Thank you, General Jordan (or, as I have known him for 30 or 40 years, Joe), for that lovely introduction. I am honored and pleased to be with you tonight, and I hope this will at least be an interesting evening for you. I know it will be for me, and I look forward to responding to your questions, if there are any left by the time I have finished this rather complicated discussion of challenges I think are important to everyone as individuals and to our beloved country.
I'm really pleased to be back in Provo; it's been about 30 years. I'm often in and out of Salt Lake City, but only once before here, when I had the honor of addressing the student body. I was actually introduced by President Ezra Taft Benson, who was then head of the church, following his own distinguished career in government. President Samuelson, I'm honored that you would take time to be here tonight, as well as John Hughes, whom I read regularly, and other distinguished members of the faculty. This is a great town.
I came here directly from San Diego. I've been making the rounds: I attended the annual convention of the former agents of the FBI (I was glad to see Ned Christensen here tonight, whom I worked with so many years ago) and to see their same loyalty and enthusiasm for protecting our society, helping to keep it safe and free, as I remembered in the earlier days. We have had our tragedies in the FBI, because it's a risky business. And one of those I remember very clearly, was the day—I hadn't been in office more than a year—when they searched me out, to tell me two agents had been shot to death in El Centro, California. And within an hour or so, there was a report that another agent had been killed in Cleveland. They were Bob Porter, Chuck Andrew Elmore, and Johnny Oliver.
In the course of the next few days, I flew out to El Centro, where we honored Bob Porter at a lovely LDS service, and later I was in Seattle at a service for Chuck Elmore, and later in the south for Johnny Oliver. I remember one of those services because something stayed with me that we rarely think about when we think about law enforcement and law enforcement officials. The minister said, "You know, he stood in our place." I'm grateful for the service of those who stand in our place, and I hope that by working with them to improve their skills and professionalism, they can continue to make a contribution to our national security in ways that are increasingly challenged, especially since 9/11.
I wanted to talk to you tonight about how we manage intelligence and security in this strange world in which we live, in which part of our international view must encompass the threats to us from outside the United States that we have experienced and are in danger of experiencing if we don't take the proper steps—and how we do this at the same time that we continue our devotion to our constitution and what it commands of us, preserving liberty while at the same time protecting security.
Many years ago when I was sworn into office in the FBI in 1978, I wanted to sum up what I hoped to be able to do with the help of my colleagues. And I said then, in fact I promised, that we would do the work that the American people expected of us, and we would do it in the way that the constitution demands of us. I'm very proud that recently they opened the William Webster Conference Center at the FBI, and they put up a big 80 pound medallion, and darned if they didn't put that quotation on it. It continues to be a source of understanding of our responsibility and of our commitment to Americans wherever they may be.
Well, we've learned how to manage our troops in wars away from home. We're in the midst of the longest war in our history. We've learned about command and control, all branches and sectors. But it seems to me that at home, we've been somewhat slow to achieve the level of security that we need. State and local officials charged with that responsibility become the first responders to terrorist incidents. It seems to me that we have been slow in bringing them into "the know" and into the understanding and utilizing the same common message, to be sure that things are not dropped between chairs as we go along. There's a tremendous need for fusion, but I want to report that the good news is, we're doing something about it and I'll come to that a later on. Seventy-two fusion centers already exist in the United States and are functioning well.
I want to talk about the evolution of levels of cooperation on our part over the past 30 years, and it has been an evolution. In 1978, when I was sworn in at the FBI, I called on then Vice President Mondale, at the White House, and he gave me two printed reports: one called the Church Committee Report, one called the Pike Committee Report. And the bottom line for those two reports was that the FBI and the CIA were in each other's way; they should not be spending so much time together. (I'm interpolating a little here.) "CIA, you go overseas; FBI, you stay here. Don't do too much talking to each other because you might have to give up that information to a defense counsel in criminal cases." There was a whole range of things that really did not add up to a close, working relationship; that was 1978.
