Covert Inquiry by F.B.I. Rattles 9/11 Tribunals

WASHINGTON — Two weeks ago, a pair of F.B.I. agents appeared unannounced at the door of a member of the defense team for one of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As a contractor working with the defense team at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the man was bound by the same confidentiality rules as a lawyer. But the agents wanted to talk.

They asked questions, lawyers say, about the legal teams for Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other accused terrorists who will eventually stand trial before a military tribunal at Guantánamo. Before they left, the agents asked the contractor to sign an agreement promising not to tell anyone about the conversation.

With that signature, Mr. bin al-Shibh’s lawyers say, the government turned a member of their team into an F.B.I. informant.

The F.B.I.’s inquiry became the focus of the pretrial hearings at Guantánamo this week, after the contractor disclosed it to the defense team. It was a reminder that, no matter how much the proceedings at the island military prison resemble a familiar American trial, the invisible hand of the United States government is at work there in ways unlike anything seen in typical courtrooms.

“It’s a courtroom with three benches,” said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School. “There’s one person pretending to be the judge, and two other agencies behind the scenes exerting at least as much influence.”

Thirteen years after 9/11, nobody has been convicted in connection with the attacks and, because of the F.B.I. visit, a trial could be delayed even longer. But it was only the latest in a string of strange events at Guantánamo Bay that, coupled with the decade-long delay, have undermined a process that was supposed to move swiftly, without the encumbrances of the civilian legal system and its traditional rules of evidence.

Last year, as a lawyer for Mr. Mohammed was speaking during another hearing, a red light began flashing. Then the videofeed from the courtroom abruptly cut out. The emergency censorship system had been activated. But why? And by whom? The defense lawyer had said nothing classified. And the court officer responsible for protecting state secrets had not triggered the system. Days later, the military judge, Col. James L. Pohl, announced that he had been told that an “original classification authority” — meaning the C.I.A. — was secretly monitoring the proceedings. Unknown to everyone else, the agency had its own button, which the judge swiftly and angrily disconnected.

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Last year, the government acknowledged that microphones were hidden inside what looked like smoke detectors in the rooms where detainees met with their lawyers. Those microphones gave officials the ability to eavesdrop on confidential conversations, but the military said it never did so.

“At some point, it just becomes silly,” said Glenn Sulmasy, a military law professor at the Coast Guard Academy who supports military trials for terrorism but said problems at Guantánamo Bay have undermined confidence in the system. “I don’t think we’re at that point yet, but at some point it just becomes surreal. It’s like there’s a shadow trial going on and we’re only finding out about it in bits and pieces.”

The court has also been troubled by computer problems. A botched computer update gave prosecutors and defense lawyers access to the other side’s confidential work. And the Pentagon acknowledged inadvertently searching and copying defense lawyers’ emails but said nobody read them.

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“These things keep happening,” a defense lawyer, James Harrington, said this week as he asked for an investigation into the F.B.I.’s activities. The other instances seemed like government intrusion, Mr. Harrington said, but lawyers could not prove it. “Here it really happened.”

The F.B.I. would not comment and military prosecutors said they knew nothing about the investigation. But the F.B.I. appears to be investigating how The Huffington Post got ahold of a 36-page manifesto that Mr. Mohammed had written in prison.

The government hopes to start the trial early next year, but it is not clear whether this issue will result in another delay. Mr. Harrington said he wanted Colonel Pohl to question F.B.I. officials and determine whether anyone else on the defense team had been approached by or gave information to the government.

“It’s just a horrible atmosphere to operate in,” Mr. Harrington said Friday. “It’s built on a shaky foundation, and one thing after another happens. I don’t see how anyone can have confidence in this process.”

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gmcnulty 24 days ago
The 9/11 terrorist murdered my son that day in September but I am sickened by the actions of some within our government.No matter what there…
GC 25 days ago
I have zero faith in the bureaucrats that run (leach off) our country. I am an eye for an eye purist, but we have laws for a reason. The…
RS 25 days ago
This is what our country has become, our so-called Democracy land of the free and the CIA.
Christopher Jenks, a Southern Methodist University law professor and a former military prosecutor, said he sympathized with the Guantánamo prosecutors, who appeared to have been just as surprised as defense lawyers by the appearance of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. in their cases.

“You have these military prosecutors who are normally empowered to own their cases. And they don’t here,” Mr. Jenks said. If this were any other country’s system, Mr. Jenks said, “The reaction would be, ‘Oh my gosh. What a kangaroo process.’ ”

President George W. Bush created the military tribunal system for suspected terrorists in 2001. Years of court challenges followed and after the Supreme Court struck down the tribunal’s rules in 2006, Congress hurriedly wrote new rules giving prisoners more rights. More changes followed in 2009 and the government says the process is far better and fairer now.

The 9/11 trial, if it occurs, will be the biggest test of that system. Six detainees in other cases have pleaded guilty before military commissions. Two others have gone to trial and been found guilty, only to have their convictions thrown out by an appeals court.

Greg McNeal, a former adviser to the top Guantánamo prosecutor, said the military tribunal system was ripe for episodes like the one with the F.B.I. because it is so new. The civilian system and the traditional military judicial system have well-established rules and precedents for handling issues that arise. “Because it’s new and different, they may have a sense that they can get away with things,” Mr. McNeal said. He added, “There are interagency fights happening behind the scenes that have been going on for the past decade.”

The Obama administration had hoped to prosecute the 9/11 case in a New York criminal court. But it reversed course in the face of security fears and criticism that the government would grant constitutional rights to terrorists.

While the military tribunals have been plagued by delays, the department has successfully prosecuted several terrorism cases in civilian courts. Most recently, prosecutors in Manhattan won a conviction against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the most senior adviser to Osama bin Laden to be tried in civilian court in the United States since 9/11.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. noted that the New York case had proceeded from capture to conviction in about a year. “It is hard to imagine this case being presented with greater efficiency or greater speed,” he said.

Correction: April 22, 2014
An article on Saturday about the F.B.I.’s involvement in terrorism-related trials misspelled the surname of a Southern Methodist University law professor and former military prosecutor. He is Christopher Jenks, not Jencks.


Find this story at 18 April 2014

© 2014 The New York Times Company

Judge Demands Details on Detainee’s Time in Secret C.I.A. Prisons

FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge ordered prosecutors on Tuesday to turn over never-revealed details about the time a Guantánamo Bay detainee spent in secret C.I.A. prisons after his arrest in connection with the deadly attack on the destroyer Cole in Yemen.

The order was a victory for defense lawyers representing the detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of orchestrating the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the Cole in Aden, Yemen. The attack killed 17 American sailors, wounded 42 others and tore a huge hole into the side of the ship.

Mr. Nashiri, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has been held at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006, after spending time at a series of secret C.I.A. prisons.

A C.I.A. inspector general’s report said Mr. Nashiri, considered to have once been one of the most senior leaders in Al Qaeda, was waterboarded and threatened with a gun and a power drill because interrogators believed he was withholding information about possible attacks against the United States. Such practices were allowed under rules approved by the George W. Bush administration, but many have since been repudiated.

Prosecutors, who can appeal Tuesday’s ruling, had argued that information about Mr. Nashiri’s time spent in C.I.A. custody was irrelevant. The defense says the case was tainted by C.I.A. actions in the secret prisons and could be used to spare him from the death penalty.

The government has confirmed little about what happened in the C.I.A. prisons. Tuesday’s order, by Col. James L. Pohl, a judge with the United States Army, did not make any details available to the public. His order explicitly noted that all parties in the case are required to follow a protective order barring release of classified information.

The judge said the government must provide details about Mr. Nashiri’s capture, detention, rendition and interrogation. The information the judge ordered the government to reveal included a chronology of how Mr. Nashiri was shuttled among the secret prisons, and how he was transported, clothed and restrained. The government must also provide reports, summaries of interrogations and any photos or videos documenting his confinement conditions.

Under the rules for military commissions, prosecutors are barred from using any evidence or testimony obtained by coercion, and the defense has argued that all information from Mr. Nashiri is tainted by the harsh treatment he endured.

The hearing was held Tuesday at Guantánamo Bay, but reporters were able to watch it here.


Find this story at 22 April 2014

© 2014 The New York Times Company

Guantánamo trial judge orders CIA to account for treatment of detainee

Judge James Pohl orders agency to produce detailed account of its detention of USS Cole bombing suspect at secret prison

A judge overseeing the trials of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay has ordered the CIA to turn over details of its treatment of a detainee in one of its secret prisons, a watershed ruling that sets the stage for the military commissions to learn much more than the US public about the agency’s brutal interrogations.

While the ruling is still sealed, Judge James Pohl, an army colonel, issued the order on Monday for the CIA to produce a detailed account of its detention and interrogation of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is charged with orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 US sailors.

Details of the order, issued through the military commissions prosecution team, were first reported by the Miami Herald on Thursday.

Pohl is also the judge overseeing the stalled 9/11 tribunal involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees. Their defense attorneys have long bemoaned their lack of access to CIA information about the treatment of their clients before their 2006 arrival at Guantánamo, which they argue directly impacts their fitness to stand trial and the evidence underlying their cases.

The defense teams in the 9/11 tribunal said on Thursday they would seek Pohl’s ruling on similar disclosure orders covering everything from a chronology of their clients’ detention, to any approvals by the CIA of the use of particular interrogation techniques.

Pohl’s move comes as the CIA is locked in a bitter public battle with the Senate intelligence committee over the panel’s recent report into the agency’s post-9/11 torture programs. It opens a new front for the agency in an unexpected venue.

A bright spot for the CIA may be that Pohl has not ruled that information regarding Nashiri’s treatment – which, according to declassified information, involved waterboarding and a threat with a gun and a revved power drill – must be made public, but rather turned over to the commission.

Lawyers for one of the defendants, Ammar al-Baluchi, filed a motion on April 2 to acquire the Senate committee report. Lawyers for Baluchi and co-defendant Ramzi bin al-Shibh said that the defense teams were now petitioning Pohl to issue a similar order for CIA disclosure in their cases.

“It is important to know what happened, who did it, where did it happen, who authorized it, who knew about it, and what was the result,” said Baluchi’s attorney, James Connell.

“Those are the important thing to know in order to answer some of the hugest questions in this case: what was the pretrial treatment of the defendants, what was the impact on the admissibility of their statements, what impact does it have on the United States’ compliance with international standards, and what impact does it have on the appropriate sentence of the case, if any.”

