Date & Time:
Thursday, January 22, 2009 - 10:00am
[Senate Hearing 111-125] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] S. Hrg. 111-125 NOMINATION OF DENNIS C. BLAIR TO BE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ JANUARY 22, 2009 __________ Printed for the use of the Select Committee on Intelligence Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/ senate ---------- U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 52-505 PDF WASHINGTON : 2009 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001 SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE [Established by S. Res. 400, 94th Cong., 2d Sess.] DIANNE FEINSTEIN, California, Chairman CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri, Vice Chairman JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West ORRIN G. HATCH, Utah Virginia OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine RON WYDEN, Oregon SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia EVAN BAYH, Indiana RICHARD BURR, North Carolina BARBARA A. MIKULSKI, Maryland TOM COBURN, Oklahoma RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho BILL NELSON, Florida SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, Rhode Island HARRY REID, Nevada, Ex Officio MITCH McCONNELL, Kentucky, Ex Officio CARL LEVIN, Michigan, Ex Officio JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Ex Officio ---------- David Grannis, Staff Director Louis B. Tucker, Minority Staff Director Kathleen P. McGhee, Chief Clerk CONTENTS ---------- JANUARY 22, 2009 OPENING STATEMENTS Feinstein, Hon. Dianne, Chairman, a U.S. Senator from California. 1 Bond, Christopher S., Vice Chairman, a U.S. Senator from Missouri 3 Inouye, Hon. Daniel K., a U.S. Senator from Hawaii............... 10 Prepared statement........................................... 11 WITNESS Blair, Dennis C., Director of National Intelligence-Designate.... 12 Prepared statement........................................... 13 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS Prepared statement of Hon. Russ D. Feingold, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin...................................................... 27 Questionnaire for Completion by Presidential Nominees............ 52 January 12, 2009 Letter from Robert I. Cusick, Office of Gevernment Ethics, enclosing a copy of the Public Financial Disclosure Report of Dennis C. Blair........................... 79 January 21, 2009 Letter from Dennis C. Blair to the Honorable Dianne Feinstein............................................... 94 February 4, 2009 Letter from Robert I. Cusick, Office of Government Ethics to Senator Dianne Feinstein.................. 96 Responses to Questions for the Record............................ 103 NOMINATION OF DENNIS C. BLAIR TO BE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ---------- THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2009 U.S. Senate, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC. The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:04 a.m., in Room SH-216, Hart Senate Office Building, the Honorable Dianne Feinstein (Chairman of the Committee) presiding. Committee Members Present: Senators Feinstein, Rockefeller, Wyden, Bayh, Feingold, Nelson of Florida, Whitehouse, Levin, Bond, Hatch, Snowe, Chambliss, Coburn, and Risch. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, CHAIRMAN, A U.S. SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA Chairman Feinstein. I am very pleased and honored to convene this first public meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the 111th Congress. I'd like to introduce at least one new member who is here, Tom Coburn, the distinguished Senator from Oklahoma. We're delighted to have you join the Committee. And Senator Risch is also a new member from Idaho and he will be coming shortly. I'd like to proceed this way. I'd like to make an opening statement. I will then turn to the Vice Chairman for any remarks he might have. And the former Chairman of the Committee, the distinguished Senator Rockefeller, has asked for some time as well. After Admiral Blair gives his opening statement, we'll use the early bird rule for five-minute rounds. Of course, just prior to Admiral Blair making a statement we'll introduce the Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, who will introduce him. I would like to just make a couple of comments about the functioning of this Committee. Let me begin by saying that I very much look forward to working with this Committee and with Vice Chairman Bond. We're trying to get the Committee to operate smoothly and with the whole staff, Democratic staff and Republican staff, working together for the entire Committee. It is my major goal to continue the trend of increasing oversight of the intelligence community. As one means of doing it, Admiral Blair and I discussed having monthly sessions where he will come in with the Director of the CIA and other key officials to share thoughts on what the intelligence community is doing and how well it is doing. I really want to acknowledge Senator Rockefeller, the former chairman of this committee, who has served as both Chairman actually and Vice Chairman over the past six years. He's done a terrific job and I hope to do as well. Finally, I welcome President Obama's nominee to be Director of Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. Admiral Blair is known to many of us from his years of service as the CINCPAC, the commander-in-chief of the United States Pacific Command. He served in the national security field all of his adult life, attending the Naval Academy and serving in the Navy from 1968 to 2002. He worked twice in the White House, first as a fellow and then on the National Security Council staff. He worked for two years at the CIA as the associate director for military support. And he was named to be the director of the Joint Staff in 1996. Admiral Blair has been a consumer of intelligence through his career, as well as the manager of naval and theater intelligence assets. He's had interactions at the top levels with intelligence agencies, including his two years spent on the seventh floor of CIA headquarters down the hall from the Director's office. I called former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and asked him about Admiral Blair, and here's what he said. He said I appointed him to the Joint Chiefs when he was a two-star, and he was one of those who could think outside of the box. I think that is a real compliment. If confirmed, Admiral Blair will become the nation's third Director of National Intelligence, following Ambassador John Negroponte and Admiral Mike McConnell. Now let me just stress this. As one who actually put forward the first DNI legislation, the role of the DNI is to be the leader of the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the intelligence community. The law creating the position, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 gives the DNI three principal responsibilities. He is the head of the intelligence community. He is the principal adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security, and he is in charge of overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program, which means he controls the intelligence budget. The position of the Director of National Intelligence was created so there would be a single leader of the 16 agencies that make up the community to see that the stovepipes that characterize the pre-9/11 world are done away with. The intent was to create an executive with budget and policy authority. He would assure that the intelligence community provides the President, the Congress, and other policymakers with accurate, actionable intelligence. That's a substantial challenge that Admiral Blair, if confirmed, will face. There is a need for intelligence on what is going on around the world, a world that has grown more complicated due to the rise of asymmetric warfare and the growth of a rigid fanaticism. To make matters more difficult, the credibility of intelligence analysis was severely damaged by the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This must never happen again, and it is my main goal to see that all systems are in place to prevent it from ever happening again. Also, the legality and morality of intelligence operations were thrown into doubt by warrantless wiretapping and the use of coercive interrogation techniques. In my view, the President is taking necessary action today in introducing Executive Orders to close Guantanamo and end CIA coercive interrogation practices. I also appreciate the steps the new Administration has taken to discuss these matters with me and with the Committee. Yesterday the President's Legal Counsel came before the Committee and briefed us on these prospective Executive Orders. So I hope it signals a new day in having an open and cooperative relationship between these branches of government. From my review of your record, Admiral Blair, I am hopeful that you will be an effective leader for the intelligence community in meeting these challenges. I trust you will be part of an administration that will restore the partnership of the executive and legislative branches, insuring the national security and keeping our country safe and strong. With that, I turn to Vice Chairman and then the former Chairman for their remarks. OPENING STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, VICE CHAIRMAN, A U.S. SENATOR FROM MISSOURI Vice Chairman Bond. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I have the honor to be the first one to say that in the first hearing of this Committee in the 111th Congress, and I congratulate publicly on becoming the first woman in history to chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. My colleagues and I look forward to your leadership on the Committee with, with the strong working relationship that you and I have had over the years in the Senate I am confident that we can and will work together on a vast array of issues of intelligence for the benefit of the American people. My staff director tells me and I have seen the staff relations on the Committee have dramatically improved already. There's been tremendous progress made in the day-to-day operations of the Committee. I know that you are responsible for directing these changes, so I thank you, Madam Chair, and I think there will be a great benefit from our staff in this Congress as we work together on a bipartisan basis, utilizing all of the talents of all of the great staff people we have. Madam Chair, I join with you in welcoming Senator Coburn and Senator Risch, who have great reputations and will be excellent members of the Committee. Turning to today's hearing, Admiral Blair, I welcome you before the Committee for the hearing on your nomination. I extend a warm welcome to your wife Diane and we thank you, Diane, for standing by your husband all the years in the military and now for your willingness to support him in taking on the important position in the service of his country. Admiral, as you know, your nomination comes at an important time in our nation's history. We face threats of many different kinds, of terrorism and other state actions. Unfortunately, it seems to me that some tend to forget the direct assault on this country on September 11, over seven years ago. The lessons we've learned from that day that those responsible have avowed to inflict more harm and death upon us. Those who forget are content maybe to go back to the older ways of doing business. They argue terrorists should be tried as ordinary criminals, not terrorists captured on the battlefield--unlawful combatants. They call for terrorists be given the same constitutional protections as our citizens. Benefiting from a government that has kept America free from from further attack over the past seven years, they forget that our entire way of life is just a few minutes away from annihilation if terrorists were to succeed in obtaining a weapon of mass destruction or carry out an unrecoverable attack on our nation's infrastructure. In contrast to those who may forget, however, the fine men and women of the intelligence community at large that you will be leading, I have met with them continually throughout the six years I served on this Committee. And they wake up every day remembering the September 11 catastrophe. They understand their mission well. Each day it's the same--to keep our nation and citizens safe in the face of increasing threats by collecting, analyzing and disseminating critical intelligence for policymakers and commanders. It's critical that the next DNI be committed to playing offense against those who threaten our way of life. He must be committed to this task, but he cannot afford to be a one trick pony who only knows counterterrorism. But you must focus on the myriad of other challenges we face in the 21st century. Let me pause to say just a word about the man you are succeeding. In many different positions Admiral Mike McConnell has served this country honorably and with distinction. Three years ago he returned to government service, answering the President's call to lead the intelligence community. I think this country and we owe Admiral McConnell a great debt of gratitude. Chief among them are his yeoman efforts working with this Committee and the Congress on the passage of much, much needed updates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, first with the Protect America Act of 2007 and later with the FISA Act amendments of 2008. Amidst strong opposition and oftentimes unfair criticism, he acted with great integrity and was thrown headfirst into one of the most controversial debates we've had in some time. The updates of FISA have given our dedicated intelligence community professionals the tools and authorities they need to stay ahead of terrorists, and they did so, adding things that this Committee on a bipartisan basis added to ensure and protect the constitutional rights and the privacy rights of American citizens. Collecting information on a good day is an incredibly difficult job. Fortunately, the new authorities, along with significant improvements we made in the USA PATRIOT Act, have made it a more manageable task. Admiral, hope you have spoken with Admiral McConnell about what lies ahead. He said you've had some good conversations. I'm sure he will offer you unique perspectives and sound advice. Only one other person has served in that role, and I will speak for my colleagues when I say that Admiral McConnell's experience, integrity and dedication to the intelligence community were significant and we will miss him. Although there have been many improvements under Admiral McConnell's leadership as the DNI, we're still a long way from full and complete reform of the intelligence community. When Congress created the office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2005, there was a strong sense that the intelligence community lacked clear direction and cohesivenes. IRTPA of 2004 tried to fix that by creating a DNI to lead the community. I voted against the legislation then, and I believe now that the DNI was given a tremendous amount of responsibility without the requisite authority to do the job. In my view, we either should not have created the DNI and just looked to strengthen the community relationship, or we should have given or should now give the DNI the authority commensurate with the responsibility we have landed upon him. We need to get this balance right and get rid of turf issues that keep popping up. To do this we need two things-- action by Congress and a commitment by you, if you are confirmed as the next DNI, to direct the community. Let me stress the word ``direct.'' Over the past year Admiral McConnell started referring to himself as a coordinator rather than a director, in recognition that he did not have the statutory authority to which I refer. That point is the utmost of the utmost importance, Admiral. The House and Senate Committees, oversight committees, are divided on this issue, but it's quite clear in comparing the House and Senate intelligence authorization bills that never became law, I might add, that the Senate generally favors a director and the House favors a coordinator. We can't keep looking in both directions, though, and your views on this matter will be very important. And I'd like to know your position on this before we leave here today. Speaking of authorization bills, you may be aware this Committee has not had an annual authorization bill signed into law for the last four years. The Chair and I are dedicated to breaking that record and getting this Committee back to bipartisanship, passing authorizations, hopefully in the very near future. I realize there are some individuals who haven't minded the absence of an intel bill, but I believe our inability to get a bill signed has been a serious