In 1980, we were experiencing a hundred terrorist incidents a year and I decided to make terrorism one of the top priorities of the FBI. We had three priorities up to that time: organized crime, white collar crime, and foreign counterintelligence; terrorism became our fourth. When I left in 1987 to go to the CIA, we were down from 100 incidents a year to six. In the next year, there were none. And we did it by good intelligence, good criminal investigative work, and good law enforcement work. But most essentially, we did it by understanding that we had to know where the problem was coming from. And we had to take appropriate action, collectively and collaboratively.
These early steps have proved the importance of cooperation at all levels of government. In fact, the Former Agent Society, which is treasured in the Bureau, the alumni, came to Washington in 1980, and they wanted a quotation in honor of J. Edgar Hoover in the courtyard of our new building, and they had several quotations they wanted me to pick from. I ultimately picked one that said that, "The key to the most effective weapon against crime is cooperation at all levels of government and with the support and understanding of the American people." Every bit of that, every one of those things, is important and indispensible: all levels of government, cooperation, and—most importantly—support and understanding of the American people. Without that understanding, we can't do the job of providing security for you and other Americans, and it's particularly important now.
I intend to put a lot of emphasis upon prevention, and one cannot prevent something from happening unless good intelligence advises that something is going to happen and you have the means to do something about it. And you have to have it under court supervision and other precautions so that it does not become a Nazi-type or Stalinist-type way of life in our country. Americans are very independent and they're a little bit ambivalent about intelligence, what it might mean to their privacy and their lives, and that's okay.
Vernon Walters, a good friend of mine, worked for Eisenhower as his close collaborator. He was chief translator in nine languages, deputy director of central intelligence, ambassador to Bonn, a whale of a guy. He wrote a book and he said, "The American people are ambivalent about intelligence because when they're frightened they want a lot of it, and when they're not frightened they somehow think it's just a little bit immoral." And I have found the same thing to be true about security. We basically don't like large shows of security. We don't want to see masses of people surrounding our public officials; we want access to the people who run our government. We don't like all of the other things that we're experiencing today, in terms of airports and other places where bad things can happen.
The problem is that security is always too much, until the day it's not enough. That's a very big challenge for people who work in the area that I'm talking about tonight: to know how much security is needed, to supply it, to explain it, and to have the support and understanding of the American people in the process, but not to overdo it.
I travel a great deal these days, and I feel safer now than I ever did in my whole life on airplanes. It's a little bit burdensome, it's a little bit annoying, going through all these processes of security, but if someone can think of a better process, I hope you'll let us know. I don't mind taking off my shoes; I don't mind going through the metal detectors. I was a little bit startled by the new procedure with the high body profile. I was talking to Secretary Napolitano the other day and they're putting in a provision that you don't have to do that if you don't want to, but then they'll intensify the pat-down. I think in the way she said it, she figured that they'd think it over and decide to do the body profile! It's not too bad; I've done both. It's an interesting challenge, an interesting balance, and one I hope you realize is going on every day.
I mentioned my experience with Vice President Mondale; and now, since 1980, have been trying to get there before the bomb goes off—that's the only way to make it really work. It doesn't do much good to get there afterwards. And I've been excited to see the evolution of the counterterrorism centers, counterintelligence centers, and counternarcotics centers which have emerged to bring information together collectively, and that includes the Drug Enforcement Administration's EPIC (El Paso Intelligence Center) center in El Paso, Texas. As we work together more, we are able to keep from failing to connect the dots and failing to be there on time. And we know from our own experience with 9/11 that that can happen in a very costly way.
I've read the book on the 9/11 commission, which reviewed all the performances. I know the author, and I'm convinced that with some of the things we're doing today, we might—I didn't say would have, but might—have been able to prevent some of it. Needless to say—and this is not a knock-on-wood statement—if you ask how many 9/11's have there been since nine years ago, it's reassuring to know that men and women are working 24 hours around the clock to see that we don't have another one, and that we're going to be able to successfully defend against it. People say that it's the safe thing to say it's going to happen. I think it's more important to concentrate on what we're doing to prevent it, and I'm really pleased about that.