Pohl’s order to the CIA reportedly requires the agency to turn over more information than is contained in the portions of the report that the committee recently voted to declassify, including communications between the so-called “black site” prisons and agency headquarters; names of interrogators; and the techniques used on Nashiri.

Brigadier General Mark Martins, the chief military commissions prosecutor in both cases, did not tip his hand as to whether he would contest the CIA disclosure order.

“We are studying that ruling,” Martins said.

“I can pledge that whatever happens, whatever we do will adhere to the rule of law and will be an effort to seek justice.”

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd declined comment, saying: “As a general matter, CIA does not comment on ongoing court litigation.”

Human rights advocates hailed Pohl’s ruling on the CIA as a potential transparency breakthrough.

“For the first time, the CIA is being forced to disclose details about secret black sites and torture that it has fought for years to hide,” said Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the ACLU.

“Without this information, defense lawyers cannot properly do their job and represent their client.”

Andrea Prasow of Human Rights Watch said the Pohl ruling “represents a chink in the armor of secrecy that the US government erected around its torture program”.

Along with the Senate report’s partial declassification, “it is only a matter of time before the public will learn the horrific details of officially sanctioned torture, and the pattern of lies designed not only to allow torture to continue, but to immunize torturers from prosecution,” Prasow said.

If the prosecution believes the defense teams in either the Nashiri or the 9/11 case ought to receive CIA accounts of their treatment in the agency’s custody but the CIA disagrees, Connell said the tribunals in either case would have to be paused to resolve the dispute.

“The agency with equities in that information can have a veto over the prosecution,” Connell said.

Spencer Ackerman at Guantánamo Bay, Thursday 17 April 2014 18.39 BST

Find this story at 17 April 2014

© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Guantánamo judge to CIA: Disclose ‘black site’ details to USS Cole defense lawyers

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — The military judge in the USS Cole bombing case has ordered the CIA to give defense lawyers details — names, dates and places — of its secret overseas detention and interrogation of the man accused of planning the bombing, two people who have read the still-secret order said Thursday.

Army Col. James L. Pohl issued the five-page order Monday. It was sealed as document 120C on the war court website Thursday morning and, according to those who have read it, orders the agency to provide a chronology of the overseas odyssey of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 49, from his capture in Dubai in 2002 to his arrival at Guantánamo four years later.

The order sets the stage for a showdown between the CIA and a military judge, if the agency refuses to turn over the information to the prosecution for the defense teams. The order comes while the CIA fights a bitter, public battle with the Senate on its black site torture investigation.

The judge’s order instructs prosecutors to provide nine categories of closely guarded classified CIA information to the lawyers — including the names of agents, interrogators and medical personnel who worked at the so-called black sites. The order covers “locations, personnel and communications,” interrogation notes and cables between the black sites and headquarters that sought and approved so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, the two sources said.

It does not, however, order the government to turn over Office of Legal Counsel memos that both blessed and defined the so-called Torture Program that sent CIA captives to secret interrogations across the world after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — out of reach of International Committee of the Red Cross delegates.

“It’s a nuclear bomb that may shut down the case,” said one person who read the order and is not a part of the Cole case.

It covers so many of the agency’s closely guarded secrets that the source predicted “the prosecution would probably take an interlocutory appeal,” meaning rather than release the information Pentagon prosecutors will ask a military commissions appeals court to overrule Pohl.

It was not known whether the CIA would assert a national security privilege. “As a general matter, CIA does not comment on ongoing court litigation,” said agency spokesman Dean Boyd.

Different remedies sometimes suggested by defense attorneys in pretrial hearings range from abating the proceedings until the government complies to making life in prison, rather than military execution, the maximum possible penalty.

The chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, would not comment on whether he would appeal.

“We are studying that order,” he said, adding that the prosecution would comply with both “the rule of law” and “our discovery obligation.”

Nashiri pretrial hearings are still scheduled for next week, he said.

Defense lawyers at the five-man Sept. 11 war crimes trial said Thursday that, upon learning of Pohl’s order in the USS Cole case, they styled a motion seeking access to the same CIA information about their clients.

After the Miami Herald disclosed the order Thursday morning, Nashiri’s civilian lawyer, Rick Kammen, cast it as material that “the prosecution has publicly resisted producing.”

“The prosecution’s argument that the defense is precluded from checking the government’s work is frivolous. One of the defense functions is to check the government’s story,” he said. “The biggest cause of reversals in capital cases is due to prosecutorial withholding of exculpatory material including material relevant to punishment.”

He added: “We also note that the CIA has lied to at least three federal courts, the 9/11 Commission and, according to the newspapers, Congress. This demonstrated history of lying clearly obligates us to a full investigation.”

Even if the prosecution does secure the information from the CIA and releases it to Nashiri’s lawyers, that does not necessarily mean that the public will get to know the details.

The program is still classified, and Pohl ordered the material produced as discovery — for pretrial preparation in the case of Nashiri, the Saudi captive who the U.S. has called the mastermind of al-Qaida’s suicide bombing.

Two men sailed a bomb-laden skiff alongside the Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, and blew themselves up, crippling the warship and killing 17 U.S. sailors.

The development comes two weeks after the Senate voted to declassify a portion of an investigation of the so-called CIA torture program that could contain some of the answers sought by lawyers for Nashiri before his death-penalty trial. But the judge’s order appears to go further to a level of detail not provided in the executive summary, findings and recommendations that might be made public, if President Barack Obama agrees.

It also follows the recent Pentagon release of unclassified portions of a secret Feb. 22 Cole case hearing among lawyers with security clearances that allow them to know certain aspects of the still-secret CIA Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program.

One person who read Pohl’s ruling this week said the order “largely ordered a huge amount of RDI material produced to the defense.” Pohl apparently at one point specifies that information must be unredacted, not blacked out.

At that hearing, the lead prosecutor preparing for Nashiri’s Dec. 4 death-penalty tribunal, Navy Cmdr. Andrea Lockhart, argued that the government had provided the defense with anything “relevant” to trial preparation.

The defense doesn’t have the authority to “double-check the government’s work,” Lockhart told the judge, “and they certainly don’t have the right to do their own independent investigation” of what happened to Nashiri.

Pohl apparently concluded otherwise.

Defense lawyers want to independently reconstruct what happened to Nashiri in secret confinement to challenge the integrity of certain evidence and to argue that his mistreatment disqualifies a death penalty sentence.

The CIA waterboarded him, and an internal abuse investigation showed its agents interrogated Nashiri while he was nude and that they threatened him with a revving power drill, handgun and threats to sexually assault his mother.

Chief prosecutor Martins, has already noted that the Obama administration revamped the tribunal to prohibit use of involuntary interrogations at trial. In the transcript, Lockhart says all mistreatment of Nashiri is now in the public domain.

Navy Cmdr. Brian Mizer, one of Nashiri‘s lawyers, told the Miami Herald recently that an investigation of the treatment should determine whether any of Nashiri’s answers to questions at Guantánamo were truly voluntary: “You have to get back to the past to determine whether this is just a dog barking on command.”

A military medical board has diagnosed Nashiri, 49, a self-described former millionnaire merchant from Mecca, as having post-traumatic stress disorder and a major depressive disorder.

His lawyers want to interview officials who worked at the black sites, comb through manifests and read approved Standard Operating Procedures on so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that spelled out how to waterboard Nashiri in secret custody.

Posted on Thursday, 04.17.14

Find this story at 17 April 2014

Copyright 2014 Miami Herald Media Co.


Horn of Africa nation has denied hosting secret prison facilities for US, but classified document may undermine claim

The legal case of a former CIA detainee suing the government of Djibouti for hosting the facility where he says he was detained could be helped by the contents of a still-classified Senate report. Djibouti, a key U.S. ally, has denied for years that its territory has been used to keep suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in secret captivity. But the Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” concluded that several people had been secretly detained in the tiny Horn of Africa state, two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report told Al Jazeera.

Official confirmation of Djibouti’s role in hosting “black sites” used in the CIA’s rendition program would be welcomed by Mohammad al-Asad, a Yemeni arrested at his home in Tanzania on Dec. 27, 2003, blindfolded and flown to a location he insists was Djibouti. Two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation — and who requested anonymity because the report remains classified — were unaware of whether al-Asad’s case was specifically cited in the document. But they confirmed that the report found that several detainees had been held in Djibouti, and that at least two of them had been wrongfully detained.

Djibouti’s Ambassador to the U.S., Roble Olhaye, told Al Jazeera his country was not a “knowing participant” in the CIA’s rendition program and he rejected claims by al-Asad that he was temporarily imprisoned there.

However, Olhaye said, “If something was done in the context of the American base there how would we know?” But, he said, Djibouti’s agreement with the U.S. precluded the base from being used to house prisoners.

Al-Asad said that after his arrival in the country he alleges was Djibouti, he was held in a prison cell and tortured. He said he was interrogated by an American woman about his connections to the now-defunct Saudi charity Al-Haramain. The group, later accused by the U.S. Treasury of supporting terrorism, had in 1994 rented apartment space from al-Asad in a building he owned in Tanzania.

Yemeni citizen Mohammad al-Asad
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, al-Asad, now 54 years old, said he was detained for about two weeks in Djibouti and then rendered to Afghanistan, where he says he was tortured at various points over the course of more than a year at several CIA black site prisons.

Before he was released in 2005 and sent back to Yemen, he said, he received a visitor from Washington.

“What I remember through the interpreter was that he said, ‘I am the head of the prison, and you will be the first one at the top of the list of the people we are going to release because we have nothing on you,’” al-Asad told Al Jazeera. “The interpreter said that he was the director of all the prisons.”

Al-Asad was never charged with terrorism or related crimes, but he pleaded guilty in Yemen to making false statements and using forged documents to obtain his Tanzanian travel papers.

Al-Asad, who still lives in Yemen, has been trying since his release to hold Djibouti officials accountable for his detention. In 2009, he sought redress from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a quasi-judicial body that has jurisdiction over Djibouti and other countries that approved the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In the coming days, that commission, which is based in Gambia, is expected to decide whether it will take up al-Asad’s case.

Olhaye called al-Asad a “liar”, adding, “Everything about his case relies on hearsay and conjecture. There were no flights that came to Djibouti on that day he said he was brought to my country from Tanzania. That was checked by our lawyers.”

