TIMELY INTELLIGENCE: IMPORTANT AS EVER IN THE POST-COLD-WAR ERA -- HON. HENRY J. HYDE (Extension of Remarks - December 19, 1995)
HON. HENRY J. HYDE
in the House of Representatives
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1995
- Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, as we continue to reduce the size of our military forces and their presence overseas, it is imperative that intelligence--this Nation's early warning system--is better than ever in this post-cold-war era. As a combat veteran of World War II, I vividly remember how an intelligence failure contributed to the tragedy at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Within the Roosevelt administration there were scattered bits of information as to what the Japanese might be contemplating. But, there was no one pulling together and analyzing them as part of a coordinated effort to furnish the President with an intelligence estimate of Japan's intentions.
- Indeed, it was the painful lesson of Pearl Harbor that prompted then President Truman to establish after World War II a centralized intelligence organization. We must, therefore, resist efforts to dismantle or cripple U.S. intelligence. U.S. intelligence capabilities are critical instruments of our national power and an integral part of our national security. With that historical background, I would like to offer some observations and recommendations.
- I have been told that the downsizing of the intelligence community's work force has been especially injurious in key areas. In some agencies, these reductions have allegedly exceeded 80 percent. For example, most of the seasoned Russian military analysts, including those performing highly complex analyses on strategic missile systems, are reportedly moving on or taking early retirement while the remaining talented young analysts are looking for other job opportunities that promise more advancement. Meanwhile, the intelligence community is being tasked to address a wider range of threats and policy needs, especially in the areas of proliferation, economic competitiveness, environment, drugs, terrorism, and humanitarian relief. Currently, warning of potential regional crises and providing support to NATO and U.N. forces in the Balkans are absorbing major resources. These rapidly increasing demands do not include the day-to-day crises that consume additional collection and research resources.
- The upshot is a growing concern that intelligence is being stretched to the breaking point. This could have serious implications downstream. For example, if another Russian crisis were to occur--such as Yeltsin's attack on Parliament in 1993--the intelligence community today would be less able to warn of military mobilization. Informed sources claim, until recently, analysis and collection on the deception and denial activities of potential adversaries had dropped to dangerously low levels. Purportedly, remedial action is underway. This should be a high priority, as interpreting warnings of attack will become more difficult as adversaries improve their denial and deception techniques. We must remember that U.S.
- intelligence's highest mission is to support U.S. policymakers in identifying and forestalling threats to U.S. interests worldwide. How to do this in an era of shrinking resources poses real risks and challenges.
- The idea that intelligence can stay abreast of new technology, add new missions and still downsize its personnel at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per year is fantasy. Experienced intelligence hands say downsizing must be slowed overall and halted for high priority needs. At a minimum intelligence programs should be reinvigorated in three broad areas to minimize risks to U.S. forces and insure our ability to maintain the capability to act effectively in a major crisis. First, new investment should be dedicated to increasing access to high priority targets including Russia, China, North Korea and the rogue states of the Middle East. We must not forget that Russia and China possess strategic nuclear forces and that their long-term political orientation could turn against the United States if hostile leaders were to gain power again in these megastates. Second, a robust investment program to counter denial and deception should be built to embrace satellite, air, and ground base collection. Such a program must include dedicated analysis of, and attention to denial and deception, especially in areas of highest concern. Third, programmatic and personnel policies must be formed to ensure the brightest talent, with linguistic and cultural expertise, is devoted to the most vital issues that affect U.S. security in the long run, not just to issues of the moment.
- In this era of restructuring, the temptation may be irresistible to eliminate perceived redundancies within the intelligence community. That may be necessary in the hardware and collection areas. But, some competitive analysis must be preserved in the analytical realm, especially in areas like strategic nuclear force analysis where threats to the United States are potentially the gravest. I know I always want a second, and in some instances even a third opinion, when it comes to questions of my health. The Nation's well being often pivots around national security issues. Thus, the President and his key advisors must have a variety of assessments presented to them before they make critical, life and death decisions. Moreover, there should be an established procedure and available resources for pursuing comprehensive challenges to mainstream opinion in any analytical area significant to national security.
- The explosive pace of communication technology is posing new challenges for the intelligence community. Data is moving around the world in greater volumes and at faster speeds than ever before. Maintaining our advantage in understanding secret foreign communications will hinge upon preserving a strong and robust cryptological capability in the face of rapid technological advances. I am concerned, however, about assertions from reliable sources that adequate resources are not being committed to sustaining this capability.