After 9/11, we decided we had to do something here at home to reflect the threats from outside coming in for various international reasons and causes. Among the things we did was to establish a Homeland Security Advisory Council for the Secretary of Defense. I should have started with the fact that we created a Department of Homeland Security, which we did not have in the past. We had some people working in the White House, but we did not have an organized department. We pulled together twenty-two agencies of our federal government, including the coast guard, FEMA, and a range of other agencies that were operating on a stand-alone basis. They were often under-funded; they were generally assigned to some other department, just as a place to park them; and in consequence, since they weren't the core mission, they were not receiving the funding they deserved. We took these twenty-two agencies and we put them in a department. We started with 180,000 people. There are 200,000 people now learning to work together who had not worked together in the past, and I think they're doing a good job of it.
The Homeland Security Advisory Council was created to bring in outside people with experience and judgment who were not part of the regular government, but who might see beyond bureaucratic obstacles and make recommendations when asked for by the Secretary of Homeland Security. We have done that and, I think, have shown real progress in the process. Over 300 reports by our Homeland Security Advisory Council members have gone to the Secretary, most of which have been incorporated—either with or without official orders—into a better organized and better assimilated department. I don't question that it's difficult to do this without having some problems, but I do think that there has been a lot of good will associated with the effort and the imprimatur of this distinguished Homeland Security Advisory Council has paid off.
We've had people like Gary Hart, who is vice chairman, and Norm Augustine, former chairman of Lockheed Martin; we've had sheriffs of major offices throughout the country; we've had mayors; we've had two former governors; and so the list goes—really experienced people. Lee Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center has served admirably, to mention just one other. We form task forces as issues and questions come up. Who can best provide ideas, be innovative, see beyond the challenges that are easy to come up with for why we can't do something in a bureaucracy, and come up with workable solutions? And I must say that all of the Secretaries of Homeland Security, in sequence, have been very receptive to what we have to say and, in most cases, have moved our recommendations into the order of the day. I would like to think that this will continue and be an active contribution to the security of our country.
These various organizations that have been formed are learning to work together to share information. If I had one criticism going in after 9/11 and asking, "What's the problem here? Why did we miss out the first time? What are we likely to do again?" I would call it the stove piping of America, being told to stay away from each other, being given our own little thing. We gather intelligence on this, but we have no way to share it with someone who might have better use for it or who might see its significance better. We've enhanced, in the law enforcement effort, our analytical capability. In 1978 when I came on board, we had no analysts. We had borrowed four analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency and, in turn, had furnished them with an equal number of experts on surveillance techniques; it was a fair trade, but it didn't go very far. I came from San Antonio last week, listening to Director Mueller explain how the FBI now has, not four borrowed analysts, but 3,000 analysts building up their capability to understand and recognize threats when they're still at the seminal level and we have an opportunity to seriously do something about it.
The fusion centers—we've visited many of them—are working fine. You've got sheriffs and chiefs of police and federal investigative officials, sitting down and going over the materials. With the technological capabilities for it, increased sharing is taking place. The Patriot Act, when it came out after 9/11, prescribed this—not in detail—but it said the time to shift from "need-to-know"—which is what I grew up with, where as few people know something that's secret as possible—to "need-to-share" has arrived. That doesn't mean that information can go to untrustworthy people or to people who have no need for the information, but there is a recognition that terrorist incidents—although they're caused from abroad, or by people who are influenced by things that are happening abroad—are very likely to come at the state and local level and people at those levels will be the first responders. Unless they're cut in on it to help prevent it, unless they are part of the process of developing techniques to build up our resilience to withstand these kinds of threats, we're going to fail. And I think we're over that hurdle now; it's hard to say with 200,000 people that there aren't problems, but if you look at the track record to see what's happened in the last nine years, you have to say that we must be doing something right, and we're trying to increase our ability to do that.
One of the things that we're doing with our experts, with those who can give us some help, is to try to understand what's changing about all this. What is the nature of this threat? Is it an Islamic threat or is it a threat of people who happen to be Muslims who are engaging in extremism and radicalizing themselves? There's a little of both; we're trying to understand it rationally and come up with solutions that will help, but increasing violence is very much a possibility. It's not just going in terms of terrorism, per se. There are other things that affect us, things like the southwest border and the issues with Mexico. 11,000 people have been killed on the border on their side; when will it come to our side? I'm just talking about at the border. That's one of the issues that we're worried about, and we're doing something about.