But John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, who has spent more than a decade investigating the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program testified before the commission last year and said “the fact that the flight records of CIA aircraft that are public do not include a flight that matches Mr. al-Asad’s trajectory is not indicative of anything in and of itself.”

Sifton said the CIA could “easily circumvent data collection” and “aircraft used by the CIA could easily be rendered untraceable while flying in and around Djibouti.”

Al-Asad has based his legal case on flight records, collected by Human Rights Watch and the U.K.-based human rights charity Reprieve, demonstrating CIA-linked aircraft flying in and out of Djibouti (PDF).

His lawyers have also obtained documents from Tanzanian immigration officials stating that al-Asad was sent to Djibouti on a Tanzanair aircraft after his 2003 arrest.

“This is one of the most direct pieces of evidence we have showing that Djibouti is where our client was held before being handed to the rendition team on the tarmac,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, al-Asad’s attorney and a professor at New York University’s Global Justice Clinic.

Al-Asad, who still lives in Yemen, has been trying since his release to hold Djibouti officials accountable for his detention.
If the case proceeds, it will mark the first such investigation into the workings of the rendition program in Africa, and could open the door to additional legal challenges by former “war on terror” captives.

A handful of similar cases are already pending before the European Court of Human Rights. However, U.S. courts — citing state secrecy — have rejected attempts by detainees to hold their former captors accountable.

Al Jazeera’s sources noted that in addition to 6 million pages of CIA records, Senate committee investigators obtained some information about the wrongful detentions from people they characterized as “whistleblowers.” The U.S. officials declined to elaborate.

Djibouti, a former French colony, has been one of the key U.S. counterterrorism partners for more than a decade, hosting the Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier. The U.S. Air Force also reportedly uses Djibouti as a base for a fleet of drones to strike at Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab suspects in Yemen and Somalia.

According to human rights researchers, after 9/11 dozens of suspects captured by the U.S. were secretly detained, interrogated and tortured in Djibouti.

The Obama administration, as recently as August 2012, reportedly continued to render suspects to Djibouti for short-term detention. Although President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2009 banning the CIA’s use of black-site prisons, the order states that it does “not apply to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.”

Confirmation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of Djibouti’s role in the rendition program would be a “critical” development, said Satterthwaite.

“The cooperation of countries all over the world — including Djibouti — was central to the operation of the U.S. rendition, secret detention, and torture program,” Satterthwaite said. “While the role of European partners such as Poland and Romania has been the subject of much reporting and investigation, the assistance of countries such as Djibouti has yet to be scrutinized. Further, as the home of a fleet of U.S. drones, Djibouti is an enormously important partner but has not received adequate scrutiny for its role in facilitating U.S. abuses.”

The cooperation of countries all over the world — including Djibouti — was central to the operation of the U.S. rendition, secret detention, and torture program.
Margaret Satterthwaite
Al-Asad’s attorney
Jonathan Horowitz, who works on national security and legal issues at the Open Society Justice Initiative, said al-Asad’s case provides the African human rights commission with an opportunity “to state that African governments can’t collude with other governments to abuse human rights, and they can’t use the fight against terrorism to justify violating people’s rights.”

Last year, Open Society issued a report, Globalizing Torture, which found that 54 countries, including Djibouti, were complicit in the extraordinary rendition of 136 CIA prisoners. The nonpartisan Constitution Project also produced a Detainee Task Force report identifying Djibouti as a CIA rendition partner and focused heavily on al-Asad’s case to support its conclusions.

“One of the things that is really important to recognize here is that the CIA torture and rendition program couldn’t have gone global without the assistance from other countries,” Horowitz said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to work on strengthening its counterterrorism relationship with Djibouti. Next week, Djibouti’s president, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, will travel to the U.S. to meet with President Obama at the White House. Ambassador Olhaye does not believe the Senate’s report, if it is ever released, will identify his country as a rendition partner.

“I don’t believe the Senate report will say anything about my government,” he said. “Maybe about the American base. Our prisons have not been participating in that kind of thing.” Olhaye said neither he nor anyone from his country has had any discussions with U.S. officials about the Senate’s report.

May 2, 2014 5:00AM ET
by Jason Leopold @JasonLeopold

Find this story at 2 May 2014

© 2014 Al Jazeera America, LLC.


Senate investigators want public reckoning of torture tactics under Bush admin., despite CIA attempts to obstruct

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted 11-3 Thursday to declassify parts of a secret report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects.
“The purpose of this review was to uncover the facts behind this secret program, and the results were shocking. The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the committee, said in a statement. “This is not what Americans do.”
Now that the 15-member panel votes has approved the declassification of a 400-page summary and the key findings of its report, the onus is on the Central Intelligence Agency and a reluctant White House to speed the release of one of the most definitive accounts about the government’s actions after the 9/11 attacks.

The CIA will now start scanning the report’s contents for any passages that compromise national security.

That has led to fears that the CIA, already accused of illegally monitoring the Senate’s investigation and deleting files, could sanitize key elements of what Senate investigators aim to be the fullest public reckoning of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on Al-Qaeda suspects in CIA-run prisons abroad. Feinstein has urged the White House to get involved.
Thumbnail image for Senate CIA torture report could throw Gitmo hearings into chaos
Senate CIA torture report could throw Gitmo hearings into chaos
Release of study on detention program might further disrupt military commissions for terrorist suspects at Guantánamo

Congressional aides and outside experts familiar with the document say it is highly critical of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, and concludes among other things that such practices provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The CIA disputes many of the conclusions in the report.

“It’s important to tell the world, ‘Yes, we made a mistake and we’re not going to do it again,'” said Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who planned to vote for the summary’s release.

Human rights groups and advocates too believe the release of the report crucial to ensuring that similar tactics are never adopted again and that the debate over torture is settled once and for all.
“This information has been kept secret from the American people and from policymakers for years and keeping it secret just perpetuates the false impression that torture is effective and works,” said Laura Pitter, senior national security researcher at Human Rights Watch. “In fact, is is immoral, illegal and ineffective and never should be employed, and was a terrible mistake that the U.S. needs to reckon with on so m any levels.”

But some in the intelligence community said the Senate report, which was written by the committee’s Democratic staff, was missing a key element: the voices of key CIA officials.

Those missing include former Bush administration officials involved in authorizing the use of waterboarding and other harsh questioning methods, or managing their use in secret “black site” prisons overseas.

“Neither I or anyone else at the agency who had knowledge was interviewed,” said Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s chief clandestine officer in the mid-2000s, who had operational oversight over the detention and interrogation program. “They don’t want to hear anyone else’s narrative,” he said of the Senate investigation. “It’s an attempt to rewrite history.”

Rodriguez himself is a key figure in the Senate report, not least for his order in 2005 to destroy 92 videotapes showing waterboarding of terror suspects and other harsh techniques.

Rodriguez said the Senate’s report would be a “travesty” without input from him and officials such as former CIA directors Michael Hayden and Porter Goss. Congressional aides said the CIA’s own field reports, internal correspondence, cables and other documents described day-to-day handling of interrogations and the decision-making and actions of Rodriguez and others.

Senate investigators have griped for years about what they contend is the CIA’s failure to be held accountable for the harsh methods used during the George W. Bush administration’s war on terror.

Bad blood between Senate aides and the CIA ruptured into the open last month when Feinstein took to the Senate floor to accuse the agency of improperly monitoring the computer use of Senate staffers and deleting files, undermining the Constitution’s separation of powers. The CIA alleges the Senate panel illegally accessed certain documents. The Justice Department is reviewing criminal complaints against each side.

Feinstein said this week she had “no idea” how long a declassification process would take, but expressed hope that it could be resolved in a matter of weeks.

Amid all the distrust, Senate Democrats are pressing for President Barack Obama to step into the fray.

Obama, who outlawed waterboarding after taking office, sought closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and released long-secret, Bush-era legal documents on harsh interrogations. He has publicly supported declassification of at least the findings of the Senate committee’s report “so that the American people can understand what happened in the past, and that can help guide us as we move forward.”

Still, the president has so far declined to weigh in publicly on Congress’ dispute with the CIA.

April 3, 2014 12:19PM ET Updated 3:26PM ET
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press

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© 2014 Al Jazeera America, LLC.

Europe rights court hears of CIA prisons

Lawyers say a Saudi national and a Palestinian were tortured in a secret US facility in a remote part of Poland.

Human rights groups believe about eight ‘terror’ suspects were held in Poland [AP]

The secret network of black site prisons across Europe that the CIA used to interrogate “terror” suspects has had a rare public hearing at Europe’s human rights court.

Lawyers for two suspects, currently held by the US in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, accuse Poland of human rights abuses.

They told the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday that the two fell victim to the CIA’s programme to kidnap suspects and transfer them to third countries.

They also allege they were tortured in a remote Polish prison.

One of the cases concerns 48-year-old Saudi national, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who faces “terror” charges in the US for allegedly orchestrating the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

The second case involves 42-year-old Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian.

Both men say they were brought to Poland in December 2002, where they were detained and subjected to harsh questioning in a Polish military installation in Stare Kiejkuty, a village in the country’s remote northeast.

They are asking the court to condemn Poland for various abuses of rights guaranteed by Europe’s Convention on Human Rights.

Former CIA officials have told the Associated Press news agency that a prison in Poland operated from December 2002 until the fall of 2003.

Human rights groups believe about eight suspects were held in Poland, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Polish leaders in office at the time, former President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former Prime Minister Leszek Miller denied the prison’s existence.

Last updated: 03 Dec 2013 16:23

Find this story at 3 December 2013

Two terror suspects sue Poland over ‘CIA torture’

The European Court of Human Rights is hearing a case brought by two terror suspects who accuse Poland of conniving in US human rights abuses.

The two men are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

It is the first time that allegations about a CIA “black site” prison in a European country have been heard in an open court.

Abu Zubaydah and another al-Qaeda suspect say they were tortured at a secret prison in Poland in 2002-2003.

Nearly a year ago the court ruled against Macedonia for abuses suffered by Khaled el-Masri, another suspect who was held for CIA interrogation.

Abu Zubaydah, a 42-year-old Palestinian, allegedly made travel arrangements for jihadis loyal to Osama Bin Laden, including those who carried out the September 2001 attacks in the US.