mistake. It made the people's oversight through this Committee less relevant and it supports the notion that congressional oversight is dysfunctional. This is a charge leveled by many of the commissions and committees that have looked at intelligence. Authorization of the intelligence programs is important because they foster a good working relationship between this Committee and the community; ideas flow both ways, everyone works together to make sure that the IC can fulfill its ultimate mission of keeping this country safe. But it also gives the Committee in its oversight role an opportunity to offer effective solutions when necessary. For the past several years, I have sponsored a number of what I like to call good government provisions that I hope will soon become law, provisions that attempt to restore accountability and sound fiscal management to the IC. For example, we would give the DNI authority to conduct accountability reviews of an IC element or personnel in relation to a failure or deficiency within the community. Too often we've seen poor judgment or serious mistakes go uncorrected or, even worse, at times people who exercised poor judgment have been promoted or otherwise rewarded, and I think that's unacceptable. Giving the DNI the authority to step in and conduct these reviews will encourage accountability and good practices. Admiral, I hope that when you're confirmed as the DNI you will use this authority to send a message that poor performance will not be tolerated, let alone rewarded. It's not a matter of micromanaging the agencies or overlooking the shoulder of the agencies' directors. It's about ensuring that there be a clear standard of accountability throughout the community and regaining the confidence in the community's analysis that has certainly had its share of problems in the recent past. You'll be responsible for this, and the Committee will hold you responsible for it. We require the DNI to conduct annual personnel level assessments. We want to make sure we have enough fine men and women to do the job, but growing the IC without a clear plan could create an unnecessary bureaucracy and waste hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Third, I have sponsored a number of related provisions designed to get a handle on an acquisition and budget process that has grown out of control. At a time when the taxpayers of this country are struggling to pay their bills, they do not want to see their hard-earned tax dollars squandered on programs that do not work. They want to see the intelligence community spending the taxpayers money wisely. I'm not suggesting the severe budget cuts that at the conclusion of the Cold War gutted our intelligence capabilities should be reenacted. Rather, the DNI must make sure that the money is being spent in the right place to address the threats we face now and expect in the future. In this regard, Senator Mikulski and I have sponsored a solution that this Committee has recommended to address our nation's overhead architecture system that promises to save the taxpayers, we believe, potentially billions of dollars. We can talk more about that in another setting. It is my hope, Admiral Blair, that all these provisions will be signed into law soon and that this Committee will be on track with its authorization process. If you're confirmed, when you're confirmed, I look forward to working with you on these. Additionally, the Committee will work with you and look to you to get a handle on the agency's budget and personnel levels. We expect you will find innovative ways to create career paths and opportunities that are attractive to employees so the IC can not only recruit but retain the best. Additionally, the IC needs a strong leader who can stand on equal footing with the Secretary of Defense and other Cabinet officials. There may be occasions when the interests of the Secretary of Defense are not compatible with the intelligence community interests. I expect that, if necessary, you will be assertive in these cases and not back down. The intelligence community deserves no less from you. I also expect you to exert the appropriate authority over the CIA. When Congress created the DNI, we intended the Director of CIA to be subordinate to the DNI. It's the DNI, not the CIA Director, who is the leader of the IC. It follows, then, that it is the DNI who should answer to and have access to the President. I understand in practice this may not always be easy. No one likes to rock the boat point, quite simply. The CIA Director nominee is fortunate to have a good relationship with the President. That should not be a deterrent. I am confident that years of command experience will help you navigate the situation and be the leader that Congress intends. Admiral, if you do not believe that you have authority to direct the IC, as Congress intends, I expect and hope that you will tell this Committee exactly what authorities you need to do this job right. Today I'm also interested in hearing your thoughts on the CIA's interrogation and detention program, particularly in light of past comments about the benefits of aggressively arresting and interrogating terrorists and the President's stated intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo. Obviously, closing that facility raises a host of problems, as evidenced by the recent decision in the case of the 20th hijacker. For example, do we transfer detainees here to the United States for trial? I don't know of any city or town around this country that would be thrilled to have Khalid Shaykh Mohammed or Abu Zubaydah living down the street. And under what evidence rules should they be tried? These are not ordinary bank robbers. They are terrorists apprehended overseas, sometimes through intelligence means that could not and must not be disclosed in court. Another option that isn't much better is releasing them overseas. The Pentagon's recent report found that 61 released detainees from Guantanamo have returned to the battlefield to attack and kill our soldiers and other innocent civilians. Additionally, we read in the newspapers today that the President will be issuing an Executive Order to implement the Army field manual. This will apply to all agencies unless, of course, the President issues another Executive Order on enhanced techniques that certain agencies could use. If confirmed as the DNI, you will be the intelligence community's voice on these important matters, so I hope we can have a vigorous and candid discussion today and that you will share your ideas on possible solutions to these concerns. I also have some concerns based on the testimony of the Attorney General nominee last week and my conversation with him in my office yesterday. He was asked whether he would honor the certifications filed by the former Attorney General that would allow dismissal of lawsuits against communication providers who assisted with the President's terrorist surveillance program. Regrettably, instead of a yes or no, and he said he would not revoke it unless circumstances changed. I find it troubling that he hasn't really explained what he means by that and the circumstances have already occurred; there is no change to be had. Ensuring that the IC has the cooperation of third parties is essential to intelligence collection. If the lawsuits are not dismissed, we jeopardize future cooperation. Now the FISA Act received 70 votes in the Senate, a strong majority in the House, and the constitutionality of its predecessor, the Protect America Act, was just reaffirmed by the FISA appellate court, which is the Court of review, so the legislative and judicial bodies have spoken on this matter. I will be interested in hearing your thoughts on whether these patriotic companies should be protected from frivolous lawsuits and what your recommendation to the new Attorney General would be. Finally, I have some concerns raised by the Inspector General's report finding that you violated conflict of interest standards, and we will have questions about that in the hearing. At this point, I look forward to entering into a discussion with you and this Committee. Madam Chair, the intelligence community cannot afford to be without a strong commander. I hope this Committee can act on the nomination quickly and get it to the floor for a positive vote. Admiral, I look forward to hearing your views on the direction of the DNI and your efforts to keep our nation and families safe from attack. You have a long and distinguished service career for this nation. I congratulate you on your nomination. I thank you for being willing to take on the headache, and we look forward to hearing from you. Thank you, Madam Chair. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. Vice Chairman Bond. Senator Rockefeller. Senator Rockefeller. Thank you, Madam Chair. I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart for your ascendancy to the Chair. It's a remarkable position. You yourself will be in a position to make major changes in the attitudes, the depoliticization and the availability of intelligence to our Committee as a whole, things that we've been fighting for for a long time against great odds. So I congratulate you on taking the gavel and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. I'm going to speak briefly, I might add. I welcome the Admiral and my distinguished chairperson on many committees, Senator Inouye from Hawaii. Let me say a few words on why I think this is a very promising time for our intelligence community and for our national security. We have an opportunity, Admiral Blair, to make a very sharp turn towards new intelligence policies that I believe will bolster our counterterrorism efforts and strengthen our national security in general. Intelligence must be accurate. It must be accurate. It must be politically neutral. There must be no spin. And it must be collected with methods that enjoy a bipartisan consensus and both be legal and effective. To ensure this, secret intelligence activities must be subject to rigorous congressional oversight. We've discussed that. I feel very strongly about that. All of us on this Committee have. We have not come to terms with that in recent years. We're beginning to, and I feel a new day coming with your ascendancy. We are the only independent reviewers of secret intelligence activities that exists, and we are the only outside check on activities that are not legal or are not effective--the two Intelligence Committees, the House and the Senate. That's all there is. We're the only ones that can do this oversight. So we have to have the information. Oversight should not be adversarial. It's silly when it is, harmful when it is. It causes distractions from the realities when it is. And it need not be that way. It is a necessary partnership between the Executive Branch and the Congress. I fought hard to remove politics from intelligence and to restore Congress's vital oversight role since I joined the Committee in 2001. And the Chair and I have done that, together with others. I'm going to keep fighting for it now. I don't want to get into who was at fault for this cycle that we were caught in over the past several years, because that serves no purpose. Instead, I want to look ahead to what is possible now. I think there's a real chance that in this new year we can have a new start. We can and should debate about how we go about collecting and analyzing intelligence--for example, on interrogation policies--but we can do so without the stain of political considerations. We really can. It's hard with all the media and everybody else trying to pick a fight here and there, but we can do that and we need to do that in the nation's interest, which is all we care about. Between the Executive and Legislative branches we can and we should engage and debate these policies, but we can do that in partnership. We can do that by being in touch with each other much more often than we are--informally as well as formally--with the knowledge that more information exchanges and deliberations give rise to better intelligence collection and intelligence analysis. In short, we can recognize that we're all on the same team. It's not sort of been that way. It's against the national interest if it isn't that way. So, with this in mind, I congratulate Admiral Denny Blair on his nomination to be our Director of National Intelligence. We've had a chance to talk. I spent a lot of time looking back over your history, learning about you, talking. We talked about that. And I found it very, very constructive. These conversations that we've had give me confidence that you will follow in the footsteps of Mike McConnell as an excellent leader of our intelligence community. The Director of National Intelligence is one of the most important and demanding jobs in Washington. I tend to say it's one of the two or three most important jobs in the country. That includes the presidency. I put it at that level. You are responsible for protecting this nation under the leadership of the President. It requires somebody with tremendous leadership and management skills. The next DNI will take this task at a time when we are fighting two wars as well as a fight against a global terrorism network, the reach of which we do not know even now, not to mention the enormous long-term strategic challenges. Admiral Blair brings a wealth of valuable experience to the job which I think will be apparent in the hearing today as we ask questions. I congratulate you on your nomination. I congratulate you on your capacity for leadership and decisionmaking. That's one of the things we talked about. When somebody has been commanding battleships and four- stars and CINCPAC and all the rest of it, you come into a very difficult position because you have been accustomed to making policy and you will be, but you will be doing it under the leadership of the President of the United States and in combination working with us, something which Admirals generally don't have to do, to work with Congressional committees. But this is the way the Constitution and our forefathers have fated our relationship, and I think it's a very good one and one that I look forward to and one that you look forward to. I know that because we've talked about it. I ask you to work closely with us to ensure that our nation always has accurate, reliable information, and that it's collected in a way that makes this country proud, and is analyzed without the taint of political influence. We cannot have that any more. We cannot have that. With that, Madam Chairman, I thank you again, congratulate you again, and wish you well in what will be your very strong leadership of this Committee. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Rockefeller. And now we will go to the distinguished Senator from Hawaii and the new Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Daniel Inouye, for an introduction. Welcome, Senator. