The assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Robert M. Gates, of Virginia, to be Director of Central Intelligence.
(Mr. REID assumed the chair.)
Mr. BOREN. Mr. President, I thank the Chair. I thank my colleague for allowing us to talk about these other important issues dealing with the reform of this institution itself and also the Senator from New Mexico speaking about health care as well, before we begin the discussion of the nomination which is now pending before the Senate.
As we turn to the nomination now before us and begin our discussion of this nomination let me say to my colleagues that this certainly is one of the most important posts that we fill in the Government of the United States. It is particularly important because of the changes that are occurring in the world around us. The quality of intelligence provided to the policymakers in this country from the President of the United States on down over the next decade will have a great impact on the ability of this country to prepare itself for continued leadership in the world into the next century or, on the other hand, if intelligence fails to meet the task, fails to give the information, the analysis to the policymaker that he or she needs, it could have a crippling impact upon our ability to provide the same quality of life for the next generation as we have had in the past.
Mr. President, when we began these confirmation hearings on the nomination of Robert Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence, I expressed my hope that when we finished the process, without regard to the final vote, the American people could justifiably say our hearings had been both thorough and fair.
I want to thank the members of the committee on both sides of the aisle for their cooperation and for their common commitment with me to realize that goal. I appreciate the words of encouragement which each one of the members of our committee has spoken to me about our process. I also want to thank the members of the staff on both sides of the aisle who have labored long hours to help us achieve our goal of thoroughness and fairness.
Virtually every procedural procedure of the committee was unanimous during our confirmation hearings and process. We have sought to be fair by involving the staff designees of every single member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat and Republican alike, to act as a steering committee in making decisions about which witnesses should be called, which documentary evidence should be obtained, and which evidence should be examined. We have had certainly no shortage of conflicting viewpoints and diversity of opinion among the witnesses, or reflected in the documents which we have studied, or the issues upon which we have focused.
I honestly believe that these hearings have been the most thorough ever conducted for a nominee for the position of Director of Central Intelligence. The nominee himself answered more than 800 questions under oath during the confirmation process before the Intelligence Committee.
I would urge my colleagues to take time to read the report issued by the committee and to study any of the testimony or additional documents which they need to study to reach a thoughtful decision themselves about this nomination because of its importance.
More people have been interviewed and more pages of documents have been studied and declassified than in any other confirmation hearing in the history of the Intelligence Committee. That is as it should be, because as I have said the next Director of Central Intelligence will be called upon to make the most sweeping changes in the intelligence community since the CIA was created almost a half century ago.
In our committee process, we also sought to educate the American people through our confirmation hearings about the intelligence community. As taxpayers, the people pay a multi-billion-dollar bill for intelligence, and they should know as much as possible about intelligence operations and the challenges which we face in a totally changed world.
As I have said, in many ways the ability of our policymaker, including the President, to make sound decisions to prepare us for the next century, will depend upon the quality of
the intelligence which he receives and others who serve with him in the Government, both in the executive branch and in the Congress.
After a very careful consideration I cast my vote as a member of the Intelligence Committee in favor of confirming the President's nominee Robert M. Gates to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The committee voted 11 to 4 to favorably report his nomination to the full Senate. I reached the decision to vote for the confirmation of Mr. Gates for several reasons.
First, Mr. Gates has the knowledge and experience vitally needed by the Director of the CIA. The next Director will immediately have to plunge into the process of radically changing the intelligence community to coincide with all of the changes in the world around us. There is certainly no time to bring in a new Director from the outside, lacking in experience and detailed knowledge of the intelligence community.
This is no time for on-the-job training. We cannot afford to take 2 or 3 years for the new Director to learn the current programs before thinking about how to change them. We need a Director who can hit the ground running. There is absolutely no time to waste.
We also need a Director who can work with Congress to develop new structures and budget priorities and who has the respect and confidence of the President so that he will be prepared to implement these proposals. The President, who is himself a former Director of Central Intelligence, would simply not have the same level of respect for the opinions of a newcomer to the intelligence field, even a person of great stature, that he would have for the views of Mr. Gates, with whom he has already entrusted great responsibility as a member of his National Security Council staff, deputy National Security Adviser.
Mr. President, I have had an opportunity to discuss with our President, on several occasions, important intelligence matters, and since he is himself a former Director of Central Intelligence, I can tell my colleagues that he has decided views about intelligence issues, and he has a grasp of much detailed information. And because he has this personal experience, it is very difficult, at times, to convince the President to change his views and preconceptions about what should be done in a certain case.
That is why it is important to have someone who also has experience in the intelligence community, particularly if we get into certain situations over the next year or two, as we grapple with changes that must be made in the intelligence community; we must have someone whose experience and opinion the President will respect. If we bring in someone from the outside, someone even of immense ability, the President will take the view that, as a former Director of Central Intelligence himself, he simply knows more about the intelligence issues than the person he has appointed as Director.
That is not the case with Mr. Gates. It is going to take rapid action on our part. Anyone who thinks we are not going to have to bring about sweeping changes in the intelligence programs and intelligence budget, should simply stop and reflect upon the fact that over half of the agencies of the American intelligence are targeted directly or indirectly on the Soviet military target, on a threat that has been severely diminished over the past few months. Many of the agencies that have been created as part of the intelligence community, since the beginning of the cold war, have been created to cope with that particular threat.
This means that we must have tremendous shifts of budgetary priorities. Hopefully, we can have some bottom-line budget savings that will be significant. We must restructure what is left of the intelligence community in a way that meets new priorities and enables that community, and the many talented people who make it up, to efficiently meet the needs of a new century, to be equipped to deal with new missions that will be assigned. That is why we need someone not only with experience, but also someone for whom the President of the United States will have respect as these important issues are being discussed.
Second, I believe that the next Director should have a strong commitment to the congressional oversight process. As I said on the last day of the public hearings in our committee, I cannot ignore my own experience with Mr. Gates over the last 5 years. First, when he was Acting Director of the CIA, then when he was Deputy Director to Judge Webster, and during the time that he has been deputy to General Scowcroft at the National Security Council.
During the course of our hearings, we viewed in some detail those instances in recent years where he--at times single-handedly--stood up for the oversight process and for improved relationships between the branches of Government, even at the point of arguing with the President himself in support of the need for an independent statutory inspector general for the Central Intelligence Agency, and for writing into law new oversight legislation to reflect the lessons learned from the Iran-Contra affair.
Why, Mr. President, do I put such emphasis on the importance of the oversight process? Is it simply because I have been charged with the responsibility of serving as chairman of the Intelligence Committee for the past 5 years? Is it simply because I want the power of Congress enhanced in this area, or specifically the power of the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the prestige of the Senate Intelligence Committee enhanced? Not at all, Mr. President.
I am a believer in the oversight process, because it is virtually the only way that the American people--not Members of Congress, but the American people, with their elected representatives acting on their behalf--have to make sure that the most secret programs of our Government are operated in a way which is not only cost effective, but perhaps, even more important, consistent with the basic bedrock values to which we are committed as Americans, and that the law and the constitutional process will be followed.
We had the tragedy in this country of the Iran-Contra affair, because there was a failure to notify the oversight committees, and because information was withheld in a way that the watchdogs were not able to watch, that the American people, through their elected representatives, were not able to have a system of checks and balances in terms of the programs that were undertaken by some elements we now know of in the Intelligence Committee acting in league with those from the private sector, who had no authority from those elected and holding constitutional positions in our Government.
That is why I feel so strongly about the oversight process--because it goes to the heart of our ability to control and hold accountable the most secret programs of our Government.
Yes, there are times that we must have secret operations in the interest of national security, and those secrets must be kept. But, at the same time, under our constitutional representative democracy, we must ensure that those programs are being operated with oversight by the people's representatives and by those who hold constitutional positions in our Government.
That is why I think oversight is so important. That is why I have taken so seriously the responsibility that has been given to me and those who have worked with me as members of the Intelligence Committee, over now the past 7 years. I have been
privileged now to serve as chairman of that committee longer than any other Member of the Senate since the committee was created.
For 4 of those years, I was privileged to have as my vice chairman the distinguished Senator from Maine [Mr. Cohen]. During this past year, I have been privileged to work with a new vice chairman, Senator Murkowski of Alaska. Both of those vice chairmen have shared with me a conviction that we had a higher calling in that committee than any responsibility to party or to personal politics, that we really and truly did have a trusteeship responsibility for the rest of the Senate and for the American people; and that when an issue arises in that committee, unlike an issue before Agriculture Committee, or the Commerce Committee, or the Finance Committee, or some other committee of the Congress, including those on which I serve, it was not my responsibility, or that of Senator Cohen, or Senator Murkowski, or the other members of our committee, to ask ourselves purely how do I feel about this program, but to ask ourselves how all of the Members of the Congress would feel about it, if they knew about it, and more importantly, how would the American people feel about it, if they knew about it? And if it cannot pass muster with the values of the American people, then it should not be undertaken.
That has been our responsibility. It is a responsibility that we have all tried to exercise as best we could.
I am proud of the fact that it has been a responsibility that we have exercised largely in a bipartisan fashion. I am proud of the fact that I can count on two hands the number of instances out of 300 or 400 major decisions that our committee has had to make over the last 5 or 6 years in which there has been a partisan division on our committee. And, in fact, never has there been an actual party-line vote in our committee during this period of time. And nearly all of the decisions we have reached have been unanimous, because we have simply worked together until we reached a consensus that fairly reflected the very diverse views that are present on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
So the oversight process is important. It is important to the American people. It is our means of ensuring that the CIA, its programs, and the secret programs of the rest of the intelligence community, are operated as they should be operated: honestly, lawfully, and in keeping with our basic values.
That is why I think it is so important. That is why I cannot turn my back on the actions--not the words, not the rhetoric, but the actions--Mr. Gates took during the time that he served both as Acting Director after Mr. Casey's incapacitation and death, and as Deputy Director to Judge Webster.
I point out that we are dealing, in the case of Mr. Gates, with a longstanding professional in the intelligence community, and not a politician, or someone brought in because of political credentials. He has not been someone's campaign manager, like Mr. Casey was. He is a person who started out at age 24 in the intelligence community as a junior analyst at the very bottom of the ladder.
He has served as a professional in administrations of both our political parties. He served longer as deputy to Mr. Brzezinski and in the Carter White House than he served as deputy to Mr. Casey. He has served longer as deputy to Judge Webster and longer as deputy to General Scowcroft than he did, for example, as deputy to Mr. Casey.
He has had strong bipartisan support of Directors appointed by Presidents of both political parties. We have received communications from several former Directors of the agency which indicate that their own experience in working with Mr. Gates was an experience that was very positive and constructive from their point of view. Those comments have come from a wide divergence of people, from Mr. Helms and Mr. Webster, former Directors, to Mr. Colby and Mr. Schlesinger, also former Directors.
He has been praised by those who had known him in terms of their own oversight responsibility. I received a telephone call a few days ago from Congressman Edward Boland of Massachusetts, the author of the Boland amendment which put restrictions on aid to the Contras during this very controversial period of time, a piece of legislation that was a focal point in our inquiry into the Iran-Contra affair, a distinguished past chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He called me on the telephone, having been watching the confirmation hearings, told me as former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee he had experience in dealing with Mr. Gates. He felt strongly he should be confirmed and should be Director of Central Intelligence because he had the experience and ability and objectivity to bring about the changes that are now needed in the Central Intelligence Agency.
So we have had testimony from a number of people in a position to understand the professional capabilities and qualities that are necessary for the next Director.
From Adm. Robert Inman, former Deputy Director himself, one of the most highly regarded people in the intelligence field, known as a reformer, perhaps the preeminent reformer in the intelligence community, who had in the past two or three decades been in support of Mr. Gates.
All of them also point to his support of the oversight process. And again I go back not to rhetoric but to actions. I am sure Senator Cohen will have much to say in the course of this debate himself about his own experience.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to print in the Record at this point an article written by former vice chairman of the committee, Mr. Cohen, in the Washington Post today headed `Why Robert Gates Should Be Confirmed.'
There being no objection, the article was ordered to be printed in the Record as follows:
During Robert Gates's recent confirmation hearings, the dark veil that conceals the CIA's inner workings was lifted. Behold, what the public discovered was not a spy palace filled with robotic objectivity and sterility, but a bureaucracy teeming with real human beings, fuel-injected with passions, prejudices, ambitions and jealousies. Contrary to popular myth, our intelligence professionals have not been drained of the emotions that bedevil most mortals.
It was an important revelation and a timely reminder that as we search for the best individuals to lead our institutions, we not view imperfection in character or error in performance with such piety that we embrace those who have made no errors or enemies by virtue of their having made no decisions.
Bob Gates is a man who made both errors and enemies during his long career at the CIA. His critics claim that he is steel-elbowed, hawkish, clever, selectively amnestic and intellectually accommodating to his superiors. The most serious charge is that he is essentially dishonest. As evidence, his critics say he was involved in the Iran-contra scandal, skewed intelligence to conform to President Reagan's or Bill Casey's predilections and was openly hostile to analysts who viewed the Soviet Union through glasses less darkly. The charges are more easily made than proved.
A common error is made in joining the sale of weapons to Iran with the diversion of funds from the sales to the Nicaraguan contras to form the shorthand description, `Iran-contra scandal.' Knowledge of the foolhardy but legal sale of weapons is wrongly deemed to establish knowledge of and acquiescence in the illegal diversion of funds. I concede that Gates, once apprised of the diversion--be it in August or September of 1986--should have pursued the issue more aggressively. But I don't concede the charge that he was deeply involved in helping to conceal that diversion.
One witness argued that since the director of the CIA knew of the diversion of funds, as allegedly did the deputy director for operations, it was inconceivable Gates did not have full knowledge of the covert activities of Oliver North and others. As Arthur Liman, the Senate's counsel to the Iran-contra committee, has said: `Criminal conspiracies usually do not conform to corporate hierarchies. Conspirators confide in fellow conspirators--not necessarily in their bosses.' Adm. Bobby Inman's experience as Bill Casey's deputy offers validity to Liman's observation.
Gates was charged with overseeing the preparation of Bill Casey's testimony to Congress on Nov. 20, 1986. An initial draft indicated that a shipment of Hawk missiles in November of 1985 was said to be oil-drilling equipment. It is clear from the evidence that by 1986, Bill Casey knew that Hawk missiles were aboard a CIA-controlled aircraft. It is unclear, however, whether Casey knew at the time of the shipment itself the true nature of the cargo. In fact, John McMahon, who was then Casey's deputy, testified that he initially believed that the cargo consisted of oil-drilling equipment. No evidence obtained throughout four major investigations supports the charge that Gates knew what McMahon did not or that Gates had engaged in misleading Congress by preparing false testimony.
Two former intelligence analysts and one present consultant testified that Gates was guilty of the cardinal sin of manipulating intelligence to appease policy makers. It is not an unprecedented charge--similar allegations were leveled against William Colby and more recently against William Webster--but it is one to be taken seriously, for it strikes at the very core of the agency's mission to seek and present the truth. Slanted intelligence is more dangerous than poor intelligence, or indeed, no intelligence.
Politicization, like beauty, may rest in the eye of the beholder. The criticism, rejection or simple omission of an analyst's work may be seen by that analyst as intellectual dishonesty rather than a legitimate difference of opinion. There are no hard evidentiary rules that can resolve the inevitable disputes between the managers of intelligence analysis and the managed. One must weigh factors such as: the personalities, philosophies, motivations and reputations of the individual involved; the persistence and depth of their disagreements; and the quality of the final intelligence products submitted to the policy makers. Of the roughly 2,500 intelligence estimates produced during Bob Gates's tenure, a handful were presented to the committee as evidence that Gates sacrificed his integrity for political expediency.
While others view the evidence differently, I found the charge of intellectual corruption exaggerated in some cases and simply wrong in others. For example, one witness (who himself was accused of politicization and believes he was demoted by Gates) vehemently adhered to allegations that were flatly contradicted by the evidence. In one case, he alleged that Bill Webster had ordered an investigation of politicization and had directed that Gates not be advised of the investigation. In another, he alleged that Gates had used a cover letter to transmit a CIA report on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II to Anne Armstrong, a member of the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, that was different from the one sent to the vice president. Both allegations were disproved at the hearings. Contrary to the charge that Gates was an unprincipled sycophant who curried favor with his superiors, the evidence showed that Gates disseminated numerous reports contradicting the policies of the Reagan administration on such contentious issues as chemical weapons, Lebanon, the Soviet pipeline and Soviet defense spending.
The Soviet empire's collapse coupled with declining defense and intelligence budgets in the United States means that we will need to restructure the intelligence community radically to meet the requirements of the new age. Some believe that no director of the CIA should ever come from within the agency, as that individual will be hampered or compromised by institutional loyalties or enmities.
Independence and objectivity are important qualifications for any director. In addition to these qualities, President Bush obviously believes that an empirical understanding of intelligence requirements and operations also is important at a time of dynamic global change.
Some of Gates's critics, however, even while assuming that an intelligence career person is not to be automatically disqualified from directing the CIA, maintain that whether his faults are real or imaginary, the mere perception that this particular nominee carries the bruised baggage of another era precludes his confirmation to this position. It is an argument similar to one sweeping the country today that current members of Congress (who are viewed by a significant percentage of the American people as being corrupt) no longer should be called upon to deal with the fiscal, domestic and foreign policy problems confronting our nation. Experience, be damned, they argue. We need those who have yet to be corrupted.
I believe the hurricane winds of change dictate the next DCI be one who thoroughly understands the strengths and weaknesses of a vast bureaucracy, who comprehends the complexities of the intelligence world, who knows where the agency must go in the future because he understands where it has been, and one who has learned from past mistakes and is dedicated not to repeat them.
My judgment rests on something less tangible than, but equal in importance to, the documentary record compiled on Bob Gates. I have had occasion to work with him closely when he served as acting director of the CIA and deputy director to Bill Webster. I found his commitment to strong congressional oversight to be sincere. There was no holding back or cutting cute corners with partial disclosure of information. He proved open, forthcoming and prepared to carry out his responsibilities as fully to Congress as he was to the president.
Bob Gates is not a flawless man with an unblemished record. There are few people in or out of Washington who can claim perfection. I am persuaded, however, that he has the ability and the will to exercise judgment that is independent of political pressure and that he has the capacity to restore morale and effectiveness at the CIA.
Mr. BOREN. Mr. President, from the very moment that Senator Cohen and I undertook the responsibilities to serve as chairman and vice chairman of the committee, during that entire period of time in which we were dealing with Mr. Gates as Acting Director and as Deputy Director, we met with him weekly or sometimes biweekly, at least once every 2 weeks. This has been our practice continuing on with Judge Webster who had met similarly with myself and Senator Murkowski to discuss those matters which were of greatest concern between the Intelligence Committee in the exercise of its watchdog responsibility and the community itself.
Those meetings occurred between, as I say, usually the Director, sometimes the Deputy Director and the vice chairman and myself over this period of time.
We were given an opportunity not really even granted the other members of our own committee who saw these people, these leaders at the agency, far less frequently than we did to judge whether or not they were sincerely committed to the oversight process.
I can say to my colleagues that during that period of time of those weekly meetings and biweekly meetings that time and time again as we sought to get information about what was going on in the intelligence community we were given information, volunteered to us, information in many cases that reflected unfavorably on the CIA or that pointed out a problem at the CIA about which we were unaware, and in some cases information that we probably never could have found even after long and intensive investigation.
In other words, Mr. Gates, both as Acting Director and as deputy to Judge Webster, did not follow the policy of `wait until they ask the right question to tell them the information they need to know.' It was volunteered to us. It was very sensitive information, important information. And when we responded to it and we asked that something be done or corrective action be taken, instead of excuses or rationalizations we got action.