The other suspect in the Poland case is Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, a Saudi accused of organising the 2000 attack on the USS Cole warship in Yemen, in which 17 sailors died.

Their lawyers are representing them in Strasbourg and a court statement said their submissions are based mainly on publicly available sources, because of the restrictions imposed at Guantanamo Bay.

Only part of the hearing is public – the rest is being held behind closed doors.

Mr Nashiri’s lawyers accused Poland of turning a blind eye to CIA abuses
‘Extraordinary rendition’

The two men allege that they were subjected to torture, other ill treatment and incommunicado detention in Poland, while in US custody.

The “waterboard” technique – simulated drowning – was among the methods allegedly used during their interrogation. Their lawyers also say the men were subjected to mock executions in Poland and told their families would be sexually abused.

The men were allegedly flown to Poland on the same “rendition plane” in December 2002.

Reports by a Council of Europe investigator, Swiss senator Dick Marty, detailed “war on terror” operations by the CIA in several European countries. He named the Polish detention centre as Stare Kiejkuty, an intelligence training base near Szczytno in northern Poland.
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The Polish government’s investigation into the issue was in reality nothing more than a smoke-screen”
Crofton Black
Investigator at Reprieve

The Strasbourg judges will deliver their verdict on the case at a later stage.

Former President George W Bush authorised the rendition policy shortly after the 9/11 attacks to allow the CIA to interrogate terror suspects secretly outside the US.

Crofton Black, an investigator at the human rights campaign group Reprieve, said: “European support for the CIA’s torture programme is one of the darkest chapters of our recent history – it is encouraging that the court now looks set to bring it to light, where the [Polish] government has sought to sweep it under the carpet.”

“We have now heard overwhelming and uncontested evidence that the CIA was running a secret torture prison on Polish soil, with the Polish government’s knowledge.

“The Polish government has failed to contest that it knew prisoners were being held beyond the rule of law and tortured by the CIA inside their own country. It has also become clear that the Polish government’s investigation into the issue was in reality nothing more than a smoke-screen, which was neither designed nor intended to get to the truth,” he said.

A lawyer representing Poland said the Polish authorities should be allowed to complete their own investigation into the claims first.

In December 2012 the judges ruled that Macedonia had violated the rights of Khaled al-Masri, a Lebanese-born German citizen, and ordered Macedonia to pay him 60,000 euros (£50,000; $82,000). He was kidnapped in Macedonia in 2003, flown to a secret jail in Afghanistan and tortured there.

3 December 2013 Last updated at 10:31 ET

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BBC © 2013 The BBC

Guantánamo Bay detainees claim Poland allowed CIA torture

Terror suspects subjected to extraordinary rendition tell European court of human rights they were waterboarded

Judges of the European court of human rights during a hearing at the court in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Lawyers for two men subject to extraordinary rendition by the CIA told the European court of human rights (ECHR) on Tuesday that Poland, which permitted a secret “black” site to operate on its territory, should be held responsible for their torture.

The two-day hearing at Strasbourg was the first time a European country has been taken to court for allowing US agencies to carry out “enhanced” interrogation and “waterboarding” programmes. In a highly unusual legal move, the media and public were barred from the opening day’s session.

The military base at Stare Kiejkuty, north of Warsaw, it was revealed, had previously been used by German intelligence and later the Soviet army during the second world war. One of the men, it was alleged, was subjected to mock executions while hooded and otherwise naked.

Abd al-Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national of Yemeni descent, and Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, a stateless Palestinian, maintain they were waterboarded and abused during interrogation in Poland. Both men are being held by the US in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The court also heard a submission from Ben Emmerson QC, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, who argued that where gross or “systematic human rights violations are alleged to have occurred, the right to know the truth is not only an individual right that belongs to the immediate victim of the violation, but also a collective right that belongs to the whole of society”.

Nashiri, who was born in 1965, is the prime suspect in the terrorist attack on the US navy ship USS Cole in the harbour of Aden, Yemen, in October 2000. He is also suspected of playing a role in the attack on the French oil tanker MV Limburg in the Gulf of Aden in October 2002.

Husayn, born in 1971, was considered by US authorities to be an important member of al-Qaida and is alleged to have been involved in planning the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

They claim that after being captured by the CIA they were transferred on the same “rendition” plane in December 2002 to a secret detention site in Poland, with the knowledge of the Polish authorities, for the purpose of interrogation and were tortured.

Nashiri maintains he was seized in Dubai in October that year and subsequently moved around secret CIA detention facilities in Afghanistan and Thailand before being taken to Poland. He remained in a secret detention centre until early June 2003, when he was secretly transferred, with the assistance of the Polish authorities, to Morocco and then, in September 2003, to Guantánamo Bay.

He claims he was subjected to the so-called “waterboard technique”, where a detainee is tied to a bench with his feet elevated above his head, a cloth placed over his mouth and nose and water poured on to the cloth producing the sensation of drowning and suffocation.

Nashiri alleges he was also forced into prolonged stress positions – kneeling on the floor and leaning back – and was threatened that his family would be abused if he did not provide information.

Amrit Singh, of the Open Society Justice Initiative who represented Nashiri, said that her client had been repeatedly tortured. “The court heard expert testimony [on Monday] confirming how Polish officials filed false flight plans and assisted in the cover-up of CIA operations,” Singh said. “In a secluded villa, hidden from sight, CIA interrogators subjected him to torture: to mock executions while he stood naked and hooded before them; to painful stress positions that nearly dislocated his arms from his shoulders; and to threats of bringing in his mother to sexually abuse her in front of him.” He now faces the death penalty before a US military commission, she added.

Husayn alleges that, having been captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and subsequently transferred to a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand, he was brought to Poland in early December 2002 where he was held in a secret CIA detention facility until September 2003.

According to his submissions, Husayn was waterboarded, placed in a box and exposed to extreme noise.

Communication with his lawyers is restricted, making it impossible to pass on information or evidence directly from him to the ECHR. The presentation of his case is principally based on publicly available sources.

Pádraig Hughes, a lawyer with Interights who presented Husayn, said before the hearing: “We hope that the court’s ruling will make it clear that the actions by the Polish authorities were a clear violation of human rights and should never be repeated by any country that properly respects human rights and the rule of law.”

Crofton Black, a researcher with the London-based human rights organisation Reprieve, who has been researching the issue of secret prisons in Europe during the ‘War on Terror’ sat in on the first, closed day of the hearing.

“We have now heard overwhelming and uncontested evidence that the CIA was running a secret torture prison on Polish soil, with the Polish Government’s knowledge,” he said. “Despite being given many opportunities to do so, the Polish Government has failed to contest that it knew prisoners were being held beyond the rule of law and tortured by the CIA inside their own country.

“It has also become clear that the Polish government’s investigation into the issue was in reality nothing more than a smoke-screen, which was neither designed nor intended to get to the truth.

A Polish offical told the court that his country was the only European state that was “conducting a real investigation” and that the inquiry had been hindered by the fact that it was difficult for the prosecutor to talk to the complainants. Relations between Poland and the US, he added, were subject to secrecy.

Romania and Lithuania also have cases pending at the ECHR for hosting secret CIA prisons. Judgment was reserved.

Owen Bowcott and Ian Cobain, Tuesday 3 December 2013 13.15 GMT

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© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds

Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes

An al-Qaida detainee at Guantanamo Bay in 2002: the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at the prison in recent years. Photograph: Shane T Mccoy/PA

Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded.

The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees”.

Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra “first do no harm” did not apply, because they were not treating people who were ill.

The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding.

The two-year review by the 19-member taskforce, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, supported by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations, says that the DoD termed those involved in interrogation “safety officers” rather than doctors. Doctors and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner’s physical and psychological condition with interrogators and were used as interrogators themselves. They also failed to comply with recommendations from the army surgeon general on reporting abuse of detainees.

The CIA’s office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that “enhanced interrogation” methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.

Although the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at Guantánamo Bay in recent years, and the CIA has said it no longer has suspects in detention, the taskforce says that these “changed roles for health professionals and anaemic ethical standards” remain.

“The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve,” said Dr Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University and member of the taskforce.

He added: “It’s clear that in the name of national security the military trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice. We have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again.”The taskforce says that unethical practices by medical personnel, required by the military, continue today. The DoD “continues to follow policies that undermine standards of professional conduct” for interrogation, hunger strikes, and reporting abuse. Protocols have been issued requiring doctors and nurses to participate in the force-feeding of detainees, including forced extensive bodily restraints for up to two hours twice a day.

Doctors are still required to give interrogators access to medical and psychological information about detainees which they can use to exert pressure on them. Detainees are not permitted to receive treatment for the distress caused by their torture.

“Putting on a uniform does not and should not abrogate the fundamental principles of medical professionalism,” said IMAP president David Rothman. “‘Do no harm’ and ‘put patient interest first’ must apply to all physicians regardless of where they practise.”The taskforce wants a full investigation into the involvement of the medical profession in detention centres. It is also calling for publication of the Senate intelligence committee’s inquiry into CIA practices and wants rules to ensure doctors and psychiatrists working for the military are allowed to abide by the ethical obligations of their profession; they should be prohibited from taking part in interrogation, sharing information from detainees’ medical records with interrogators, or participating in force-feeding, and they should be required to report abuse of detainees.

Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian, Monday 4 November 2013

Find this story at 4 November 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

The 6,000-Page Report on CIA Torture Has Now Been Suppressed for 1 Year

It cost $40 million to produce, documents serious wrongdoing, and doesn’t threaten national security. Team Obama won’t release it.

One year ago today, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to adopt a 6,000-page report on the CIA rendition, detention, and interrogation program that led to torture. Its contents include details on each prisoner in CIA custody, the conditions of their confinement, whether they were tortured, the intelligence they provided, and the degree to which the CIA lied about its behavior to overseers. Senator Dianne Feinstein declared it one of the most significant oversight efforts in American history, noting that it contains “startling details” and raises “critical questions.” But all these months later, the report is still being suppressed.

The Obama Administration has no valid reason to suppress the report. Its contents do not threaten national security, as evidenced by the fact that numerous figures who normally defer to the national-security state want it released with minor redactions. The most prominent of all is Vice President Joe Biden.

Another is Senator John McCain.