What other kinds of threats are out there? One of them is what I call, "The Lone Wolf Syndrome." We saw that in the shooting at Fort Hood, which I think is a pretty good example. I'm not at liberty to talk much about that because I am involved in the understanding of what went wrong from the point of view of the FBI, but I can say that we're finding that many people on their own are dissatisfied with circumstances and angry, and often going outside of the country with modern technology to consult people. In this case, it was one from Yemen, a very dangerous Imam, an American citizen hanging out over there for advice on what to do. He was looking for the Qur'an's scriptural support for this type of activity, sometimes finding it, sometimes not finding it. We're going to have to be more aware that these things are going on.
We've been doing some studies and providing some thoughts and recommendations on what you might call "suspicious" activity. Now if you're an ultra-liberal, and I guess I'm not, you would be worried about just "suspicious" activities: is that enough to be watching somebody? I think we've learned that when we see suspicious activity, there's no harm in reporting what we saw and letting the law enforcement officials decide whether it's something that bears looking into.
The motto now of homeland security is, "See something, tell someone." You remember the recent firebombing of the car in Times Square, which could have been a very serious event. But a vendor, who normally, in the past, would not have called the police about anything, called the police and told them what he saw and they were able to get there in time to stop it. They were able to work with the person responsible, and that investigation is going along very successfully because somebody saw something and told somebody about it.
I remember my own experience some years ago when it was reported that outside a van, a group of joggers had gathered together. The person who called into the FBI thought what was unusual about the group of joggers in jogging suits outside the van was they were all smoking! They called us. We thought that was significant enough to look at, and we were able to get out and find that this group were engaged in terrorist activities. We confiscated the materials, and arrested those involved, because one good citizen thought it was strange enough that he'd tell somebody about it.
In another case, we were trying to track down a shooter who had shot Vernon Jordan, then an important government official and an African-American, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We looked in all directions; we had very few clues as to who this might be, but we began to get a notion that it might be a fellow from out here in Utah, who was wanted for having shot a couple of people who were of different races and were together and he obviously didn't like it. That followed the pattern of the Vernon Jordan shooting. He was arrested in Kentucky about something, and they called and checked with Utah and found out that this man was wanted out here for murder. They went up on the second floor, and the officer walked in to where the man was waiting, and he said, "What have you been doing out in Utah?" And this fellow jumped up and ran for the window and dove out a second story window, somehow managed not to hurt himself and escaped.
We had no other information about his activities except one thing: we knew that when he was out of money, he sold his blood, usually at a hospital or a facility that would buy blood. So we put that out throughout the country. My good friend Phil McNiff, who I'm sure Ned Christensen knows as well, was the special agent in charge at Tampa, and Phil said, "Well I've never heard of him being down here, but if he's down here, we're going to find him." And he sent people out checking with hospitals and arrived at one hospital ten minutes after the man had left, having sold his blood. In just a short period, he was located, arrested, put in jail and convicted.
Again, another example: see something, tell somebody. If you've got a piece of information, follow up on it. That's one of the clues that I've mentioned, because you, as American citizens, are involved in that responsibility. If you see something like this, you really ought to tell somebody.
We have good working relationships now with these massive intelligence centers at the federal level. The fusion centers are working with the federal at the state and local level, and I have every confidence that we're slowly learning—it isn't that we don't have any information, sometimes we have more information than we know how to process. We don't yet know quite how to store it, whether to keep it, or put it out in the caves, or find some other digital way to preserve it in case we need it in the future. I am convinced, however, that things are going along at a very satisfactory rate. We're going to try to keep on improving our ability to work aggressively against these potential major attacks against our country, and at the same time do it within the framework of our constitution. We need to have warrants where we need them, to collect intelligence—not to use against people we don't like, but to use for law enforcement purposes—to stop these things from happening.
I have confidence in the American people to participate in this, and I'm convinced that, if properly collected and administered, we can fill the dots and we can find successful means of preventing the crimes that are potentially horrendous. The capacity for major damage in the world in which we live was unimagined when I first entered life in public service. This is a way in which we can ourselves understand what's going on. You can support your law enforcement officials as long as they are adhering to the law, and they can, as I said before, do the work that the American people expect of us.