- The incessant battering the CIA, and the DO in particular, is receiving in the wake of the Ames case has caused morale in the DO to plummet to an all-time low. Much of the criticism is deserved. Nevertheless, there is a real need to be sensitive to this debilitating morale problem as Congress helps the DO remedy the problems cited in the IG's report on the Ames case. I was struck by the serious lack of managerial accountability with respect to the Ames case. Thus, it is very important for the congressional intelligence committees to engage in intensive oversight of what is being done in the counterintelligence area. As far back as 1988, I can recall Dick Cheney joining me in questioning the then DCI, Judge Webster, and others on why the Soviet, Chinese, and Cuba sections of the Operations Directorate were exempted from the Counterintelligence Center scrutiny applied to other areas of the world. In retrospect, it appears that this exemption may have contributed to Ames' going undetected so long. Reportedly, this inexplicable anomaly has now been remedied.
- Until recently, there did not appear to be a coordinated counterintelligence mission for the Government as a whole. Consequently, no one determined what priorities and resources should be given to each agency. I understand a national counterintelligence strategy has now been developed. If so, it should include the following: First, a system for identifying which secrets are truly critical to the national security, second, assessing those secrets' vulnerability to intelligence threats, third, mandatory cunterintelligence training for all intelligence officers, and fourth, establishing professional counterintelligence services within all appropriate agencies and departments.
- It is my understanding that the DO is withdrawing to a large extent from certain parts of the world. Budgetary constraints may make this necessary, but it should be very carefully watched. We do not want to repeat the mistake of the late 1970's when the CIA withdrew its presence from key areas of the world only to find shortly thereafter that it had to be reinstated. Therefore, the DO must maintain a surge capability to ensure it can rapidly respond to unexpected emergencies. And for this to be possible, a core network of agents must be sustained in those places deemed momentarily quiescent and unimportant to U.S. security interests.
- Recently, there have been disturbing press accounts indicating the CIA is considering new screening criteria for recruiting foreign agents. The general impression conveyed is that henceforth future foreign assets must have the pedigree of Mother Teresa or St. Francis of Assisi. Hopefully, these are exaggerated stories. To expect someone with the moral purity of a saint to penetrate the Cali Cartel is wholly unrealistic. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that the only way to infiltrate the tightly controlled Colombian drug networks is to recruit someone who has ties to them. The same holds true for terrorist cells. We live in an imperfect world, and we sometimes must join forces with individuals with less than pristine personal histories. After all, during World War II, we allied ourselves with Joe Stalin, one of history's all-time mass murderers, to defeat Hitler.
- In an experiment that bears watching, the DI, Directorate of Intelligence, and the DO have begun to colocate their personnel. In other words, the operators and the analysts are
- working side by side. Given the historical antipathy between these two sharply contrasting cultures, everyone is watching to see if they can work together congenially. If they can, the overall intelligence effort should benefit immeasurably, especially in the area of counterintelligence where--as spy scandals in recent years have demonstrated--there has been a crying need for better analysis. In this partnership, it is crucial that the DI maintain rigorous objectivity to preclude charges that intelligence analysis is being politicized. This problem can only be avoided through strong agency management.
- Since the mid-1970's covert action has been seen as an atypical procedure for the conduct of foreign policy. It is imperative to rebuild the consensus within the United States that once saw covert action as a regular, legitimate means of bolstering the realization of foreign policy objectives. It must not be seen, nor used, as a last resort, panacea, or substitute for policy. Rather, covert action should be employed as a normal tool of U.S. statecraft, designed to work in support of and in conjunction with government's other diplomatic, military, and economic efforts both against traditional and nontraditional targets.
- Congress obviously must play a very substantial role in any proposal to restructure and oversee the U.S. intelligence community. In this regard, I first introduced a joint intelligence committee bill in 1984 and a congressional oath of secrecy proposal in 1987 that was inspired by a similar oath taken by Ben Franklin and four other members on the Committee of Secret Correspondence of the Second Continental Congress. The latter has now been adopted in the House, thanks to the efforts of one of my congressional colleagues, Porter Goss of Florida.
- What prompted these confidence building measures was a desire to make congressional oversight more secure and effective. That can only be accomplished if the membership of the congressional panels trust the intelligence agencies and vice versa. If they trust each other, then both sides can be candid with each other. As former advisor to President Eisenhower, Bryce Harlow, reportedly once said, `Trust is the coin of the realm.' Leaks destroy that trust and do great damage to the whole oversight process. Moreover, they can jeopardize lives, as well as vital relationships with foreign agents and friendly intelligence services.
- A joint intelligence committee, composed of a small number of key Members from both Chambers of Congress, would substantially reduce the risks of leaks. The fewer people in the loop, the less likelihood of damaging disclosures. Our forefathers clearly recognized this fact of life as they limited knowledge of Revolutionary War secrets to only five Members. Moreover, each of those individuals took his oath of secrecy very seriously. None other than Thomas Paine, the author of `Common Sense,' was fired as a staffer of the Secret Correspondence Committee for leaking information concerning France's covert help to our
- Revolutionary War effort. We should not hesitate to emulate our forefathers and punish those who violate their secrecy pledges and betray the trust bestowed upon them.