“What I have learned confirms for me what I have always believed and insisted to be true—that the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is not only wrong in principle and a stain on our country’s conscience, but also an ineffective and unreliable means of gathering intelligence,” he said in a statement. “… It is therefore my hope that this Committee will take whatever steps necessary to finalize and declassify this report, so that all Americans can see the record for themselves, which I believe will finally close this painful chapter for our country.”

They are hardly alone.

In order to mark the one-year anniversary of the report being adopted (only to be suppressed), the Center for Victims of Torture has assembled a list of 58 figures of note who insist that the public ought to be able to read the important document. It includes a total of eight U.S. senators and numerous former Obama Administration officials, including Harold Koh and Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering.

Former CIA employees who want the report released include John Rizzo, former CIA general counsel; Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of operations and analysis at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center; and Glenn Carle, 23-year veteran of CIA (among others). If it’s former military flag officers that will sway you, here are fewer than half of the ones who want the report on CIA imprisonment released:

General Joseph P. Hoar, former Commander, U.S. Central Command; General Charles C. Krulak, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; General David M. Maddox, former Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Europe; General Barry McCaffrey, former Assistant Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Merrill A. McPeak, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard Jr.; Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, former Inspector General, Department of the Navy; Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, former Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Strategic Command; Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, former Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee; Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency; Lieutenant General James M. Thompson, former Director for Estimates, Defense Intelligence Agency; Major General Paul D. Eaton, former Commanding General of the command charged with reestablishing Iraqi Security Forces.

Despite all these figures calling for the report’s release, the Obama Administration, which promised voters that it would be the most transparent in history, has bowed to pressure from a faction within the CIA to keep secret the most thorough accounting we have of the agency’s lawless, immoral behavior during the Bush years. In doing so, Team Obama makes it less likely that we learn the lessons of CIA torture, and more likely that America tortures again one day.

Conor Friedersdorf
Dec 13 2013, 12:01 AM ET

Find this story at 13 December 2013

Copyright © 2013 by The Atlantic Monthly Group

What is the Torture Report?

The Torture Report, an initiative of the ACLU’s National Security Project, aims to give the full account of the Bush administration’s torture program, from its improvised origins to the systematized, lawyer-rationalized maltreatment of hundreds of prisoners in U.S. custody around the world.

How is the Report being written?

Published serially online in a novel, responsive format, The Torture Report will bring together everything we now know from government documents, official investigations, press reports, photographs, witness statements, testimonials, and several vivid and meticulously-researched books into a single narrative – one that is updated dynamically and subject to critical review and improvement as it unfolds.

The principal author of the Report is Larry Siems, who directs the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center and leads PEN’s ongoing efforts to defend writers facing persecution around the world and to protect freedom of expression in the United States. In addition to his human rights work, Siems is a poet and a nonfiction writer who has written and reported on undocumented workers, immigrant politics and human rights abuses along the U.S., and whose poems have appeared in leading literary journals.

We have also invited a group of expert contributors to offer comments and observations as new material appears. These contributors include Matthew Alexander, David Frakt, Glenn Greenwald, Joanne Mariner, Deborah Popowski, John Sifton, and Marcy Wheeler, as well as attorneys from the ACLU; their annotations are viewable in line in the text. We also invite you, the reader, to contribute additional information and comments at the end of the chapter. As new sections are added to the Report, chapters already online will be edited, expanded, or amended to address or incorporate the most valuable suggestions and latest information.

How do I navigate the site?

The Torture Report site encompasses several related web pages. At its core is the Report itself, to which new sections will be added regularly.

The Diary page, which will greet you each time you visit the site and which is updated frequently, will guide you to the latest additions to the Report and to new information or revelations that will be integrated into the Report in the future.

The Documents page makes available much of the primary-source material through which the narrative is revealed, incorporating a searchable archive of official the government documents the ACLU has gathered through litigation under the Freedom of Information Act.

Why do we need The Torture Report?

There is an urgent need for The Torture Report.

Assembling a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute, accessible account of the Bush administration’s torture program is vital to advancing public awareness of what happened, how it happened, and who should be held responsible for violations of U.S. and international law.

The recent appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate specific abuses in CIA custody is not likely to lead to a full accounting: that investigation was narrowly focused at the outset and reportedly grows narrower by the day. Congress has yet to initiate a full, serious investigation of prisoner abuse and other detention violations. There is little political will to press for accountability and little likelihood that any official reviews now underway will produce the kind of authoritative public record that is needed.

Several excellent reports and books have exposed significant elements of the program, but they either don’t attempt to tell the whole story or no longer reflect the full scope of what is known. The direct documentary evidence of abuse is now voluminous – too voluminous for most people to explore and make sense of on their own.

The Torture Report will provide both a readable, up-to-the-minute narrative account of what the evidence reveals and the tools for you to examine the mounting record of abuse yourself.

Find this story at 2012


Interrogation Inc.: A Window Into C.I.A.’s Embrace of Secret Jails

WASHINGTON — In March 2003, two C.I.A. officials surprised Kyle D. Foggo, then the chief of the agency’s main European supply base, with an unusual request. They wanted his help building secret prisons to hold some of the world’s most threatening terrorists.

Mr. Foggo, nicknamed Dusty, was known inside the agency as a cigar-waving, bourbon-drinking operator, someone who could get a cargo plane flying anywhere in the world or quickly obtain weapons, food, money — whatever the C.I.A. needed. His unit in Frankfurt, Germany, was strained by the spy agency’s operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Mr. Foggo agreed to the assignment.

“It was too sensitive to be handled by headquarters,” he said in an interview. “I was proud to help my nation.”

With that, Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees, according to former intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter. One jail was a renovated building on a busy street in Bucharest, Romania, the officials disclosed. Another was a steel-beam structure at a remote site in Morocco that was apparently never used. The third, another remodeling project, was outside another former Eastern bloc city. They were designed to appear identical, so prisoners would be disoriented and not know where they were if they were shuttled back and forth. They were kept in isolated cells.

The existence of the network of prisons to detain and interrogate senior operatives of Al Qaeda has long been known, but details about them have been a closely guarded secret. In recent interviews, though, several former intelligence officials have provided a fuller account of how they were built, where they were located and life inside them.

Mr. Foggo acknowledged a role, which has never been previously reported. He pleaded guilty last year to a fraud charge involving a contractor that equipped the C.I.A. jails and provided other supplies to the agency, and he is now serving a three-year sentence in a Kentucky prison.

The C.I.A. prisons would become one of the Bush administration’s most extraordinary counterterrorism programs, but setting them up was fairly mundane, according to the intelligence officials.

Mr. Foggo relied on C.I.A. finance officers, engineers and contract workers to build the jails. As they neared completion, he turned to a small company linked to Brent R. Wilkes, an old friend and a San Diego military contractor.

The business provided toilets, plumbing equipment, stereos, video games, bedding, night vision goggles, earplugs and wrap-around sunglasses. Some products were bought at Target and Wal-Mart, among other vendors, and flown overseas. Nothing exotic was required for the infamous waterboards — they were built on the spot from locally available materials, the officials said.

Mr. Foggo, 55, would not discuss classified details about the jails. He was not charged with wrongdoing in connection with the secret prisons, but instead accused of steering other C.I.A. business to Mr. Wilkes’ companies in exchange for expensive vacations and other favors. Before leaving the C.I.A. in 2006, he had become its third-highest official, and his plea was an embarrassment for the agency.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the intelligence world’s embrace of dark-of-night snatch-and-grabs, hidden prisons and interrogation tactics that critics condemned as torture has stained the C.I.A.’s reputation and led to legal challenges, investigations and internal divisions that may take years to resolve. The Justice Department is now considering opening a criminal investigation, with much of the attention focused on the agency’s network of secret prisons, which have become known as the “black sites.”

From Fringes to Spotlight

The demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had transformed Mr. Foggo from a fringe player into the C.I.A.’s indispensable man. Before the 9/11 attacks, the Frankfurt base was a relatively sleepy resupply center, running one or two flights a month to outlying stations. Within days of the attacks, Mr. Foggo had a budget of $7 million, which quickly tripled.

He managed dozens of employees, directing nearly daily flights of cargo planes loaded with pallets of supplies, including saddles, bridles and horse feed for the mounted tribal forces that the spy agency recruited. Within weeks, he emptied the C.I.A.’s stockpile of AK-47s and ammunition at a Midwest depot.

He was a logical choice for the prison project: aggressive, resourceful, patriotic, ready to dispense a favor; some inside the C.I.A. jokingly compared him to Milo Minderbinder, the fictional character who rose from mess hall officer to the black-market magnate of Joseph Heller’s World War II novel “Catch-22.”

Early in the fight against Al Qaeda, agency officials relied heavily on American allies to help detain people suspected of terrorism in makeshift facilities in countries like Thailand. But by the time two C.I.A. officials met with Mr. Foggo in 2003, that arrangement was under threat, according to people briefed on the situation. In Thailand, for example, local officials were said to be growing uneasy about a black site outside Bangkok code-named Cat’s Eye. (The agency would eventually change the code name for the Thai prison, fearing it would appear racially insensitive.) The C.I.A. wanted its own, more permanent detention centers.

Eventually, the agency’s network would encompass at least eight detention centers, including one in the Middle East, one each in Iraq and Afghanistan and a maximum-security long-term site at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that was dubbed Strawberry Fields, officials said. (It was named after a Beatles song after C.I.A. officials joked that the detainees would be held there, as the lyric put it, “forever.”)

The C.I.A. has never officially disclosed the exact number of prisoners it once held, but top officials have put the figure at fewer than 100.

At the detention centers Mr. Foggo helped build, several former intelligence officials said, the jails were small, and though they were built to house about a half-dozen detainees they rarely held more than four.

The cells were constructed with special features to prevent injury to the prisoners during interrogations: nonslip floors and flexible, plywood-covered walls to soften the impact of being slammed into the wall.

The detainees, held in cells far enough apart to prevent communication with one another, were kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. For their one hour of daily exercise, they were taken out of their cells by C.I.A. security officers wearing black ski masks to hide their identities and to intimidate the detainees, according to the intelligence officials.

Just like prisons in the United States, the jailers imposed a reward and punishment system: well-behaved detainees received books, DVDs and other forms of entertainment, which were taken away if they misbehaved, the officials said.

C.I.A. analysts served 90-day tours at the prison sites to assist the interrogations. But by the time the new prisons were built in mid-2003 or later, the harshest C.I.A. interrogation practices — including waterboarding — had been discontinued.

