the DNI oversees those foreign relationships,
whatever that means. So I think that is an area of ambiguity.
Vice Chairman Bond. All right. Three changes that I think
might go a long way–I think you’ve addressed at least one of
them–would be giving the DNI milestone decision authority for
all intelligence programs funded 50 percent or more by NIP; two
would be changing the non-abrogation language in section 1018;
and the third is appropriating NIP funds directly to the DNI,
rather than through DOD and other departments.
What are your feelings on those three measures–1018,
milestone authority over—-
General Clapper. Well, I think there is an agreement now,
which took the form of a memorandum agreement that was signed
by Secretary Gates and Director McConnell that governs
milestone decision authority. And of course it is a shared
arrangement, depending on the predominance of the funding,
whether it’s in the department or in the NIP.
Non-abrogation, section 1018, was addressed in the revision
to Executive Order 12333. And there was some language appended
to that that basically amplified the process for potential
resolution of disputes, if in fact they had to go to the White
So at this point, I’m not prepared–as a nominee,
certainly–to make any recommendations about amending section
On DOD funding, I have been a proponent for taking the NIP
out of the DOD. Now, that carries with it some baggage, if you
will, in terms of the staffing mechanisms and processing, but I
think the long-term impact of that would be to actually
strengthen the DNI’s authorities over the National Intelligence
Given the revelation of the top line appropriated number of
the National Intelligence Program, the original reason for
burying that number in the Department of Defense budget kind of
goes away. And I have similarly argued–and the Secretary has
approved–publicizing the Military Intelligence Program for the
sake of completeness, both for the Congress and the public to
know the totality of the investment in intelligence in this
Vice Chairman Bond. Finally, you mentioned that you had
looked over the bill that Senator Hatch and I had on setting up
a national cyber center and a cyber defense alliance. Are there
any further thoughts that you have to share about that bill or
where we should be going on cyber?
General Clapper. Well, sir, there are, as you know, many–I
think there’s 34, 35 legislative proposals now in play which
address a whole range of cyber, cyber-related issues. So I
don’t want to preempt the administration on picking and
choosing which bill they like.
I do think, though, there are some appealing features in
the bill that you and Senator Hatch are sponsoring, which is
putting someone clearly in charge, having an identifiable
budget aggregation, co-location either physically or virtually,
I think. So those features–I have not read the bill itself but
I’ve read about it–I think are appealing.
Vice Chairman Bond. And the other thing, the importance
that–I think the thing that was different, the cyber defense
alliance would be a means for the private sector to come
together with government agencies and each other, protected
from FOIA and antitrust or other challenges, to discuss and
share information on the threats that were coming in. And if
you have any further information on that, I would appreciate
hearing it, either now or later.
General Clapper. Sir, I would recommend–if you haven’t
already–some dialogue with the Deputy Secretary Bill Lynne,
who has been very much in the lead for engaging with the
civilian sector, particularly the defense intelligence base, on
doing exactly this. And he’s done a lot of work, given this a
lot of thought. So I would commend a dialogue with him.
Vice Chairman Bond. All right. Well, thank you. And we’ve
talked with many, many different private sector elements who
are concerned that they don’t feel comfortable, don’t know
where to go, or how to get information and share it. And I
think they can be very, very perhaps helpful to each other and
to the government in identifying the threats that are coming
Well, thank you very much, General. As I said, we’ll have
some questions for the record. And I think there may be some
classified questions for that, and we’ll wait to hear a
response. And thank you for the time that you’ve given us.
Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Mr. Vice Chairman
and General Clapper. I think we’ve come to the end of the
Again, for all staff, if you can let your Members know,
please get the questions in by noon tomorrow. General Clapper
will address them as quickly as possible. We will then make a
decision whether we need a closed hearing. Perhaps these
questions can be asked in a classified fashion in writing. If
not, we will have a closed hearing, and we will try and move
this just as quickly as possible.
So, well done, General, and thank you everybody, and the
hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:43 p.m., the Committee adjourned.]

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Find this story at 20 July 2010