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DANIEL K. INOUYE, A U.S. SENATOR FROM HAWAII Senator Inouye. Madam Chair and distinguished Members of the Committee, I'm deeply honored and pleased to present to you for your consideration---- Chairman Feinstein. Senator, that microphone, if you could pull it a little bit closer and up. These mics for some reason are lower today. Senator Inouye. I think it's tapped. [Laughter.] Senator Inouye. I'm pleased and honored to appear before you to present the President's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. I've known the Admiral for over ten years. I've come to know him rather well through my work as Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. As one who is deeply involved in Asia-Pacific security issues, and through his service as the Commander of Pacific Forces, he was in command of all forces in the Pacific. Well, through his experience I quickly learned that Admiral Blair is a man of brilliance and extraordinary intelligence. For example, very few Americans realize this but he is very fluent in Russian, and there are not too many of us in the Congress or in the Senate who can speak anything besides English. He is a creative thinker. He has a wealth of knowledge of history, global affairs and national security. Having commanded the United States forces in a region that stretches from the west coast of the United States to the western part of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole, he knows how to manage and integrate a diverse, widespread organization. That skill I believe will serve him well as the nation's third Director of National Intelligence, overseeing 16 different agencies and organizations that make up our intelligence community. I have no doubt that in Admiral Blair's heart and mind service to our country will always come first. Admiral Blair has another quality that impresses me very much. He's not afraid to stand up and speak out to his commander if he believes a policy is misguided or if something is being done wrong. That sort of candor and truth-telling many believe is the reason why he was passed over for the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs by the outgoing Administration. It's painful to bring this up, but I think we should know. The new Administration I believe wants that sort of frankness and critical thinking that Admiral Blair will bring to this job. Admiral Blair has earned our unhesitating support, and I'm confident that a full and fair consideration of his record will be most impressive to my colleagues. I thank you very much, Madam Chair. [The prepared statement of Senator Inouye follows:] Statement of Hon. Daniel K. Inouye, a U.S. Senator from Hawaii Madame Chair and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today to recommend a prompt and favorable reporting to the Senate of the nomination of Admiral Blair as Director of National Intelligence. I have known Admiral Blair for more than 10 years. I have come to know him through my work as Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, as one deeply involved in Asia-Pacific security issues, and through his service as the Commander of the United States Pacific Command, which made him responsible for all U.S. forces in the Asia- Pacific region. Through that experience, I quickly learned that Admiral Blair is a man of brilliance and intelligence. He speaks Russian fluently. He is a creative thinker. He has a wealth of knowledge of history, global affairs, and national security. He is insightful on a wide range of issues--from how our nation's dependence on imported oil has influenced our security strategy, to how certain parts of the world have been used as a staging ground and transit for terrorism directed at the United States, to military developments in Asia, and much, much more. Having commanded U.S. forces in a region that stretches from the west coast of the U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole, he knows how to manage and integrate a diverse and widespread organization. That skill, I believe, will serve him well as our nation's third Director of National Intelligence, overseeing 16 different agencies and organizations that make up our intelligence community. I have no doubt that in Admiral Blair's heart and mind, service to our country will always come first. Admiral Blair also has another quality that impresses me very much. He is not afraid to stand up and speak out to his commander if he believes a policy is misguided or if something is being done wrong. That sort of candor and truth-telling, many believe, is the reason why he was passed over for the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs by the outgoing Administration. The new administration, I believe, wants that sort of frankness and critical thinking that Admiral Blair will bring to his job. Admiral Blair has earned my unhesitating support, and I am confident that a full and fair consideration of his record will impress my colleagues. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Inouye. And now, Admiral, we will turn to you. STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL DENNIS C. BLAIR, U.S. NAVY, RETIRED, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE-DESIGNATE Admiral Blair. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, Members of the Committee. It is an honor to appear before you today and, if confirmed, I will seek your counsel and your advice and seek it frequently. Nothing is more important to national security and the making and the conduct of good security policies than timely, accurate, objective and relevant intelligence. President Obama has made it clear to me and made it clear to the American people that he expects independent analysis. He wants the facts, he wants all points of view. And, if confirmed, I will strive to meet his expectations. The United States right now is engaged in three campaigns with immediate threats to American lives and interests--the global struggle against anti-American terrorists who have global reach, the campaign in Iraq, the campaign in Afghanistan. And these three campaigns right now absorb the bulk of our intelligence resources. We have to provide intelligence at all levels to prosecute those campaigns successfully. But there are many additional near-term issues that are of concern to us. They include North Korea, Iran, peace and progress in South Asia, and of course the Israeli-Palestinian violence which flared up recently. The intelligence community also needs to address long-term challenges--the growing power and influence of China, India and other developing countries, as well as both threats and opportunities that come with failing states. But threats to America's national security go well beyond the nation state-based threats of the past. In addition to anti-American terrorists with global reach, there are weapons proliferators, drug traffickers, cyber attackers, all of whom don't recognize borders and pose threats to us. We also cannot lose sight of the new issues that may pose grave dangers, such as global warming, energy supplies, food prices, pandemic diseases. I also believe it's important to identify opportunities as well as threats, and this is an extremely important dimension to the work of intelligence agencies. For example, the United States must hunt down those fanatic Muslim terrorists who are seeking to do us harm. At the same time, the intelligence community also needs to support policymakers who are trying to engage and work with influential Muslim leaders who believe and who are working for a progressive and peaceful future for their religion and for their nations. The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act spells out the responsibilities of the DNI, as I have been reminded. If confirmed, I will work to carry out the intent of that legislation. The DNI must keep the intelligence community on the cutting edge of innovation. Developing a high quality work force is also the DNI's responsibility. We should give intelligence professionals the right missions, clear away obstacles that keep them from doing the job, and then have the privilege and the pleasure of watching them produce amazing results. All officers of the intelligence community, especially the most senior officers, must conduct themselves in a manner that earns and retains the public's trust. I strongly believe in transparency and accountability in the missions whose work must necessarily take place largely out of public view. Before closing these brief remarks, let me make a few points and make them clearly. I do not and I will not support any surveillance activities that circumvent established processes for their lawful authorization. I believe in the importance of review and regulation. I believe in the importance of independent monitoring, including that of this Committee and the Congress, to prevent abuses and to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. Torture is not moral, not legal, not effective. The U.S. government will have a clear and consistent standard for treatment of detainees. The Guantanamo detention center will be closed. It's become a damaging symbol. Madam Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, members of the Committee, if confirmed I will work closely with you and with the Congress. The leadership of the intelligence community must earn the support and trust of this Committee if it is to earn the support and trust of the American people. When now-President Obama first called me about this job, I wasn't expecting it. But in those weeks since I've had a chance to talk with you. I've had a chance to think about the job. I have had a chance to learn about the job. And it seems to me that much of my background, experience and ambitions point me towards that job, and I would very much like it and I would like to be confirmed for that job. I think we have extremely important work to do together, and I hope that I can be confirmed in order to undertake that work. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Admiral Blair follows:] Statement of Dennis C. Blair Madam Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, Members of the Committee: It is a distinct honor and privilege to appear before you today. I am also honored that President Obama has placed his trust and confidence in me, deciding to nominate me to the position of Director of National Intelligence. I want to express deep appreciation and thanks to Chairman Feinstein, and to Vice Chairman Bond, for holding today's hearing, and I look forward to your questions. In addition, let me say from the outset, if confirmed, I look forward very much to working with you on the many important issues before the Intelligence Community, and before the Nation. This Committee has a wealth of experience and wisdom. If confirmed, I will seek your counsel and advice--and seek it frequently--in addressing the many challenges ahead. importance of intelligence Nothing is more important to national security and the making and conduct of good policy than timely, accurate, and relevant intelligence. Nothing is more critical to accurate and relevant intelligence than independent analysis. The President has made clear to me, and to the American people, that he wants to hear the facts, he expects independent analysis, and he wants to hear all points of view. As John Adams famously said, ``Facts are stubborn things.'' The best national security decisions take account of the facts on the ground. Sometimes those facts are unpleasant; sometimes they are inconvenient; often they are ambiguous. Whatever they are, they must be presented accurately and fully. Beyond the facts on the ground, interpretations of their significance differ. There is an obligation to bring those differing views forward. There is an obligation to speak truth to power. If confirmed, I will fulfill that obligation personally, and I will instill respect for that obligation in those who work for me. threats and opportunities Let me describe some of the key challenges the intelligence services face in supporting policymakers as well as troops, diplomats, and law enforcement officials in the field. The Intelligence Community is charged with the task of assessing threats and providing timely warning. This Committee holds an annual worldwide threat assessment hearing. If I am confirmed, it will be my privilege to appear before you on that topic. The United States is engaged in three campaigns in which there are immediate threats to American lives, properties and interests. First is the campaign against anti-American terrorists with global reach who seek to harm us or our allies, partners and friends. These groups include al-Qaeda and other extremist organizations as well as the groups they inspire but do not control. The second campaign is in Iraq and the third in Afghanistan, where the United States has deployed troops, diplomats, and nation builders. Providing intelligence support for these three campaigns consumes the largest share of Intelligence Community resources. The day-to-day demands for tactical intelligence for these missions, geographically concentrated in Southwest Asia, cannot be allowed to crowd out the mission of building a deeper understanding of the complicated interlocking dynamics of the entire region, from Kashmir to Istanbul. We will need that understanding as we forge a strategy for the region. Additional near-term issues of concern are many. They include North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs; Iran's nuclear capabilities and intentions, as well as its missile program; the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal; and peace and stability in South Asia. They include Israeli-Palestinian violence, with its possibilities for escalation and implications for regional stability. Many important threats to American national security go well beyond the traditional nation-state-based threats of the past. The intelligence services need to have open minds, change traditional ways of thinking and be bold and creative in identifying possible threats to the nation. It is the responsibility of the intelligence services to penetrate and understand these new transnational threats just as thoroughly as we did the Soviet Union in the days of the Cold War. In addition to anti-American terrorists with global reach, our adversaries include organizations--some nation states, some private and some criminal--that proliferate weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. They include organizations trafficking in drugs. They include those using the global communications system to learn our secrets and proprietary information to compete with us or attack us. There are additional trends that affect American security, and may pose grave dangers--global warming, energy supplies, food prices, and pandemic diseases, among others. Today's threats to American interests are more diffuse, more fast- paced, and seem more urgent than ever because of the trends of globalization--worldwide transportation, worldwide information systems, the spread of scientific and technical knowledge, an interlocking global economy, and the ubiquitous and incessant news cycle. The intelligence agencies must look beneath the breathless headlines to understand the facts and their significance for American interests. The Intelligence Community also needs to address the longer-term geopolitical challenges. How the United States adjusts to and manages the growing power and influence of China, India, and key countries in the developing world is a major long-term challenge for policymakers. The Industrial Revolution caused a centuries-long shift in power to the West; globalization is now shifting the balance again. The Global Trends 2025 report is one example of the Intelligence Community's contribution to this discussion. Failing states pose another set of challenges. Countries without effective governments, with internal economic disparities, and with domestic religious, ethnic, or tribal tensions can slip into anarchy, with tragic consequences for their own citizens, and with potential dangers to other countries. Somalia is one example, among many. The Intelligence Community has global responsibilities. We need to understand better the interplay of trends, threats, and opportunities in Latin America and Africa, so that our leaders can forge wise policies and take effective actions as the importance of these regions increases. Identifying opportunities as well as threats is an extremely important balance for intelligence agencies to strike.