Winning a Promotion

Mr. Foggo’s success in Frankfurt, including his work on the prisons, won him a promotion back in Washington. In November 2004, he was named the C.I.A.’s executive director, in effect its day-to-day administrative chief.

The appointment raised some eyebrows at the agency. “It was like taking a senior NCO and telling him he now runs the regiment,” said A. B. Krongard, the C.I.A.’s executive director from 2001 to 2004. “It popped people’s eyes.”

Mr. Foggo soon became embroiled in agency infighting. The C.I.A. was reeling from criticism that it had exaggerated Iraq’s weapons programs. Mr. Foggo came to Washington as part of a new team that almost immediately began firing top C.I.A. officials, causing anger among veteran clandestine officers. Mr. Foggo’s fast rise and blunt approach unsettled some headquarters officials, according to Brant G. Bassett, a former agency officer and friend who served with Mr. Foggo.

“Dusty went in there with a blowtorch,” Mr. Bassett said. “Some people were overjoyed, but there were a few others who said, we’ve got to take this guy down.”

In 2005, before he came under investigation, Mr. Foggo and other officials, including John Rizzo, the agency’s top lawyer, paid a rare visit to some of the prison sites, assuring C.I.A. employees that their activities were legal, according to former intelligence officials. Mr. Foggo also met with representatives of Eastern European security services that had helped with the prisons. He expressed gratitude and offered assistance — a gesture the officials politely declined.

In February 2007, Mr. Foggo and Mr. Wilkes were indicted. Prosecutors believed that the C.I.A. had paid an inflated price to Archer Logistics, a business connected to Mr. Wilkes that had a $1.7 million C.I.A. supply contract. In return, the prosecutors claimed, Mr. Wilkes had taken Mr. Foggo on expensive vacations, paid for his meals at expensive restaurants and promised him a lucrative job when he retired.

“I was taking a trip with my best friend,” Mr. Foggo said in his defense. “It looked bad, but we had been taking trips together since we were 17 years old.”

Mr. Foggo said he had turned to Mr. Wilkes’ companies to bypass the cumbersome C.I.A. bureaucracy, not to provide a sweetheart deal to his oldest friend. “I needed something done by someone I trusted in private industry,” Mr. Foggo said.

Downfall in Court

Mr. Wilkes maintains his innocence, but he was eventually convicted in a bribery scandal involving former Representative Randall Cunningham of California. Mr. Foggo pleaded guilty and is serving a sentence on the fraud count, but he still maintains that he was unfairly prosecuted.

His lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said he believed that Mr. Foggo’s legal problems stemmed in part from controversies over his stint as executive director. “Nobody ever accused Dusty Foggo of putting a dime in his pocket, failing to do his job, or compromising national security,” Mr. MacDougall said. “Dusty may have made some mistakes, but this case was driven by professional animosity at C.I.A. and personal ambition.”

When Mr. Foggo’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to obtain access to agency files about his role in the prison program, prosecutors complained that he was trying to disclose a secret program. Mr. Foggo claimed that he was reluctant to divulge his role in classified programs and pleaded guilty, in part, to avoid revealing his secrets.

In an Aug. 1, 2007, letter, a C.I.A. lawyer informed Mr. Foggo’s lawyers that they could not review any classified files related to the prisons. The agency’s letter concluded, “In light of the president’s statements regarding the extraordinary value and sensitivity of the C.I.A. terrorist detention and interrogation program, the C.I.A. denies your request in its entirety.”

August 13, 2009

Find this story at 13 August 2009

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company


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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

Revealed: Guantanamo suspects were ‘turned’ into double agents at secret facility

CIA paid millions of dollars to small band of inmates who were recruited to spy on al-Qa’ida leaders

The CIA was doing more than just incarcerating and interrogating the hundreds of terror suspects who were rounded up and delivered to the fortified Guantanamo Bay military prison in a remote corner of Cuba in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In a few cases it was also trying to turn them into double agents.

Click image above to enlarge graphic

The programme, run from a secret facility within Guantanamo Bay which has never been revealed until now, ran from 2002 until 2006 and drew the personal attention of George W Bush who was then in the White House.

A number of terror suspects were successfully turned and sent back to their countries in the hope that they would reconnect with the al-Qa’ida network and feed information back to the CIA to help it locate and kill high-profile targets, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.

Only those believed still to have legitimate contacts with the top hierarchies of terror group were considered for the secret programme. Once identified, they were tempted by an assortment of inducements, most notably large sums of cash as well as promises from the CIA that their safety and that of their families would thereafter be assured, including with new false identities.

The money for the men, which over time came to millions of dollars, was drawn from a secret CIA fund called the “Pledge”. More prosaically, these special recruits were offered equally special privileges while they remained at Guantanamo Bay, including being taken out of the main cell blocks and moved to a group of small, relatively cosy bungalows set several hundred yards away beyond a screen of shrub and cactus.

The cottages, which went by the codename Penny Lane, had their own patios, kitchens and private showers. Perhaps most tempting of all, they featured proper beds with regular mattresses.

The Penny Lane moniker was derived from The Beatles song, in a nod to the fact that the main cell block complex had already become known as “Strawberry Fields”, because of the next word in the chorus – “forever”. More than 10 years later some of the detainees are still incarcerated in them with little prospect of release.

Some also took collectively to calling the hidden cottages the “Marriott”, because of their relative comfort. Allegedly, the Penny Lane residents were even allowed to access pornography if they so requested.

There was no comment today from the CIA. Details of the programme, which came laden with heavy risks, were pieced together by the Associated Press following interviews with numerous current and former US officials who were familiar with it. They, however, spoke on condition of anonymity. Others familiar with Guantanamo Bay did not express particular surprise.

“Of course that would be an objective,” noted Emile Nakhleh, a former top CIA analyst who helped assess detainees, without discussing the programme further. “It’s the job of intelligence to recruit sources.”

“I do see the irony on the surface of letting some really very bad guys go,” David Remes, a lawyer for a group of Yemeni detainees at the facility, told the AP. He too, however, saw what the CIA was hoping to achieve. “The men we were sending back as agents were thought to be able to provide value to us.”

Mr Bush was sufficiently intrigued to speak at the White House directly to one CIA official who was involved in Afghanistan, where the suspects-turned-agents were sent to upon their release from Penny Lane. By contrast, President Barack Obama is said to have raised concerns about any of those who were supposedly still helping the CIA when he took office in 2009 and ordered a review of all such operations.

If the programme remained a heavily guarded secret, it was surely because of the rather obvious risks associated with it, notably that the men, once released would immediately take part in new attacks against the US and publicly reveal their journeys through Penny Lane to embarrass Washington. There was also concern that if any of them identified a target for drone attack they might themselves have been killed even while being in the pay of the CIA.

While sources said that the programme did result in some successful CIA assassinations of high-priority targets, they conceded that in other cases men simply vanished upon release never to be heard from again. They said there is no evidence, however, that any of them turn around again and killed any Americans.

The treatment of inmates by the US at Guantanamo Bay has repeatedly been condemned by human rights groups. The facility remains a political thorn in the side for President Obama, who has failed to fulfil a pledge made when he was first elected to close it down quickly. He was stymied in particular by resistance on Capitol Hill to any notion of terror suspects being moved to US soil for trial in the regular court system.

Public attention will be directed back to Guantanamo Bay next year in particular with the expected start of the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on America.

David Usborne
Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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Penny Lane: Gitmo’s other secret CIA facility

This Sept. 2, 2010 satellite image provided by and DigitalGlobe shows a portion of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including the secret facility known as Penny Lane, upper middle in white. In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned a handful of prisoners at the secret facility into double agents and released them. Current and former U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that the program helped kill terrorists. The program was carried out in the secret facility, built a few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the prison in Guantanamo Bay, bottom of image. The eight small cottages were hidden behind a ridge covered in thick scrub and cactus. (AP Photo/ and DigitalGlobe)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the Guantanamo Bay prison, hidden behind a ridge covered in thick scrub and cactus, sits a closely held secret.

A dirt road winds its way to a clearing where eight small cottages sit in two rows of four. They have long been abandoned. The special detachment of Marines that once provided security is gone.

But in the early years after 9/11, these cottages were part of a covert CIA program. Its secrecy has outlasted black prisons, waterboarding and rendition.

In these buildings, CIA officers turned terrorists into double agents and sent them home.

It was a risky gamble. If it worked, their agents might help the CIA find terrorist leaders to kill with drones. But officials knew there was a chance that some prisoners might quickly spurn their deal and kill Americans.

For the CIA, that was an acceptable risk in a dangerous business. For the American public, which was never told, it was one of the many secret trade-offs the government made on its behalf. At the same time the government used the threat of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA.

Nearly a dozen current and former U.S officials described aspects of the program to The Associated Press. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the secret program, even though it ended in about 2006.

The program and the handful of men who passed through these cottages had various official CIA codenames. But those who were aware of the cluster of cottages knew it best by its sobriquet: Penny Lane.

It was a nod to the classic Beatles song and a riff on the CIA’s other secret facility at Guantanamo Bay, a prison known as Strawberry Fields.

Some of the men who passed through Penny Lane helped the CIA find and kill many top al-Qaida operatives, current and former U.S. officials said. Others stopped providing useful information and the CIA lost touch with them.

When prisoners began streaming into the prison on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January 2002, the CIA recognized it as an unprecedented opportunity to identify sources. That year, 632 detainees arrived at the island. The following year 117 more arrived.

“Of course that would be an objective,” said Emile Nakhleh, a former top CIA analyst who spent time in 2002 assessing detainees but who did not discuss Penny Lane. “It’s the job of intelligence to recruit sources.”

By early 2003, Penny Lane was open for business.

Candidates were ushered from the confines of prison to Penny Lane’s relative hominess, officials said. The cottages had private kitchens, showers and televisions. Each had a small patio.

Some prisoners asked for and received pornography. One official said the biggest luxury in each cottage was the bed, not a military-issued cot but a real bed with a mattress.

The cottages were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.

Current and former officials said dozens of prisoners were evaluated but only a handful, from varying countries, were turned into spies who signed agreements to spy for the CIA.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd declined to comment.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who serves on the Armed Services and Homeland Security oversight committees, said Tuesday that she was still learning more about the program but was concerned about the numbers of prisoners who were released by the Bush and Obama administrations and returned to fight with terrorists against U.S. interests.