Edmund Burke, a great Irish statesman, stood up in London 200 years ago and talked about what I now call ordered liberty. He said that it was impossible to have liberty without order, but that you could have ordered liberty. Not only could you have it, but you couldn't survive without it. I think of that many times when people are suggesting that some of the activities that we engage in for security reasons seem to infringe on individual liberties. We must find that balance, we must be sensitive to it, but ordered liberty is the name of the game in the United States, and throughout our history, with very few exceptions, we have adhered to it. Yes, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in a way that wasn't contemplated by the constitution—and it hasn't happened since. He felt it was necessary—if you've ever read his letter on all the laws but one—and I won't say that he was wrong, but in retrospect, we know that habeas corpus is an important power which cannot be suspended without congressional involvement and approval.
Working with the congress, the executive branch can do many things through oversight. The oversight committees of the congress, I've found in working closely with them, are responsible. They know how to preserve secrets that must be kept secret. They know how to make judgments about whether what we are doing is rational, reasonable and likely to produce success, and they can vouch to their fellow members of the congress that this is okay, and they can tell the American people that it's okay.
We don't say that those who do these sensitive and sometimes intrusive things in the interest of your national security should have a free hand without being accountable. What we do ask is that those who have the oversight exercise it responsibly, carefully, on your behalf, and make the judgment: is it legal, and is it necessary and will it help preserve freedom? This is a funny way, in a way, that our highly federalized democracy has worked throughout our history. I hope nothing will imbalance it, because it's too important. I do think we are managing intelligence; I do think that we are managing security. We could continue to do a better job, and our work can be relevant to what's going on, and we should supply and support the technology that makes this possible in a world that we cannot say is anything but dangerous.
I have been impressed by my experience with those who have had the benefit of an education at this university. There is an intern right now at Homeland Security Council from BYU. There have been several in the past. I was talking to my manager today, and they have been pleased with all of them. I think it must be, in a way, why we have so many FBI agents with LDS backgrounds. Their values are the same. Your fidelity to our country and to our constitution, the bravery that you've exhibited from the day that Brigham Young set out to find the right place for people to live in peace and to worship as they chose to do, and the integrity which I have always found in the men and women, not only in this state, but all who've had the benefit of your religious training and faith make us very fortunate to have so many in the FBI. Fidelity, bravery and integrity: these are the tools by which we manage security and good intelligence and safety. Thank you very much.
Question and Answer:
Q: [from General Amos Jordan] There's been a great deal of innovation, turbulence, and addition in the intelligence community recently, and I wonder if you'd comment on the wisdom of all these changes and what more—or less—needs to be done.
A: Thank you, Joe. I think there has been a lot of concern that the intelligence community needed a different kind of management. I'm not sure that I'd agree entirely with the level of need, but it was clear that Congress desired to do something about it. In any event, they did pass a new national intelligence act, creating a director of national intelligence. When I was on board, I was both the director of the CIA and director of Central Intelligence, which was the entire community, but with very little, if any authority to direct the other agencies other than as a kind of den chief trying to bring consensus and cooperation.
They decided that the director of Central Intelligence should be established, and my problem was that in an effort to get the measure passed, they omitted dealing effectively with the things we all agreed were most important for a Director of National Intelligence, the first being the budget. There's very little reference to what a DNI (as they're now called) can do vis-à-vis the budget.
Another issue is the ability to approve the heads of the different component parts—a couple of dozen out there, a dozen and a half intelligence agencies around the country. Or to have peer review, to be able to write the report cards for several of these agencies who mostly reported to the defense department, but some to other agencies. I've observed, as a person in the navy for a number of years, that they'll always be polite but they salute the person who writes the report card. And I was anxious to see that that was incorporated in the DNI package, and it was not.