My colleagues have all had the experience of dealing with some of those in the executive branch, and that is not certainly the way in which many of them conduct themselves, forthrightly with immediate action and response, volunteering information instead of trying to wait until the right question was asked.
That was our experience, and I urge my colleagues to talk with Senator Cohen about it, or talk with Senator Murkowski about it. Do not just take my word for it. They also sat in on those meetings. We know what we were told and we know the spirit with which we were told it. That is important for the American people when we create an independent audit unit for the first time in the history of this country, in the Senate Intelligence Committee, to be able to go out and look at the most secret accounts of the CIA around the world, anywhere in the world, and find out what was really going on.
There were those who wanted to resist that independent audit capability because until that day all of us had always been dependent upon the Central Intelligence Agency to, in a sense, audit itself and tell us how they are spending the money. As we know, the General Accounting Office and others in the Government do not provide audits of CIA because the programs are so secret and sensitive. Some of the problems are known only to a handful of people in the Government.
There were those at the Agency who said, `We do not want to give the intelligence community access,' and we had no statutory authority, I would point out. We simply got the dollars to create the audit unit and asked the agency to cooperate, and there were those who did not want to cooperate and those who said, `We have to have at least 2 weeks' notice before you can show up and look at some secret bank account someplace in the world.'
It was Mr. Gates, in concert with Judge Webster, and Judge Webster said, on his recommendation, that no, they have a right to have immediate access, unannounced, anywhere, any time in the world to go in and look at the most secret programs of the Government.
I will tell my colleagues, while I cannot say the instances on the floor because they remain classified, that in some cases we found things that were wrong and programs that needed to be shut down, and we shut them down. We stopped them. And we had the cooperation of the Director and the Deputy Director in doing so. And we did get excuses or recriminations. Instead, we got expressions of appreciation for
our finding things that were wrong and seeking to correct them.
Mr. President, we would not have established the precedents for that strong, independent audit capability today were it not for the words and the actions of Mr. Robert Gates. The same is true of the bill which set up the independent statutory inspector general for the Central Intelligence Agency.
The President called me on the telephone after that bill was passed. He indicated to me that he was going to veto that bill. I asked as a courtesy to have the right to appear before him and argue my case. I did. I want down and met with the President. As I recall, Governor Sununu, Boyden Gray, legal counsel to the President, and others, were involved in that process. I asked Mr. Gates if he would be a part of this process and attend the meeting. He did. At that point in time Judge Webster himself, who is a man of unquestioned integrity, who has been an outstanding Director in terms of restoring confidence in the Central Intelligence Agency, the honesty and the integrity of that process, was himself opposed to the creation of an independent, statutory inspector general confirmed by the Senate because he felt that he should be trusted enough not to have such a position in his Agency.
As I pointed out to him, it was no lack of trust in Judge William Webster. It was the fact he was not always going to be Director of that agency and we needed to put that function into law.
The President spoke out against it at the beginning of our conversation, and so did others in the room. In fact no one spoke out for the position that we should have an independent inspector general except myself until Mr. Gates spoke up and told the President of the United States, quite directly but respectfully, that he thought the President was wrong. He used that very word. `With all due respect, Mr. President, I believe you are wrong. The CIA changed since you were a Director. We need this kind of check and balance. We need this kind of oversight.' I have seen the tragedy caused when good professional officers were forced into situations to take actions that they did not want to take; they were afraid not to act because their careers were on the line. Had we had this kind of independent inspector general at that time and if those people were required to report to him and, if the inspector general will be required, as he is under law, to report any disagreement he had with the Director, let us say he would have had with Director Casey at the time to report to our committee within 5 days, we might not ever had the tragedy of the Iran-Contra affair as it evolved.
And after hearing from Mr. Gates, the President reluctantly changed his mind, and I would say not with great enthusiasm and with some misgiving, but he did allow that bill to become law. The same was true again when we passed our authorization bills twice--the first one was vetoed--which wrote into the statutory law of this country the lessons learned from the Iran-contra affair, to retroactive findings, no verbal notification, notification of when third parties and private citizens are involved in carrying out secret programs, notification to the Intelligence Committee.
The President was on the verge of vetoing the bill for a second time because he was advised by some of those within the White House that this was again in interference with the executive preogatives of the President. Once again, I appealed to Mr. Gates to help argue our case with the President and try to help us talk the President out of vetoing this bill so we could have effective and forceful congressional oversight, and he did so.
So, Mr. President, I have been asked by our colleagues, and I have tried the best I could for the past 5 years to serve as chairman of this committee, not always stating my own views but trying to state what I thought were the views, the bipartisan views, of consensus within the Congress and within the country in terms of the attitudes and principles that the people would want to see established in these programs.
I can simply say that the tremendous progress we have made over the past 5 years in strengthening the oversight process, the weekly meetings in which information is candidly shared with the leadership of the two committees, the independent audit unit to let us go in and look at those most secret accounts which we could never do before, the independent inspector general, statutorily confirmed by the Senate, obligated to report to the Congress when he finds something wrong, even wrong with the actions of the Director, and the statutory provisions that strengthen oversight in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra Committee, they could not have been possible, they simply would not have happened, I can say to my colleagues, without the help and assistance of Mr. Gates and without his laying forcefully into the debate.
I take nothing away from the members of our own committee in saying that Members on both sides of the aisles or other Members of this Chamber who have stood with us to fight for effective oversight all have made an immense contribution and it was the initiative of our committee and the members both present and past over the past 7 years that really brought about these changes, but still there were roadblocks in the way.
There would have been Presidential vetoes, there would have been stonewalling, the possibility of stonewalling, at the CIA of our audit unit, for example, had it not been for the attitude and the positions taken by Mr. Gates during that period of time. And as one that has been asked by the Members of this body to forcefully assert the right to congressional oversight, I simply cannot ignore the fact that he made a real contribution to this process. And when I think about the qualities that are needed in this turbulent period of change in a new Director, I want a Director who not only has experience and expertise but I want a Director, not for the sake of our committee but for the sake of the country, who is committed to the oversight process and believes that Congress has a rightful role to play on behalf of the American people in overseeing intelligence operations.
I also cannot ignore the commitment he made during his testimony before us in the committee hearings on September 16, the first day of the hearings, Mr. Gates said:
I commit to you that should I be confirmed, whatever differences may develop from time to time between the intelligence committees and the executive branch generally or CIA in particular, I would resign rather than jeopardize that relationship of trust and confidence.
Later the same day, he told us:
Now under those circumstances, I think that if I were to find that something illegal were going on in that context, I would make the case to the President: (A) That it made it imperative to inform the Congress, and (B) that I could no longer serve as Director if that could not be done.
I believe that these are the clearest and most far-reaching commitments to the oversight process ever made by a person nominated for this position.
I have also considered what the nominee says will be his priorities for the future.
It is significant that he wants to make intelligence more useful in informing the policymaker. He has experience both as a producer and as a consumer of intelligence. Nothing is more important to morale at the CIA than for its employees to feel that their work means something. I believe that Mr. Gates having observed what kind of information is needed by Presidents and policymakers, from his vantage point in both the Bush and Carter White Houses, would help make intelligence more relevant to the policy process.
It was clear at the outset that the President had sent us a nominee whose training and experience would not be an issue. Having served in senior positions at the CIA and at the National Security Council in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Mr. Gates certainly understands intelligence and how it fits into the business of government.
But as I pointed out when Admiral Inman former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, appeared before the committee, Mr. Gates has been
perhaps the consummate staff officer. He advanced quickly through the ranks to senior positions, clearly having impressed his superiors. But the qualities that have made him an excellent staff officer are not necessarily those needed to perform as a real leader. The Members of the Senate have to assess not simply how he has performed in a staff role, but, more importantly, whether he is prepared at this point in his life and career to become a leader--to fill one of the most sensitive post in the U.S. Government.
Past performance is obviously relevant to our assessment, and there is a voluminous record here for us to analyze--a record of decisionmaking, a record of dealing with people, of taking positions. Mr. Gates has also had the misfortune of being in the intelligence community during a very controversial period. He has admitted to us that there are things he would do differently, if he had to do them over again.
We can all appreciate that. We recognize that people do mature; their outlooks change; their methods change; they grow wiser by experience. Ours is not a society, or a political system which forever holds a person's past mistakes or shortcomings against him. But the question for us is whether, in fact, Mr. Gates has changed, whether he has matured, whether he has grown wiser by experience. Is he ready to lead the CIA and the U.S. intelligence community into the post-cold-war era?
As the testimony at the committee hearings demonstrated, we have a nominee before us whose past performance as a manager of the intelligence process has been challenged. There are, for the Senate, very serious issues to consider.
Although the committee has looked into a variety of allegations in the course of the confirmation process, the most substantial allegations focus on two areas: The nominee's involvement in the Iran-Contra affair; and his tenure as CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence, responsible for the Agency's analysis and production.
I want to comment on both areas with respect to what the evidence shows and does not show.
First, with respect to the nominee's involvement in Iran-Contra, let me make a general observation and then proceed to specific points in the evidence.
The committee heard a lot of testimony during the first part of the hearing about Director Casey's work habits, including the testimony of the two former Deputy Directors who preceded Mr. Gates, Admiral Inman and John McMahon. It all followed a similar pattern: Mr. Casey made no special effort to keep his Deputy or the rest of the chain of command at CIA informed of what he was doing. He often reached down into the bureaucracy and made contact with whomever was dealing with the subject at hand. Mr. Casey followed a similar pattern in his dealing with the White House. If he debriefed his subordinates on conversations he had with the National Security Council staff, it was more often happenstance than routine.
It is also clear that the Iran operation was heavily compartmented within CIA. Very few were aware of the operation, and only a handful were
personally involved in providing support. It was not widely known or widely discussed.
It is important to keep this background in mind in terms of evaluating Mr. Gates' role in all of this. When one looks at all the points on the record where Mr. Gates came in contact with the Iran initiative in some fashion, for those who do not understand the huge volume of work of the CIA, it could appear that he and Director Casey, and the CIA staff, must have spent half their working day mulling over the Iran operation. Quite the opposite is true. There were relatively infrequent communications between Gates and Casey on this subject, and at least until October 1, 1986, when Charles Allen informed Mr. Gates of the problems with the operation, it is reasonable to believe that it commanded relatively little of his attention.
It is important to judge the adequacy of his actions in this affair against this background.
With this perspective, let us examine the evidence.
First, the evidence shows that Mr. Gates had no part in the initiation of the arms sales to Iran, but was kept advised of the operation until it was disclosed in November 1986.
Second, the evidence shows that he had serious misgivings about this operation and he did, through Mr. McMahon, convey to Mr. Casey his disapproval of it. We had testimony of Mr. McMahon on that subject, and how they worked together on a cable to Mr. Casey, pleading with him to talk the President out of this arms sale program to Iran.
Next, some of the evidence indicates that he was advised of the speculation concerning a diversion by Mr. Kerr in late August 1986, but that under the circumstances in which the information was provided, it is not unreasonable to believe that the potential importance of the information did not register with him in a way that would have caused him to remember it.
Mr. Kerr testified it was a very brief conversation, a couple of minutes in length. Several other topics were discussed. And this particular matter was raised in something of an offhand way.
The record does not establish that Mr. Gates deliberately withheld, or condoned the withholding, of pertinent information in Director Casey's testimony of November 21, 1986.
But while I do not find a smoking gun in the record of Iran-Contra, I have, for some time, been bothered by what I perceived to have been the general lack of aggressiveness on the part of the nominee in responding to information which came into his possession during this entire episode. Whether it was the speculation he heard about a possible diversion, or who was behind the Contra resupply operation, or the problems with the Iran arms sales, he typically sought to find out if CIA was clean, but was not aggressive in seeking the facts. While I do not believe that the record shows that Mr. Gates is guilty of malfeasance, or of initiating or conspiring with illegal behavior, it can sustain the criticism--and I believe merited criticism--that he was not active enough in seeking to prevent such conduct.
To his credit, Mr. Gates dealt with this subject in his opening statement before the committee, acknowledging that there were things he should have done, and that he should have been more aggressive in following up on things he was told. To quote a portion of what he did to us:
I suspect few people have reflected more than I have on the Iran-Contra affair--what went wrong, why CIA played by rules not of its own making, and what might have been done to prevent or at least stop this tragic affair. CIA has already paid a fearful price and learned costly lessons. But today I want to speak about the misjudgments I made. * * *
I should have taken more seriously * * * the possibility of impropriety or even wrongdoing in the government, and pursued this possibility more aggressively.
Said Mr. Gates:
I should have pressed the issue of a possible diversion more strenuously with Director Casey and with Admiral Poindexter. * * *
I should have been more skeptical about what I was told. I should have asked more questions and I should have been less satisfied with the answers I received, especially from Director Casey. * * *
[But] you will not find a nominee for Director of Central Intelligence more aware of and sensitive to the lessons of that time, or more understanding of the importance of a good faith relationship with the Congress.
I accept Mr. Gates' statement, and believe it to be sincere. I think this lesson has sunk in.
Again, I say I do not believe it merely because he said it. I believe it because of my own personal experience, week after week, with the vice chairman, meeting with him both as acting and deputy director, and the kind of information and kind of trust that was placed in the oversight committees by him. I believe it because I have seen him argue, as I say, vociferously and vigorously with others in the executive branch on behalf of congressional oversight powers.
So my belief is not simply based upon the fact that he said it to the committee on the opening day, the fact that he said it, that he was a big enough person to own up to his mistakes, but more importantly, over the past 3 to 4 years, he has acted upon the lessons that he learned. I am prepared to believe the nominee would, in fact, do things differently if he were confronted with similar circumstances in the future. In some ways he may indeed be even more sensitive to these problems than any other potential nominee because of his own experience. Who among us has not learned from his mistakes and been more sensitive to certain kinds of problems because of mistakes we ourselves have made in the past?
Perhaps the most difficult set of issues we have attempted to evaluate regards allegations that Mr. Gates systematically suppressed or distorted intelligence estimates so that they reflected the dominant policy positions of the Reagan administration.
These allegations have been treated seriously and exhaustively because they go to the heart of why we established the Central Intelligence Agency to provide the President with honest, independent judgments on matters affecting our Nation's security. As I have noted, it makes little sense to spend billions of dollars on sophisticated satellites, human intelligence and all the tools we use to collect intelligence if what comes out of the process is skewed, dishonest or self serving.
Our staff has pursued numerous allegations, many more than the 20 points specified by Mr. Gates in open session. We heard from six compelling witnesses, in what can only be termed some of the most riveting testimony ever presented before this committee or the American people about U.S. intelligence. We have reviewed hundreds of documents, and have had an unprecedented amount of material declassified and released to the public.
But the allegations regarding politicization extend far beyond documents and cases. Rather they affect people, and raise issues regarding the nominee's leadership ability and sensitivity to the feelings and motions of the people he was charged to lead.
The evidence supports several conclusions.
First it is clear that the transition from the 1970's to the 1980's was marked by a significant philosophical and policy transformation in our view of the Soviet Union both in policy and intelligence.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan marked the end of detente. The election of Ronald Reagan and the appointment of Bill Casey as DCI, a man of definite views and unique standing with the President created an inevitable tension in an intelligence bureaucracy which critics had long perceived to hold too benign a view of Soviet intentions.
There is no doubt that the Casey era brought a new attitude with respect to the analysis of Soviet behavior. Casey wanted evidence emphasized that had previously been deemphasized. He wanted issues developed that analysts previously had failed to take seriously. The question is, did these actions result in better intelligence or skewed intelligence?
Graham Fuller's testimony to the committee articulated the view that some have described as a liberal versus conservative struggle with regard to Soviet analysis. According to Mr. Fuller; and I now quote him:
The actions that the Soviets fulfilled in Afghanistan were inconsistent with a generally shared SOVA--
That is the Soviet division of the Central Intelligence Agency--
vision that the Soviets tended to react defensively in the third world and avoided risk. There was a tendency toward a certain homogenization, couched primarily in terms of Soviet dilemmas and problems, obscuring the fact that they had just taken over several real countries in the process in the late 1970's.
Doug MacEachin, another of our witnesses, provided additional insight into the turbulent transition that occurred at the CIA from the 1970's to the 1980's. In depicting CIA's experiences with regard to the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979 he stated:
In both instances, we had seen definite signs of military preparations consistent with an invasion. In each case we failed to give a judgment that a military attack was likely or even the most likely outcome. In each case the attack did occur. In each case the attack occurred--
For example in Afghanistan--
when our analysis has persuaded us that this would be a dumb thing for the Soviets to do and they probably would not be doing dumb things. In both cases part of our failure was our hang up in internal debates. Rather than trying to lay out the threatening situation to the reader, acknowledging both our uncertainties and the potentials, we routinely got bogged down in an internal contest as to whose views would win the institutional place. Who would be judged right at least for the purposes of putting out the product?
This was before Mr. Gates became Deputy Director of Intelligence. This was being described as too benign a view of the Soviet Union, mistakes made and failure to predict invasion of Afghanistan, and other action.
When Mr. Gates became Deputy Director for Intelligence, he was placed in the middle of this. Conflict was already occurring; the agency was already divided.
It is well known that Gates did not have a benign view of the Soviet Union. His criticisms of the analysis of the agency and his views were echoed by many members of the administration that was coming into office in the early 1980's.
Yet, according to Mr. MacEachin--a man who described his biases regarding the Soviet Union as closer to Mel Goodmans than Bob Gates--here is what Mr. MacEachin said, talking about Mr. Gates:
In my experience he was as he has said, ready to be persuaded by evidence and analysis. I found him more ready to ensure treatment of competing hypotheses, honest treatment than many of the people criticizing him here for imposing his own outlook. And he was definitely ready to publish intelligence judgments that ran counter to the very strongly held views and vested interests of many consumers. And I found this to be true even when he himself was not persuaded that the judgment was necessarily right.
In others words, he was in favor of publishing this analysis even when he himself did not agree with it, and when the policymakers did not agree with it.
Mr. Graham Fuller stated:
At no time was I ever told what either the administration or Casey or Gates wanted to come out of an estimate or what it should say or what conclusions it should reach. Not only was I never told what to say, but I would have regarded it as outrageously improper to even hear the suggestion.
Where Casey did not always hide what he hoped analysis would indicate, Gates was always fully aware of the requirements of analytic procedure and of the validity of independent analysis.
Indeed, some contend that what happened in the Casey-Gates era was that the Agency's analytical judgments were not supported by the available intelligence. Rather, conclusions were drawn in finished analysis, without substantiation, where the product highlighted the more nefarious aspects of Soviet intentions.
For example, the Agency's work on Iran, particularly the 1985 memorandum to holders authored by Graham Fuller, has been cited as a case where the evidence simply did not bear out the analysis that the Soviets viewed Iran as a target of major opportunity. Still, the evidence does not support a conspiracy theory that Mr. Fuller's estimate was concocted intentionally to rationalize a later covert policy of arms for hostages--a policy Fuller himself testified he knew nothing about. But Fuller's own statement of his motivation for the 1985 piece bears repeating.
When the SOVA analyst brought me this portion of the estimate, Mr. Chairman, on Soviet policy toward Iran, I was immediately unhappy. It dismissed the possibility that the U.S.S.R. would even seek to take advantage of the desperate arms need in Iran and it comfortably dismissed any serious design or intention to gain dominant influence in Iran in the foreseeable future.