While the United States must hunt down those terrorists who are seeking to do us harm, the Intelligence Community also needs to support policymakers who are looking for opportunities to engage and work with Arab and Muslim leaders who are striving for a progressive and peaceful future for their religion and their countries; While the United States must understand China's military buildup--its extent, its technological sophistication and its vulnerabilities--in order to offset it, the Intelligence Community also needs to support policymakers who are looking for opportunities to work with Chinese leaders who believe that Asia is big enough for both of us and can be an Asia in which both countries can benefit as well as contribute to the common good; While the United States needs to understand Russia's military plans and ambitions in what it calls its ``near abroad,'' the Intelligence Community also needs to help policymakers understand the dynamics of European security issues including the actions of our allies and friends, in order to craft policies that will support American objectives. While the United States must identify weak places in worldwide medical surveillance systems and prepare for pandemics, the Intelligence Community can also find opportunities to work with governments and other organizations on behalf of our common interest in strengthening the world's early warning, defensive and recovery systems; While policymakers need to understand anti-American leaders, policies and actions in Iran, the Intelligence Community can also help policymakers identify and understand other leaders and political forces, so that it is possible to work toward a future in both our interests; While traditional friends of the United States disagree with individual American policies on specific countries and issues, the Intelligence Community can also help policymakers identify the many government leaders and influential private leaders--in Europe, in Asia and elsewhere--who share American ambitions for the future and are willing to work together for the common good. Identifying these opportunities for American policy and statecraft is as important as predicting hostile threats. There is a final cluster of subjects on which intelligence agencies must provide good advice to policymakers and officials taking action: Science and technology developments--where is innovation taking place around the world, and how can it help or hurt American interests? Economics and finance--how is power being redistributed, and what are the developments that will make a difference to the United States? For these areas, and also for many of the others outlined here, the analysts and information in our intelligence agencies are not the sole, and often not the best, resources. Private organizations--businesses as well as consultants--think tanks, NGOs, universities, national labs, federally funded research and development centers, other government analysts, and similar international and foreign centers have a great deal to offer. It is the responsibility of the Director of National Intelligence to take advantage of outside information sources--databases and experts--and to add the insights gained from secret intelligence to present policymakers the clearest possible picture of the nature of these trends, and the potential effects that alternative American policies can have on them. the role and responsibilities of the dni The office of the DNI is not yet four years old. Ambassador Negroponte and Admiral McConnell have made important progress during that period of time. A wider range of analysis, and more points of view, are now brought to the attention of policymakers. Information sharing on terrorism-related information has improved. Joint Duty in the Intelligence Community, essential for building a unified workforce, is starting to take hold. Security clearances take less time. These are important contributions, and they should be recognized. At the same time, the Committee knows that much work lies ahead. For my part, I want to acknowledge the contributions that those who lead the Intelligence Community already have made. The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act spells out the role and responsibilities of the DNI. The Act specifies many important improvements in the organization and functioning of the country's intelligence services. My approach is a straightforward one. If confirmed, I will work to fulfill the intent of this legislation. The DNI is the principal adviser to the President, to the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to the national security. His responsibility is to provide timely, accurate and relevant intelligence. Leading the Intelligence Community, the DNI needs to satisfy the strategic intelligence requirements of policymakers as well as the tactical requirements of military units, diplomats, and front-line officers of the Department of Homeland Security and state and local law officials. The DNI needs to lead the integration of intelligence sources--human, signals, geospatial, measurement and signature, and open source. Such integration mutually empowers, and maximizes, the contribution of each intelligence source. The DNI needs to ensure that the whole of the national intelligence enterprise is always more than the sum of its parts. I believe the hardworking, smart, and dedicated officials of the intelligence agencies, along with the resources the Congress has provided, are adequate to provide the right kind and amount of intelligence support to all who need it from the President down to the soldier in the field. The DNI should place the emphasis on managing others, not doing their work himself. The DNI should hold agencies accountable for doing their jobs, but should not replicate activities that individual agencies perform well. The DNI should concentrate on activities that no single agency can perform by itself, and use his authority to encourage and enforce combined action that brings together the strengths of all the intelligence services to accomplish the common missions. The DNI must keep the Intelligence Community at the cutting edge of innovation. The business of intelligence has been radically transformed, and continues to be driven, by the information revolution. In a generation's time, the Intelligence Community has gone from an organization hunting secrets, to an organization interpreting the vast ocean of information available every day--even as it still hunts secrets. How the Community collects, analyzes and provides added value to policymakers and operators is profoundly affected by this changing and dynamic information environment. Developing a high-quality workforce for the future is the DNI's responsibility. Any organization is only as good as its people. I have been deeply impressed over many years with the many smart, dedicated and brave professionals in the Intelligence Community workforce. It is the DNI's responsibility to give them the right missions, to clear away obstacles in their path, and then it is the DNI's privilege and pleasure to watch them produce amazing results. It has been an honor to work with them, and, if I am confirmed, it will be an honor to lead them. the role of intelligence in a democracy All officers of the Intelligence Community, and especially its most senior officer, must conduct themselves in a manner that earns and retains the public trust. The American people are uncomfortable with government activities that do not take place in the open, subject to public scrutiny and review. Unlike many other parts of the government, the activities of intelligence officers must often be secret to be effective. Therefore, there is a special obligation for the leadership of the Intelligence Community to communicate frequently and candidly with the oversight committees, and as much as possible with the American people. There is a need for transparency and accountability in a mission where most work necessarily remains hidden from public view. The first part of building trust is building relationships. I want to establish a relationship of candor and trust with each Member of this Committee and, if confirmed, work to sustain and enhance that trust. Equally important, I will work to rebuild a relationship of trust with the American people. The second part of building trust is to carry out the mission of the Intelligence Community in a manner consistent with our Nation's values, consistent with our Constitution and consistent with the rule of law. The intelligence agencies of the United States must respect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people, and they must adhere to the rule of law. lawful surveillance, lawful detention and interrogation In a dangerous world, government agencies need authority to collect intelligence on terrorists before they strike, in order to protect the American people. But in a free society, that authority cannot be unlimited. It must be exercised pursuant to law. I do not and will not support any surveillance activities that circumvent established processes for their lawful authorization. I believe in the importance of review and regulation of the use of those surveillance authorities. I believe in the importance of independent monitoring, including by the Congress, to prevent abuses and protect civil liberties. I believe strongly that torture is not moral, legal, or effective. Any program of detention and interrogation must comply with the Geneva Conventions, the Conventions on Torture, and the Constitution. There must be clear standards for humane treatment that apply to all agencies of U.S. Government, including the Intelligence Community. I believe the U.S. Government must have clear and consistent standards for treatment of detainees. Those standards must comply with the Detainee Treatment Act, the Convention Against Torture, and Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. All who are responsible for treatment of detainees must receive training on those standards, and training must be reinforced regularly. It is not enough to set a standard and announce it. Regular reinforcement and oversight is necessary to make sure the standards are being applied correctly. I agree with the President that the detention center at Guantanamo has become a damaging symbol to the world and that it must be closed. It is a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment and harmful to our national security, so closing it is important for our national security. The guiding principles for closing the center should be protecting our national security, respecting the Geneva Conventions and the rule of law, and respecting the existing institutions of justice in this country. I also believe we should revitalize efforts to transfer detainees to their countries of origin or other countries whenever that would be consistent with these principles. Closing this center and satisfying these principles will take time, and is the work of many departments and agencies. conclusion Madam Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Members of the Committee: If confirmed, I will work closely with this Committee and with the Congress. The leadership of the Intelligence Community must earn and sustain the confidence and support of this Committee if it is to win the confidence and support of the American people. A close dialogue and relationship with the Congress is what our Constitution and laws require, and what is practical and necessary. Your wisdom, sustained interest, and sustained engagement enhance our Nation's intelligence capabilities. I look forward to your questions. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. We will now proceed to activate the time clocks and go to five-minute rounds. My understanding is there is going to be a vote, probably within the half hour, and we will try to keep the hearing going. I will go vote immediately and you will preside, if you will, Mr. Vice Chairman, and then the reverse will take place. I'd like to just read the early bird list quickly. After myself and the Vice Chairman, it is Senators Coburn, Wyden, Levin, Rockefeller, Chambliss, Feingold, Risch, Whitehouse, Hatch, Bayh, Snowe. That will be the order. I'd like to say that, Senator Inouye, I know you have a busy day, with much coming up next week, so if you'd like to be excused--we'd love to have you here, but if you would like to be excused, that would be just fine. Senator Inouye. Thank you very much. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. I'd like to announce that written questions and answers that the Admiral has responded to will appear on the web site of the Committee. So for those that would like to read the written questions and his answers to them, they are available. Admiral Blair, before we begin the individual questions, there are questions that we traditionally ask, and a yes or no answer will suffice. I'll go quickly. Do you agree to appear before the Committee here or in other venues, when invited? Admiral Blair. Yes. Chairman Feinstein. Do you agree to send officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and elsewhere in the intelligence community to appear before the Committee and designated staff, when requested? Admiral Blair. Yes. Chairman Feinstein. Do you agree to provide documents or any other materials requested by the Committee in order for it to carry out its oversight and legislative responsibilities? Admiral Blair. Yes. Chairman Feinstein. Will you ensure that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and elsewhere in the intelligence community provide such material to the Committee, when requested? Admiral Blair. Yes. Chairman Feinstein. And a new question that I hope will become part of the tradition. Do you agree to inform and fully brief to the fullest extent possible all members of the Committee of intelligence activities and covert actions rather than only the Chairman and Vice Chairman? Admiral Blair. Yes. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. I would like to take on something that's going to come up. Both Senator Rockefeller and I have read the Inspector General's report concerning--and I have talked with you informally, and I think we should put it on the record. When you were president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, you were involved in two reports on the F-22 program of the United States Air Force. On November 30, 2006, the IG for the Department of Defense concluded that a report found that Admiral Blair violated IDA's conflict of interest standards because he failed to disqualify himself from all matters related to IDA's work concerning the F-22 program. However, they also found that you did not in any way utilize any action. And, of course, you were on the board at the time of two corporations, EDO and Tyco Limited, and serving as a member of the board of directors. The IG found that your failure to disqualify yourself had no impact on IDA's consideration of the F-22. Now you provided responses in your prehearing questions on this matter, but please explain for the record and for the Committee why you did not recuse yourself, how you view that decision in retrospect, and how you would intend to handle potential future conflicts in the future. Admiral Blair. Madam Chairman, it was a mistake not to have recused myself from those two studies when I was president of IDA. I thought a great deal about the incident since, and the greatest damage was the damage to my own reputation for integrity caused by that decision and, of course, the reputation of the Institute for Defense Analyses that was done. I should have recused myself, and I didn't. As you pointed out, as the Inspector General report said, I did not in fact try to influence the study, nor did I do so. There were not good procedures for the president of IDA to review and recuse himself when appropriate. I instituted those procedures before I left. I think the lesson of it is that you can be absolutely sure that, if confirmed, I will not take any action that can remotely cause that kind of a situation to happen again. I will comply fully, in consultation with my counsel, with all regulations to ensure that any decisions that I make as DNI will be completely free of any suspicion that there is untoward influence. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. Quickly, in response to the prehearing questions, you stressed the role of DNI as integrating the activities across the intelligence community and making the agencies work better together. Of course that's fine. But, as the Vice Chairman stated and I think virtually all of us agree, the DNI needs to be a very strong leader--someone who will take action to force agencies to achieve their missions, step in when things aren't going well, and really be an agent for change. In what ways are you prepared to go beyond integration and coordination to get the results that are necessary? Admiral Blair. I think the goal is quite clear, Madam Chairman. The intelligence community needs to be greater than the sum of its parts, not less than the sum of its parts. I think that a large part of what's required to do that is to get the rewards and the penalties lined up with the mission of the organization, all the way down the line from the very heads of the organization down to individual reports writers, analysts and other officers. And if we can build those structural procedures that incentivize people taking initiative, working across the agencies, and penalize those who retreat into their stovepipes and make behavior which may make sense from their small perspective but hurts the agency, we will go a long way to doing that. That can only take you to a certain extent, and there are times, as your question implies, that the Director of National Intelligence simply has to step in and say this is the way it's going to be because this is the right thing for the community. I'm extremely encouraged because of the team that is now in place among the different agencies. Not only has Mr. Panetta been nominated to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a key job--and he's got the savvy and he's a pro and we've talked about these issues and we see them the same way. I think you will find that when you talk to him next week. We have General Alexander at the National Security Agency, General Ron Burgess going to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Admiral Bob Murrett running the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. I've worked with many of these officers in the past. They are team players. They understand that we all have to work together in order to do the nation's business. So I think the combination of this team attitude at the top, getting the incentives down through the structure, and then making the tough calls that benefit the nation, not to the benefit of an individual agency, are the keys to having the best intelligence for the President and everyone. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Admiral. My time is up. The Vice Chairman. Vice Chairman Bond. Thank you, Madam Chair. As the Chair and I have said, we want to work on a bipartisan basis, and I believe you made a commitment to work with both Republican and Democratic Members of this Committee and their staffs. I believe that's correct, is it not, sir? Admiral Blair. Yes, sir. Vice Chairman Bond. In addition, there's another matter that's very important to me and to the Chair and to Senator Mikulski. We're also members of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. There have been occasions when we have been briefed on a matter but our intelligence committee is shut out. The excuse is always the same. It's a Title 10 issue, not a Title 50 issue. Now I understand there may be different operational requirements between defense and intelligence, but in areas where there is considerable overlap we need greater access to information on both sides of the fence. Our staff, with appropriate clearances and expertise in these matters, sit on this Committee, not on SAC/D. The Committee has almost 50 staff members with expertise in almost every area of intelligence. The SAC/D has very, very few, often consumed with other matters as they juggle a portfolio more than ten times the size of ours. Thus we have broader Committee staff. I recently delivered a message to one 4-star general. If we kept getting stonewalled by DOD in matters where we can be briefed but our staffs will not because of the Committee jurisdiction, then I personally will not vote for appropriations for the program. And I will share my views with the Chair and Senator Mikulski. If you're confirmed as the DNI, will you work with the Secretary of Defense to ensure that the intelligence committees are fully briefed on matters that pertain to this committee's oversight, to include areas that straddle Title 50 and Title 10? Admiral Blair. Senator, I happen to have some familiarity with that issue, although it's somewhat dated. When I was Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support, I stood on that seam between the armed forces and intelligence community, with the job of making that seam work for the country and not having issues fall between it so we were badly served in many areas. My experience from that time is I really think we need a Title 60. I think we need to get rid of this artificial division in this global campaign against terrorists, when the tools that are available in the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies are both applicable and both need to be put together to get the job done. I find that operational effectiveness is in fact distorted by the way the authorities, which were written for different era, come down. So I think very much we need to fix that problem. But I think that in the meantime, given what we have, we should not use different titles as a shell game to try to keep information from the Congress, who has the oversight responsibility and the funding responsibility for these programs. And I can undertake to you that I will make sure that we don't use a different title to hide something, so that people who have knowledge and responsibility and oversight responsibility to carry out are not kept in the dark. Vice Chairman Bond. I sincerely thank you, heartily congratulate you, and I will explain to you in a different situation what we're talking about. You said that you believe that surveillance must only be done with lawful authorization. Do you believe that the President has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct an authorized intelligence collection? Admiral Blair. That the President has the authority? Vice Chairman Bond. That the President has authority in Article II. Admiral Blair. Yes, sir. Vice Chairman Bond. So he can authorize collection. Here's the question. It's a basic question that has been resolved by the FISA court and others. There is disagreement on it, but I used to be a lawyer and I studied constitutional law. When the President has constitutional authority, Congress cannot eliminate it. And there are some people who think they can. I believe that it is an essential part of his ability to conduct foreign policy and we'd be happy to talk to you about it more. Madam Chair, my time has expired. I will pass to the next. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. Senator Coburn, you are next. Senator Coburn is not here. Senator Wyden, you're next. Senator Wyden. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Admiral Blair, I very much enjoyed our meeting, and I want to get into a question you and I discussed in my office. There's this great debate about the role of the DNI and is it big enough and its authority. To me it's not whether it's a big office or a small office. It's whether there's an accountable office, because whenever there's a concern people come to the table and we have six people essentially looking at each other and you don't get a sense that there is adequate accountability. So I want to ask you this question and I'd like you to start with a yes or no answer before you get into the context. Do you believe that the position of Director of National Intelligence currently comes with the authority and the resources so that you can be held accountable? Admiral Blair. I think it's an incomplete authority, Senator Wyden. Senator Wyden. So I will interpret that as a ``no,'' because if you had sufficient authority you would say yes. Why, in your view, is it an incomplete authority, an insufficient authority to be held with respect to the Director being held accountable? Admiral Blair. Senator, it says right in the first paragraph of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act that the Director of National Intelligence is the leader of the intelligence community. So when you're looking for one throat to choke, this is the one you should come to, and I accept that responsibility. I'm the leader, I'm responsible for what goes on there. But, as you know, the intelligence business is inherently enmeshed with many other departments of government--defense primarily, but also many others--and intelligence, of course, is a support function for policy; it is not a policymaker. So the reason I talk about the incomplete authority is because this new law that was established in 2004 is a work in progress. I'm only the third director. And as we work through unprecedented situations I think we will find areas in which we have to do some clarifying. But as a general principle I certainly accept responsibility for intelligence and I will act, if confirmed, in that manner. Senator Wyden. I appreciate you stepping up, but the point is the authority, in your view, you said it's incomplete. You said it needs to be clarified. And we're going to have to stay up with it until your position is one where you can be held accountable. The second area I need to talk to you about is human rights, where we also talked. This is obviously a critical component of our foreign policy, an essential element of America's claim to moral leadership. I think it's important that you clear up for the public record your response to the murder of thousands of innocent people in East Timor. These killings were committed by paramilitary groups supported by the Indonesian military. Some observers have alleged that our government turned a blind eye to the slaughter. You at that time were the head of the Pacific Command during the time of these murders. So right after August of 1999, when the people of East Timor declared their independence, there was a period of nonstop violence. Please describe for the record specifically your interactions with the Indonesian government during that period--that period right after independence--and what specifically you did to end the slaughter of what eventually became 200,000 people. Admiral Blair. Senator, I'm very happy to have a forum like this and a chance to talk about those allegations, because they came up after I left active duty in 2002. I want to say at the outset that those accusations, which I've read, are flat wrong. At the time that we're talking about, the objective of the United States government was to ensure that East Timor gained its freedom. That was the best thing that we could do for the human rights and the future of the East Timorese, and that was the focus of our policy. I and many other leaders of government carried out the American government's policy at that time in our conversations with leaders of Indonesia, both military and civilian. We decried and said that the torture and killing that was being conducted by paramilitary groups and some military groups in East Timor had to stop, and unless it stopped there would be heavier penalties paid by Indonesia, but if it did stop then the relationship between the United States and Indonesia could get better. That was my consistent message in several meetings and many phone calls with Indonesian leaders. All of those meetings and all of those phone calls were attended by our ambassador in the country. They were the subject of reporting cables, and they were consistent with the government policy. So those who say that I was somehow carrying out my own policy or saying things that were not in accordance with American policy are just flat wrong. And East Timor is now free and I think it was a successful policy and I'm proud of it. Senator Wyden. Madam Chair, my time has expired. Two points. First, I would like to see those cables that attest to the various communications you had. Then, Madam Chair, depending on how many rounds we have, Congresswoman Eshoo raises a very important issue. She is, of course, a senior member of the other body and I would like to talk with Admiral Blair about that. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator Wyden. Senator Levin, you're up next. Senator Levin. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Chairman Feinstein. And then if Senator Rockefeller can't get back from a vote in the Finance Committee, Senator Chambliss--and he's not here--Senator Feingold is next, Senator Risch is next, and Whitehouse after that. Senator Levin. Admiral, first I want to talk about statements that you've made about the necessity of speaking truth to power and telling the policymakers what your judgment or assessment is of the facts, even though they may not want to hear those facts. George Tenet wrote a book and acknowledged that in fact he had failed to tell the policymakers in the Bush Administration that what they were saying publicly was wrong. He acknowledged he had an obligation to do a better job-- quoting his book now--``of making sure that they knew where we differed and why I should have told the Vice President that his VFW speech had gone too far.'' Are you committed to speak truth to power? Are you committed that when your factual assessments or intelligence assessments say one thing, if public officials say another thing and don't delineate between their own personal views and what the intelligence community has informed them that you will speak to them about that? Admiral Blair. Yes, sir, I think that's the only way to proceed. Senator Levin. You made a statement in your answers for the record about interrogation and the damage which has been done by excessive abusive or abusive interrogation, not excessive but abusive interrogation techniques, and the President is going to sign an order today, apparently today, which will prohibit the intelligence community from using and the CIA from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects. You're all going to be under the same rules--the intelligence community and the Defense Department, everybody, the FBI, everybody's under the same interrogation rules and the Army manual is going to be key to that. Do you agree with that decision of the President? Admiral Blair. Senator, the Executive Order which will be released here soon provides that there will be a review of the Army field manual as the basis for interrogation by the military and intelligence services. Interrogations done under the criminal prosecution responsibilities of the FBI are different and will not be affected. Senator Levin. Forget that reference. But in terms of the intelligence community and the DOD, you're going to be governed by the same rules. They will be uniform when it comes to interrogation of detainees. Is that correct? Admiral Blair. Yes sir, and it will not be called the Army field manual any more. It will be called the Manual for Government Interrogations. I think this review is very important and I'm very aware that Senator Bond, for example, made a strong point that I agree with, that the Army field manual should not become the training manual for resistance training for adversaries. So we need to be very careful about how we do this, but we need to get it right. Senator Levin. Do you believe they should be uniform? Admiral Blair. I believe they should be uniform. Senator Levin. Now let me talk to you about the use of aggressive techniques and the harm that that can do to our country. You made a reference in your statement and answers for the record about the necessity to close Guantanamo because it's a rallying cry for terrorists and harmful to our international reputation, so closing it is important for our national security. Do you believe that is also true, when it comes to interrogation methods on detainees, that how we deal with detainees, the methods that we use in interrogation are important methods, and that if we use abusive methods and our reputation internationally suffers that that has a negative impact on our national security? Admiral Blair. Yes, sir. The President said it so eloquently at his inauguration--``we reject the false choice between our safety and our ideals.'' I think we can do both. Senator Levin. My final question is that some people say that the use of aggressive, abusive techniques can save lives. Is it not also true, Admiral, that inhumane or abusive tactics can cost us lives in the following ways. Number one, some prisoners that are subjected to abusive treatment will simply tell us what they think we want to hear, whether true or not, in order to end the use of those abusive techniques against them, so that it can produce false information to use abusive techniques; Secondly, that abusing prisoners can also strengthen their resolve to resist and deceive because they expect us to torture them and we confirm their worst expectations, so with some prisoners, abusing them strengthens their resolve to resist; Thirdly, that mistreatment of prisoners in U.S. custody provides an excuse for other nations to abuse our captured servicemen and women; Fourth, that gaining a reputation as a nation that engages in abusive tactics weakens us strategically in terms of prestige and leadership, which works against our interests and costs us allies in common causes to work together in common causes; And that, finally, abusing detainees can deprive us of the ability to prosecute a terrorist or an alleged terrorist, as shown by Judge Crawford's conclusions in the al-Khatani case. Would you agree that, in other words, the use of abusive techniques can cost us and harm our security in those ways? Admiral Blair. I agree with points four and five based on what I know right now, Senator Levin--that it causes us great damage. One, two, three and six are what we have to look into in this review that's going on. But the dangers that you cited I'm sure have a validity and we need to look at the entire basis of them. Senator Levin. Will you get back to the Committee after you've had that review and answer those questions? Admiral Blair. Yes, sir. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator Levin. Senator Rockefeller is next. He is not here at this time because he's in Finance. Senator Chambliss is next. He is not here. Senator Feingold, Senator Risch. Senator Risch. Senator Risch will pass. Thank you, Madam Chair. Chairman Feinstein. Senator Whitehouse, I know you will not pass. Senator Whitehouse. Never been known to. Thank you, Madam Chair. I join my colleagues in congratulating you on becoming the Chairman of this Committee. In the time that we spent together--and I've been on the Committee now for two years--we've seen your intense devotion and dedication to this, and I think we're all very confident in your leadership, as we were in Senator Rockefeller's. A couple of quick questions, Admiral. First of all, both thank you and congratulations, and to your wife in particular thank you, because I think she's going to find she sees a lot less of you in the coming months and years than she's become accustomed to, though I think given your background she's probably gotten used to that. It's been done before. You talked earlier about conflict of interest. I would like to suggest to you that there may be areas within the intelligence community where the discrepancy in pay between contractors and career folks and the complexity of the underlying task may have created a situation in which the contractors know so much more about the program than the career officers that the tipping point has been reached where it's really now controlled by those contractors and to a significant degree could well be controlled by them for their own financial benefit rather than for real national security purposes. I think if we're going to solve that problem it requires a resurgence of the career infrastructure so that the weight of knowledge, the weight of authority, the weight of expectations remains in public hands and doesn't become part of President Eisenhower's military-industrial complex, with all the weight on the industrial side. Is that something you're willing to look into as you take these responsibilities? Admiral Blair. Absolutely, Senator Whitehouse. The Institute for Defense Analyses that I was President of was a federally funded research and development center, which is sort of part way from government official to the contractor, and I saw those sorts of conflicts that you recognize. The role of contractors, the disparity in pay that fuels that role, and the influence on policy, I will look at that closely within the intelligence community and assure that we have purely governmental functions being done by government employees and those things that are being done by contractors are those things that are appropriate from the point of view of economy and efficiency but not the point of view of policy. While we're on the subject, one of the controversial ones, of course, is interrogators. My strong preference is that interrogators in the intelligence world be a professional cadre of the best interrogators in the business for this function, and that our use of contractors be limited to times where maybe you need a particular dialect of a language that is not spoken or some unusual circumstance. But that's my strong preference. I don't know what the situation is now. Senator Whitehouse. I think you'll find strong support for that preference from this Committee. On the general subject of torture as well, the argument has been made over and over in public that the techniques that we have used have resulted in actionable information that saved American lives. My experience is that the efforts of this Committee to actually get a fact that proves that have been unavailing. We stop at the sort of conclusory level and you try to push behind it and it's been very hard to get. I think it's an important question to know, how also you feel about this issue, whether or not it truly was effective in any respect. Will you support our committee's efforts to drill down and actually find out whether those statements were true? Admiral Blair. I intend to make those efforts myself, and certainly when I understand it I'll be happy to try to convince you on the Committee that we have it right, because I, like you, have heard many anecdotes, I've heard stories, I've gotten phone calls from people who have been in the business. We're going to sort this out and look at it objectively and find out what the right answer is. But, as we talked before, that's not the only answer. There is the immediate tactical benefit. There is this larger question, which is going to be a matter of judgment, and that is what is America's reputation. And in my experience America's reputation is what has others doing the right thing when we're not watching; that's very important. It's been a great benefit to us over the years, that has a great value in and of itself. Senator Whitehouse. In that context, in my last few seconds, secrecy is a rare and special privilege in a democracy. It runs counter to the basic tenets of democracy, but it is necessary in certain circumstances. But I think we grant it to you, the American public grants it to you in trust, with the trust that it will be used only for national security purposes. My experience is that over and over and over again we've seen official secrecy used not for national security purposes but to mislead the public and to frame or more particularly mis-frame an outside political debate. Will you pledge to us that you will take this trust of secrecy that you were given as Director of National Intelligence and use it only to protect national security and not to manipulate public opinion or frame or mis-frame critical debates? Admiral Blair. Absolutely, Senator. I think spin is the basis of political campaigns. It's not something we should use our classification authority for, and the release of information should not be some that is politicized. It should be something to inform. Senator Whitehouse. Thank you, Chairman. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator. Senator Feingold, you're next. Senator Feingold. I thank the Chair and, of course, congratulate her as well. I'm looking forward to working with you, as I did with Chairman Rockefeller, and the new Administration. The Executive Orders on detention and interrogation are extraordinarily good news for both the rule of law and our national security. As President Obama put it so clearly on Tuesday, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. That simple statement, which we have been waiting to hear for eight long years is, in my view, the bedrock on which Congress can develop a new relationship with the executive branch. That relationship is going to include vigorous, independent oversight by this Committee of the intelligence community. But based on everything I've heard so far from the President and from you, Admiral Blair, from Congressman Panetta, I have every expectation that this relationship will be collaborative and grounded in mutual respect between our two coequal branches of government, with all of us working toward a common purpose. I ask the Chair to put a longer statement in the record, if there's no objection. Chairman Feinstein. Without objection. [The prepared statement of Senator Feingold follows:] Statement of Hon. Russ Feingold, a U.S. Senator From Wisconsin ``With the inauguration of President Obama this week, we--the new Administration and the Congress--have a long-overdue opportunity to strengthen an intelligence community that has been distracted and undermined by the lawlessness of the Bush Administration. As President Obama put it so clearly on Tuesday, `we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.' That simple statement, which we have been waiting to hear for eight long years, is, in my view, the bedrock on which Congress can finally develop a new relationship with the executive branch. That relationship is going to include vigorous, independent oversight by this committee of the intelligence community. But, based on everything I have heard so far, from the President, from you, Admiral Blair, and from Congressman Panetta, I have every expectation that this relationship will be collaborative and grounded in mutual respect between our two co-equal branches of government, with all of us working toward a common purpose. ``Our consideration of Admiral Blair's nomination to be Director of National Intelligence is a key first step in establishing this relationship and in defining this common purpose. I hope and expect that Admiral Blair will state clearly that he and other officials of the Obama Administration will keep the full congressional intelligence committees fully and currently informed on all intelligence matters, a statutory requirement violated repeatedly by the Bush Administration. And I anticipate that he will provide assurances that no one--not the DNI and not the President--is above the law. ``I have two overriding concerns related to the position of DNI. First is the critical need to continue and broaden reform efforts by integrating the intelligence community with the rest of the United States government. This includes developing strategies for collecting and analyzing information needed to inform foreign policy decisions and defend the nation, whether collected clandestinely by the intelligence community, or overtly, particularly through State Department reporting. Legislation introduced by Senator Nagel and myself last year would establish an independent commission that would make recommendations as to how to develop these strategies. It passed the Intelligence Committee and I hope that the new Administration, as well as the new Congress, will support this important effort. In addition, I was long frustrated by the Bush Administration's repeated failure to develop interagency counterterrorism strategies, despite requirements in statute and repeated urgings in classified letters. It is my hope that the incoming national security team, including the DNI, will develop new interagency processes for developing these strategies, while working closely with Congress. ``Second, even as the Obama Administration tackles the critical and urgent issues of detention and interrogation, the intelligence community must take a fresh look at the surveillance authorities it currently holds. Many of these authorities are overbroad, lack sufficient checks and balances, and otherwise fail to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. They include PATRIOT Act and FISA authorities, many of which were provided by Congress in response to Bush Administration scare tactics and political intimidation. In classified contexts as well as publicly, I have repeatedly indicated where I believe we can collect the intelligence we need while protecting our constitutional rights. I have identified many of these changes as part of a broader return to the rule of law that I have encouraged the Obama Administration to undertake, and I am looking forward to working with the President's team--at both the intelligence community and the Department of Justice--on these critical matters.'' Senator Feingold. Admiral, in your responses to Committee questions you stated that ``where there is a dispute within the intelligence community in terms of whether proposed or ongoing activities are in compliance with applicable law, I believe the DNI should seek a legal opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.'' Given the individuals nominated to head the OLC, as well as Mr. Holder's testimony, this statement inspires confidence. Will you seek OLC opinions at the outset, given the controversies surrounding many of the Bush Administration intelligence programs, and will you work with me and other members of this Committee in identifying and resolving current and future legal concerns? Admiral Blair. Yes, sir. Senator Feingold. Admiral Blair, I know from our discussion how much you appreciate the need for fundamental reform of our interagency process. As we discussed, one gaping hole in this process is the lack of any strategies to integrate the intelligence community collection with all the overt ways in which our government gets national security information, particularly diplomatic reporting. Until we fill this hole and identify who is best suited across our government to obtain the information we need to inform our policies and protect the nation, I don't think we'll ever be able to use our resources wisely or effectively. That's why this Committee actually passed legislation by Senator Hagel and myself to create an independent commission to recommend ways to fix this longstanding systemic problem and why a broad range of former officials, including former national security advisors from both parties have endorsed this legislation. Admiral, would you support the establishment of an independent commission to recommend how the U.S. government as a whole can more effectively collect and analyze all the information it needs? Admiral Blair. Senator Feingold, as I said in our conversation, I completely agree with the premise of that legislation. I would prefer, if confirmed, to take a look at what the situation is inside before I sign up for one particular solution to that problem, but I pledge to talk with you about a way forward, and with the other members of the Committee, about taking on this very important problem. Because you're right. Often there are outside experts who know as much about a subject as do those who rely on classified information, and our obligation is to get the best intelligence, the best reports to policymakers and the executive branch, and those of you in the Congress, so you can make good policy. Right now I believe that we don't have a system that integrates those two sources very well. Senator Feingold. I look forward to hearing from you on this specific legislation and your general comments in the future. I know Senator Wyden already addressed this and I do want to bring this up. Although I'm a strong supporter of your nomination, I want to talk about this area of East Timor briefly. As you know, I've had longstanding and continuing concerns about human rights abuses and lack of accountability in Indonesia. We no doubt have substantive differences about U.S. policy, but I want to address at this hearing today the allegations and the press and the Washington Post that, initially at least, you worked around our ambassador in Indonesia in order to get to Jakarta for enagement with Indonesian military officers, notwithstanding the Army atrocities in East Timor. Are those allegations accurate? Admiral Blair. No, sir, they're not. Senator Feingold. It says in the press reports that the ambassador was with you at all the meetings, but the press account suggests that you went around him to get to Jakarta, and that notwithstanding his presence in the meetings that he was supportive neither of the trip nor the outreach to the Indonesian military. Is that accurate? Admiral Blair. No, sir, that's not accurate. I had my position on military relations with Indonesia as part of internal discussions--what kind, how much, what to shut off, what to continue with. I made recommendations within our interagency process on that. When it came to dealing with the Indonesians, I was a member of the government, carrying out government policy in what I said to the Indonesians. There were no wink-wink nod- nods from me to Indonesian officers to go ahead and do what you want, I'm for you. That's absolutely flat wrong. I carried out the government policy in my relations with Indonesia. Within the policy debates of the United States I made my recommendations, and I then carried out the policy of the government as it was decided. So those allegations are wrong. Senator Feingold. Thank you for responding to that on the record. We all agree the United States should support human rights, but how we achieve that is a fundamental policy question, should not be dismissed, and I do appreciate your candid response. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. Senator Chambliss, you've returned. You're next in line. Senator Chambliss. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Admiral Blair thanks for your willingness to continue to be a public servant. We appreciate it very much. And thanks to your family. As you know, Admiral, there's nobody in the Senate that's more familiar with the F-22 program and the studies around it. I'm very familiar with the IDA, and I am very familiar with that IDA report, your involvement in it. And in my opinion that should not be an issue, and, Madam Chairman, I think the record should correctly reflect that. Admiral, you stated a little earlier--I think I got this right--that one of the obligations of the DNI is to oversee the hunting down of extremist Muslims who seek to do us harm. I agree with you. That certainly is one of the main functions of our intelligence community. That conflicts somewhat, though, with the issue of Gitmo and the closing of that facility. We've got 245 of the meanest, nastiest killers in the world still at Gitmo. We know that 18 that have been released previously have been either re-captured or killed on the battlefield. We suspect that there's another 43 that have been released down there that have once again engaged in battle trying to kill and harm Americans. Now what we are proposing to do with the closing of Guantanamo Bay is to bring those 245 mean, nasty killers to U.S. soil or seek to transfer them to other countries. We've been trying to transfer them to other countries for seven years, in some cases, less than that in others, and frankly I don't see that happening. So I think we can expect that most of those prisoners down there are going to come into the U.S. system in some form. I can guarantee you that a certain percentage of those will ultimately be released on some sort of technicality that may be present in the judicial system. So what we're going to have is all of a sudden, in all likelihood, the release of some of those individuals into our society. We know they are mean, nasty killers, and if it's our job to hunt down those extremists who seek to do us harm, isn't that a conflict with the position which you have and the administration has relative to Guantanamo Bay? Admiral Blair. Senator Chambliss, in the last seven years or so I think we've wrestled with this exact question of whether we're talking about prosecuting crimes, whether we're talking about fighting a war. And, as you eloquently put it, I don't think we have found the correct way to treat this new type of campaign that we are engaged in. On the one hand, we have to fight it like a war and detain people and get information from them and protect our citizens. On the other hand, we have to maintain our stature as a country that's governed by its values and governed by ideals. We've gone back and forth in many different ways. These Executive Orders are going to give this Administration a chance to take a look at those tough issues and come up with creative solutions for them. The decision to close Guantanamo comes right along with a very hard look at what do we do with those 245 people that are there. As you said, there aren't pretty choices for what we have to do with them. The choice of what we do in the future is the subject of another review for apprehension, detention and interrogation, the ideals. So we will take advantage of all the experience we've gained in the last several years. We'll be true to our ideals and to our safety, and will come up with a proposal of how to square these issues. But I'd be kidding you if I told you there was a magic solution there that nobody's found yet. We just have to figure out the best way we can and that's what these reviews are about. Senator Chambliss. Well, appreciate your honesty in that respect, because I think it's going to be extremely difficult to reconcile the two, of trying to treat these folks as normal prisoners when they're anything but normal prisoners. The other issue I want to mention to you is the issue that you and I talked about in my office relative to information sharing. Admiral McConnell made some very positive changes in that respect, and I think there's been a lot of headway made since September 11 on breaking down the stovepipes within the FBI, within the CIA, and our other intelligence agencies, and I appreciate your commitment to continue down that road of trying to make sure that we broaden the information sharing between our intelligence communities, and thank you for your commitment to doing that. We look forward to working with you in that respect. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you. We just learned the President has just signed the executive orders, so those are now taking place. Senator Rockefeller has returned. Senator. Senator Rockefeller. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Admiral Blair, my sort of formal question is what are you going to do about the gang of eight. I think it's probably more or less impossible for you to answer that question at this point. Oversight committees like to get answers from people who are just on their first day and under their first minute of an Executive Order, all clear and clean. But in that oversight is the sort of sacred bond between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, executive branch of government. It's an important question. When is it that you have to in fact adhere, if that is the case at all, to a more select group of people simply because information is so explosive or so imminent or so timely that you adhere to a gang of eight, so to speak, gang of four, gang of 16, whatever it might be, or is it that you just make up your mind that this is a trustworthy group of people? We haven't had any leaks out of this Committee for a very, very long time. I think I know where most of them come from, but they don't come from the Congress or from the intelligence committees. What do you do about that? Admiral Blair. Senator Rockefeller, that's a very important question. I have some experience in my executive branch service of the whole business of classification and need to know and so on. I think the first thing to recognize is that I believe we are in a new era in the relationship between the two branches of government represented here, and that by all of the statements I have heard from the leadership and others and by what I know of, if confirmed, my colleagues on the national security team, we look on it as a team sport in which we're trying to win the same game. So I think that makes a difference right at the start of it. The second thing I've learned over time is people are more important than rules, that the development of trust, the development of informal communication mechanisms, such as the Chairman mentioned, so that we're not caught in some desperate last-minute phone calls to try to repair damage that wasn't thought of because we hadn't been meeting more frequently and earlier is much the exception and not the rule. The attitude that we don't use classification and sharing as a way to hide things, the recognition that there are legitimate reasons to hold things to small groups, but, on the other hand, the recognition that certainly when I was a senior commander and, as you said, I never pulled any triggers at that level. I didn't do my own staff work, we need to have processes which don't just check a block on telling somebody but actually get the information across to the right people in a way that protects secrecy. So all these things are at play in a tough new era of shifting threats and speed and new kinds of things that could be damaging to us. And all I can pledge to you, Senator, is let's turn this new page, let's work together, let's follow the law but let's go beyond the law and have those kinds of things that will develop that trust and support, and I think we can do the right thing for the country. Senator Rockefeller. Thank you for that. My time is about to run out, so I won't get into my cyber security question, but I'd like to. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much. A roll call vote began at 11:35. Senator Snowe is the next one up. You would like a second round? Well, then I think some of us should go and vote right now and then come back. Preside, if you will, and I'll recognize Senator Snowe. Senator Wyden. Madam Chair, would it be acceptable to go vote and still come back? Chairman Feinstein. Yes. Senator Snowe. Thank you, Madam Chair. Welcome, Admiral Blair. I appreciate your willingness to serve our country once again. You certainly have an impressive resume, and it certainly will serve this department is it undergoes a major transition since its inception. Certainly that's been one of the goals of this committee, is to ensure that the department is coordinated, integrated, and is functioning for the purposes it was originally designed and intended. One of the issues--and I know we discussed this during the course of our meeting--was on the issue of FBI transformation and transforming the FBI to a more counterterrorism posture. It's far from being institutionalized at this point. Over the years, since the department was created, for example, the 9/11 commissioners were before this Committee back in 2005 and indicated at the time that intelligence reform--and gave the FBI a C based on their recommendations. And then, of course, Governor Kean, who was a cochair of the commission, came before the Committee in 2006 and again stated that the FBI had moved too slowly to improve its ability to prevent future terrorist plots, was plagued by turnovers in its senior ranks, was not even close to where they said they would be. Then the Inspector General for the Department of Justice in 2007 found that the professional divide between analysts and special agents remained a problem, and that barriers to acceptance and cooperation between the two groups must be addressed if the FBI is to efficiently and effectively meet its mission of preventing terrorist acts. So the bottom line is that we truly still experience some very difficult transitions within the FBI to transform to get more analysts, to provide the proper training, the number of analysts. Our Committee just in the recent intelligence authorization, which is still languishing regrettably in a House-Senate conference, said that the FBI has yet to make the dramatic leaps necessary to address the threats facing our nation and that, astonishingly, only a third of special agents and intelligence analysts even have access to the Internet at their desktops. I think that gives you an idea of the problem that still exists and persists within the FBI concerning the central point in terms of intelligence reform. I know you indicated that you pledge to work with the Attorney General, the Director of the FBI, and that the threat is too urgent for us not to intervene. Could you please outline for us, to the Committee how you intend to compel the FBI to undertake these reforms? Admiral Blair. Senator Snowe, this is a new area for me and, more importantly, I think it's a new area for all of us, in that after 9/11 this new responsibility or newly emphasized responsibility for the FBI came on. That series of reports you cited, clearly it's a work in progress that needs to be worked on. If confirmed, I will get into that area. I know that funding from the National Intelligence Program goes to the FBI for that purpose. That needs to be funded in the right way and spent in the right way. That's certainly my responsibility. I have known Director Mueller from the time that I was on active duty, and I look forward to working with him and the new Attorney General. At this point, Senator, I can simply agree with you on the importance of the transformation and pledge that I will look at it as a priority issue and, if confirmed, I will work hard to make sure it's working. And I will come back with you and talk about what needs to be done to make it everything it should be. Senator Snowe. I appreciate that. And one of the recommendations made in talking with the cochairs of the 9/11 commission before this Committee was to establish some metrics and standards by which we can measure our performance but also in compliance with these recommendations, because it's certainly long overdue, and the resistance or whatever the case may be, I think that that culture has to truly change, because that is the central part of intelligence reform and making sure that we're on the cutting-edge of being able to fight any terrorist threats. I know we discussed this as well, an Inspector General for the entire intelligence community. That's been one of my goals and objectives, to pass an Inspector General for the entire community. I know, in reading the responses that you gave to the Committee with respect to that, that you indicated that a statutory Inspector General may add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy on top of a system that is functioning adequately. But you have sort of a stovepipe approach for Inspector Generals. I don't think it's going to add a layer. The fact is, you want an Inspector General to be able to view the entire community and go across agencies for accountability, to identify problems, because that certainly has been a problem in the past, a failure to identify serious terrorist threats. We've seen too many instances of intelligence failure to adequately analyze information, failure to share information within the community. So those failures demand better accountability for the entire intelligence community. That's what would be important about an Inspector General, to be able to look across all the intelligence agencies. Admiral Blair. Senator Snowe, I certainly agree with the thrust of your question, which is that there are many issues that cut across agencies and the Inspector General system is a good system to attempt to improve many of them. I will look hard at that. I know you are personally interested in that issue, and I look forward to working with you on it, if confirmed. Senator Snowe. Thank you, Admiral. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Vice Chairman Bond [presiding]. Thank you, Senator Snowe. If you will tell them that we are coming. Senator Nelson, have you had a round of questions? Senator Nelson. No, I'm waiting. Vice Chairman Bond. Well, you and I will go for it. Senator Nelson. I think we have about seven minutes left. Vice Chairman Bond. If Senator Snowe will tell them we're coming. Senator Nelson. Six or seven minutes. Admiral Blair, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your public service to our country; the same to your wife, who often does not get the recognition of the long and distinguished public service. I'm happy for you personally that this could be a capstone on a very lengthy and distinguished career. I'm going to submit some questions for the record, but the one thing that I want to say is that you are going to really have to exert control and crack the whip, and you're going to have to come to us with proposed legislation to strengthen your hand as the Director of National Intelligence, because when the legislation that created your office was set up, it was too watered down in allowing separation and stovepipes with some of the other intelligence agencies. The whole idea after 9/11 was to get this all where we could all coordinate it under an office that you're going to assume. In the meantime, what we've had is great cooperation from Secretary Gates, from the head of the CIA and the head of NSA and the other agencies--that's informally. Formally, we've got to create those lines of authority for you to be able to do it. So I can tell you I speak for our Committee that we want you to come forth suggesting legislation that would strengthen your hand, improve the efficiency, cooperation, and collaboration of all of the intelligence agencies. That way we're going to get a better intelligence product. Admiral Blair. Yes, sir. I can't imagine an incoming director could have a more reassuring set of words than those, Senator Nelson. I'll look at it and if I need it, I'll come back to you, sir. Senator Nelson. Thank you. Senator Wyden. Senator Bond, I think you're next. Vice Chairman Bond. Thank you for advising me. I'm going to run in a few minutes, Senator Wyden, and I will turn it over to you, whatever gavel I have left. Admiral, you visited Singapore a few years ago, discussing the arrest by Singapore authorities of individuals believed to be linked to terrorist groups and you stated, and I quote: ``Singapore's actions and actions within the United States, we aggressively arrested terrorists and interrogated them ourselves and made a difference and I think we're all safer; our countries are going on the offensive now, not just waiting back behind a big wall or more standoff distances.'' Do you still believe we need to be on the offensive, aggressively arresting and interrogating terror suspects? Admiral Blair. Absolutely, Senator. Vice Chairman Bond. Do you believe the CIA's interrogation and detention program has been effective? Admiral Blair. Mr. Vice Chairman, I'll have to look into that more closely before I can give you a good answer on that one. Vice Chairman Bond. The Executive Order has been issued about the Army field manual. You have stated that at least there may be an argument that if you have an Army field manual that is widely published and available to al-Qa'ida and other top terrorist leaders, it would not be effective. Is that your view or where do you stand on that? Admiral Blair. Mr. Vice Chairman, we talked about that in your office. I very much share your concern that we not turn our manual into a training manual for our adversaries. And I will play my part in that as the Vice Chair of that review, with that issue very much in mind. Vice Chairman Bond. President Obama has issued an Executive Order applying the field manual. But, as I understand the situation, he has an Executive Order--the authority to issue an Executive Order describing techniques, classified techniques, that could be used by the Agency that would be different from that used by the Army. Is that your understanding? Admiral Blair. My understanding is we want to revise the Army field manual and make it the manual that goes for both military and intelligence interrogation and to have the guidance so that it's uniform across those agencies, depending, of course. There are many different things in the manual. Vice Chairman Bond. If the agency is the only one using it, if you disseminated that manual to some 20,000 military personnel who would not be conducting, necessarily conducting, those interrogations and for whom the Army questioners do not need it, why would you describe methods that should not become public to a broad group of people for whom the Army field manual is appropriate? Admiral Blair. Senator, we face this dilemma all the time in military doctrine. We have large amounts of unclassified doctrine for our troops to use, but we don't put anything in there that our enemies can use against us. And we'll figure it out for this manual, which will be the manual for everyone to use. Vice Chairman Bond. Will it be available to members of the Army--would it be limited, would access to that information be limited to those in the agency who are