So there were close votes, the argument was, "We need the votes, so we'll just deal with this later." They should have dealt with it at the time, because it certainly has not been dealt with later. I think that there have been some improvements. I described some of the mechanisms by which we're trying to gather and gain and utilize intelligence effectively and lawfully. That much is so. But I think there will always be uncertainty, as we saw when recently the director of intelligence and the director of the CIA disagreed over an important subject, and one of them had to win and the other one had to go. And I think it's unfortunate when two good men have to be in that situation, the government or the country is going to lose the services of one of them.
I'm not sure, Joe, if you had any particular intelligence issues that you want to talk about. We've gone through a tough time, post 9/11, because we're dealing with violent organizations intent on harming the United States both here and abroad. The Taliban, the Al Qaeda people, unquestionably are up to no good for us, and we need to get on top of it. They approve assassinations, they did a whole number of horrible things, and when we went into that area, we needed to get information as rapidly as we could about their plans and capabilities. We engaged in a number of activities that I think are subject to second thoughts, and so if that's one of the things you're talking about, I'll deal with it very briefly.
I have problems with the water boarding. I did not think it was illegal, but I thought it was ill-advised. Why did I think that? I think because of my experience in the FBI, particularly with hostage-taking and other issues where negotiating was important. When you want to get something from someone, the chances of getting reliable information on the nice side is much better and quicker than turning the screw and turning the screw until someone screams for relief and says, "I'll tell you whatever you want to know." How reliable is that information going to be? My experts who work in that field do agree that we should use more intelligent, plausible, reliable methods.
So some of those techniques—in the heat of emergency and the enormous pressure from Congress to solve these problems, find Al Qaeda, do all these other things—pushed us into areas that I think, in retrospect, we were better advised not to have done. In the future, I hope those who have that responsibility will plan better for what they're going to do if and when they find themselves in that situation. We need to proceed in ways that do not make us look like them, that do not lose friends for us in the process of trying to get information that might be more available and more reliable by other proven techniques.
There will always be issues about this. Covert action is one of the areas that I've found most sensitive and interesting and often productive. I'm sure all of you have heard that term; you may not know what it means, but it's a type of activity that the agency, the CIA, engages in when the president asks for a plan; a piece of covert action, when the military has failed to achieve its objective, or when diplomatic efforts have failed, and they want to use something imaginative that has the capability of doing it, most often to be conducted secretly, covertly. That's why it's called covert action.
But we have some requirements for covert action that I find useful and not in the way. We would get the ball handed to us, what they wanted to find out, how to do it, and come up with a plan. That plan had to be vetted in the intelligence community, and people had to be on board for it. We asked the obvious questions, "Can we do it?" "Is it legal?" "Can we afford it?" "Does it make sense to do it?" "What are the downsides?" That type of searching/self-examination. Then, if we agreed to it, and if the director of Central Intelligence signs off on it, it goes back to the National Security Council where we present our response and our proposal, in the presence of the President, and the President makes a judgment. If he decides to let it rest, we let it rest.
If he decides this is what he wants to do and we are to go forward with it, at that point we have 48 hours in which to inform the intelligence oversight committees. If it's ultra-sensitive, we can limit our disclosure to the so-called "Gang of 8." The leadership of the House, and of the Senate, and they have to keep it secret. They get very nervous if they have to keep it long, and I'm sympathetic with that, but they can then make the judgment which they can pass along to their brethren in the Congress that they understand it, they are not opposing it and so it goes.
Some of these activities in the past have been foolish, in my opinion. Someone suggested putting itching powder in Castro's beard, things of that kind that aren't really calculated to achieve anything worthwhile, and we have to screen those out and pitch those ideas that you don't know how or when they came or how they got there. Others have more merit. In my opinion, looking back on my experience, over those years in covert action, I think that probably the two most significant activities, one not technically covert, the other very definitely covert, in ending the Cold War were the support for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to drive the Russians in the Cold War out of Afghanistan. They were occupying the country, with Naji Bullah, a puppet governor, and the other one, which I could mention briefly, was President Reagan's dream of SDI, strategic defense, which the Russians did not believe would work, but did not believe they could abstain from competing with us if we got into that field, and did not feel they could afford it. They offered hundreds of things of concessions, out of the Urals, handing the intermediate ballistic testing and so on, but he stayed with it and as you know, by the end of that year, President Gorbachev turned out the lights of the Soviet Union.