But would not Moscow have leapt at the chance to gain a foothold in Iran a few years after the invasion and the occupation of Afganhistan even if the possibility were only slight the impact of such a logical move by Moscow to support left wing forces in Iran to exploit chaos or to become a sole arms source to Iran would have been a major political coup for Moscow and a major loss for the U.S. It would have been nothing short of derelict of the intelligence community to point out this warning. I believe that it can only be through the relentless examination of various new hypotheses and counter hypotheses that the intelligence community will ever have a chance to get at the illusive truths of forecasting the unknowable.
Topics should not have been dismissed so contemptuously just because CIA analysts have no evidence that the Soviets were involved in one or another activity. This is one of the dilemmas of good intelligence work. It is not good versus evil. So is the absence of evidence mean that something is not there. Or it has not happened? How much should we rely on intuition judgments and experience in appraising the likelihood of events or motives, or the issue of who benefits from an event?
This comes from a person with long experience on the scene in the Middle East.
He goes on:
The dilemma can never be solved. SOVA seems to have clung to the idea that the sweeping force of `no evidence' means that we don't think it happened; which is a safe and perhaps appropriate position for a junior analyst.
Is wisdom couched exclusively at lower levels with the hard facts? Or does it reside, perhaps nearer the top with senior, experienced officials who have seen much of the world and a lot of politics--and indeed some of whom may also have their own agendas as well.
I think we all understand what is meant here, that experience and judgment does come into play.
Politicization is an extremely serious charge; one that we have not dismissed lightly. It is also a charge that, once made, is difficult to completely resolve. Again, I quote from Mr. Mac- Eachin's testimony:
But it's right out of Franz Kafka. Because once you are accused, the Inspector General will never come back and say you're absolved. You will never be definitely acquitted. They will say we found no evidence to substantiate it. Charged but not indicted. Ostensibly acquitted.
It is almost impossible to prove a negative, as we have all learned, once an accusation is made. It is often damaging.
There are many elements of the Record which do not support the charge of systematic politicization. If politicization were as systematic as alleged and I urge my colleagues to consider this:
Would the CIA have published a paper on Soviet chemical weapons in 1984 stating the view that the Soviets were unlikely to initiate extensive use of chemical weapons during a war with NATO at a time the House of Representatives was debating appropriations for binary chemical weapons?
All of us remember the emotions of that debate. I can recall within this very Chamber the then Vice President of the United States, then Vice President Bush, came to this Chamber to cast a tie-breaking vote on this issue, and here was Mr. Gates supporting and encouraging the publication of a report that said the Soviets were unlikely to use this kind of chemical gas, implying that, therefore, we do not need to be producing it ourselves.
Second, would the CIA have categorically stated in 1983 that United States policy aspirations in Lebanon were ill-founded and would not succeed? Would the Agency tell the Secretary of State that the May 17 accords were doomed to failure? They were simply seeking to please the policymaker?
Would Bob Gates have supported the Office of Soviet Analysis' judgment in 1983 that the growth in Soviet defense spending has leveled off--that it was approaching zero growth during the Reagan defense buildup against the strong wishes of the Department of Defense and the Defense Intelligence Agency?
Would Bob Gates in June of 1988 have allowed Doug MacEachin, then Director of CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs, to publish a view, contrary to his own, that the defense burden would lead Gorbachev to take unilateral cuts--cuts that were indeed taken 6 months later by the Soviets if he was intent on politicizing intelligence and only having views go forward that please the policymaker, this in the midst of a major debate in Congress on the amount that was appropriated for the defense budget, contrary to the recommendations of the President?
But to deal with this issue as one of black and white would be a mistake. There were failures here. There were shortcomings in the process. Some would call it a failure of leadership, some a lack of maturity or sensitivity. But the fact is that there are clear winners and losers in every judgment made by the intelligence community. And during the 1980's, we must conclude that there were problems of morale and confidence at lower working levels. The process either did not accommodate the views of the minority, in some cases, or failed to give them an adequate forum to fully articulate their points of view. Disenfranchised analysts came to feel that their point of view once neglected would never prevail again.
The facts show that Bob Gates was a tough manager. He demanded that analysts clearly marshal the facts and all of the evidence. The environment was tough, no place for the meek, and in the process, some professionals came to feel that people were being leaned on and that their views were not treated with respect.
A review of the documents simply, as I have indicated, do not bear out charges of blanket politicization. In some cases, in some few cases out of the many, many scores of estimates that were given, there is some reason to question the judgment that was made. But I do think that leadership and sensitivity were lacking. Those on the losing side of decisions felt mistreated. Upon reflection, Mr. Gates has given several positive suggestions for improving the analytical process, including providing crisp, clear majority decisions with dissenting minority views being given a full opportunity for the dissenters to spell out their reasoning and their own point of view, much like that we often see in a court decision. I think this is a very appropriate suggestion and one which the next director of central intelligence, be it Mr. Gates or someone else, should undertake to implement.
The critical question in my mind is: Has Bob Gates grown? Is he ready to lead, and by leading, nurture all in his flock?
My own personal conclusion is that he has. People must be judged at different points in their careers. I believe that he understands the needs of people, and the real pain of the 1980's.
He served a difficult and opinionated Director in the 1980's. But he also served under two of the finest intelligence officers we have known--Bobby Inman and John McMahon. He also has served as deputy to two people of outstanding character and integrity, Bill Webster and Brent Scowcroft. He served under the very able direction of Mr. Brzezinski in the administration of President Carter.
He served Bill Casey, but he also served these men as well. So when blanket indictments are being delivered, they are being delivered against other individuals as well, men who I believe would not tolerate imposing their own world views or politics upon analytical judgments.
After watching and working with Bob Gates as chairman of this committee for over 5 years, I believe he has matured, and that he is ready to face the challenges ahead and address the concerns of the people he will lead. This is my own judgment--and one I hope my colleagues will consider.
Let me say a few words about the analysts, young and old, who came forward to cooperate with the committee during the confirmation process.
As I said during the final moments of our own committee process, they have my commitment and indeed the commitment of our committee no action will be taken against them in a way that will disrupt or penalize their career advancement. If Mr. Gates is confirmed, I intend to hold him accountable and carefully scrutinize his decisions and actions to ensure that needed changes are made.
Our committee and, I hope, the entire Senate will pay increased attention to the less glamorous but the important issue of morale at the Central Intelligence Agency and the well-being of the men and women who work there. I have given personal assurances to at least two individuals that for my remaining 5 years in the Senate, long after I have left this committee, I will intervene on their behalf at the slightest hint of retribution. And I say openly to those at the CIA that I believe Bob Gates will live up to the standards of decency required. But if he does not, I will be the first to take action whether I serve on the Intelligence Committee or not.
I also indicated just before we took the vote in our committee that I believed the confirmation process itself has been constructive and it has been beneficial. In recent days, because of obvious problems, there are many who have expressed doubt that we should have a process like the confirmation process on an important nomination in our Government. If they will examine the process followed by the Intelligence Committee, a bipartisan process, a thorough process, a fair process, a businesslike process, I think they will find there are many benefits that flow from a tough and thorough and demanding confirmation process. I believe that this nominee, Mr. Gates, will be more sensitive to the feelings and to the perceptions of others as a result of the confirmation process and that the committee will be more attentive to morale problems.
So I think it is going to be helpful. The next Director is going to have to deal with a group of people who are very apprehensive. We are moving into an unknown period. They know that major reorganizations are coming into the intelligence community. These are talented men and women.
If I had to say which agency in the Government has perhaps the highest level of talent, the highest IQ level of any of the agencies of Government, it is probably those who serve in the intelligence community. Many of them are dedicated. It is very frustrating work because by the very nature of their work their successes are never known. They can never have their children congratulated in school because their classmates have read about the wonderful deeds of their mothers or fathers who work at the Central Intelligence Agency. The only thing that ever becomes public are the failures and misfortunes.
So it is a tough business. It is difficult to keep morale up, especially when the contributions that you are making to your country are known to so few. So it is very important to have a Director that is sensitive to the morale problems, sensitive to the needs of the employees at the agency. And I believe that the confirmation process itself as we have had an opportunity to listen to the perceptions, whether they are right or wrong, of men and women at the Central Intelligence Agency will be helpful to this nominee if, indeed, he is charged with the responsibility of leading the agency when we finish our deliberations.
Finally a note as to who got it right and who got it wrong about the failure of communism and the rise of democracy in the Soviet Union and whether being right or wrong should influence our deliberations about Mr. Gates.
My reading is that the CIA, at least for the last 5 years, has been consistent and unequivocal in its description of a steadily worsening failure of a Soviet economic system to provide the material basis for its society.
I know there will be those--my good friend, the distinguished former vice chairman of the committee during a period of time before I came on the committee, certainly has his strong views. I am not here as an apologist for the mistakes that have been made by the Agency. I think the speed with which the changes came in the Soviet Union surprised virtually all of those in the community, or many of those in the community as it surprised the policymakers in Government. I am certainly not prepared to say that the estimates of the gross national product, of the Soviet Union were correct and that many mistakes were not made, but I think we should also put into the Record some of the instances in which clearly the intelligence community was tracking the changes in the Soviet Union and was right in what it said.
For example, I quote from an estimate made in 1989. Let me quote this because I have heard that the CIA often compared the economy of the Soviet Union to that of Japan. Let me read what the CIA said in 1989.
Indeed, although clearly a military superpower, the Soviet Union has an economy that in many ways is like that of a developing country. The level of per capita consumption in the U.S.S.R., for instance is far below that of the developed Western countries and Japan * * * the pattern of consumption and output [also] resembles that of less developed nations * * * [for example] the per capita consumption of consumer durables resembles that of many Latin American countries * * * [it] was more comparable to countries such as Mexico and Brazil [in] 1985 * * * the Soviet position relative to the rest of the world has not improved over the past 2 decades. * * * The share of agricultural output in GDP in the Soviet Union is similar to that in Turkey and in the Philippines.
I can quote another report in 1988 which I mentioned a little bit earlier, which indicates after talking about the terrible economic problems faced by the Soviet Union:
All of this leads us to conclude that--barring a major change in the party leadership or in the external situation--there is a good chance that Gorbachev will, by the end of this decade, turn to unilateral defense cuts.
There are many others that I could quote going back into earlier periods of time; the fact that they were really on a downhill slide in terms of their economy. I will not take time to go into all of them. But I simply want to point out that the record is not quite one of complete failure to read the signs in the Soviet Union.
As has been indicated, the question that could not be answered with confidence and over which there was a substantial debate among analysts within the Soviet office and within the community, the Government and academic community was what would be the outcome when the seemingly inevitable crisis did occur? Would it result in a more backward government, a move back toward repressive totalitarianism, or would forces for political reform break out toward a more democratic process as has been the case?
It is no secret that Mr. Gates had decidely hard-line views on questions regarding the political failure of the Soviet Union or its future. While he was right about his concern that hardliners would make a last effort through a coup or other means to reverse Gorbachev's reforms, and he clearly was right about that, he was clearly too pessimistic about the outcome as we have now seen.
But I do not believe that anyone should be faulted purely for being wrong some of the time, if what we want out of intelligence is straightforward, clear points of view, both majority views and dissenting views that are not relegated to obscure footnotes. If we get into the business of punishing people every time they are wrong, we will end up destroying any chance we have of getting better analysis and moving away from the `mush' that we have been receiving.
In addition to the allegations on politicization, the committee in closed session looked into the nominee's actions or involvement in two other areas. The first involved his knowledge of reporting, which involved contacts between Members of Congress and officials of the Sandinista regime during the mid-1980's, as testified to by Alan Fiers, and whether such
reports may have been used improperly.
While the committee's inquiry into this area is still ongoing, I believe we have ascertained that element which relates to Mr. Gates. We have also heard from the nominee under oath on this subject. I see nothing here that suggests improper action on the part of the nominee.
The second area we dealt with in closed session involved the CIA's relationship with the Government of Iraq during the mid-1980's. This involved only the provision of certain intelligence, no arms or equipment, in support of the Iraq war effort.
Questions were raised whether the transfer of this information should have been treated as covert action under the law requiring a Presidential finding and reporting to the committees. Intelligence exchanges in the past had not been considered covert actions, but there were circumstances which suggested to some that the purpose of a sharing arrangement may have more than simply provided a quid pro quo for intelligence collection.
My view is that this activity under the law, intelligence sharing, was not a covert action. It was not intended to influence Iraq to do anything it was not already doing. It was intended to support an ongoing activity. The United States did not enter into the relationship to induce Iraq to undertake a new policy but, rather, to show Iraq how to succeed at the policy it had already adopted. Throughout this relationship, the United States provided nothing but intelligence and advice. No evidence has been uncovered up to this time to indicate that the CIA or any other entity of the United States Government supplied arms or related military equipment or technology to Iraq.
I read an interesting article in the newspaper over the weekend which talked about whether it was proper for us, whether it was sound, whether it was good judgment for us to have shared intelligence with Iraq. And it indicated that the committee had found there was nothing wrong with that, it was indeed good judgment. That was certainly not what I said.
I have never said that I thought it was good judgment. The question we have been examining is the relationship of this nominee to any intelligence sharing that went on and whether or not it was legal, not whether it was wise.
As I have cautioned about our relationship with Syria and other countries that have practiced terrorism in the past, we have to be very careful that we do not allow those alliances of the moment in a passing national interest to blind us to the activities in the long run of countries that would be alarming to our national interest. A marriage of convenience temporarily does not always mean that in the long run the interests of the country will coincide.
I frankly, in my own mind, have some real question about the wisdom of whether or not we should have ever entered into any kind of relationship with Iraq. That is hindsight. I think we all realize that at that time there was a possibility that Iran would have won the war outright, and we all understand the relationship between the United States and Iran during that period of time was strained, to say the least. We had gone through the hostage crisis, and many other events involving the Iranians, which certainly deeply soured and bitterly tainted American-Iranian relations during that period of time.
Our focus has been rather not on the wisdom of what was done either at the time or in retrospect but on whether or not these actions were legal.
Let me say it is ironic that there could be any implied criticism of Mr. Gates in this regard because he is the person negotiating with our committee who has continued to move more broadly the definition of what is a significant intelligence activity.
In other words, the actions undertaken at that time under the definitions that we were then working under the precedents of how the Intelligence Committee shared information with our committee would not have been shared, although there, indeed, was some briefing of our committee staff. It was not mandated under the policies we were then following.
We set out, Senator Cohen, and myself, and others to negotiate with the administration to broaden the definition of significant intelligence activities so the committee would get more information about more activities in the future. Mr. Gates, who in fact principally on the administration side or the executive branch side, helped us and spoke in favor of changing and broadening the definitions and the practice. So because of his actions negotiating and being helpful to us on the committee, as we ascertained our right to get this information, it is because of the position that he and others took, if this activity were to happen today, we would be given a great deal more information about it than we would have been given 4 or 5 years ago.
Against this factual record involving the service of Mr. Gates, I have also considered what the nominee says will be his priorities for the future.
I think it is significant that the nominee believes the DCI, while not playing the role of a policy advocate, must be deeply involved, in a very practical way, in the policymaking process within the administration. Otherwise, this enormous investment we make in intelligence will have little practical impact.
It is significant that he sees the DCI as taking more of a leadership role in the intelligence community, suggesting that the DCI's authorities themselves should be reviewed, that national capabilities must be better integrated to support the military, and that better ways must be found to get the intelligence output to policymakers to make a difference.
I applaud his statements that he will make dealing with the threat of proliferation of chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons his first priority, that he sees economic intelligence as something we must do much better in the future, and that we need more emphasis on obtaining better human source intelligence about the intentions of potential adversaries to provide earlier warning in an era when fewer American forces are forward positioned around the world. He also understands the need for new education programs like the National Security Education Act proposed by this committee to create a larger pool of expertise in foreign language and area studies. He also sees the possibility of a greater use of CIA assets to assist in solving global environmental problems.
He also accepts the need for change and for budget reductions, which we all think are inevitable, but wants to manage them in a way that keeps our eye on what still matters to the United States insofar as its strategic interests are concerned.
In short, the nominee's views about the future of intelligence accord largely with my own and those of many committee members.
Last, I have tried to imagine how this appointment would affect the CIA itself.
Clearly, there are many at CIA who are anxious about this nomination.
To deal with these concerns, it will take not just a firm hand, but a gentle hand as well. This will be a time for healing, not stridency; for compassion, not vindictiveness. A time to get on with the future, a future that holds enormous challenge for the intelligence community, and not to reopen old wounds or rekindle old animosities.
It will not be easy for this nominee, but I believe he can do it. He would start with an important advantage: He is close to this President. As has been said several times at these hearings, there is nothing more important to morale at the CIA than for its employees to feel their work means something.
I think the nominee also understands how critical the CIA employee is to the process. If CIA is to provide insight to the policymakers, it must have employees who are themselves insightful, who are trained and experienced in international affairs, who are well-traveled and conversant with other cultures, and who are intellectually rigorous. It also needs employees who will stay there and become experts and specialists in their own right. And people, ultimately, do not stay where they are unhappy, where they are not challenged, where their work is not appreciated, or their concerns addressed. I think Mr. Gates appreciates how important this intangible factor really is.
In concluding, I believe, that on balance, Robert M. Gates is prepared to provide that kind of leadership we need as we approach the next century. He has the necessary expertise. He has a first-rate mind. He has a sincere commitment to the oversight process and a partnership with Congress while enjoying the respect of the President. Like all of us, he is not the same person he was 5 or 10 years ago. I am convinced that he has learned from his mistakes and in fact that he will be an even better director because he has passed through difficult times.
I will vote to confirm this nominee as I voted to recommend his confirmation as a member of the committee. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will do the same. It is my honest view that he has the ability to be not just an adequate or an acceptable Director of Central Intelligence, but he has the ability to be an outstanding one.
Let me say that in making these judgments I want to make it clear that again the intelligence community or the Intelligence Committee, whether we are dealing with Mr. Gates, if he is indeed confirmed, or some other person, the President's choice who is confirmed to this position, the Intelligence Committee will retain a vigorous oversight. We expect to be full partners in the process of redesigning and reshaping the intelligence community, and reordering its budgetary priorities. We are going to be vigilant, as I have indicated, about the internal situation at the CIA itself, about the morale and the working conditions of those that work in the agency and make such a contribution to the national security.
We intend to be vigilant, whether we are dealing with nominee as the next Director or some one else in that position. We will continue to do all that we can, all within our power, utilizing all of the new devices that have been created over the past 3 or 4 years, to strengthen the oversight process and to make sure we never forget that the Central Intelligence Agency, like all other parts of our Government, does not belong to the President. It does not belong to the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the House Intelligence Committee. It belongs to the American people. It is ultimately accountable to them as an agency that must be operated in keeping with their values, their traditions.
Mr. President, I appreciate the patience of my colleagues in allowing me to make these opening comments and to summarize the actions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. As I have indicated, we have by vote of 11 to 4 recommended to our colleagues in the Senate that Mr. Gates' nomination be approved, and that he be designated to serve as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York is recognized.
Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, in a fine essay in this morning's Washington Post, `Why Robert Gates Should be Confirmed,' Senator Cohen, who until last year served as vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, offers a fine and thoughtful argument, of the sort we have come to rely upon from him. Thoughtful, balanced, and in his special way, to the point. `the most serious charge [against Mr. Gates] is that he is essentially dishonest.' In the main, that he lied to Congress.
I do not consider that charge to be proven. I consider it a dim day for the Central Intelligence Agency when that becomes the pivotal issue in a choice of a Director. But having read `Scandal: The Crisis of Mistrust in American Politics,' Suzanne Garment's brilliant new critique of American politics and government, there is no great ground for surprise in this.
Let me then make this statement. If, in my view, the most serious charge against Mr. Gates was dishonest, I would vote for him. As, indeed, most Senators will vote for him. But I have a very different view. One which commands almost no support. Or interest. And, yet, the Constitution clearly anticipates that Members will present such views in the Senate from time to time. And provides that `for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.' (Article I, section 6.) A matter to which I will return.