“So, when I juxtapose that to the CIA actually thinking that they can convert these people, I think it was very ill-conceived program for them to think that,” Ayotte said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports. “These are some very hard-core individuals and many whom have been released by both administrations have gotten back in to fight us and our allies, unfortunately.”

Appearing on the program with Ayotte, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said it was difficult for him to evaluate the CIA program’s effectiveness. “But it has a degree of recklessness to it that I would be very concerned about,” Casey said.

The U.S. government says it has confirmed about 16 percent of former Guantanamo Bay detainees rejoin the fight against America. Officials suspect but have not confirmed that another 12 percent rejoined.

Though the number of double agents recruited through Penny Lane was small, the program was significant enough to draw keen attention from President George W. Bush, one former official said. Bush personally interviewed a junior CIA case officer who had just returned home from Afghanistan, where the agency typically met with the agents.

President Barack Obama took an interest the program for a different reason. Shortly after taking office, he ordered a review of the former detainees working as double agents because they were providing information used in Predator drone strikes, one of the officials said.

Infiltrating al-Qaida has been one of the CIA’s most sought-after but difficult goals, something that other foreign intelligence services have only occasionally accomplished. So candidates for Penny Lane needed legitimate terrorist connections. To be valuable to the CIA, the men had to be able to reconnect with al-Qaida.

From what the Bush administration was saying about Guantanamo Bay prisoners at the time, the CIA would have seemingly had a large pool to draw from.

Vice President Dick Cheney called the prisoners “the worst of a very bad lot.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said they were “among the most dangerous, best trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth.”

In reality, many were held on flimsy evidence and were of little use to the CIA.

While the agency looked for viable candidates, those with no terrorism ties sat in limbo. It would take years before the majority of detainees were set free, having never been charged. Of the 779 people who were taken to Guantanamo Bay, more than three-fourths have been released, mostly during the Bush administration.

Many others remain at Guantanamo Bay, having been cleared for release by the military but with no hope for freedom in sight.

“I do see the irony on the surface of letting some really very bad guys go,” said David Remes, an American lawyer who has represented about a dozen Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo.

But Remes, who was not aware of Penny Lane, said he understands its attraction.

“The men we were sending back as agents were thought to be able to provide value to us,” he said.

Prisoners agreed to cooperate for a variety of reasons, officials said. Some received assurances that the U.S. would resettle their families. Another thought al-Qaida had perverted Islam and believed it was his duty as a Muslim to help the CIA destroy it.

One detainee agreed to cooperate after the CIA insinuated it would harm his children, a former official said, harkening to similar threats interrogators lodged against admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

All were promised money. Exactly how much each was paid remains unclear. But altogether, the government paid millions of dollars for their services, officials said. The money came from a secret CIA account, codenamed Pledge, that’s used to pay informants, officials said.

The arrangement led to strategic discussions inside the CIA: If the agency’s drones had a shot at Osama bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, would officials take the shot if it meant killing a double agent on the American payroll?

It never came to that.

The biggest fear, former officials involved with the program recalled, was that a former detainee would attack Americans, then publicly announce that he’d been on the CIA payroll.

Al-Qaida suspected the CIA would attempt a program like this and its operatives have been very suspicious of former Guantanamo Bay detainees, intelligence officials and experts said.

In one case, a former official recalled, al-Qaida came close to discovering one of the double agents in its midst.

The U.S. government had such high hopes for Penny Lane that one former intelligence official recalled discussion about whether to secretly release a pair of Pakistani men into the United States on student or business visas. The hope was that they would connect with al-Qaida and lead authorities to members of a U.S. cell.

Another former senior intelligence official said that never happened.

Officials said the program ended in 2006, as the flow of detainees to Guantanamo Bay slowed to a trickle. The last prisoner arrived there in 2008.

Penny Lane still stands and can be seen in satellite photos. The complex is surrounded by two fences and hidden among the trees and shrubs of Guantanamo Bay.


Associated Press writer Ben Fox contributed to this story from San Juan, P.R.

— Nov. 26, 2013 3:42 PM EST

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© 2013 Associated Press

Arundhati Roy on Iraq War’s 10th: Bush May Be Gone, But “Psychosis” of U.S. Foreign Policy Prevails

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the global justice activist and author Arundhati Roy joins us to discuss the war’s legacy. Roy is the author of many books, including “The God of Small Things,” “Walking with the Comrades,” and “Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers.” Roy argues the imperial mentality that enabled the United States to invade Iraq continues today unabated across the world. “We are being given lessons in morality [by world leaders] while tens of thousands are being killed, while whole countries are shattered, while whole civilizations are driven back decades, if not centuries,” Roy says. “And everything continues as normal.” [includes rush transcript]

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: March 19th marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. According to a new report by Brown University, a decade of war led to the deaths of roughly 134,000 Iraqi civilians and potentially contributed to the deaths of many hundreds of thousands more. According to the report, the Iraq War has cost the U.S. more than $2 trillion, including half-a-trillion dollars in benefits owed to veterans. The report says the war has devastated rather than helped Iraq, spurring militant violence, setting back women’s rights and hurting the healthcare system. Most of the more than $200 billion supposedly set aside for reconstruction in Iraq was actually used for security or lost amid rampant fraud and waste. Many in Iraq continue to suffer the consequences of the invasion. This is Basma Najem, whose husband was shot dead by U.S. forces in Basra in 2011.

BASMA NAJEM: [translated] We expected that we would live in a better situation when the occupation forces, the U.S. forces, came to Iraq. We expected that the situation would be improved. But contrary to our expectation, the situation deteriorated. And at the end, I lost my husband. I have no breadwinner in this world now, and I have six kids. I could not imagine my life would be changed like this. I do not know how it happened.

AMY GOODMAN: The consequences of the war are still visible here in the United States, as well. Military veterans continue to face extremely high levels of unemployment, traumatic brain injury, PTSD and homelessness. Almost a quarter of recent veterans come home injured either physically or emotionally, and an estimated 18 veterans commit suicide every day. This is Ed Colley, whose son, Army Private Stephen Colley, took his own life in 2007.

EDWARD COLLEY: We lost our son shortly after he returned from Iraq. He had asked for help, but he didn’t get the help that he needed. And clearly, he was trying to do what he could for himself and could think of no other cure, obviously, than to take his own life.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about this 10th anniversary, we’re joined by the award-winning writer and activist Arundhati Roy, one of the most vocal critics of the Iraq War. In a moment, she’ll join us from Chicago. But first let’s go back to 2003 to a speech she gave at Riverside Church here in New York.

ARUNDHATI ROY: When the United States invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And an ABC News poll said that 55 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported al-Qaeda. None of this opinion is based on evidence, because there isn’t any. All of it is based on insinuation or to suggestion and outright lies circulated by the U.S. corporate media, otherwise known as the “free press,” that hollow pillar on which contemporary American democracy rests. Public support in the U.S. for the war against Iraq was founded on a multitiered edifice of falsehood and deceit, coordinated by the U.S. government and faithfully amplified by the corporate media.

Apart from the invented links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, we had the manufactured frenzy about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. George Bush the Lesser went to the extent—went to the extent of saying it would be suicidal for Iraq—for the U.S. not to attack Iraq. We once again witnessed the paranoia that a starved, bombed, besieged country was about to annihilate almighty America. Iraq was only the latest in a succession of countries. Earlier, there was Cuba, Nicaragua, Libya, Granada, Panama. But this time it wasn’t just your ordinary brand of friendly neighborhood frenzy. It was frenzy with a purpose. It ushered in an old doctrine in a new bottle: the doctrine of preemptive strike, also known as the United States can do whatever the hell it wants, and that’s official. The war against Iraq has been fought and won, and no weapons of mass destruction have been found, not even a little one.

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, speaking in October of 2003 at Riverside Church here in New York, seven months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Arundhati has written many books, including The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize. Her other books include Walking with the Comrades and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, among others. She now joins us from Chicago.

Arundhati Roy, welcome to Democracy Now! As you watch yourself 10 years ago and reflect back 10 years ago to this week when the U.S. invaded Iraq, your thoughts today?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, Amy, before that, we remember how—I think it was 50 million people across the world who marched against the war in Iraq. It was perhaps the biggest display of public morality in the world—you know, I mean, before the war happened. Before the war happened, everybody knew that they were being fed lies. I remember saying, you know, it’s just the quality of the lies that is so insulting, because we are being—used to being lied to.

But, unfortunately, now, all these years later, we have to ask ourselves two questions. One is: Who benefited from this war? You know, we know who paid the price. I heard—I heard you talking about that, so I won’t get into that again. But who benefited from this war? Did the U.S. government? Did the U.S. people benefit? Did they get the oil contracts that they wanted, in the way that they wanted? The answer is no. And yet, today you hear Dick Cheney saying he would do it all over again in a second.

So, unfortunately, we are dealing with psychosis. We are dealing with a psychopathic situation. And all of us, including myself, we can’t do anything but keep being reasonable, keep saying what needs to be said. But that doesn’t seem to help the situation, because, of course, as we know, after Iraq, there’s been Libya, there’s Syria, and the rhetoric of, you know, democracy versus radical Islam. When you look at the countries that were attacked, none of them were Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalist countries. Those ones are supported, financed by the U.S., so there is a real collusion between radical Islam and capitalism. What is going on is really a different kind of battle.

And, you know, most people are led up a path which keeps them busy. And in a way, all of us are being kept busy, while the real business at the heart of it—I mean, apart from the people who suffered during the war. Let’s not forget the sanctions. Let’s not forget Madeleine Albright saying that a million children dying in Iraq because of the sanctions was a hard price but worth it. I mean, she was the victim, it seems, of the sanctions; you know, her softness was called upon, and she had to brazen herself to do it. And today, you have the Democrats bombing Pakistan, destroying that country, too. So, just in this last decade, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria—all these countries have been—have been shattered.

You know, we heard a lot about why—you know, the war in Afghanistan was fought for feminist reasons, and the Marines were really on this feminist mission. But today, all the women in all these countries have been driven back into medieval situations. Women who were liberated, women who were doctors and lawyers and poets and writers and—you know, pushed back into this Shia set against Sunnis. The U.S. is supporting al-Qaeda militias all over this region and pretending that it’s fighting Islam. So we are in a situation of—it is psychopathic.