But getting back to Afghanistan, the help that we gave the Mujahideen, and I was over there a number of times, they were good learners on how to use stingers. And we did, contrary to what the public thinks today, or may have thought, have means of managing where those stingers went. To get a new stinger, you had to bring the spent canister back, for example, not just keep collecting an armament of these very dangerous weapons. We trained them on how to use them, and they were good at it. Because they were so effective, the Russian soldiers were disenchanted with their assignment, their wives at home were very unhappy about what was going on, the whole Warsaw Pact Convention of countries that formed the European side of the Soviet Union became more independent and resourceful and less inclined to take ridiculous orders from the Soviet Union. Very, very effective in the end.
And we did this covertly, and the plans were approved, the findings were approved, everything went well. I just gave you an example of some of the things the Intelligence Community can be asked to do, but how it's accountable, how carefully it's put together, and how the approval has to go through a process that assures the President's approval—the National Security Council, and the people who know it has to work within the rule of law.
So those are some of the examples of challenges to the intelligence community, and I can think of a lot of other things where we wish things would work better, but the ability to bring the community together as a community working together—sometimes housing emergency and intelligence gathering in an analytical facility is in one place, sometimes bringing the experts together materially increases our effectiveness and reduces the stove pipe problem that I've discussed with you earlier, which I think can be managed, but it needs to be addressed.
Q: Is the national security advisory, or Homeland Security Advisory Council, advising the education of Arab culture and the education of Western culture to Arabs because of the obvious differences in culture? It seems that we've come into a problem similar to that of the United States and China in the 60s and 70s where we have a huge cultural gap. Neither of us really knows anything about the other one, and so I was wondering if there's really much going forth with trying to educate either side about each other.
A: I think the answer is yes, and I agree with you entirely on the need for it. Our success—I don't think I'm competent to measure where we are at this point. We've made a number of recommendations with regard to language. We've made a number of recommendations, including bringing people on the task forces with agent background or Islamic background, as things that we need to have people help us to understand in more ways than one about what's going on in their minds. The whole Jihad issue, trying to understand how well that's supported in the Qur'an or not supported, as I believe, even though others use it as an excuse for their terrorist activities. I find that these encounters, these studies do have a very positive effect, and the Secretary of Homeland Security is very interested in what we get from it and making sure that it's passed into the department where places who have to know about it and can make additional recommendations because of it.
Incidentally, I mentioned proudly, in the Bureau, we have many LDS. I bet that's been said before, but I know how much you like that stuff. But I have so many church members, and so many of them have language capabilities that they experienced in missionary work and are very valuable in helping us to better understand the issues that are out there, so I appreciate that.
Q: You are praised for your principled stand against the process of rendition in 1987 when it was introduced. It's subsequently been abused by recent administrations to an extensive amount. What is your view of the practice of rendition, seeing that you did oppose it in 1987, and what is your view of its impact on American foreign policy and American perception worldwide?
A: Be glad to answer that question for myself—I don't speak for the government. Rendition, for those who might not know, is the practice of taking someone we've taken into custody and turning him over to the law enforcement or intelligence agencies of another country to continue the interrogation, sometimes a good deal more roughly than we have.
I oppose it because I felt we could do it ourselves, by turning it over to people who engage in practices which we could not and did not defend. We were, in effect, passing the buck, and we should be taking responsibility for anyone we take into custody, for their safety and well-being, wherever they might be.
There may be justifiable reasons to send someone to another country. I would like to think that we don't send them there because they tolerate torture. I would like to think there may be other legitimate reasons and that we stay a part of it so that we know what's going on. I think we do far more damage to our reputation around the world for the things that we're supposed to stand for, when we say, "We don't do this, we just let our friends do it." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that that is not going to build admiration in the other free parts of the world who wonder what we do stand for. So that's where I am, today.
Q: How has the relationship between British and American Intelligence Community changed during your years in office, and how important is the relationship between MI5 and SIS in a post 9/11 world?