My concern is of a wholly different order. It is that the Central Intelligence Agency failed in its single, overriding, defining mission, which was to chart the course of Soviet affairs.
I repeat what I have said before. For a generation the Central Intelligence Agency told successive Presidents everything there was to know about the Soviet Union except that it was about to fall apart, principally from internal failures and contradictions.
To the contrary, almost to the moment of that collapse, the Central Intelligence Agency depicted the Soviet Union as an industrial giant, whose economy was closing on that of the United States, with all that implied for sustained military and diplomatic intervention abroad.
Our able and I say learned chairman has just been telling us of a report in 1989, when the Agency discovered that the per capita income of the Soviet Union was about that of Mexico. Well, it took until the Soviet empire was breaking up and falling apart, and starvation was in the press, that this momentous discovery was made. Ten years earlier, the formal judgment was that the per capita income of the Soviet Union was about that of the United Kingdom, about that of Japan. It was not until the collapse a decade later that this revisionist view appeared, and it is to that revisionist view that I address these remarks which, as I say, will not be attendant, but may some day be read in another generation.
I am not, however, alone in this view. In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, Adm. Stansfield Turner, former Director of the CIA, fair to pleads that:
We * * * not gloss over the enormity of this failure to forecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis.
I repeat, Mr. President, `The enormity of this failure.' This comes from a very able former Director. I was on the committee the 4 years that he was DCI.
Already, he continues, we hear `revisionist rumblings that the CIA did in fact see the Soviet collapse emerging after all.' Some individuals may have done, he continues. But: `On this one, the corporate view missed by a mile.'
If you wish to encounter more of these revisionist rumblings, Mr. President, you have only to consult the report of the Select Committee on the Nomination of Robert M. Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence. We knew as early as 1989 that there was going to be trouble. Well, some individuals, Admiral Turner said, have begun this revisionism because some individuals may well have foreseen that collapse. But again I quote Admiral Turner: `On this one, the corporate view missed by a mile.'
But plain, it is this Senator's view that by confirming Mr. Gates, the Senate will confirm this revisionist view.
Whereupon the Agency which this Senator has known, has worked with, worked within, has fiercely defended, and unreservedly admired--this Agency will die.
If that statement has an emotional edge, so be it. I am of that generation which held the CIA in special respect, even awe. For it was an awesome challenge: to take on the Soviet Union at the height of the expectation of irrepressible world conflict. Close friends, classmates, joined--one died. Young. Others worked along side it. Starting about 30 years ago, I did. As an ambassador. As a participant in various activities. At one point in the 1970's, for example, it fell to me to participate in the defection of Arkady N. Shevchenko, the highest ranking official of the Soviet Government ever to come over to our side, as we would say. Time magazine described `consternation at the United Nations, intense alarm in Moscow, and scarcely concealed elation in Washington' when the news broke some years later. But there was no celebrating on the part of the agents involved. Their existence at the time, and later, was known but to a tiny few, and remained that way. They had taken vows of silence, anonymity, and, yes, poverty by the standards of their contemporaries, and intense deprivation and danger at points in their careers.
These are the men and women I think about this afternoon. It is their Agency that is now going to go the way of all mortals. All mortal Government organizations, that is. The organizational equivalent of eutrophication. Drying up, dying off.
I began to worry about this after becoming a member of the Intelligence Committee in 1977, and especially so after becoming vice chairman, back to back as he would say, with our beloved former colleague, Barry Goldwater. After rotating off the committee, I was given the Agency Seal Medallion, out of some sense, I like to think, that when we had disagreed--when at one point I said I would resign--it was because I cared.
When I speak of the Agency as I have known it dying off, I mean nothing more dramatic than the gradual routinization and bureaucratization of its work. Accompanied by the routine activities known to theorists as organizational maintenance.
In this regard I recall the occasion when our great colleague from the other body, Representative Boland of Massachusetts, rotated off the House select committee. A reception was held. Sumptuous by any standards--the shrimp never gave out--such was the generosity of the corporate donors. I was asked to come over and say a word on behalf of the Senate committee, which I did with the greatest pleasure. Afterward, an Agency official came over and said: `You know, any college senior has been taught that if an activity in the executive branch wishes to flourish, it must get itself a pair of committees on Capitol Hill to look after it. Now do you not think it surprising that it has taken something called the `intelligence community' a quarter century to figure this out!'
And how right he was. The CIA is now steadily acquiring all the instruments and strategies of organizational maintenance that we expect of, say, the Department of Agriculture. Or the FBI. Not long ago Cokie Roberts, that redoubtable observer of Washington ways, broadcast on National Public Radio a commentary on the Gates hearings. She touched on the question of whether the Agency had missed the Soviet collapse. Promptly on cue, a representative of the Director of Public Relations--or should I say directorate--called up to ask if Ms. Roberts wouldn't care to come out to visit the Agency, get to know its analysts, see the day care center, and perhaps better understand their work.
Size becomes self-justifying. Senator Cohen writes this morning that we need Mr. Gates because `the next DCI [must] be one who thoroughly understands the strengths and weaknesses of a vast bureaucracy.* * *' That is our Bill Cohen. He tells it like it is. This bureaucracy now has an organization of retired officers who rally
round when the budget is threatened. The budget is secret, of course; and like most such secret budgets, grows in the dark.
An affirmative action program is firmly in place. In recent days lively articles by Paul Farhi of the Post and Elaine Sciolino of the Times report a new advertising campaign.
`Uncle Sam Says Come Spy for Me As CIA Begins Appeal to Minorities,' `Recruitment Advertising Campaign Debuts in Ebony Magazine,' `Bumpy Ride for C.I.A. in Effort to Hire Minorities.' Add to this the economic weight and interests of assorted contractors, principally in the aerospace industry, and you have the three components of the classic Iron Triangle of congressional, executive, and private interests.
Most disappointing is the revisionism. In July 1990 I presided at hearings of the Committee on Foreign Relations on `Estimating the Size and Growth of the Soviet Economy.' These were not adversarial. Clearly, the intelligence community had overestimated the size of the Soviet economy by as much as a factor of three. A huge, almost inexplicable error had been made. I will not swear to this, but as I have earlier noted, citing the Constitution, I cannot be held responsible in another place for what I say on the floor. And so I would say, generally speaking, the Soviet economy in the last two decades, has been about one-third the size of the CIA estimate.
But, this was not an error confined to the intelligence community. For reasons that might better be suggested at another time and place, it was part of a general failure of perception, albeit the U.S. Government paid for most of it. The matter was nicely summed up by a brilliant witness before our committee, Nicholas Eberstadt who said:
In fact, I believe, it may be safe to say that the U.S. Government's effort to describe the Soviet economy may be the largest single project in the social science research ever undertaken.
And he went on to say, it was a bust; we got it wrong; to which I will return, because it is not getting it wrong that is unforgivable, it is denying that you got it wrong. That is where you find out the quality of institutions and individuals.
But what did we hear from Mr. George Kolt, Director of Soviet Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency:
In my statement I plan to review for you our methodology for assessing Soviet economic performance; highlight some of the pitfalls involved, pitfalls that we have not always been able to avoid; discuss the main lines of criticism of our work; and finally, cite previous public testimony that I believe will show that
essentially we were right in our descriptions of the Soviet economy over time and its prospects.
A year later, Admiral Turner would speak of the enormity of the CIA failure. But within the Agency: Stonewalling and revisionism.
At this point I should declare my interest, as the lawyers say. In the course of the 1970's I became convinced that the U.S.S.R. was an unstable regime and would soon collapse. My reasoning was simply enough. It was clear enough that Marxist-Leninist doctrine propounded two central predictions. The first was that socialist production would be more efficient than capitalist production. Anyone visiting Moscow would know that this was not yet self-evident. One thinks of George Will's story of Isaac Deutscher telling a group at Oxford that `proof' of Trotsky's farsightedness was that even then, years later, none of his predictions had yet come true. Then in 1976 came Murray Feshbach's striking testimony before the Joint Economic Committee that life expectancy for males in the Soviet Union was declining. Feshback a product, incidentally, of the Bureau of the Census. So much is collected in mortality statistics. Something was seriously wrong.
A second Marxist-Leninist prediction was the disappearance of ethnic/nationalist/religious attachments and the emergency of a new Soviet man, as they said, dedicated to international solidarity and ineluctable triumph. Well, by 1979, it was plain enough that the Czar's empire was seething with ethnic, nationalist, religious discontent.
In these circumstances, in 1979 I wrote an essay for Newsweek--part of a forum on the eighties--in which I said that in the 1980's the Soviet Union would break up and that this could be an intensely dangerous moment for the simple reason that the new insurgent or separatist nations that would emerge could very possibly get hold of nuclear weapons as part of their own defense system against Moscow, or some other hated if nearby capital. In this regard there is an important front page story in today's Post--`Soviet Government Faces Closing of 70 Ministries'--and a fine editorial in the Times--`The Soviet Disunion's Missiles.'
This was not, on my part, a one-time statement. I repeated the general proposition with fair regularity. Often here on the Senate floor. Nor was it the product of some soft feeling about the Soviet Union that has been suggested or implied already today. That in the seventies the CIA was soft on the Soviet Union. I was not learning this from the CIA. I would like to point out that they had just the opposite view. But already some are prepared to say to their colleagues, who in the seventies thought exactly what they thought in the eighties, they were `soft.'
I was raised in New York City and early in life fell among mensheviks, the writers of the New Leader. I listened to Kerenskiy in high school. From the time I was 15, I was given to understand that the Soviet Union would break up and it was only a matter of time. And by the 1970's, I could see that the time was at hand.
And indeed, by the 1980's, I had become vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence and watched us commence to get involved with Nicaragua, watched us walking down the path that in many circumstances would have led to the impeachment of a President. I found our policy difficult to understand. Did it not seem obvious that the emergence of the Sandinistas there was a colonial phenomenon of the center and the periphery that was happening in a kind of time warp? I would put it that when an idea dies in Madrid, it takes two generations for word to reach Managua. Paris/Saigon. Lisbon/Maputo. I don't know whether the idea was ever alive in Lisbon, but in any event, when idea dies in Lisbon it takes a long time for the news to reach Maputo. Now communism had once been a living, vital creed in Madrid. Read Orwell. Or read, as I did as a child at the time, about La Passionara. But all that was over. The Communist idea had died in Madrid.
France has been called the first daughter of the church; the French Communist Party was the first daughter of the world international movement. But there came a time when the CP vote, the Parti Communiste, was down to 20 percent. And half their members, their voters, were over 60--dying. Communism as a belief had died in all the places it had once thrived. In Paris, in New York, in London, in Rome. Probably by now in Moscow.
Let me, at this point, note a remark made to a meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee on October 16 by Peter Kravchanko, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus. I had asked him when belief in communisn had died in, shall we say, Minsk. He replied with great condor and insight--or so we felt:
In answer to your question about when communism disappeared, it is difficult to say, but I would say in 1979, Brezhnev disintegrated as a personality. Many ideas also disintegrated. In the 1970's and 1980's, we had a two-dimensional life. First, there were the ideological stereotypes, and second, there was conventional wisdom. Gorbachev, I believe, by the end of the seventies was aware of the inevitability of change, but his hands were tied. What is the modern evaluation of Gorbachev? Power has been transferred to the republics. It is an irreversible process.
Seemingly, nobody in the CIA could grasp the argument. Recall that I was then vice chairman of the committee. Someone must have been listening when I would say these things. But the idea was somehow inaccessible. No one would even take you aside and say, you know, friendly like, `You are not helping yourself by saying these things. It will all look very bad someday, held against you in an election or something.'
I wondered about it, and I think I know the answer. Basically a different idea was in place. I don't know enough of what was going on within the councils of the intelligence community, but consciously or not the CIA adopted Trotsky's old dictum that `The road to Paris leads through Calcutta.' Probably in response to the appearance of the Sandinistas in Managua. It is one of the dicta that is behind the domino theory in some ways. This was partly a notion that colonial revolt would break up the European nations, partly a notion that the most immiserized populations would most likely respond to Communist appeals. It was not within his reach intellectually to say they would respond to ethnic or nationalist appeals, religious appeals. It was part of the Marxist prediction, as I said earlier, that this would not happen. In any event, we began to see the Reds coming at us from Central America. Two days driving time, as our President once put it, from Harlingen, TX.
I could not believe this. I had gone down to Managua and met with the junta. The head of the Ministry of Interior took me to lunch at the Barrio Sandino. A suspicious looking beef stew was served up, along with Pepsi Cola, the politically correct soft drink of Marxists in those days. I demurred, asking instead for rice and beans, a reliable and, in fact, delicious lunch. After some delay the Minister was forced to tell me that they had no beans. I settled on rice. As my companions later wished they had done. In power for what, two or three growing seasons, and already no beans. But headed for the Alamo.
The most painful instance of the Trotsky hypothesis that I have yet seen was the memorandum from Mr. Gates to Mr. Casey of December 14, 1984, which Senator Metzenbaum made public in the course of the recent hearings. It is the genuine article, alright.
The memorandum strongly suggests that Gates knew that the CIA was violating the law in Nicaragua because it was trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan Government. He calls the argument that the United States was trying to cut off the flow of arms to El Salvador a `fig leaf.' He says that we `started out justifying the program on the basis of curtailing the flow of weapons.* * *' But he clearly understands that our effort was to overthrow the Government in Nicaragua.
Three times he invokes the image of `a second Cuba' on `the mainland of the Western Hemisphere.' He speaks of our `helplessness.' He derides the idea that the Nicaraguan Government could become pluralist as `silly and hopeless.' He wonders if we are going to collapse the way we did in Angola, in Vietnam, and so forth.
He repeatedly advocates the use of `all necessary means--short of invasion' to overthrow the Nicaraguan Government. As you know, this included acts of war; namely, a naval blockage and air strikes.
He adds: `Can the United States stand a second Cuba in the Western Hemisphere? One need only look at the difficulty that Cuba has caused this country over the past 25 years to answer that question.' What question? What difficulty has Cuba caused us over the last 25 years?
I was in this city, was a member of the administration, at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. I don't remember any trouble since then.
It is true, it has been difficult to come by a genuine Monte Christo, and is to this day. But absent those who cannot make do with good Cuban cigars made in Miami--on the whole it has been a bearable experience. But, we are told that the existence of this regime in Nicaragua is a threat to us.
In less than 5 years time the Soviet Union would withdraw from Eastern Europe, including East Germany, without firing a shot. That Soviet Union would then start breaking up. It would next begin begging the West for aid. Famine would be predicted for the winter 1991-92. All this was close enough you could reach out and touch it. Save at the CIA which was living out--as the Nation was soon acting out--a Trotskyite fantasy.
Again it would be alright if you could face up to these blunders. But no. Or at least nothing was heard to that effect in the course of the committee hearings. Just as the subject is hardly touched upon in the committee report.
But it is to the failure of economic analysis--so palpable, so capable of quantification at some level at least--that I return. In mid-October I learned that the Deputy Director for Intelligence had spoken to an assembly of the Directorate of Intelligence on this matter. I wrote Mr. Richard Kerr asking if I might have a copy. This was promptly and courteously provided. In his address, John L. Helgerson, the current DDI, put the matter openly enough--
And above all, there have been continuous and widespread misstatements about our analysis of the Soviet economy. This problem is frustrating when it involves the press, but it is doubly frustrating when in involves members of the Congress, senior U.S. military officers, or others who are in a position to know the facts. Often the misrepresentations are unintentional, but that makes them no less harmful.
Note that touch. Members of Congress `who are in a position to know the facts.' But what? Misrepresenting them? Sorry, we can't say. The facts are secret, of course, but if you knew the secrets, you would know that some persons are misrepresenting the secrets which you cannot know because they are secret. But watch out, fellows, watch out.
In his letter of transmittal Mr. Kerr offered evidence that the CIA had spotted the economic decline. This was in public testimony by Admiral Turner to the Joint Economic Committee in 1979. Mr. Kerr wrote:
I also have included an extract from the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) report of 1979 that contains CIA's intelligence assessment of the Soviet economy.
While the specific numbers on growth are questionable (we have always acknowledged that our confidence in specific numbers was shaky), I believe the judgments about the basic trends in the Soviet economy were on the mark. Maybe we were listening to you with greater care than you guessed.
Here are excerpts from the testimony which he provided with his letter. It is the testimony of DCI Turner before the Joint Economic Committee in 1979:
Overall, there is every reason to believe that a continued decline in the rate of Soviet economic growth is inevitable through most of the 1980's.
We now expect Soviet GNP to grow at somewhat less than 3 percent annually over the next few years (down from our earlier estimate of about 4 percent) and then fall gradually.
The U.S.S.R. enters this period of slowing growth with a per capita national output well behind the U.S., West Germany, and France, and in the same league with Italy, the UK, and Japan.
Soviet GNP is just about three-fifths the United States.* * *
Fast-forward to Mr. Helgerson's pep talk of October 11:
On the economic side, one would never know from reading the newspapers that we told the Joint Economic Committee back in 1977 that a marked reduction in the rate of economic growth in the 80's was almost inevitable. In the mid-80s, we wrote that, even in the best circumstances, a period of economic disruption was in store for the Soviets that would further depress growth. Similarly, one would not know from the press that we have said in the last two years that the Soviet consumer--on a per capita basis--is on a par with the Mexican consumer.
I hope I am wrong. But I detect a fast shuffle. Hadn't Admiral Turner described the U.S.S.R. as having the per capita national output `in the same league with Italy, the UK, and Japan'? Surely, he had. In the same league with advanced industrial nations. But now we learn that the Agency has been saying that the `Soviet consumer * * * is on a par with the Mexican consumer. When did we change our minds? The current CIA World Factbook gives us a Mexican per capita income of $2,680; Japanese at $17,100--six times as high.
This is particularly fascinating because in an op-ed article in the Washington Post published on May 19, 1988, one of the most astute critics of the CIA's economic analysis, Swedish economist Anders Aslund, wrote of the CIA's report on the Soviet economy in 1987:
Until recently, the CIA stated that the national income per capita was higher in the Soviet Union than in Italy. Anyone who has visited both countries should be able to see for himself that such a statement is absurd.* * * To anyone who has lived in the Soviet Union, it is clear that it is a reasonably well-developed Third World country, calling to mind * * * Mexico * * * in terms of infant mortality, life expectancy, agricultural employment, consumption, and other nonmilitary indicators of economic development. In many regards Russians are worse off.* * *
For that matter, in 1986 the CIA reported that per capita GNP in East Germany was higher than West Germany. It is not clear whether that estimate has as yet been revised. But then it doesn't that much matter any more.
Here, in closing, is the point as this Senator sees it. Starting with the Gaither Commission in the late 1950's, the United States Government embraced a model of Soviet economic growth that was wildly unrealistic. By the mid-1970's, the formal CIA estimate of the Soviet economy was 62 percent of the United States. If you took Admiral Turner's three-fifths at 1979 and plotted U.S. actual economic growth against the projected rate of three percent annual growth for the U.S.S.R., they would reach 66 percent of the U.S. economy. All this gave us a wildly erroneous basis on which to produce our celebrated `threat analyses,' but also, in this Senator's judgment, blinded us to the impending crisis of belief in the Soviet Union which would inevitably produce a crisis of the regime.
Mistakes were made. Maybe big mistakes. Maybe mistakes having something to do with a $4 trillion debt, three-quarters of which was run up in the last decade when we could have afforded to cut back our defense program, ignore the Nicaraguas and the Angolas, concentrate on our own economy.
Very well, mistakes were made. Enormous mistakes as Admiral Turner insists.
