Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, as the Full Senate prepares to consider the nomination of Robert Gates to the post of Director of Central Intelligence, it is important for us to keep in mind that we are entering a new era in intelligence gathering. The world we live in today is full of questions, and we need a person at the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency who can provide the answers we need.
Mr. Gates' qualifications to head the CIA and the American intelligence community are well established. He has spent his entire adult life in government service, working to protect the interests of our Nation, first as a member of the CIA and then as deputy to National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft.
Mr. President, I request that a copy of an editorial from the Charleston, SC News and Courier supporting Mr. Gates' nomination be printed in the Record following my remarks.
There being no objection, the editorial was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
During a press conference last Friday morning in Washington, President Bush, reaffirmed his support for the embattled candidacy of Robert Gates to be director of central intelligence. The president, himself a former CIA director, knows why Mr. Gates is the right man for the job.
Mr. Bush's vote of confidence in Gates came hours after Intelligence Committee Chairman David Boren took the unusual step of defending Mr. Gates before members of his own committee. He praised the candidate's candor and reminded his colleagues that Mr. Gates had gone out on a limb to keep the committee up to date during the Iran-Contra scandal, when the late CIA Director William Casey wanted the lawmakers excluded from the loop.
Sen. Boren's dramatic testimony came after the decision last week of one panel member--South Carolina's Sen. Ernest F. Hollings--to announce he would vote against Mr. Gates because, the AP reported, he was the CIA's deputy director during the controversial Casey era. `Your experience is what disqualifies you,' Sen. Hollings reportedly told Mr. Gates. `Yes, you did too good a job for Bill Casey. You're not the right man at this particular time.'
The question that troubles Sen. Hollings and others is: Did Mr. Gates require CIA analysts, either directly or inferentially, to put a political spin on estimates of Soviet activities during the 1980's? Some CIA employees have testified that he did; other analysts have flatly disagreed.
Ever since the legendary Walter Bedell
Smith set up the CIA's analysis operation in the 1950s to produce a single set of intelligence estimates for use by U.S. policymakers, agencies and offices throughout the government have jockeyed to have their views reflected in the analyses. For example, the Pentagon obviously would want to emphasize the Soviet military threat, while the State Department may wish to see a different interpretation.
The system guaranteed that politics and personalities would affect the way in which date were analyzed. What analyst eager to keep his or her job would knowingly advance a view that contradicted a forceful leader like Bill Casey? Or Stansfield Turner before him? In this hothouse atmosphere, analysts automatically tailored their opinions to reflect their bosses' views. No one had to tell them to do it. The system guaranteed it.
Mr. Gates early on has quietly pushed the merits of plurality and competitive thinking in the intelligence community. Rather than submit one set of estimates to policy-makers, be argued, a number of conflicting analyses should be presented to give planners as many substantive options as possible.
Bureaucracies--and the intelligence community certainly is that--resist innovation and tend to savage advocates of change. Mr. Gates certainly has seen his share of slings and arrows, but he has acquitted himself admirably. He has the intelligence, the poise, and the integrity necessary to overhaul the badly demoralized U.S. intelligence community. He is the right man for the job. Let him get on with it.