A: Thank you. It's been very important in the past. I have not had close associations with the British services in the last few years, but for the nine years I was at the FBI and the four and a half I was at the CIA, we did, and I valued it and they valued it. In fact, I don't think it's all that top secret to tell—we engaged in conferences around the world with English-speaking countries on counter-intelligence issues to find out what we could each contribute to our understanding of those programs. We're not always in sync on some things, and I think if I were to say this to them—and I have said this to them, and they didn't disagree—the British MI5 experience with the Irish led them and, I think the British population, to be less concerned about individual rights and liberties, less concerned about it. And it was one of the reasons that I felt that we should not ourselves try to replicate MI5, which engaged in a number of warrantless-type activities, to protect against terrorists, but not of the kind that we would, under our rules and procedures, find acceptable. MI6 had great intelligence-gathering capabilities, in many ways superior to ours. And the men and women who served in MI5 and MI6 are of extraordinary integrity and ability. I think we have to stay close.
I'm not so sure—I think our intelligence capability, as you move further towards Asia, are perhaps better than theirs, except in the countries they formally occupy, where they're still pretty good. But it's certainly to be encouraged, and as I say, with that one exception of slightly more indifference to whether you had a warrant to make a search on a terrorist issue, we're pretty much in sync. And we do share information and I hope that will always continue.
Q: You mentioned Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who's in Yemen that's been associated with several terrorist acts lately. I've heard a lot in the news about how Obama has authorized the CIA to kill him even though he's an American citizen, so I was wondering if you'd just comment on that, maybe the kind of precedent that could set.
A: Well, I'm inhibited because I'm engaged in a classified investigation of that particular case, but let's talk in general about communications with sometimes Americans who have moved to some other country, and they're operating with the benefits of their emails abroad and so on. I would expect that the President of the United States would bring some heat to bear on countries where we have any economic or political influence.
Yemen is apparently, right now, not one of those where we have a lot of clout, but we're working on it.
Q: I've been following weaponized UAV in Pakistan and their ability to counter terrorism, as well as surveillance and collecting intelligence, but I've also been reading about civilian deaths that occur over there, and I just want to know your opinion about the effectiveness of weaponized UAVs, such as the predator drone, and be able to collect intelligence as well as fight terrorism verses other non-conventional ways of fighting terrorism.
A: I'll start by saying I'm not sure how qualified I am to answer that very good question currently. When I was going over to Pakistan, we seemed to have a different set of relationships. One of my best friends over there was Hamid Gul, who ran the intelligence service, ISI. We had a common cause, and while we had a common cause, we worked well together. The Mujahideen themselves are tribal leaders who like to elbow each other when other things are going on, and the question was always, when I had lunch with them, they worked together, because we had one enemy; that was the Soviet Union—get them out of there. The question was, "What happens when the Soviet Union is gone?" Well, they go back to elbowing each other. And in a sense, we have something like that in Pakistan. Pakistan and India have extraordinarily complex relationships with respect to Kashmir, and the future of Kashmir; that's just one example. Pakistan has a nuclear weapon. We had a bill—who was the author of that? Larry Pressler- something bill, that said we had to cut off all aid if they ended up with a nuclear weapon, and President Bush, in effect, warned them not to put that last screw in the weapon. They wanted us to continue to do this, and two or three times it came back, and we always found a way to support Pakistan.
Now I'm not sure where they are, because if something serious should break out with India, we could have a huge mess over there, and I don't think they count on us to solve that for them, even though I think we've been friendly and faithful to them in the past. Who is running Pakistan now is up for grabs. How serious they are about cleaning up that part of the territory that borders Afghanistan, where people are in effect, granted. They don't try to keep any order—it's a free for all. It's no-man's land out there.
I don't think they're serious about working. They were for a while—they get other interests, they start watching India more closely; different things are happening. It's a very complex world over there, and it's one that I don't think the intelligence community has much of a covert-action responsibility. I don't know, I'm not sure about that. But I do know that we try to learn and stay and develop intelligence to keep the President fully advised on what we think is going on in that part of the world.
So I can't answer you fully; it's a kind of stay-tuned situation, and I hope they get it straightened out. For a while I was very clear on what I thought they were trying to do to help. I'm less certain about it now.