And while anyone who resisted is being given moral lessons about armed struggle or violence or whatever it is, at the heart of this operation is an immorality and a violence and a—as I keep using this word—psychopathic violence, which even the people in the United States are now suffering for. You know, there is a connection, after all, between all these wars and people being thrown out of their homes in this country. And yet, of course we know who benefits from these wars. May not be the oil contracts, but certainly the weapons industry on which this economy depends for—you know, for a great part. So, all over, even between India and Pakistan now, people are advocating war. And the weapons industry is in with the corporations in India.

So, we are really being made fools of. You know, this is what is so insulting. We are being, you know, given lessons in morality while tens of thousands are being killed, while whole countries are shattered, while whole civilizations are driven back decades, if not centuries. And everything continues as normal. And you have—you have people, like criminals, really, like Cheney, saying, “I’ll do it again. I’ll do it again. I won’t think about it. I’ll do it again.” And so that’s the situation we are in now.

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati, a decade after the invasion of Iraq, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair stood by his decision to go to war, saying it saved Iraq from a fate worse than Syria’s at the moment.

TONY BLAIR: I think if we’d—if we’d backed off and we’d left him in power, you just imagine, with what is happening in Syria now, if you’d left Saddam in charge of Iraq, you would have had carnage on an even worse scale in Syria and with no end in sight. So, you know, this was the most difficult decision I ever took and the most balanced decision. But I still—personally, I still believe we were better to remove him than leave him.

AMY GOODMAN: That was British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former prime minister. Arundhati Roy, your response?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, you know, I don’t know. Maybe they need to be put into a padded cell and given some real news to read, you know? I mean, how can you say this, after creating a situation in Iraq where no—I mean, every day people are being blown up? There are—you know, mosques are being attacked. Thousands are being killed. People have been made to hate each other. In Iraq, women were amongst the most liberated women in the world, and they have been driven back into having to wear burqas and be safe, because of the situation. And this man is saying, “Oh, we did such a wonderful thing. We saved these people.” Now, isn’t that like—isn’t it insane? I mean, I don’t know how to respond to something like that, because it’s like somebody looking at somebody being slaughtered and saying, “Oh, he must be enjoying it. We are really helping him,” you know? So, how do you argue rationally against these people?


ARUNDHATI ROY: We just have to think about what we need to do, you know? But we can’t have a conversation with them in this—at this point.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see President Obama going in a different direction?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Of course not. I don’t see him going in a different direction at all. I mean, the real question to ask is: When was the last time the United States won a war? You know, it lost in Vietnam. It’s lost in Afghanistan. It’s lost in Iraq. And it will not be able to contain the situation. It is hemorrhaging. It is now—you know, of course you can continue with drone attacks, and you can continue these targeted killings, but on the ground, a situation is being created which no army—not America, not anybody—can control. And it’s just, you know, a combination of such foolishness, such a lack of understanding of culture in the world.

And Obama just goes on, you know, coming out with these smooth, mercurial sentences that are completely meaningless. I was—I remember when he was sworn in for the second time, and he came on stage with his daughters and his wife, and it was all really nice, and he said, you know, “Should my daughters have another dog, or should they not?” And a man who had lost his entire family in the drone attacks just a couple of weeks ago said, “What am I supposed to think? What am I supposed to think of this exhibition of love and family values and good fatherhood and good husbandhood?” I mean, we’re not morons, you know? It’s about time that we stopped acting so reasonable. I just don’t feel reasonable about this anymore.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back and talk about what’s happening in Kashmir, a place you’ve been focusing on recently, Arundhati. Arundhati Roy is the award-winning writer, renowned global justice activist. Among her books, The God of Small Things, her most recent book, Walking with the Comrades, and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

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CIA director faces a quandary over clandestine service appointment

As John Brennan moved into the CIA director’s office this month, another high-level transition was taking place down the hall.

A week earlier, a woman had been placed in charge of the CIA’s clandestine service for the first time in the agency’s history. She is a veteran officer with broad support inside the agency. But she also helped run the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and signed off on the 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called torture.

The woman, who remains undercover and cannot be named, was put in the top position on an acting basis when the previous chief retired last month. The question of whether to give her the job permanently poses an early quandary for Brennan, who is already struggling to distance the agency from the decade-old controversies.

Brennan endured a bruising confirmation battle in part over his own role as a senior CIA official when the agency began using water-boarding and other harsh interrogation methods. As director, he is faced with assembling the CIA’s response to a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee that documents abuses in the interrogation program and accuses the agency of misleading the White House and Congress over its effectiveness.

To help navigate the sensitive decision on the clandestine service chief, Brennan has taken the unusual step of assembling a group of three former CIA officials to evaluate the candidates. Brennan announced the move in a previously undisclosed notice sent to CIA employees last week, officials said.

“The director of the clandestine service has never been picked that way,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

The move has led to speculation that Brennan is seeking political cover for a decision made more difficult by the re-emergence of the interrogation controversy and the acting chief’s ties to that program.

She “is highly experienced, smart and capable,” and giving her the job permanently “would be a home run from a diversity standpoint,” the former senior U.S. intelligence official said. “But she was also heavily involved in the interrogation program at the beginning and for the first couple of years.”

The former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in discussing internal agency matters, said that Brennan “is obviously hesitating” at making the chief permanent.

CIA officials disputed that characterization. “Given the importance of the position of the director of the National Clandestine Service, Director Brennan has asked a few highly respected former senior agency officers to review the candidates he’s considering for the job,” said Preston Golson, a CIA spokesman.

The group’s members were identified as former senior officials John McLaughlin, Stephen Kappes and Mary Margaret Graham.

Golson said Brennan will make the decision but added that “asking former senior agency officers to review the candidates will undoubtedly aid the selection process by making sure the director has the benefit of the additional perspectives from these highly experienced and respected intelligence officers.”

Other candidates to run the clandestine service include a former station chief in Pakistan and the director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center . Neither person can be named because they are undercover.

The service is the most storied part of the CIA. It sends spies overseas and carries out covert operations including running the agency’s ongoing drone campaign.

The service has also long been perceived as a male bastion that has blocked the career paths of women even while female officers have ascended to the top posts in other divisions, including the directors of analysis and science.

No woman has held the job of CIA director or led the clandestine service until now.

The acting chief, who according to public records is in her 50s, is part of a generation that over the past two decades has pushed through many obstacles confronting women. The CIA refused to comment on her background, but former colleagues said she mastered several languages and served multiple tours in Moscow and other cities overseas. She also held senior posts at CIA headquarters.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, she took on a senior assignment at the Counterterrorism Center, which put her in the chain of command on the interrogation and detention program, former officials said.

In a fateful decision, the CIA set up a video camera at its secret prison in Thailand shortly after it opened in the months after the attacks. The agency recorded more than 90 tapes of often-brutal interrogations, footage that became increasingly worrisome to officials as the legal basis for the program began to crumble.

When the head of the Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, was promoted to head of the clandestine service in 2004, he took the female officer along as his chief of staff. According to former officials, the two repeatedly sought permission to have the tapes destroyed but were denied.

In 2005, instructions to get rid of the recordings went out anyway. Former officials said the order carried just two names: Rodriguez and his chief of staff.

The officer went on to hold top positions in London and New York before returning to Langley as deputy chief of the clandestine service. She became acting director on Feb. 28, when the previous head of the service, John Bennett, retired.

The Justice Department has twice investigated the tapes’ destruction and brought no charges against anyone at the CIA.

Former senior CIA officials said that outcome should clear any obstacles to the acting director getting the job permanently. But the seemingly dormant controversy over the interrogation program was revived by Brennan’s nomination and completion of a 6,000-page report from the Senate Intelligence Committee that accuses the agency of exaggerating the program’s results.

The acting director is mentioned in several passages of the report, according to officials familiar with its contents, although they declined to provide more details.

Amid calls for the public release of the report, Brennan faces having to devise a response that doesn’t alienate his workforce or the lawmakers who confirmed him for his job.

By Greg Miller and Julie Tate, Published: March 27

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Symbols of Bush-era Lawlessness Flourish Under Obama Guantanamo Bay prison plans expansion, while CIA official linked to torture cover-up gets promoted

During the George W. Bush years, two of the most controversial elements of what was then called the Global War on Terror were the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program and the creation of the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay. The RDI program included waterboarding and other forms of torture, as well as so-called black site prisons where detainees were held incommunicado after being abducted by the CIA, and sometimes tortured by members of the host country’s security forces.

Guantanamo Bay and the RDI program are both back in the news now, each for their own unsavory reasons, and their reemergence should be a reminder of how fully the Obama administration has embraced the logic underpinning the Bush regime’s response to 9/11. The Pentagon is now requesting nearly $200 million for Guantanamo Bay infrastructure upgrades, including $49 million for a new unit for “special” prisoners – likely the so-called high-value detainees currently housed at Camp 7, which include self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Pentagon’s reasoning is that neither the president nor Congress have any plans to close the prison anytime soon, so these repairs are necessary.

This massive capital request comes as detainees are engaged in an increasingly dire hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention and to signal their lack of hope for transfer or release. Instead of closing Guantanamo Bay, the Obama administration stands poised to do the very opposite – pour more money into what is already the country’s most expensive prison.

Meanwhile, participation in the CIA’s controversial RDI program has resulted for at least one person not in prosecution or professional sanctions, but rather in a promotion. For the last several weeks, an unnamed woman has been acting director of the National Clandestine Service – the part of the CIA that runs spying and covert operations, including the CIA’s drone program – as first reported by the Washington Post. This is the first time a woman has held that position. But this particular woman was a major figure in the RDI program, once ran a black site prison, and has been linked to the destruction of interrogation tapes that almost certainly documented the CIA’s use of torture.

In 2005, the unnamed woman was chief of staff for Jose Rodriguez, then the acting director for the clandestine service. Rodriguez ordered the destruction of at least 92 tapes CIA agents made of the interrogations of two high-value detainees, Abu Zubayah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri – at least some of which included waterboarding, which is widely regarded as a form of torture. The New York Times reported that the woman “and Jose were the two main drivers for years for getting the tapes destroyed” – an anonymous quote they attributed to a “former senior CIA officer.” In his memoir, Rodriguez said that the woman drafted the cable allowing the destruction of the tapes after meeting with CIA lawyers.

by John Knefel
APRIL 02, 2013

Find this story at 2 April 2013

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