- Periodically during my tenure on the House Intelligence Committee, there were assertions that intelligence assessments were cooked to buttress certain foreign policy objectives. Immunizing the integrity of intelligence is of paramount importance. Thus, I am opposed to any measures that would even smack of tainting objective intelligence. In this connection, two things come to mind. First, is the proposal to abolish the CIA and fold its functions into the Department of State. That is a recipe for cooking intelligence if I ever saw one. Inevitably, there will come a time when the diplomats will pressure their intelligence colleagues down the hall to color an intelligence assessment to justify a foreign policy initiative. Moreover, the more controversial the policy, the greater the risk of politicized intelligence. Second, and related to the question of cooked intelligence, the Director of Central Intelligence [DCI] must not be viewed as essentially a political operative. Clearly, it is beneficial to the intelligence community if the DCI has the President's confidence, but he or she should not be a policy maker, as are Cabinet members. Rather, he or she should be the President's ultimate intelligence advisor. In short, there must be a firewall erected between intelligence and policy which often is driven by political considerations.
- As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I am cognizant of the significant role intelligence plays in supporting law enforcement efforts. I am also very much aware of the tension that often develops between intelligence and law enforcement officials as to how and when intelligence can be used.
- Protecting sources and methods is the transcendent concern of every intelligence officer. Prosecutors, however, are looking for information that can be used at trial. If security reasons preclude the use of relevant intelligence, then the prosecutor is left with something that is, at best, of marginal utility. Moreover, constitutional standards of due process and the right to confront one's accusers further complicate the relationship between the intelligence community and law enforcement.
- Prosecutors are constitutionally bound, in a criminal trial, to provide all exculpatory evidence and any other evidence that might tend to diminish the government witnesses' credibility. Any information given to law enforcement by the intelligence community is subject to disclosure, for these very reasons. The Classified Information Procedures Act [CIPA] model works quite well for criminal cases countenancing the government's Hobson's choice between prosecution for criminal misdeeds and the protection of sources and methods of confidential national security information. In that context, the difficult choice is rightfully upon the government. But, in nonpunitive circumstances, such as with deportation of
- individuals shown through classified information to be a threat to the national security if they remain in the country, the same tension exists under current law.
- How to reconcile the competing needs and concerns in a deportation matter is a real challenge and one I have attempted to address in the `Comprehensive Antiterrorism Act of 1995' (H.R. 1710). In that bill, we address the frustrating situation where the intelligence community has identified an alien as engaging in terrorist activities while in the United States, but because of the current deportation laws, we cannot expel the alien from the United States without disclosing sensitive information--which could jeopardize lives and the security of this Nation.
- In response to this dilemma, a procedure has been developed whereby the alien would get only a declassified summary of the classified evidence against him. All other non-classified evidence is, of course, discoverable.
- Unlike CIPA cases, when a situation exists where the provision of a summary to the alien would risk irreparable and significant harm to others, or to the United States, no summary is required and the deportation procedure of the terrorist alien can proceed. The classified evidence, without disclosure to the alien, can be utilized. Because this is not a criminal case, we allow the Government action to proceed without disclosure of the classified evidence. The liberty interests of the alien are significantly less than those of a criminal defendant, and the national security interests of the United States must be superior to the interests of any noncitizen.
- In criminal cases, the defendant stands to be punished--to lose either his life or his freedom for a period of time. The result of a deportation is simply explusion from the United States--to continue one's life freely and unencumbered, elsewhere. To Americans, life outside the United States may seem oppressive, or certainly less than optimal; but, it is not punishment.
- A greater tension exists, however, when the United States is faced with a classified allegation that a legal permanent resident alien is engaging in terrorist activities, and a declassified summary cannot be provided without creating larger risks of harm to others or to the United States. These aliens, as recognized by the Supreme Court, have a greater liberty interest in remaining in the United States than do other nonpermanent aliens. Thus, additional procedures to safeguard the accuracy of the outcome, and the fairness of the procedure, must be established. To that end, in our antiterrorism bill, we established a special panel of cleared attorneys who will be given access to the classified information supporting the terrorism allegation so that they can challenge the reliability of that evidence. This is done to help the court in its determination of whether it should ultimately order the alien's deportation based on the classified information. The cleared attorney would be subject to a 10-year prison term for disclosure of the classified information. Hopefully, this new procedure, when enacted, will facilitate greater sharing of classified information between our intelligence and law enforcement officials, without unduly risking disclosure of sensitive information.
- In summary, the world remains a treacherous place in this post-cold-war era. The increasing threat of terrorism, especially against U.S. targets both home and abroad, is just one very important reason for maintaining a robust intelligence capability around the world. To do less ignores the lessons of Pearl Harbor, and all that implies for the security of this great nation.