These were honest mistakes. They were mistakes made by informed and intelligent analysts. No other intelligence agency, as best I know, contradicted us. Few economists--notably Anders Aslund in Sweden and Igor Birman, a Russian emigre economist in this country, but few others.
Be someone of the stature of Stansfield Turner. It happened on his watch, too. Who says so? He says so.
But no. The word from Langley is that we were right all along. I wish them a long institutional life, stealing Japanese trade secrets. Some of it just possibly in West Virginia.
Mr. President, I will vote `No.'
Mr. BRADLEY addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Bradley] is recognized.
Mr. BRADLEY. Mr. President, let me say to the distinguished Senator from New York, having been on the floor during the last hour is one of the reasons I cherish serving with him in the U.S. Senate. I do not think that another Senator could have given either the historical context or the penetrating experience that the Senator from New York has conveyed to us today. I think it holds enormous implications for not just this nomination but for this country. And I thank him very much for his statement.
Mr. MOYNIHAN. I thank my gallant and gracious colleague. As is so often he is so much more learned than he is willing to let us know. I look forward to his remarks on the subject.
Mr. BRADLEY. Mr. President, I also would like to begin by expressing my admiration and appreciation to the chairman of this committee, Senator Boren, and his deputy, Senator Murkowski, for the way they have conducted this confirmation hearing process.
They have been thorough and they have been fair, and as Senator Boren said at the beginning of his remarks, never has a confirmation of the CIA Director interviewed more people, heard more witnesses, asked more questions, took more testimony. I think it is a tribute to him and to Senator Murkowski. I believe that one of his objectives, which was to try to take a hearing process on an arcane subject and educate the American people about the intelligence process, did succeed and succeed very well in part because of his own vision, also in part because of the tenacity and cooperation of the professional staff on both sides of the aisle.
Mr. President, President George Bush has nominated Robert Gates as his next CIA Director. The Senate must advise against or consent to that nomination. The nominee, once confirmed, disappears behind a cloak of secrecy, held accountable only by closed-door meetings of the U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees and by the private supervision of the President.
The intelligence, developed by CIA and other intelligence agencies affects decisions involving many billions of dollars, literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year. We now spend $300 billion annually on defense based largely on a picture of the threats painted by the intelligence community. Based on that picture, Americans pay taxes to buy weapons, train troops, and maintain forces to defend our interests.
For 45 years, we have fought a cold war of political and military competition with the Soviet Union. It began in the ashes of World War II, but its ideological component goes back to the Bolshevik revolution. Since then, the United States and the Soviet Union have held totally opposite views of history and social development. These views were in conflict.
The Marxist-Leninist belief system encompassed all aspects of life and promised to create a new `Soviet man,' who would work not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of his fellow Soviet citizens. In theory, workers were, in Marx's words, to toil `from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.' In practice the revolutionary idealism embodied in the ideology degenerated into a totalitarian nightmare that took millions of its own citizens' lives in the gulag. In the process it smashed ethnic bonds, suppressed religion, and ruthlessly punished political dissent.
Centralized, authoritarian control was reasonably good at producing big, uniform things such as dams, apartment buildings, subways, and missiles. It was terrible at tailoring anything to the individual consumer. It was incapable of building unique national comparative advantage. Individual initiative was not rewarded; it was punished. Diverse needs were not met. Individual well-being stagnated. The saying among Soviet workers became, `You pretend to pay; we pretend to work.'
Centralized, authoritarian control was even more stifling for anything that depended on a free flow of ideas. Unsanctioned ideas were dangerous. They undermined the orthodoxy. They ruffled the feathers of the rulers. They challenged the status quo in everyday life. Ideas were controlled, or more properly submerged, for generations. The Soviet Union built itself into a police state superpower with a massive military force which could threaten the world.
The American belief system, on the other hand, emphasized the rights of the individual. American society embraced free enterprise and then tried to soften its edges. America believed in the market system. America believed that government should not guarantee wealth but opportunity. Individuals and corporations should compete in the private sector. Those who won should be taxed fairly so that those who lost the economic competition would not suffer. The market was never perfect and in times of war it gave way to state control. Still, Americans in economic matters trusted self-reliance more than solidarity.
But Americans have believed in more than the market. We have believed in personal mobility and the free flow of ideas. We have believed in an openness of spirit and a range of possibility unheard of anywhere at any time in history. We have believed in the proposition that self-government was possible in a world of monarchies and dictatorships.
The genius of the Founders was to construct a system in which participation could be broadened and each generation could create America anew. The vote was the fulcrum of democracy, the press its conscience, and the prospect of a better life for your children its driving motivation. America fought two world wars in the 20th century defending those values.
Then came the cold war. It locked Americans into a central preoccupation with armed Soviet totalitarianism. Domestic politics in the cold war became less open, more tarred by the imperatives of a national security state. For 45 years, the primary goal of U.S. foreign policy was to counter and contain communism around the globe.
The Central Intelligence Agency became the quintessential cold war institution. It was conceived and dedicated to the proposition that the world was a potential battlefield between two great superpowers. The mission of the Agency was to be a crucial force in that war. An underlying assumption of American foreign policy was that little happened in the world that was unrelated to the Soviet Union.
Thus, under Republican and Democratic Presidents alike, a nationalist movement in Southeast Asia was viewed as part of the movement toward world domination by the Comintern. An election in Chile was seen as the first step toward the country becoming a Soviet puppet. And a civil war in Angola turned into a subterranean superpower face-off.
The CIA was steeped in the lore of dirty deeds and fictional characters. Yet it also excelled at thorough hard-hitting analysis and possessed vast technical knowledge.
The operational side of the Agency was often at odds with the analytical division. But both were shrouded in secrecy. The insularity of any bureaucracy was intensified at CIA by the cloak of secrecy and the discipline of compartmentalization. Such an institution is always problematical in our democracy. Americans have a visceral suspicion of secrecy in their Government. The periodic misuses of the Agency in Watergate or in Iran-Contra only confirmed their unease.
The CIA is in its third generation since the emergence of the Communist threat after World War II. Today it is more like an enormous university than a police department. It is filled with the brightest people in Government, who willingly subject themselves to the confines of a lie detector culture so they can serve their country. Each individual brings his or her own views of American interests and the threats to these interests. The reasons why people serve vary from intellectual competition to the call of patriotic public service, to the thrill of being on the cutting edge--of knowing how things really work, to the responsibility of having policymakers depend on them.
Bright people and strongly held views produce sparks. That is particularly true regarding the U.S.S.R. The accepted premise since World War II was that the Soviet Union was a threat.
In that cold war context, the CIA had three major functions: First, assessing an enemy or potential enemy's military capacity; second, the discovery of an enemy's intentions; and third, countering hostile intelligence services. Each of them required our intelligence services to infer the truth from whatever evidence they could gather.
In theory, the CIA had no ax to grind on policy questions. It is supposed to be strictly objective in what it concludes from what it has learned. Whereas, for example, the Navy might be inclined to inflate the strength of an enemy's fleet in order to boost expenditures on its own, the CIA's role is to find out the simple facts in order to let the President and other policymakers decide just how big and modern that naval fleet really should be.
That is the way the process is supposed to work. But there are some problems when that theory bumps up against the real world. Some judgments can never be confirmed definitively one way or the other, and all judgments have domestic political consequences. The depth of the political consequences is directly related to the pressure on the Agency to skew judgments to fit conventional wisdom. If the Soviet Union has been defined politically as the `evil empire' with designs in Central America, then the possibility of ambiguous data being misinterpreted as indicating a Soviet threat to Panama increases with every Presidential speech.
Clearly, there has been tension within the Agency during the seventies and eighties. One manager said in an unguarded moment that there was a conflict between the `Commie symps and the Commie bashers.' Or as he put it more euphemistically later, between those who were `influenced mainly by assumptions of what were politically `logical' and those whose interpretations tended to be influenced more by what they thought were the dictates of Soviet ideology--that is, before Gorbachev changed it in 1986. This mixture of talents and biases and egos generated tensions that challenged the best
of managers. Charges of politicizations have been recurrent. I think they were the exceptions but in an Agency whose employees were dedicated to the credo, `To seek the truth,' any perception of slanting intelligence or compromising independence of judgment stimulates proper resistence and checks excesses.
But now there has been a tidal shift. The assumptions of American intelligence since August 1945 died in August 1990. The 45-year-old cold war ended not with a big bang, as so many had feared since Hiroshima, but with the peaceful dissolution of Communist power in the U.S.S.R: a historical watershed of monumental proportion.
Increasingly, the U.S.S.R. will not be a threat. That could mean that the justification for the CIA itself is threatened. Monitoring the Soviet military power will not be nearly as important or difficult as it used to be. The world has changed; intelligence needs have changed; the CIA must change. New goals must be set if the CIA is to remain central to U.S. policymaking. Real threats must be discovered before it is too late to protect U.S. interests.
With this backdrop, the question before us is whether Robert Gates should be Director of the CIA. This nomination is about one man and his fitness to serve, but it is as much about this administration and its fitness to lead. And ultimately, it is about all of our abilities to let go of old perceptions and see things anew.
To give a sense of what has happened to our world and to consider whether the current administration understands its implications, I would like to read some lengthy exercepts from a soon to be published book called `Mr. Bush's War,' written by Stephen Graubard, the editor of Daedalus Quarterly. The book explores our present predicament. It has implications not only for whom we choose as the next Director of the CIA, but also for how we approach our children's future.
Professor Graubard reconstructs George Bush's challenge when he became President in 1989 as follows:
If the cold war was indeed over, then American foreign policy had to be dramatically altered. The President's political life had been in the service of men who made the Soviet Union their chief concern. What ought the new American foreign policy be? Where would the President receive his instruction?
* * * Without being a disciple of Henry Kissinger or Jeane Kirkpatrick, did he understand the nature of authoritarian governments? If he did not, how could he hope to deal with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Iraq, not to speak of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba? In his elaborate defense of free markets, did he understand the reasons for the inefficiency of Communist economies, and not only in the Soviet Union? Had he himself been taken in by the myths that had been perpetrated for so long on why Germans, even under Communism, prospered? And how could he hope to understand modern Japan if he imagined that it was a brilliant American occupation that had created its postwar prosperity? Did he realize the extent of America's own social devastation? Did he understand how perceived economic weakness would limit and shape
any foreign policy initiatives that others might wish to press on him?
* * * If the Cold War was indeed over, at least in one of its guises, accommodating leaders in the Kremlin might not survive for very long; a new kind of dictatorship, less dominated by a Marxist veneer, might soon emerge, with or without Gorbachev at its head, presiding over a nation more xenophobic than any that had existed since 1917. The President saw no necessity to treat with the `opposition' in the Soviet Union. * * * [T]o do so would have been, in his mind, to betray a power that existed, preferring a power that might never be.
He was equally inept in treating with the Chinese who rebelled in Tiananmen Square, preferring to deal with those who gave the military their orders to shoot.* * *
That he lacked any notion of what to do about Eastern Europe was obvious. * * * How to use the revolutionary events occurring there to realize larger American objectives, how to make democracy a more potent force in the world, how to harness foreign policy bonuses to spur genuine domestic economic and social reform--there did not seem even to occur to him or to his Secretary of State as reasonable policy goals. * * * The vague talk of a Marshall Plan, which came principally from others, scarcely commended itself to someone who knew how limited were the Treasury's assets. The United States of 1989-90 was not the United States of 1947-48; the country lacked the resources and the will to launch venturesome and expensive foreign policy initiatives. In any case, no comparable ideas existed in 1989. Those who advised President Bush, while delighted with the ending of the Cold War, had no notion of what the event portended. To have understood 1989 and appreciated its potential, seeing it as something other than the triumph of an abstract `democracy' and of `free markets,' would have required an appreciation of all that had changed in the world since the time of Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, and why rhetoric alone, with its promise of economic abundance, would never suffice to dampen fires ignited by nationalism and race, with deep historic roots, which had only been superficially covered up by Communist repression. George Bush, having received instruction from Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, knew how to win elections and swim in Cold War waters. He knew nothing of navigation in a world where the new heads of state were frequently men recently liberated, not only from prisons but from myths, the most confining being that Communism would last forever.
Defined by his World War II experience, and even more by all that the cold war had taught him the President lived by myth, * * *. He pretended that the decline of the Soviet Union simply reinvigorated and made even more intimate his relations with his NATO allies. No one had ever told him that there were no permanent alliances. He imagined that Germany would for all time thank him for what he had done to restore unity, as it would remain forever grateful for what the United States had done to defeat nazism and contain communism. He saw foreign states as static entities, when all the evidences of his life suggested the opposite. Not everyone in Eastern and Central Europe waited to be `developed' by the new united Germany, not everyone in the Soviet Union had forgiven or forgotten World War II or imagined that only their communist rulers had oppressed them. Historical memories were long--Arabs still spoke of the Sykes-Picot pact--and the Japanese thought of Hiroshima in a way that American psychologists never could. The whole history of the twentieth century suggested that the most stable and seemingly permanent features of life were in fact transitory. The President, * * * scarcely understood this, failing to see the opportunities created by a whole set of events that gave the United States a new freedom.
The principal challenge of the United States was not becoming the world's policeman, organizing friendly (and not so friendly) nations to fight territorial aggression, or even instructing them in how to make peace, but to assume a wholly new role, to see itself as the quintessential `modern society,' divided and fractious, a microcosm of global society, with all its racial and cultural conflicts and divisions. The old sort of Cold War Manichaeanism, with its simple good guy/bad guy divisions, had reduced all political debate to television drivel; * * * More seriously, it had forced the United States to repudiate its long-standing utopian ambition--to be democratic and open.
Whether or not Gorbachev survives as the President of a viable Soviet Union, whether or not Baker succeeds in pressuring Israel `to give peace a chance,' the new world, a disordered world, will be one of nationalist resurgence and religious intolerance, of economic and social inequities that produce violent explosions, made all the more incendiary when restrictive immigration policies are introduced in many places in Europe and elsewhere to remove a safety valve provided by the more prosperous to those they wish to employ in menial pursuits. The world is more dangerous not because Communism has failed but because decades of Cold War have raised ambitions, and not only in Europe.
An American, reflecting on this, may wish to draw different conclusions from four decades of the Cold War. Is it at all possible that there have been no victors, that Germany and Japan, despite their very real economic prosperity, represent nothing that has ultimate meaning for the world? Might the dilemma of the late twentieth century be that the American utopia has lost its power at precisely the same time that the Soviet myth has been smashed and that their simultaneous collapse creates a grave intellectual and moral vacuum in the world? If so, what can that mean to those concerned with the United States, with its future political and moral role in the world? Will they acknowledge that the cold war, perhaps necessary, contributed to the defeat of Soviet Communism, but also served to create many of the least attractive features of late-twentieth-century American (and world) society? More importantly, is it possible that five decades of war, beginning in 1941, have instructed the American people in a flawed text, that they imagine foreign policy and domestic policy to be separable, that one may be successful in one and fail in the other? In truth, they are related, in ways that neither Bush nor Reagan could ever understand. Unless President Bush's foreign policy is placed in a context that includes his failure to address the serious domestic problems of the United States, and not only of the American economy, there is no possibility of the country emerging from the current era of fable and myth.
The Bush administration lacked a policy for dealing with the Soviet Union in 1989; it had none worthy of the name in 1990, though it recognized how Soviet weakness could translate into a political advantage in the Gulf War; it still lacked such a policy in 1991. Politics required, however, that this fact be hidden. In the New World Order that was being heralded, the Soviet Union would have its place, as co-convener of a Middle East peace conference.
The President rode high, and few asked embarrassing questions, none calculated to puncture the fable he was creating. The world had passed out of the more than four-decades long Cold War, as destructive in its own way, though not in human casualties, as * * * the war that had ravaged Europe between 1914 and 1918. Men acted as if the damage done the Soviet Union and its satellite empire could be repaired, not immediately perhaps, but certainly, if only those making their exit from Communism recognized the necessity to convert quickly to a market economy. No one asked why the United States--one of the more ancient of the market economies, * * * continued to show signs of economic distress and social disorder. If the system worked so well, why did it not operate as effectively in the United States as it did in Germany and Japan. * * * No one thought it necessary to review the history of the nineteenth century, which would have explained how Socialism developed initially in response to certain inequities created by an unregulated free market economy, or how that economy had been superseded by state controls during the war, and how desperate had been the efforts to re-create it in 1919, to recapture a world that had been lost.
The Bush administration never asked such questions. * * * Its own success depended on a single fable being believed by the electorate--that all went well in America, that it continued to be a teacher to the world, a moral example to others. The possibility that it had lost those distinctions, that its leadership was of a kind different from what it pretended, was never bruited about in or near the White House. To have acknowledged such failure would have required the construction of another political agenda very different from that of the New World Order.
Mr. President, I have read that lengthy quote from the soon-to-be-published book, so that we might focus that the fundamental question posed by this nomination is not about Bob Gates, but about this administration and its failure to understand the emerging post-cold-war world. Yes, the immediate question is whether Robert Gates is the man to effect the necessary changes at the CIA. The President wants him because he has worked with him for several years. The Senate shall decide whether he meets our standards. In the words of Senator Byrd on the Thomas nomination, `I am not God, but I do have a vote.' A nominee must show why he merits that vote.
What are the arguments that the supporters of Robert Gates advance? They say that during this crucial time of change we need a Director who knows the score, who knows the Agency, who knows the procedure. In other words, the institution is so compartmented, so opaque, so uncooperative that only someone who has participated in the internal power struggles themselves can effect change.
I disagree with that assessment and I think its proponents find themselves as advocates for a pessimistic view of the Agency and for a nominee steeped in the old institution, the old assumptions, and the old mission.
They also argue that Mr. Gates will provide the `unvarnished truth,' independent of policy considerations but crucial to our national interest because he has promised to do so.
It is interesting to remember why this is such an issue. It is an issue because he has not displayed that independence in the past. He crossed the line that the CIA is not supposed to cross more than once. Because of that he has had to promise the Intelligence Committee that he will not do it again. In effect, his record of crossing the line is supposed to provide us assurance that it will not happen in the future.
I believe the President should select as the next Director someone about whom there can be no question and no doubts, someone who does not have to labor to counter suspicion on many close questions. I believe the next Director of the CIA should have bold conceptual ability, strong managerial talents and no ties to the controversies of the last decades. Does Mr. Gates meet these standards?
I will argue that Mr. Gates does not meet these standards and that, in addition, he has shown a lack of judgment; he is part of the administration's policy process, and he cannot lead an agency effectively toward its new mission.
Robert Gates served as assistant to the Director of CIA in 1981, as Deputy Director for Intelligence from 1982 to 1986, as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1983 to 1986, and as Deputy DCI from 1986 to 1989. He had a meteoric rise. These were years of internal upheaval, ideological fervor, deep involvement in policymaking, massive covert actions at variance with overt policy, unreported use of intelligence for major policy purposes and contempt at the top for the congressional oversight process.
Mr. Gates was there for all of it. For a part of it he was Mr. Casey's right-hand man, swimming in the controversies of the last decade. If as Deputy Director of the CIA he did not know about the Iran-Contra plot, he either was incompetent or chose not to know. Either it creates serious questions about his suitability for this job. He has admitted that he should have taken more seriously the possibility of the impropriety and wrongdoing. He should have pressed the issue of possible diversion with Mr. Casey and Admiral Poindexter. He should have been more skeptical about what he was told, asked more questions, been less satisfied with answers, especially from Casey. He also does not recall significant details about when he was first told of the diversion of funds for the contras or that on several occasions Mr. Allen made specific reference to Colonel North's involvement, or that he, Mr. Gates, himself made references about Colonel North. Ties to these past controversies alone, in my view, should disqualify him for this job. We are not, in the words of Senator Hollings, trying a murder case. We do not need a smoking gun. We are deciding fitness to lead.
