The Capabilities the Intelligence Community Requires to Meet the Threats Facing
The Capabilities the Intelligence Community Requires to Meet
the Threats Facing the U.S.
Testimony of the Honorable Porter J.
Goss, Director of Central Intelligence, before the U.S. Senate Armed
Source: CIA. Langley, Virginia, March 17, 2005.
Members of the Committee, thank you so much for providing me
this opportunity to appear before you today.
I hope to accomplish a number of things during this time. I want to briefly
share with you my thoughts relative to the threats facing the United States in
the coming years. By virtue of the unclassified nature of this setting I will
not go into great detail and look forward to more in-depth discussion of the
threats with the Committee in closed session. I also want to discuss the broader
issues of the capabilities the Intelligence Community requires to face these
threats. The capabilities issue is one that fundamentally impacts the way we
support policymakers and warfighters.
The war on terrorism has presented the Intelligence Community
with challenges unlike any before. We are facing small groups of terrorists and
extremist rather than standing armies. They operate out of homes and caves
rather than military bases and government entities. They don't wear uniforms,
they don't use conventional ordnance, and they don't observe norms and standards
of civilized society. And only a few individuals may know the complete plan of a
given terrorist plot.
In response we changed the way we gather secrets. Professional interrogation has
become a very useful and necessary way to obtain information to save innocent
lives, to disrupt terrorist schemes, and to protect our combat forces. The USG
had documented success protecting people and capturing terrorists with
information. As I have said before, the USG does not engage in or condone
We will continue to be successful and take terrorists and extremists off the
battlefield. But these are risky activities and I will be asking the men and
women of the CIA to take more risks—justifiable risks—in the days and months to
come. I would much rather explain why we did something than why we did nothing.
I am asking your support.
The volume and scope of information that the Intelligence
Community collects, processes and provides to policymakers and warfighters has
grown tremendously. We face several issues here.
First, I believe we have made great strides in improving the information flow
between CIA, FBI, DHS, and others, yet we still face challenges. We all
understand this and are working hard to improve the information sharing in all
Second, as we continually vet sources of threat information we need to do better
at discerning what is a real threat, and what is wishful thinking, and to
establish a threshold for devoting analytical and operational resources to track
down a lead. Establishing this threshold is also critical to our ability to
provide intelligence on options for strategic decisions, and to give the
American public an accurate assessment of the threat facing the country.
Third, for all of the successes we have had and advances we have made, serious
and unnecessary damage is caused by media leaks. Unauthorized disclosures of
classified information threatens the survivability of the sources and methods
that we depend on. We have lost opportunity, if not capability, because of
irresponsible leaks and we have made it easier for our enemies.
Collecting secrets - and keeping them secret - is only half
the battle. Having intelligence that is actionable and is acted upon through
clearly defined mechanisms is just as critical. Terrorists started the war on
our soil. We have taken the war to them. Sometimes this requires what we
euphemistically call a "kinetic" solution on foreign soil. We have to be able to
use all of the tools at our disposal and understand the consequences of how we
use them. Dealing successfully with dangerous terrorists requires rapid
application of the proper capabilities whether the USG is conducting planned
strikes or exploiting targets of opportunity.
I welcome the President's directive to increase CIA's HUMINT
and analytical capabilities by nearly half. The good news is that smart, eager,
and talented people are applying for work in record numbers. Recruiting,
training, equipping, and retaining the new more diverse workforce will be a
growing endeavor. To do so, I want to help establish a National University of
Intelligence, not just for the CIA, but for all agencies within the Intelligence
Community. This will be one initiative I will bring to the DNI when he gets
started. This will help define a new Intelligence Community culture, better
coordinate the way we do business across the government, and enhance willing
I look forward to the DNI's confirmation and leadership in bringing together the
collective efforts of the Intelligence Community. He will be faced with
decisions about how information is collected, prepared and delivered to the
President and to other senior leaders and customers. I am ready to help the DNI
marshal the efforts and resources of the domestic and international operations
of IC agencies, not just in the war on terror but in our other necessary global
endeavors. As I turn over the DCI Intelligence Community responsibilities, I am
confident that the 15 agencies in the Intelligence Community will rally around
the DNI and bring their unique abilities to bear on the joint mission of making
Now, I turn to specific threats. I will not attempt to cover
everything that could go wrong in the year ahead. We must, and do, concentrate
our efforts, experience and expertise on matters that are most pressing:
defeating terrorism; protecting the Homeland; stopping the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction and drugs; and fostering stability, freedom and
peace in the most troubled regions of the world.
Mr. Chairman, defeating terrorism will remain our top
objective as widely dispersed terrorist networks present real danger to US
national security interest at home and abroad.
Our reporting indicates al-Qa'ida is intent on finding ways to circumvent US
security enhancements to strike Americans and the Homeland. Their intent,
perhaps passion, to harm us for being who we are is just as vital as ever.
Our reporting that al-Qa'ida or another group wants to use chemical, biological,
radiological, and/or nuclear weapons cannot be ignored.
The threat from a broader Sunni jihadist movement is broad. We have witnessed
this in Madrid, Bali, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and many other places. It is
worth noting that other groups in Pakistan, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, East
Africa, and Europe, also pose a significant threat to our security.
In Iraq, Zarqawi merged his organization with al-Qa'ida last year seeking to
bring about the final victory of his vision of Islam over the "infidels" and
Let me start with Libya, a good news story, and one that
shows that with the patient perseverance the Intelligence Community can tackle
and achieve remarkable things.
In 2004 Tripoli followed through with a range of steps to disarm itself of WMD
and ballistic missiles. The US continues to work with Libya to clarify some
discrepancies in the declaration, but all in all we are seeing some very helpful
cooperation from Tripoli these days.
Looking to North Korea and Iran, we have different issues.
P'yongyang has announced it has a nuclear weapon capability.
Concern remains that Iran could utilize the uranium enrichment technology it is
pursuing to achieve a nuclear weapon
In China, Beijing's military modernization and military
buildup are posing new questions for us. Improved Chinese capabilities seemingly
threaten US forces in the region. China's recent legislation on secession speaks
In Russia, the attitudes and actions of the former KGB associates that Putin has
placed in positions of authority throughout the Russian government may be
critical determinants of the course Putin will pursue in the year ahead.
In the Middle East, the election of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, of
course, marks a welcome step forward. There, nevertheless, are hurdles ahead as
the Palestinian leadership tries to rebuild the Palestinian Authority and to
counter terrorist groups that could destabilized the current calm and derail
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is struggling with prolonged radical Islamic
and Communist rebellions and the presence of terrorists seeking safe haven and
training bases. Thailand is plagued with an increasingly volatile Muslim
separatist threat in its southeastern provinces, and the risk of escalation
In Africa, chronic instability in countries such as Sudan and Nigeria, and in
areas such as the Horn of Africa, will continue to hamper counterterrorism
efforts and offer a potential sanctuary for terrorists.
In Latin America, the region is entering a major electoral cycle in 2005/2006,
when Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela,
and now Bolivia will hold presidential elections. Several key countries in the
hemisphere are potential flashpoints in 2005, including Venezuela, Haiti,
Colombia and Cuba.
Mr. Chairman, Senator Levin - again, thank you for this opportunity. There are
an awful lot of sore spots out there. We of course are trying to stay on top of
them so we are well informed and can take appropriate action. The help of your
committee will be invaluable.