Another reason I do not see Mr. Gates as a leader of the agency needs is because he does not have the necessary managerial talent or bold conceptual ability.
In 1986, at a meeting of the Intelligence Committee, I asked him to think unconventionally about the Soviet Union. General Secretary Gorbachev had just said that class struggle was no longer a basis for Soviet foreign policy and Foreign Minister Schevarnadze was beginning to subordinate foreign policy to domestic concerns. I asked Mr. Gates if there was a change in the Soviet Union, what intelligence should be doing to prepare us? He responded that he did not have resources for such idle speculation. Six months later, he wrote inside the agency that the CIA `wasn't creative enough in the way we are analyzing Soviet internal development' and that the analysts were not giving him the best information about the `turbulence and unhappiness in the U.S.S.R.' But even as he said these things within the institution, he kept hewing to the old line outside. Even as late as a 1989 speech, he predicted that `whether Gorbachev succeeds, fails, or just survives, a still long competition and struggle with the Soviet Union lie before us.' In a conflict between political logic and ideology, cold war ideology and a lifetime skepticism won out over bold conceptual ability.
But people say, `How can you blame him for missing the end of communism? Most people did.' The excuse that everyone else missed it first is not true. Witness all of the distinguished former vice chairman Senator Moynihan's predictions; witness even a speech I made in 1986 about the dire straits of the Soviet economy.
But the point is that the Deputy Director of the CIA is not `most people.' He is charged with the responsibility to monitor the Soviet threat and to recognize when that Nation is in the midst of economic disintegration.
Unlike many, almost anyone else, Mr. Gates' speeches through 1989 continued to claim the chances of fundamental change were very small. He stood almost alone in getting it wrong. Yet he was unique in his responsibility to get it right.
But more problematical for his confirmation, in my view, than his missing the end of communism in the Soviet Union was the way he responded to an agency that did not want to have its methodology of assessing the Soviet monolith challenged. For example in 1984, a Soviet emigre economist wrote to Gates that the Soviet economy was in worse shape than the CIA recognized. Professor Birman warned Gates in a memorandum, and he said a number of things about the Soviet economy. I will read some.
The Soviet economy produces not as much as 60 percent of the American national product, but much less.
The military share of Soviet national product is not 12 to 14 percent, but much higher.
The Soviet standard of living is not something like a third of American, but rather a fifth.
The current state of Soviet economic affairs is very dramatic. If the economic system is not radically changed [reformed], the economy will not `muddle through' the 1980s, but will reach zero, and then negative, growth. In contrast to cyclical Western economies, this will not be followed, in a few years, by a return to positive growth. It is precisely economic difficulties, and the need to justify them, which force the Kremlin to be so hostile to us.
The Soviet economy is in a severe financial crisis. Particularly, the budget deficit is huge, and still growing; the population's enormous monetary savings must somehow be liquidated, which is one of the rulers' most pressing headaches; the crisis intensifies all economic imbalances.
He goes on:
The real role of foreign trade in the Soviet economy is tremendously underestimated. The Soviets plug a huge hole in their budget with `earnings from foreign trade' currently about 20 percent of all revenues; those earnings in 1982 constituted 11 percent of National Income reported. Incorrect treatment of foreign trade leads to evident mistakes in Western calculations of growth rates and military expenditures in rubles.
Measurements of the Soviet economy's productivity can, and must be, radically improved. For example, the productivity measurements unfortunately employ CIA figures for output growth, which allegedly are deflated, together with nondeflated figures for capital growth.
He goes on:
I strongly disagree with statements that reduction of military expenditures will hardly affect overall Soviet economic performance.
He goes on:
The basic model used for computation of Soviet GNP and its growth rate is not quite satisfactory.
He goes on:
My understanding of these matters has been developed on the basis of my Soviet economic education, 25 years of work within the Soviet economy, and 10 years of studies after emigration.
He goes on:
My views are so different from commonly held ones, relate to such fundamentally important issues, and lead to such important political conclusions that they should not be ignored.
He goes on:
But I believe that the actual CIA monopoly of serious research on the Soviet economy should not last longer. I hope that the suggested discussions will once again demonstrate the necessity of having views alternative to the CIA's on the Soviet economy.
Those were excerpts from the memo that Mr. Birman sent to Mr. Gates around 1984.
Mr. Gates replied to Birman that he asked the Soviet division to remain in touch and that an outside panel would interview him.
But Mr. Gates did little else. In fact, in answering questions during the hearings, he said a number of remarkable things.
I had a problem throughout the early '80s with CIA's work on the Soviet economy * * * when it came to these statistical or quantitative analyses of the Soviet economy, I had a lot of problems, and I would try to get them to talk to people like Igor Birman and other defectors and emigres. And they would talk to them generally grudgingly * * * it was very difficult to change an analytical model that had been in place for a generation and frankly I wasn't prepared to push the system so badly out of shape as would have been required to basically turn that system on its head.
I then asked him:
Even if you sensed that these people had some potentially important, very important, decisive information?
His response was:
And I pushed them onto SOVA and I asked them to take their views into account and to listen to them and hopefully take them seriously and I did not make much headway.
I then said:
So that basically, getting back to the way we began * * * my question is what did you do? Here you have a memo from Birman. * * * You've expressed admiration for them. We all know that their estimate was much more on target than that which we had. You sensed that. What did you do to try to get that a part of the CIA analysis upon which billions of dollars were being spent?
And Mr. Gates responded:
I pressed the Soviet office to sit down and spend time with these people and to try and reflect these alternative views, and I did not succeed.
The reason this question is relevant is that here was Mr. Gates in possession of information that fundamentally challenged the prevailing view. He expressed interest in the information's importance. If the Soviet economy is smaller than we thought, in greater turmoil, and the defense budget
is a bigger part of it, then Soviet defense spending could not be sustained, and with deteriorating living standards, social conflict was likely. Yet he continued to make his projection of the Soviet military from the basis of a larger Soviet economy and the old methodology. The bureaucracy resisted, and he gave up. He was unable to refocus the Agency on an interpretation of the Soviet economy whose truth could have changed out perception of the Soviet threat, saved billions of taxpayer dollars, and given us a hint of the tumult that was about to engulf the Soviet Union.
How should we expect him to be able to deal with the much more diverse challenges that face American intelligence now? How can we be sure he is up to radically altering the way the Agency understands the emerging world? How can we be assured he will not make the same mistake with China? How do we know he has the strength and creativity to redirect and refocus an Agency full of bright people, many of whom are locked into old ways? How can he, a cold warrior himself, get an Agency to focus around the world less on the Soviet military and more on interaction of ethnic nationalism, proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, power of religious and secular grassroots movements, and terrorism? How?
Mr. President, I believe Bob Gates is earnest, hardworking, and intelligent. In the Webster years, he was more attentive to congressional oversight. I do not know him personally, but he has an appealing demeanor and appears likable. Yet I do not see him as the leader the Agency needs now. Not only because I do not believe that he possesses the bold conceptual ability or the managerial skills, not only because of his ties to the controversies of the past decade, but also because I believe he has allowed ambition or ideological conviction to overshadow his judgment on a number of occasions.
In November 1986, he gave a speech entitled `War by Another Name' and did an op-ed of the same title in which he wrote that `the Soviets' aggressive strategy in the Third World has, in my view, four ultimate targets--first the oil fields of the Middle East which are the life line of the West and Japan; second, the Isthmus and Canal of Panama between North and South America; and third, the mineral wealth of southern Africa. * * * The fourth target is the West itself.' When asked if there were any intelligence estimates that confirmed his view of Panama or southern Africa, he said no. When asked why he said it anyway, he replied, `poetic license.' I do not believe that the Deputy Director of the CIA should use poetic license to describe the hostile intent of what has been America's chief threat.
At the same time in 1986, he unwisely interjected himself and the Agency into another contentious policy debate. He strengthened the hand of those who were advocating SDI by stating in another speech that the Soviets would test ground-based lasers for use in ballistic missile defenses by the late 1980's and components for a large-scale deployment system in the 1990's. He highlighted only the
alarming aspects of Soviet laser research, and ignored the views that disputed the timetable and suggested even if the Soviet did test a ground-based laser, scientific breakthroughs would be needed in other areas before the Soviets could deploy a ballistic missile defense system.
The Deputy Director of the CIA should not be advocating policy or using `poetic license' to ring alarms. The speeches were serious mistakes. Mr. Gates promises not to do it again. But why did he do it then? Did he not know that people would take his statements as true? Wouldn't anyone who heard him assume that the CIA believed the Soviets had designs on Panama, that the CIA, believed without a doubt that the Soviets were about to test a ground-based laser and deploy an SDI-type ballistic missile system in the 1990's. His rhetorical excesses fed the ideological fervor of the times. They reinforced the Reagan administration's insistence that Americans pay more and more taxes to finance defense expenditures to counter the Soviet Union.
Why did Mr. Gates make these statements? What do they reveal? Frankly, I do not know. But one possibility is that he made them to curry favor with Mr. Casey, who saw hostile Communist designs virtually everywhere in the Third World. Or perhaps he wanted the President to be aware of his support for SDI. The other possibility is that Mr. Gates himself was an ideologue whose poetic license revealed that he had become a victim of cold war thinking--able to see only good and evil--even as the world around him was being shaped by more complex forces requiring greater insight than the old ideological view could yield--more understanding than fervor. Both explanations raise serious questions about his judgment and his commitment to provide the unvarnished truth to policymakers. Ideological bias or the desire to say what supervisors want to hear don't convey independence or strength. And they are habits that don't disappear overnight. Will he on every occasion provide judgments unclouded by his own personal biases? Will he never hesitate to challenge a policymaker's, even a President's, lifelong assumptions if the unvarnished truth dictates it? I have some doubts.
What the CIA needs now, I believe, is not an insider but a fresh person from the outside. A figure such as John McCone. Someone with managerial skills and bold conceptual ability. Someone who can refocus and inspire the talent in the Agency. Someone who can leap over the controversies of the last decade.
Why do we want someone as Director who has to carry the burden of the Casey years? What overwhelming advantage to the national interest, what extraordinary reason or what exceptional talent would someone have to bring to this job to justify the public suspicion that will necessarily be engendered by this nominee's confirmation? My answer is none. For someone from the inside, there are too many debts owed, too many old scores to be settled, too many doubts to be alleviated, too many impressions already hardened, too
many ambitions already curtailed to be the pathfinding leader that the agency needs now.
So far, my objections to Mr. Gates are, first, his past inattentiveness to the Iran-Contra scandal; second, his management and conceptual failures in refocusing the Agency's own changes in the Soviet Union; and, third, his lack of judgment in advocating controversial policy positions.
My fourth objection to Mr. Gates' nomination is that he comes out of the policymaking arm of the Bush administration. While that should not disqualify someone in all occasions, to my mind it does so on this occasion. He comes to the CIA not only with his lifelong attitude toward the Soviet Union, but with vested interests in a number of policy disputes. For example, an immediately critical question facing United States policy is whether to prop up the Soviet Central Government over the Republics. Mr. Gates' view to my knowledge has not taken issue with President Bush's clear preference for the center. Did he do anything to affect drafts of the famous Kiev speech in which President Bush stood with the central Communist apparatus and referred to the desires for independence in Ukraine and other Republics as `suicidal nationalism'? Within weeks, Communist power had ended in the Soviet Union, the Baltics achieved independence, and the Ukraine set December for an independence referendum. The point here is Mr. Gates goes to the CIA as a warrior in those disputes and policies, not as an impartial purveyor of intelligence.
He has only been a key manager of the administration's approach to Iraq since the early 1980's. He participated actively in the zigzag tilt toward Iraq between 1982-88; he did not seek to keep intelligence focused on Iraq after the 1988 Iraqi victory, even though Sadam Hussein's forces remained mobilized, prefering instead to concentrate on a crumbling Soviet threat; he failed to focus more intelligence resources on the monitoring of Iraqi nuclear development; he failed to monitor effectively Iraq's attempts to get strategic and dual use technology; and finally, he did not question the intelligence estimate that ratified the rosy assumptions the administration had made in 1989 about Saddams peaceful intention toward oil rich Arab neighbors. In sum, Mr. Gates contributed to the administrations policy of appeasement by neglecting signs of rapidly growing threats and belligerence on the part of Saddam Hussein.
Again Stephen Graubard's analysis:
The failure to attend to Iraq during eight years of war, and in the first year and a half of the Bush administration as well, showed a blindness common to a government dominated by men * * * who were following a Nixon-period script they barely understood. In seeking to rekindle the more aggressive Middle Eastern diplomatic policies initiated by Kissinger and pursued under Presidents Nixon and Ford, hoping finally to bring to fruition negotiations successfully concluded by President Carter at Camp David, they failed to recognize how much the geopolitical conditions in the area had changed. A more supple group might have wished to construct an agenda more suited in 1989 and 1990, one that took account of the collapse of the Soviet Union and considered how the military ambitions of both Iraq and Iran might be affected. The administration's concerns with Arab grievances in the occupied territories were reasonable, if placed in a broader context. The failure of both the President and his Secretary of State to interest themselves in Iran--to seek some sort of political relations with that once friendly state--was exceeded only by their innocence in not knowing how to deal with Iraq, a desperate state, economically and ideologically bankrupt, and therefore militarily unstable.
In the end, they could take none of these things seriously enough. Teheran and Baghdad could
not compete for the attention of men whose minds were fixed on Moscow and Bonn, real powers, nations with whom important business could be conducted. But the death of Marxism * * * did not coincide with the death of nationalism; indeed, it may have only contributed to its growth. Oblivious to this, the President and his Secretary of State deluded themselves about the nature of the world they were seeking to refashion. To have coped with its new possibilities would be required * * * a political will that took into account certain fundamental ideological and geopolitical realities that had not existed in the time of the Shah or of Brezhnev.
Stephen Granbard once again.
Mr. Gates was President Bush's No. 2 national security policy manager throughout the leadup to, course of and aftermath of the gulf war. How can his assessments of the region be fresh, with his past policy battles clearly etched in his mind and on his resume. And for what? I ask. The question is not whether he should be the President's man. Of course, he should be. The question is why the President has sought to convert his No. 2 national security policy manager into Director of Central Intelligence. I believe it will lead to unanswerable questions and endless doubts on virtually every CIA estimate with regard to the Persian Gulf or the Soviet Union. It will handicap the credibility and the future effectiveness of the Agency.
Mr. Gates is really President Bush's policy double. He has shown zest for all the things that have preoccupied the President for 40 years--the cold war, the Soviet threat, seeing reality through bureaucratic eyes. He will, I believe, reinforce these tendencies, and that will diminish the robustness and creativity and breadth of the intelligence product he delivers to policymakers. There is another way.
My fifth objection to Mr. Gates relates to the changing demands on intelligence. As I said earlier, the cold war CIA had a very specific central mission: To monitor the Soviet strategic threats, count weapons and estimate the strength of armed forces. It is a job the CIA did very well.
The CIA also kept track of the Soviet economy: production levels, crop yields, inflation, budgets, productivity, and many other demographic and macroeconomic details. The Agency, as I have said, has done a less good job here but it at least had a lens through which to view Soviet society.
On the third level, the Agency's work in Soviet politics focused on a finite number of leading actors. It did it well enough to tell American politicians a story about power and conflict that they could understand. These three jobs the Agency clearly did.
What the Agency's technical virtuosity never had any ability to do or what its leadership never had any real success in doing was to bring into overall analysis and to recognize the peoples of the former Soviet Union as important and influential actors, with interests, ideas, and initiatives of their own.
To determine characteristics of a tank or the production of a factory was possible, to assess the potential for grassroots movements, the power of religious faith, the bonds of ethnicity, the appeal of democracy, the death of Marxism as a belief system, and the commitment of ordinary people of transformation were missions that were orders of magnitude more difficult.
Strategic intelligence in the broadest sense must include the ability to understand culture and history--not just some bit of military, technical, or industrial information. No single bit of information gives you the answer. It is the total picture projected by a mosaic of many pieces that fully counts. And if you focus on only three tiles of the mosaic, then you cannot see the overall picture. What the Agency has done well is to look at a couple of tiles in the mosaic and tell you exactly how many grains of blue and red and yellow are on the tile. What they have not done well is to describe the total picture. The new mission for the CIA has to focus on the total picture.
To say we need more human intelligence deals with process, not substance. To say the new mission should be economic intelligence is colossally shortsighted. To apply the techniques of the national security state to decisions on the interest rates in the Bundesbank or materials research breakthroughs in Britain or Japan is a dangerous path. In a world more and more interdependent each day, in which cooperation will be more and more important, economic spying holds the potential of being dangerously counter productive.
The Agency has to be less dualistic, less static. Change will characterize our future in ways we can never imagine. The idiosyncratic thinker or analyst will have to be rewarded, not shunted. Issues of race, language, ethnicity, and aspects of the human spirit such as courage, faith, and commitment will loom larger than weaponry and will need to be assessed. Divisions between rich and poor nations will be of greater concern. Arbitrary distinctions between domestic and foreign affairs will impede clear vision. The one-dimensional economic or military answer while necessary will not be sufficient. It will not provide the most helpful clues to our future threats or to our greatest opportunities. What is needed is truly new thinking.
And really that is my fundamental objection to Bob Gates as a director--that he is a captive of past realities. He is a bright man, but I believe he is more rather than less likely to cling to the old cliches or the old thinking which everyday becomes less relevant and less valid. After 2 months of intense questioning and years of thought, I believe that his leadership at CIA would not be able to give national security policymakers the best intelligence they will need to protect U.S. interests effectively against unseen dangers in the uncharted and potentially turbulent future that lies ahead.
Those are the reasons why I will oppose the nomination of Robert Gates.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Robb). The Senator from Alaska [Mr. Murkowski] is recognized.
Mr. MURKOWSKI. I thank the Chair.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I may be allowed as much time as I need, and that upon completion of my opening statement, Senator Metzenbaum may be recognized to speak next.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. There are no constraints on the Senator's time. The Senator from Ohio will be recognized next.
Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I think we have seen in the statement made by my colleague, Senator Boren, who spoke on behalf of the nominee, and in the statements of Senator Moynihan and Senator Bradley, who were, in their extended remarks, provoking, to say the least, that the matter of Mr. Gates' nomination has been examined thoroughly. As a consequence of the efforts made by Chairman Boren, and by all members of the staff, we have made every effort to leave no stone unturned, to hear from the relevant witnesses, and to extend into closed session, when appropriate, testimony bearing on the fitness of Mr. Gates.
As vice chairman of the committee, I certainly want to thank those who cooperated, and more particularly the professional staff, who have spent an extraordinary amount of time in detailing material for the Members, and particularly in following up various memorandums, letters, and requests and I assume once in a while things that came over the transom, so to speak.
But clearly I think the evidence will show, and the preponderance of my colleagues' vote tomorrow that, indeed, Mr. Gates is suitable as the President's nominee for the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
So I rise today as vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to speak in behalf of the nomination of Mr. Gates to be the Director of the Agency.
As has been indicated by the chairman, this nomination has been reported favorably by the committee by a vote of 11 to 4, a vote that came, as I have noted after a rigorous process. We have gone about 6 months on this nomination.
During this time, the committee has studied reams of documents, interviewed scores of individuals, and as I indicated, sought the answers to thousands of questions. It is rather interesting to reflect on some of the arithmetic, Mr. President. In the open hearing sessions alone, the nominee personally responded under oath--under oath, Mr. President--to 850 questions. I am not aware of a case where a nominee for any position has received perhaps greater scrutiny and attention from any committee than has Mr. Gates.
The committee's examination was demanding and, I think it is fair to say, remarkably bipartisan. At the outset, the chairman and I agreed that we would not impose artificial constraints on the scope or the timeframe of the process we were undertaking. We agreed that we would hold as much of the hearings as possible in open session. We agreed that we would tackle the issues as they arose and attempt to deal with them in a comprehensive and a balanced manner.
When we began, Mr. President, we expected the principal focus of our inquiry to involve issues widely ranging from Iran-Contra to other issues and allegations. But little did we realize at the time that many of the issues that I will cite would emerge, some of which were rather bizarre, others quite serious. At times, even the most farfetched issue became the subject of national news reporting and gained more prominence than, in the opinion of the Senator from Alaska, they deserved.
Regardless, we realized the committee had to do the best job it could at tracking down whatever allegations were made about the nominee. We deployed our staff resources in a bipartisan manner in developing as much information as possible prior to, during, and even after our public hearings. Neither the chairman nor I directed our staff to build a partisan record or a record that either supported or opposed this nomination. To the best of my knowledge, we honored every Senator's request that was made to produce either witnesses or
documents, no matter who made the request.
I appreciate the kind comments Senator Bradley made in his opening remarks. While we may not agree on this nomination, I think it is safe to say, on intelligence matters, the Senator from New Jersey and I agree more often than not. I wish that I could encourage him on some of our Alaskan issues, but that is another story for another time.
Mr. President, the hearing was not revealing. I cannot think of another instance in which the public was provided as much insight into the inner workings of the Central Intelligence Agency. I think the public and the media really got an inside look.
Each member of our committee explored areas of particular individual concern. I, for one, was particularly interested in developing the record on how the agency was managed during the years of Director William Casey in an effort to try and place issues about Dr. Gates in the context of the times prevailing.
Our report and our hearings provide the public a rich body of information on the analytical process of the CIA, management structures, and even personalities. While some of these matters were discussed in a most critical way, I do not take the pessimistic view that the morale of the CIA has been shattered by the experience. Rather, it is far healthier to discuss problems than to suppress them. I am confident that we have exceptionally high caliber people working in the CIA, and that we will continue to attract high quality intelligence officers who understand the importance of the work they do and how much of our national security is dependent on that.
I believe we accomplished what we set out to do, and we are here today to present and debate the facts surrounding this nomination for the benefit of the American people.
I am convinced that Bob Gates should be confirmed as the new Director of Central Intelligence, and I am equally convinced that he can and will provide the leadership necessary to overcome problems that came to light as a consequence of our hearings. He is the right person to lead the community into the unchartered waters of the future.
Before the hearings, I was well aware of the President's confidence in Bob Gates. I had an opportunity to discuss the nominee with the President on two occasions, and I can tell you of the strong support the President has for Mr. Gates. The relationship between Mr. Gates and the President is a significant factor in the ability of Dr. Gates to lead the intelligence community. Simply put, he will have the President's attention when the tough decisions must be made.
After observing Bob Gates in our hearings, I think I have a better understanding of why he has the President's trust:
He has clearly mastered the complexities of the intelligence community. The new DCI must have a complete understanding of how the community operates in order to shape its future because the future is changing.
I think Mr. Gates has proven that his intellectual capacity is deep. He is articulate and well-informed. He is experienced as both a provider and a consumer of intelligence.
He has withstood enormous pressure in these hearings and certainly will be able to withstand the rigors of being Director of Central Intelligence. I am sure his family has had to withstand those rigors and as a consequence have stood by his side with greater patience and understanding.
Finally, I am confident he has learned much from our confirmation hearings. I have no doubt that some matters discussed have not been pleasant for him to hear, and he surely understands that there is at least a perception problem in the CIA concerning his past tenure there. I, for one, believe he will be a better manager as a result of this knowledge. On the other hand, I have no doubt that he will drive the intelligence community hard, that he will make tough decisions, and that he will demand hard work and precise thinking and, most of all, will demand accountability from those who work with him.
I support Bob Gates to be the next DCI, and I have every confidence that he will do an outstanding job. I also share the chairman's view that Bob Gates will work well with the oversight committees of Congress. His track record in this regard is unmatched. He supports oversight and works extremely well with those of us who have been called upon to perform the oversight function.
Mr. President, during the course of this debate, some of my colleagues will raise issues surrounding the Iran-Contra affair as reasons why Robert Gates should not be confirmed. So at the outset I would like to briefly summarize what the evidentiary record on Iran-Contra says about Robert Gates.
First, Mr. Gates had no part in initiating the arms sales to Iran. In fact, he opposed them, and he made those views well known to his superiors, John McMahon and Director Casey.
Second, there is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Gates ever participated in or condoned the diversion of arms money to the Contras.
Third, Mr. Gates did not deliberately withhold nor encourage others to withhold evidence about the CIA's involvement in Iran-Contra.
Fourth, once Bob Gates became fully aware of the possible diversion of funds to the Contras in October 1986, he took positive action to learn whether the Agency was implicated.
Many of us can look back over the Iran-Contra affair and wish we had read the tea leaves better or had taken more direct action to uncover the truth. Bob Gates has said as much in his testimony before our committee. He told us:
I suspect few people have reflected more than I have on the Iran-Contra affairs. * * * I want to speak about the misjudgments I made and the lessons I learned. * * * I should have taken more seriously after the first of October, 1986, the possibility of impropriety or even wrong doing in the government, and pursued this possibility more aggressively. I should have pressed the issue of a possible diversion more strenuously with Director Casey and Admiral Poindexter. I should have done more. Instead, I contented myself with taking the information I had received to Casey and Poindexter, as well as to CIA's general counsel, and then did not follow up after returning from overseas. * * * I should have been more skeptical about what I was told. I should have asked more questions and I should have been less satisfied with the answers I received, especially from Director Casey. * * * I should have pressed harder for reversing the provision in the January finding prohibiting informing the Congress.
But the record is also clear that Bob Gates did take steps after October 1986 to get to the bottom of CIA's involvement in the Iran-Contra matter.
After the committee explored these matters in some detail, it became clear that there was no so-called smoking gun implicating Robert Gates for any improper activities relating to Iran-Contra. The committee then moved on to another issue, the so-called slanting of intelligence.
Mr. President, when we talk about intelligence analysis, why, much of it is in the eyes of the beholder. The question is, Did Bob Gates intentionally slant the intelligence product of the CIA in order to please policymakers or to promote the point of view of persons within the Reagan administration including Bill Casey? This was a most serious accusation and the committee devoted a great deal of time and attention to it.
What did a hard look at the evidence reveal?
First of all, it is important to put these allegations of slanting intelligence analysis into perspective. In the period Bob Gates was DDI or DDCI, nearly 2,500 major assessments and estimates crossed his desk. And how many of these is he seriously alleged to have slanted? According to our own staff analysis, less than 10 and probably less than 5. And a close look at even that handful reveals there is, in fact, not a single case where the evidence clearly points to Bob Gates deliberately slanting intelligence.
What we have instead are many instances where Dr. Gates' strong views, rigorous standards, and tough criticism left analysts with bruised feelings. We have some instances where Dr. Gates' managerial style probably engendered more hard feelings than was necessary. Bob Gates is a tough man in a tough business that requires accountability.
It is noteworthy that none of Dr. Gates' senior colleagues at the time, including Hal Ford, apparently thought Bob's style was a serious problem. At least they never raised it with him directly.
Let us remember the circumstances under which Bob Gates became DDI in 1982. At an extraordinarily young age he was selected for the top analytical post in the CIA because William Casey and Admiral Inman both saw in him an extraordinary talent. They also thought it was time to groom a professional intelligence officer as a future DCI.
Admiral Inman testified that this decision put Dr. Gates in an extraordinarily difficult position. He had little management experience and he had little background on the operations side of intelligence. Because of his youth, he would inevitably be resented by many of those more senior officers who had been passed over. Under the circumstances, it would have been unbelievable if he had not ruffled some feathers, and even made some mistakes. What is extraordinary is how few he appears to have made.
Dr. Gates' position was made all the more difficult by the fact that William Casey was one of the strongest-minded DCI's in recent history. The Reagan administration came into office with a clear policy agenda and Mr. Casey was closely attuned to the President's views. Mr. Casey was not adverse to pushing the intelligence community hard when an issue--such as the possible Soviet role in the papal assassination attempt--aroused his or the President's interest.
Under these circumstances, it fell largely to Robert Gates to make CIA responsive to the needs of policymakers in the new administration while, at the same time, protecting the nonpolitical character of intelligence analysis. To please both Mr. Casey and the professional CIA analysts was a daunting task. It is clear to me, however, that Bob Gates performed with extraordinary skill and integrity under the circumstances.
Bob Gates is the first to admit that the persistent allegations of slanting intelligence are a cause for real concern. He is also the first to admit that his youthful management style 8 or 10 years ago may have been unnecessarily abrasive.
But, as I said at the conclusion of our confirmation hearings, the question is not whether he did everything right in the early 1980's. The question is whether he has grown and learned so that he is the right man for the early 1990's. Has he become the man Admiral Inman expected? I believe the answer is clearly `yes.' I call the attention of my Senate colleagues to Bob Gates' eight-point plan for dealing with the issue of slanted intelligence. In summary, this eight-point plan contains incentives to encourage the expression of dissenting points of view in the preparation of analysis, a new emphasis by the inspector general on the integrity of the analytical process, changes in training, and efforts to ensure integrity, independence, and the avoidance of self-censorship.
This is a serious plan that provides convincing evidence that he has listened to the critics and he intends to come to grips with their concerns.
I ask unanimous consent that Mr. Gates' eight-point plan be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
What has emerged in these hearings is clear evidence that the perception of politicization in some areas remains real and must be addressed by the next Director. What is needed then is a set of measures to assure that the integrity of the process is protected. That one or another person's views do not inhibit the diversity of analysis and that analysts need not play it safe with upper management through self-censorship.
And yet to accomplish these objectives while maintaining and further improving the quality and intellectual toughness of the product. To change an atmosphere, a tone is a tall order. And in the real world, probably never perfectly attainable.
Even so, there are measures that can be taken. First, if confirmed I would candidly and quickly address these issues for all analysts. I would stress the importance of integrity and objectivity of the product. The importance of insuring that divergent views are heard and conveyed to the policymaker. And emphasize to all managers that analysts are to be encouraged to speak their minds openly. And that there should be incentives for doing this.
In short, we should try to codify that professional ethic Mr. MacEachin described and make it part of our daily work. In this connection, I would also tell all agency employees my door is open to those with concerns about this and other issues. And that I intend to reach out to them as well.
I also would ask for a restoration of collegial civility that acknowledges that honest people can and will disagree and that we must not attribute base motives when disagreements are involved.
Second, I believe all managers of analysis should have as a part of their own performance evaluation, an appraisal of how well they encourage the above principals and values in their organizations.
Their openness to alternative views and their willingness to support their analysts up the line once they've approved the analysis themselves.
Third, if confirmed, I would direct the office of the Statutory Inspector General to pay special attention to problems of analytical process and to serve as a focal point for analysts and analytical managers concerned about process and the integrity of the product.
Fourth, I believe issues relating to integrity of analysis, relationships with policymakers, and managing different points of view should be made a part of every training course for analysts and their managers.
Fifth, this committee and its house counterpart for the past decade have focused especially on budget and clandestine activities. I encourage the committees to consider re-establishing something like their old analysis and production subcommittees that can focus oversight on the analytic process.
This also could help the DCI better deal with analytical problems such as you have heard the last few days.
Sixth, if confirmed, I would ask the President's foreign intelligence advisory board for its help and ideas in this area.
Seventh, if confirmed I would consider creation of an analysis council of retired former senior officers that could advise the DCI and DDCI and the Deputy Director for Intelligence about the problems we are discussing.
Suggest possible, additional, remedies and perhaps serve also as ombudsman to hear and evaluate analyst complaints and concerns.
Eighth, and finally, if confirmed, I would solicit from the analysts, and the managers of analysis themselves, their own ideas on how to re-build morale, ensure integrity, and independence. How to avoid self-censorship, and deal with the perceptions of politicization.
If confirmed, I would expect to report to both intelligence committees on implementation of these and related measures when Congress returns in January.
Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, turning briefly to a subject that is not easily dealt with on the floor due to the classification involved, the Senate should know that we explored in some detail issues involving an intelligence sharing relationship with the Government of Iraq. Our report covers the subject and the committee's conclusions in a way that does not compromise intelligence sources and methods, but I highlight it as yet another area where we spent a significant amount of time and energy. I would stress that we found nothing linking Robert Gates to any improper activities.
Mr. President, there were a number of other allegations made in connection with Robert Gates. Just to give my colleagues the flavor of some of the more bizarre allegations the committee had to track down, I will list a few of them here:
A former civilian translator for the Israeli military intelligence charged that Robert Gates conspired with the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign organization to delay the release of the American hostages held by Iran in an effort to prevent a so-called October surprise hostage release and a Jimmy Carter reelection victory;
This same individual claims that Robert Gates accompanied him on a flight from Miami to Phoenix while he carried a Samsonite suitcase filled with $16 million in $100 bills which constituted a part of the October surprise payola destined for the Iranians.
A self-professed arms merchant and former member of the Iranian intelligence service claims that Robert Gates was the central figure in a covert effort to provide cluster bombs to Iraq through a Chilean arms dealer and a Swiss-based financier.
Now, Mr. President, regardless of how colorful these allegations sounded, the committee felt it had a duty to track them down. With the assistance of the FBI and the CIA's independent inspector general, we found these and a number of other allegations that were made about Robert Gates to be absolutely false.
In closing, Mr. President, the committee has undertaken a rigorous process exploring the record and qualifications of Robert Gates. As a consequence of that process, the committee--by a strong, bipartisan vote--recommended this nominee to the full Senate to become the next Director of Central Intelligence.
Others join us in this recommendation. Former Directors Richard Helms, William Colby and William Webster, along with former Deputy Director Bobby Inman and others, all support this nominee and recommend his confirmation.
Another former DCI, President George Bush, the Commander in Chief who is held ultimately accountable for the performance of the CIA and the entire national security apparatus, has chosen Robert Gates as the individual he wants as the Director of Central Intelligence.
Eleven of the fifteen members of the Intelligence Committee recommends that the nominee be confirmed.
We will hear of course from a few who do not share our view during the Senate's deliberations, and we will consider their reasoning and engage in debate. I, for one, am looking forward to this debate, and I am confident that the chairman, myself, and other members of the committee who are here in support of the nomination can respond to any of the questions or concerns our colleagues might raise.
Mr. President, I urge the Senate to vote to confirm Robert Gates as the next Director for Central Intelligence.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Chair now recognizes the Senator from Ohio.
Mr. METZENBAUM. Mr. President, the nomination of Robert Gates to become Director of Central Intelligence was announced nearly half a year ago and was sent to the Senate over 4 months ago. Since that time, under the able leadership of our chairman, the Senator from Oklahoma, and our vice chairman, the Senator from Alaska, the Senate Intelligence Committee has conducted a searching inquiry into Mr. Gates past record and his qualifications for this high office.
This inquiry has been long and fruitful. We held nine public hearings and five closed hearings or briefings. We took testimony from 13 witnesses in open session and from several additional witnesses in closed session. And we obtained dozens of relevant documents from the CIA, many of which we were able to make available to the American people.
Both we and the country have learned much in the process.
We have gained further insight into the seamy world of Iran-Contra, and how that unhappy affair affected the CIA.
We have learned much about the CIA's liaison relationship with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which was kept secret from Congress for years until a newspaper exposed it in late 1986.
And through five hearings and extensive documentary research, we have all gained an understanding of how real people operated in the real world of intelligence analysis during the 1980's.
We also learned more about the use and misuse of intelligence on House and Senate Members and staff, but this was necessarily done in closed session. The value of these public revelations should not be underestimated. As we leave the cold war behind us, public support for secret government can no longer rest on the old foundation of fear and conflict. Rather, we must build a new foundation of knowledge and trust.
A public that understands the benefits and risks associated with U.S. intelligence programs will be better able to weigh the Nation's need both for secret intelligence and for limits on the agencies that provide it. A public that sees its intelligence committees in action will be better able to weigh the performance both of the intelligence agencies that the public funds and of the elected representatives who serve as the American people's surrogate in watching over the use of their money.
Our efforts in this confirmation process will also lead to better oversight of intelligence. As the chairman noted in additional views that he submitted with the committee report on this nomination, we will continue our inquiry regarding the handling of intelligence reporting on U.S. persons who exercise their constitutional right to oppose U.S. policy.
The committee published a major report 2 years ago on how the FBI targeted Americans who opposed United States policy on El Salvador. In that case, the Americans were private citizens. In the Nicaragua case
that we examined last month, the targets were Members and staff of the Congress itself. This is a useful reminder to us all that it is not just the other guy whom the Constitution protects. It is the American political system itself that we safeguard when we protect individual rights and liberties.
I suspect that the Intelligence Committee will also pay more attention to the liaison relationships that U.S. intelligence agencies have with foreign governments. We have tried to get more information on such relationships before. And we have tried to get more information, but we have been faced with a fair amount of CIA foot-dragging over the years.
The Iraq case provides a clear example of why the intelligence committees have a right to be concerned about liaison relationships, as I will discuss later. Now we have CIA agreement, however, on an important point. When intelligence liaison goes beyond routine cooperation and is used by the National Security Council as a tool of foreign policy, the intelligence committees shall be informed as a matter of course.
For the present debate, however, the important thing is that all this committee effort gave us a much more complete picture of Robert Gates--the person, the intelligence analyst, and especially the CIA official from 1982 until 1989. Much of what we learned is contained in the report that the committee issued 10 days ago. I commend that report to my colleagues, even though I do not agree with all of it. There is real information in it, something most unusual in a report on a nomination. The staff of our committee did a good job; it makes for good reading.
On the basis of the record we have created--in open and closed hearings, in our report, and in the documents we have examined and, when possible, released to the public--I conclude that Robert Gates is not the person to lead U.S. intelligence in the 1990's.
I say this with sadness, because I know that he is a sincere and talented man. I believe that he should continue to serve this administration. But based on his past performance, I think that to make Robert Gates the next director of Central Intelligence would be a disservice to both him and this country.
The first issue we examined was Mr. Gates' involvement in Iran-Contra. Here we had a 5-year record of committee interest, including 2 days of hearings with Mr. Gates in 1987 that led him to ask the President to withdraw his first nomination to be CIA Director.
In 1987, Mr. Gates told our committee that he had little to do with the Iran arms sales and nothing to do with CIA efforts to support the Nicaraguan Contras. He told us that despite his promises in 1986 to
be involved in all aspects of CIA operations, there had in fact been a `division of labor' between Director Casey and himself that left him out of the loop on these important programs.
Mr. Gates also told the Intelligence Committee in 1987 that the CIA's efforts to support an Israeli shipment of American arms to Iran in November 1985 had been legal, despite the absence of a Presidential finding, and therefore that there had been no obligation to inform the committee of that episode when Director Casey testified on the arms sales a year later. Mr. Gates added that he himself had forgotten about the fact that the CIA had then drafted a retroactive Presidential finding to authorize its actions.
Since the committee's 1987 hearings, further information had come to light as a result of the Senate and House Iran-Contra committees' investigation and the criminal cases against Ollie North, John Poindexter, and others. So the committee sent Mr. Gates a set of questions citing documents and testimony concerning his knowledge of Iran-Contra. We were hoping that by showing him those materials, and giving him as much time as he needed to prepare written answers, we might jog his memory and be able to fill out the record on his involvement or knowledge.
That was our hope, Mr. President, but we were sadly disappointed. For in his responses to our 67 questions, Mr. Gates indicated that he had forgotten or could not recall some 22 matters, and that he did not know about another 33. Indeed, he wrote `I do not recall,' or the equivalent fully 33 times; `I did not learn,' or the equivalent 25 times; `I don't know,' or the equivalent 22 times; and `I did not know,' or the equivalent 20 times. Those answers made me concerned, and they still do. For they came from a man who is clearly very intelligent and who is reputed to have a photographic memory.
The events and information that Mr. Gates could not recall were not minor matters. They included Admiral Poindexter's effort to have the CIA buy the assets of the so-called private benefactors. They included a conversation within which Mr. Gates was first told that a senior analyst feared somebody was diverting Iran arms sale profits to the Contras, over a month before that analyst came to him directly. They included his knowledge of the fact that Southern Air Transport was involved in shipping arms to Iran, as well as in the resupply flights to the Contras. And they included conversations that other CIA officials remembered having with Mr. Gates, or material that they provided, In the days before Director Casey's misleading November 1986 testimony to our committee.
Mr. Gates also left the clear impression that, although he had been given as much time as he needed to answer the committee's written questions, he had not made any great effort to think about them or to dig up relevant information from CIA files. Thus, in response to several questions about references to him in Ollie North's personal notebooks, Mr. Gates replied, `I have not reviewed Lieutenant North's notebooks, and I do not know the meaning of the entry.'
On the face of it that sounds all right, but we in fact had sent him the pages in question, and we later found relevant documents in Mr. Gates' CIA files that he could have obtained as well, if he had cared to do so.
Also bothersome was Mr. Gates' response to the committee's question on the May 1985 estimate that overstated the risk of Soviet inroads in Iran and recommended easing the arms embargo against Iran so that our allies could increase Western influence there.
Mr. Gates quoted from a letter he had sent the committee in 1987 in which he stated:
There were no dissents to the estimate from any agency. The independence and integrity of the intelligence process were preserved throughout.
That answer was submitted in July of this year. Less than 2 months later, Mr. Gates had to admit that the reason why there were no dissents was that he had personally called the head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research to get him to withdraw a dissenting footnote. And after we heard from the national intelligence officer who was in charge of this estimate, Mr. Gates also admitted that he had known of dissent within the CIA, and that he had approved a redrafting of part of the estimate to heighten its portrayal of the Soviet threat to Iran.
The Intelligence Committee also covered the Contra side of Iran-Contra. Indeed, we had little choice. Just as we were about to begin our hearings, Alan Fiers--the former chief of the CIA's Latin America Task Force--reached a plea bargain with the special prosecutor and admitted that
he had known not only about Ollie North's activities in resupplying the Contras, but also about Colonel North's diversion of funds from the Iran arms sales.
Mr. Fiers stated that he had informed two of his superiors about this: The Latin America Division Chief and CIA's Deputy Director for Operations. And we learned that he had had a series of meetings with Mr. Gates, especially beginning in mid-August of 1986, to discuss CIA plans for resuming covert support to the Contras.
This led to one of the most basic questions in our hearings: How could as intelligent and high-ranking an official as Mr. Gates, serving as Director Casey's Deputy, have avoided knowing what was apparently known by both his boss and several of his subordinates?
Mr. Fiers told the committee that he had never specifically told Mr. Gates what was going on. But he added that everybody knew what Colonel North was doing, and he believed Mr. Gates must have known as well, at least in general terms.
Now the former Deputy Director for Operations has been indicted for making false or misleading statements to Congress. The former Assistant Secretary of State has reached a plea bargain on similar, but lesser, charges. And Mr. Gates says that nobody told him--and that he did not ask.
In his statement at our first hearing 7 weeks ago, Mr. Gates admitted to bad judgment in failing to fully follow up when he heard that there might have been a diversion of Iran arms profits; in failing to apply his analytic skepticism to what he was told by other CIA officials, including Director Casey; and in not pressing harder for notification to Congress. In response to questions, he also admitted that he had been too slow to involve himself in operational matters after becoming Bill Casey's deputy.
I know that those admissions were hard to make in the glare of public attention. I also appreciate the assurances that
Mr. Gates gave us that he would give high priority to maintaining congressional trust in U.S. intelligence. But the fact remains that Iran-Contra was not his finest hour and that he was slow to admit to the extent of his involvement or knowledge of these matters. Even today, Mr. Gates gives the impression that he would rather forget those events than truly come to grips with their implications for CIA management and his own leadership record.
The same can be said, Mr. President, for Mr. Gates' record in the other major operation that the CIA hid from Congress in those days--its secret intelligence liaison relationship with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Mr. Gates was involved in the initial development of options for dealing with the Iran-Iraq war, which led to that liaison relationship. He was also in charge of the CIA directorate that prepared intelligence information for passage to the Iraqis.
Mr. Gates was not intimately involved in day-to-day operations of the Iraq liaison program, but in 1986 he was occasionally an active participant. He testified that his efforts on this program were one of the distractions that kept him from responding effectively to the reports of a possible Iran-Contra diversion in October 1986.
More importantly, Mr. Gates was fully informed and fully aware of the foreign policy implications of Iraq liaison. He knew that the United States was secretly helping Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, even as it publicly proclaimed its neutrality.
In 1986, when the CIA's intelligence relationship with Iraq became more active, policymakers had to decide how much additional support to give Iraq. A major factor in that decision was how to support Iraq without informing Congress of the secret tilt toward Iraq.
Mr. Gates was fully aware of that approach, as well. He went along with not telling Congress. He did not even seek
legal guidance from the CIA's general counsel.
With hindsight, the CIA's lawyers argue that they had no obligation to inform this committee of the Iraq liaison activities, given the way the law was interpreted in the 1980's. But they add that under current interpretation of National Security Act provisions regarding significant anticipated intelligence activities, they would indeed be obligated to inform the intelligence Committees.
Frankly, I find that legalistic sophistry. The statutory requirement to inform the Intelligence Committees of `significant anticipated intelligence activities' has existed since 1980. And It did not take any genius to figure out that a secret tilt in the Iran-Iraq war was significant.
One can even make a case that some of the Iraq liaison activities were in fact intended to influence Iraqi actions, rather than merely to obtain `necessary intelligence.' If so, then pursuant to the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Iraq liaison was a covert action program subject to the requirement for a Presidential finding. Mr. Gates knew of those activities, but took no action to inform himself about their legal implications or to challenge CIA conventional wisdom that they did not need to be reported to the oversight committees. This raises serious questions in my mind regarding his ability to manage sensitive operations.
Moreover, although Robert Gates was involved in the CIA's intelligence relationship with Iraq, neither he nor CIA appear to have fully appreciated Iraq's capacity to threaten United States interests. After the Iran-Iraq war, Mr. Gates allowed intelligence resources to be shifted to monitoring the Soviet military--despite Iraq's failure to demobilize and its continued effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
Had he devoted his attention and energy to encouraging better intelligence collection and analysis on potential Iraqi threats, Mr. Gates might well have enabled the CIA to do a better job of covering Iraq's ballistic missile and nuclear programs, as well as Iraqi military procurement efforts that involved illegal transfers of United States materiel or technology. Had he demanded more effort on Iraqi intentions and military preparations, United States intelligence might have spotted Iraqi preparations for the Kuwait invasion in time for our leaders to take effective preventive action.
Mr. President, as I said before, Mr. Gates is an intelligent man, very intelligent.
How do we explain Mr. Gates' poor record on sensitive covert action and intelligence liaison matters in the 1980's? One answer is that he was new to that world, as he came from the analytic side of the Agency. But another answer is that his heart was not in it. What Robert Gates has really cared about over the years was meeting the worldwide Soviet threat. That subject has already been addressed by others who have spoken today. Mr. Gates was convinced that the CIA had failed to warn policymakers of major Soviet moves and, in his words, had `obscured in the 1970's and early 1980's the reality that the Soviets were prepared to put at risk their relationship with the United States rather than forego opportunities in the Third World.'
When he became Deputy Director for Intelligence in 1982, Mr. Gates' first act was to gather the analysts together and tell them how poorly they had performed over the years. The anger generated by this speech was the beginning of his difficulties in managing the analytic arm of CIA and of the accusations of politicizing intelligence under his leadership that persist to this day.
Mr. Gates' preoccupation with the worldwide Soviet challenge is a theme that runs through the many cases our committee examined in response to complaints by over a dozen current and former CIA analysts.
And I want to say to you, Mr. President, that as long as I have been in this body, I have never heard as many people who had worked for, or were expecting to be working for, someone--as they were in those positions at the moment, employees of an agency--willing to come forward and indicate their concern about Mr. Gates becoming the new head of the CIA. Some of them did so at personal risk to their futures. They are to be commended. But it is an indication of how strong their feeling is at the CIA.
In 1982, Mr. Gates told the
head of CIA's Office of Soviet Analysis to pay more attention to the threat of Soviet inroads in Iran; he also cited the lack of United States involvement in the Iran-Iraq war as one sign of United States unwillingness to meet the Soviet challenge.
Not surprisingly, then, Mr. Gates' support for the May 1985 Iran estimate that overstated the Soviet threat and recommended easing the Iran arms embargo was also prompted by his Soviet preoccupation. When the estimate's manager wrote Director Casey a few months later that Iran no longer seemed as likely to collapse as he had feared, Mr. Gates did nothing to inform policymakers. When a new Iran estimate reversed the old one in February 1986, he again did not call it to the attention of policymakers.
Mr. Gates later testified that he had believed the threat of Soviet inroads was still real, even though it had failed to come to pass. As late as May 1986, he was still telling analysts that there was `more than meets the eye' in Soviet-Iranian relations. And in his January 1987 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Gates did not even mention that the February 1986 estimate had drawn back from the alarmist predictions of May 1985. Instead, he gave them the discredited May 1985 version of the Soviet threat to Iran and said that United States intelligence still had to watch that threat.
Mr. Gates consistently opposed CIA analyses and estimates that saw the early signs of declining Soviet power, both at home and around the world. He underestimated both the weakness of the Soviet economy and the strength of the Gorbachev phenomenon. On November 25, 1986, Mr. Gates gave a speech in San Francisco alleging that the Soviet Union had strategic designs on the Panama Canal, Arabian oil fields and the strategic minerals of southern Africa--statements that he admitted in recent testimony had not been based on any intelligence information. In that same speech, on the day that Ed Meese told America about the Iran-Contra connection, Mr. Gates called for legislation that would permit more secrecy in approving United States arms sales. A second speech the same day made inaccurate predictions of near-term Soviet advances in ground-based laser ABM systems and called for approval of the strategic defense initiative.
Mr. Gates combined his Soviet preoccupation with a determination to read and edit all CIA analyses that went to senior policymakers--hundreds of them each year. By making himself the sole arbiter of good analysis, he also made himself--at least in the eyes of many analysts--the arbiter of politically correct analysis as well. His criticisms were often scathing, especially when directed at those who failed to understand the extent of the Soviet challenge as he saw it. He permitted not a single intelligence directorate dissent to national estimates on matters dealing with Soviet internal politics or actions around the world.
Mr. Gates helped ease out some mid-level managers in the Office of Soviet Analysis who oppose his views. Apparently he did not realize what a massive impact this would have on analysts' morale and performance. He also gave other CIA offices the impression that analysis regarding worldwide Soviet activities had to hew to a political line. And he failed to stick up for his organization when the Directorate of Operations got unusual control over analysis regarding the Contras in Nicaragua--an action for which he was severely criticized within the CIA.
Mr. Gates also encouraged tighter presentation of intelligence analysis, and this was useful. But his rigid and very public views on policy and his role as the sole judge of analytic quality guaranteed that analysis in areas of concern to him would become personalized. Many saw that as politicization.
Many analysts still see it that way, as our committee learned from their testimony, sworn statements and staff interviews, Mr. Gates presented a vigorous defense of his actions and refuted some of the allegations we had heard. But he could not shake them all, and I commend part two of the committee's report to my colleagues, so they can evaluate this for themselves.
They will find one case in which Mr. Gates was accused of killing a draft estimate on the Soviet Union and the Third World. He replied that in 1982, he was `in no position bureaucratically to kill' an estimate, and with respect to that quote, that is technically correct. But Mr. Gates was already the Deputy Director for Intelligence, and he wrote a memorandum attacking the draft estimate that did result in the estimate being rejected. His technical point is thus rather misleading.
Readers of the committee report will also find a case in which Mr. Gates was accused of allowing an operations officer to take part in the drafting of current intelligence so as to exaggerate the success of the Contras in Nicaragua. He replied by citing CIA analyses that outlined `serious Contra problems.' The committee found, however, that several of those analyses were up-beat descriptions of Contra activities, and that most of the others focused on the Contras' need for more outside assistance.
The committee also found that a CIA inspector general's report criticized the
Directorate of Operations for `warping and hyping' its analysis on the Contras, and took Mr. Gates' Directorate of Intelligence to task for failing to stick up for its analysts.
I could give other examples as well, both from the 20 points to which Mr. Gates responded and from other allegations that he chose to ignore. But Mr. Gates' precise batting average is not the point. He himself said that he was relying on documents the CIA had gathered for him, because he had purged his mind of memories from those years when he left the CIA in 1989.
My real concern, and I think it needs be the Senate's concern and the country's concern, is that Mr. Gates, knowing full well that he was hazy on these matters, chose to come out swinging at all these allegations instead of giving them more thoughtful consideration. He was willing to concede only that others could misperceive his actions--and never that he himself might have made mistakes.
Mr. President, it is difficult to oppose as skilled and sincere a man as Robert Gates. He has much experience, and he should continue to make a real contribution to this country as Deputy National Security Advisor.
I believe Mr. Gates when he says that he will try his best to improve on his past performance if we confirm him as CIA Director. I do not doubt that he has grown in the last 5 years, or that he has thought about the problems he had in the 1980's.
But he will have no easy time trying to manage the CIA. Half that agency deals with operations, in which Mr. Gates has shown no particular managerial or leadership talents. The other half deals with analysis, in which Mr. Gates' world-view has hindered his management in the past and is singularly inappropriate to today's post-cold war world.
The CIA needs a leader now who can take it from turmoil to triumph, and I think Mr. Gates is the wrong person to whom to give that task. I will work with him in his new role if he is confirmed, and I hope that the concerns raised in our committee's searching inquiry will make Mr. Gates a better Director of whom we can all be proud.
Tomorrow I hope to address myself to another aspect of Mr. Gates' nomination.
I believe that the CIA is going to have some rough times, some changing times facing a new world in the coming years. We are all aware of what has happened in Europe, and we are all aware of things that are happening throughout the world. It is a different kind of world and so the CIA is going to have to be a different kind of body.
The CIA is going to have to have the best team possible, working together as an integrated whole. I think there is a real question as to whether Mr. Gates is the person who can bring that agency together. I will address myself to that subject tomorrow. For today I want to say that I believe there are better people for this important job, and I urge my colleagues to vote against his confirmation.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lieberman). The Chair recognizes the Senator from Rhode Island [Mr. Pell].
Mr. PELL. Mr. President, I have decided to support the nomination of Robert Gates to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
I realize he has made errors in the past which is why his name was withdrawn from earlier consideration for this most responsible position.
I believe, though, he has learned from his experiences.
He has the 11 to 4 support of the Oversight Select Committee on Intelligence.
And, he has satisfied me in personal conversations and correspondence that he is `committed to the presentation of alternative or contrary points of view, where they may exist.'
He also agreed that `special care must be taken to insulate DI analysis from DO influence when the DO is engaged in a covert action or has special relationships that may affect its view of a particular situation.'
For these reasons, and on balance, I intend to vote for him.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise today to strongly endorse the nomination of Robert Gates as the Director for Central Intelligence. Robert Gates is eminently qualified for this position, and has a long and distinguished career as a public servant spanning over two decades. He has worked at the CIA and is intimately familiar with the complexities of the intelligence process. He has also served under the tenure of three different Presidents at the NSC and demonstrated outstanding leadership in this capacity. Mr. President, Robert Gates possesses the personal integrity and breadth of experience that the intelligence community needs at this crucial time. I believe that Robert Gates will be an excellent Director of the CIA, and I support his confirmation without reservation.
Mr. President, I would like to express my concern over how this nomination was handled in the Intelligence Committee. I believe that a number of spurious charges were leveled against Bob Gates' integrity during the committee hearings. I would like to take this opportunity to address two specific charges that partisan critics have leveled against Robert Gates, and attempt to refute each point in turn.
First, Robert Gates' character has been consistently questioned because he served as William Casey's deputy and did not know about the diversion of Iran-Contra funds. The implicit assumption drawn by critics of this nomination is that Director Casey knew about the Iran-Contra affair, and consequently his deputy should have known as well. I would suggest, Mr. President, that this allegation is incorrect.
Director Casey did not run the CIA like a direct line organization--he possessed his own distinct management style. He needed someone to manage the day-to-day operations of the agency, while he took care of other business. Casey needed someone with an excellent head on his shoulders who understood the intelligence process, and who was capable of delivering a useful intelligence product to policymakers in a timely fashion. His man was Robert Gates. The workload that Robert Gates handled as deputy certainly kept him occupied, and, in my opinion, effectively precluded his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. I believe Robert Gates' testimony about his lack of involvement in this matter.
Mr. President, I would also point out that William Casey always sought to control access to sensitive information. William Casey realized that an inverse correlation existed between the number of people with access to sensitive information, and the length of time that this information remained a secret. Having managed to keep President Reagan and the Washington press corps in the dark about Iran-Contra for some time, I am confident that he could keep a subordinate out of the loop if he chose to do so. I believe that is precisely what occurred. He deliberately kept Robert Gates out of the loop and allowed his deputy to oversee the agency's affairs. This would be in complete accordance with William Casey's management style and personality. Thus, allegations that Robert Gates has not been completely candid about his knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair are unfair and unjustifiable.
A second accusation discussed frequently at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings concerned the deliberate slanting of intelligence information, specifically National Intelligence Estimates [NIE], to please administration officials. This is an extremely serious allegation, but I would suggest that this has more to do with the statements of a few disgruntled employees jealous of Robert Gates' rapid advancement than a serious critique of intellectual freedom at the CIA.
Some members and former colleagues of Robert Gates, for example, suggest that he exaggerated estimates of Soviet military power in the 1970's and 1980's, as well as the scope of Soviet adventurism in the Third World. Despite the unfair assertions of these critics, Robert Gates was correct about trends in Soviet defense and foreign policy throughout the decades of 1970's and 1980's. The Soviet Union did represent a fundamental challenge to our vital strategic interests, and had engaged in a long and expensive military buildup. The overall portrait of Soviet military power that the intelligence community painted during this period was correct--and Robert Gates was instrumental in helping to draft and critique these lucid and timely intelligence assessments. The credibility of these estimates has never been seriously called into question by anyone inside or outside of the intelligence community. Consequently, I do not understand how these assessments could have been politicized since they represented the general consensus of views that were prevalent in the intelligence community at the time. Robert Gates should be commended for ensuring that these views were heard and understood clearly by policymakers because that is the mission of the intelligence community.
Mr. President, I would like to observe that the next several years will require the agency to change its focus and adjust to the emerging international environment. It will usher in a period characterized by the rapid dissolution of the Soviet Union, the integration of West Europe, the proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons in the Third World, environmental problems, large scale refugee migration, and ethnic strife. In light of these dynamic changes, the CIA will require someone at the helm that understands the needs of high level policymakers, but that is schooled in the procedures of the intelligence process. The position of Director for Central Intelligence [DCI] will require a person with the requisite experience and expertise--and not a director who will have to learn on the job. Robert Gates possesses these attributes, and I believe that he should be confirmed.
Mr. PELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 5 minutes as in morning business.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.