directly involved or might be directly involved in interrogations? Admiral Blair. It will be limited to those who need it, both within the armed forces and within the intelligence service. Vice Chairman Bond. We've discussed the FISA Act amendments. Do you believe that private partners who assisted the government should have the civil liability protection that they have been accorded as a result of our Act and the determination by the Attorney General? Admiral Blair. Senator, I'm going back in my mind to your previous question. I hope I don't meet you in a court of law some day, because I think I'd lose. When I said this manual would be available to those need it, there will be some sort of document that's widely available in an unclassified form, but the specific techniques that can provide training value to adversaries, we will handle much more carefully. I was just thinking about that answer. Vice Chairman Bond. That essentially is what the current Administration has done. Admiral Blair. We have to look at this, Senator. Vice Chairman Bond. I don't ask you to comment on that. The PATRIOT Act has three provisions that are expiring--roving wiretaps, the authority to target lone wolf agents, and the 215 business records. Have you had a chance to review that and take a position on renewing the PATRIOT Act, those three provisions? Admiral Blair. Mr. Vice Chairman, I understand that those provisions that you have described came into force fairly recently. I'm sure everybody on this Committee is more familiar with them than I am. I know that there are reports that I will be responsible, if confirmed, for submitting. We will be gathering data as we go. There have been some Inspector General reports. I'd like a chance to digest all of that before I give you a definitive answer on it, sir. Vice Chairman Bond. I spoke about DNI authorities. What would you describe is the appropriate role of the DNI? How would you like to see the DNI function? Admiral Blair. I think that the concepts of leading and managing are the core concepts there, and this has to be, as I said in an earlier answer, more than just signing a piece of paper and putting out a glossy brochure. It has to be working on the incentives down through the organization so that those who do their job are rewarded and those who don't do their job are moved out, as you described. So it's a complex management challenge. Vice Chairman Bond. You just answered my second question on accountability. You also, I think, in a previous answer indicated you had some sense of the incomplete authorities of the DNI. We will discuss those later, but I think you will find that they are very important. A final question. How important do you think it is to prosecute leakers of classified information? Admiral Blair. You know, Senator, I've been bothered throughout my career, as you have, by leakers. If I could ever catch one of those, it would be very good to prosecute them. So I believe that we need to make sure that people who leak are held to account for it. Vice Chairman Bond. Thank you very much, Admiral. I'm going to turn this over to the distinguished Senator from Oregon and try to make the floor vote. I will ask unanimous consent and hereby grant it to put my additional questions in the record. I thank you for your testimony. Senator Wyden [presiding]. I thank the Vice Chairman. Before the Vice Chair leaves, one of the many reasons I'm going to miss you is I've enjoyed working with you, and the two of us have been leaders of the bipartisan effort to increase the penalties against those who leak in the kinds of situations that the Vice Chairman has mentioned. Let me start, Admiral, with this question. For years the warrantless wiretapping program and the coercive interrogation program was withheld from most members of this Committee. Was that justifiable, in your view? Admiral Blair. Senator, it is difficult to cast ourselves back to those days right after 9/11 and the feeling that was in the land at that time. As I said in my statement, I think that the actions that are taken by the intelligence community in gathering intelligence on Americans need to have a lawful basis, need to have procedures that are tight, and need to be reviewed. I can tell you that going forward they will meet all those criteria. Senator Wyden. With respect to my question, most of the members of this Committee had that information concealed from us for years. I'm not talking about a short period of time. Was it justifiable to conceal from most members of this Committee that information for years? Admiral Blair. Senator, going forward, I will not conceal information that you ought to have from you for years. Senator Wyden. Why are you not willing to respond in a yes or no fashion to this question, because past is always prologue. I share your view with respect to something that might have been short-term. Admiral Blair. My only reason for hesitation is I don't have direct knowledge of it, and I'm just hesitant to give you a categorical answer without having known more about it. Senator Wyden. This member of the Committee is saying that for myself and most members of the Committee it was concealed. Admiral Blair. The situation as you describe it, Senator, is wrong. Senator Wyden. Thank you. I appreciate your reaching that judgment. Admiral, two other areas. If the Government Accountability Office is conducting a study at the direction of one of the intelligence committees using properly cleared staff, will you give them access to do their work? Admiral Blair. I'm sorry, would you repeat the question, Senator? Senator Wyden. If the GAO is conducting a study at the direction of one of the intelligence committees, using properly cleared staff, will you give them the access they need to do their work? Admiral Blair. Senator, I'm aware that the direction of GAO studies and terms of them are generally subject to talk between the two branches of government for a variety of reasons, and, subject to having those discussions, I ultimately believe the GAO has a job to do, and I will help them do that job. Senator Wyden. I would appreciate it, and I would also appreciate you following that up with Chairwoman Eshoo. This is something she's brought to my attention, and I think her point is very valid. Admiral Blair. It sounds like there's a story behind this, Senator, and if we can talk about that story I think we can fix it. Senator Wyden. Fair enough. The third area I wanted to talk about that we talked about in the office is the overclassification of government documents. This has been done by executive branches that were dominated by Presidents of both political parties. Governor Kean put it pretty well when he talked about his work on the commission, where he said well over half of the documents he saw that were classified didn't need to be classified. I expect that you and I will be doing a lot of work together with respect to situations, but what is your general view with respect to whether overclassification is a serious problem, and what would be your thoughts, just for purposes of this very short discussion, in terms of dealing with it? Admiral Blair. As we discussed in your office, my experience has been the same as that which you relate, that there is a great deal of overclassification. Some of it I think is done for the wrong reasons, to try to hide things from the light of day. Some of it is because in our system there is no incentive not to do that, and there are plenty of penalties to do the reverse, in case you get something wrong and don't classify it. So I think we need to do fundamental work on the system. But I think, in the case of intelligence in particular, we need to sort of demystify a lot of the work that's done in the intelligence business, which is very smart people looking at a lot of information and trying to reach judgments. Many times our adversaries know more about it than our citizens do, which is not the way it ought to be. So I basically agree with the general thrust of your remarks, Senator Wyden. I'll be working to see if we can come up with a different approach that incentivizes it at the right level and informs not only those of you with security clearances on this Committee but the wider interests of the public whose support we need. Senator Wyden. Admiral, my time is up. I just want to state this morning I intend to support your nomination. I think you've been candid this morning and I appreciate it and look forward to working with you. Admiral Blair. I look forward to working with you, if confirmed, sir. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator Wyden. Admiral, my intention is to go for another half-hour. If all the Senators have their questions answered by then, we will adjourn the hearing. I'm sure that won't be a painful decision for you. But I'd like to ask a couple more questions. I know Senator Whitehouse has a couple more and there may be other returning Members, so we'll see how it goes, if that's all right. I wanted to ask you some questions, as others have indicated, on holding people accountable for decisions made. I want to know how you would hold people accountable and handle disciplinary measures for officials in the community that were involved at the top levels for interrogation and detention. I'd like to ask you if you have also reviewed the recent report of the CIA IG involving the Peru shootdown. The unclassified statement that I could make is that the shootdown confirmed what our Committee found, that the program was not managed as the President authorized, and the IG report found that CIA officials withheld information from Congress and Executive branch officials. Admiral Blair. Madam Chairman, the issue of accountability I believe goes hand-in-hand with responsibility, and you need to assign things clearly and then give medals and promotions and rewards to people who carry them out legally and do their jobs well, and then you need to hold to account those who fail to follow the directions or who do it badly. There's a difference between those two. So I think you have to look at what the mission was at the time, what the direction and parameters were at the time, and you make a call as to whether the person deserves the reward or deserves the punishment or should be moved out of the job. So I'm pretty traditional on these things. I intend to establish procedures and move forward. But there are some things in the past that have to be looked at. Inspector General reports like the one you mentioned, which I have not had a chance to read yet, need to be looked at, and both reward and punishment meted out accordingly. So I think this is absolutely key to making an effective organization, giving people at lower levels confidence that they will move up if they do well, that they'd better watch out if they don't do well. So I agree with that concept. Chairman Feinstein. I'll discuss this with you further in another setting, if I may. When we met last week we discussed the community's enormous overuse of contractors and the use of contractors for what are inherently, I believe, governmental functions. The 2007 DNI contractor study found that contractors are now 27% of all intelligence community personnel. They perform missions, including interrogation of CIA detainees, which I think is completely inappropriate and should be done by government employees, and contractor personnel cost $80,000 more than a government employee. When we spoke you said this was a matter of concern and that you intend to look into the contractor issue. I'd like you to tell us how you intend to proceed and when you will have some answers, because candidly I find this unacceptable. I find hiring contractors to interrogate detainees and hiring contractor psychologists to evaluate is just the wrong thing for the government to do. Admiral Blair. You showed me some summary charts from that report from 2007, Madam Chairman, and I agree with you that it's a serious problem. I think we have to look behind the numbers at the motives--a big ramping up in responsibilities, money available but not trained people available. I know that in many branches of government the answer was hire a contractor, in many cases a retired officer from that organization who basically had some experience. But you can't do that for a long time. You have to get it right. You have to keep the governmental functions by people who get their paycheck every two weeks and work for the government. I will get into that issue. I agree completely that we should have a cadre of trained government interrogators as we move forward, and I will look at that as soon as I get in and work in that direction. I'm not sure about the speed. I'm not sure what the situation is right now, but I look forward, if confirmed, to consulting with you on that. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you. Senator Whitehouse, I think you're next and then--Senator Rockefeller, do you want to go next? Senator Rockefeller. Thank you, Madam Chair. I just have one question, Admiral, and that is what I left off with about cyber security. What was it, a year ago, Sheldon, that Mike McConnell took us out to an undisclosed location in Virginia, and really the whole point of it was all about cyber security. He views it as the premier national security problem. There was a sense of urgency in that meeting. The problem with things like that is you get the urgency and people collect and then people disperse, and then you have all the various jurisdictions. So we have a cyber initiative. Senator Whitehouse has an enormous interest and capacity, a hunger to be helpful in this area. So we have the initiative which focuses on securing the federal government, the Executive branch and Legislative branch information networks. And that's a good start. That's a good start. But my main worry is the security of our country's critical infrastructure--our electric power grid. People like to call it smart. It just needs to get big. You can hope that it's smart but if it gets big that's going to solve 80 percent of the problems--our communication system, our banks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I don't think there's probably anybody in this Congress that hasn't been hacked into by this. Therefore, because it's wrapped up in this thing called the Internet, free travel across the spaces and the atmosphere, there's an innocence to it, except that it's utterly un- innocent when somebody intends it to be that way. So what I would just like to get from you is what we need to do about that, what do we need to extend in terms of the cyber initiative, and how you personally see it. Admiral Blair. I have some familiarity with the issues of cyber security, Senator Rockefeller, but there's a lot that I'm dated on or that I don't know. But I certainly share your feeling of the priority of securing our networks. As you point out in your question, we have to protect our networks within the government, but from society's point of view it's these networks, on which increasingly the basic functions of society and country depend, that we have to be extremely concerned about. I think the intelligence community, within the team of government and private organizations that have to work on it, has the responsibility for working on the threat. It should be the intelligence community, the National Security Agency has it squarely in their charter, that understands the sort of techniques and the thinking of those who are trying to, both maliciously and with true threat intent, get into our systems and cause them harm. There's a lot of expertise there in the National Security Agency and elsewhere about how we protect systems, and we need to share that judiciously with the private sector so that we have the best techniques to work with them. And then, in the area of recovery which goes along with all of this, I think the government and the intelligence agencies within it has an extremely important role in attribution so that you know how to recover and how to recover well. So I think throughout this campaign there's not one answer for it either; it's a crew race. One side pulls on the stroke and the offense pulls ahead and then the defense pulls ahead. We've got to keep stroking faster, better, with more teamwork, and that's going to be something that certainly I think the entire time that I, if confirmed, am in this job will be a very high priority. Senator Rockefeller. I think the point you make about trying to keep up with the other side, usually in terms of China and others, I think it puts us at a disadvantage in this country. In other words, if you're trying to catch up with and develop a stronger firewall which another country or who knows where it comes from then breaks that down, then you have to come back and come up with an even higher firewall of some sort. It's a game which is deadly and which has a very hard time attracting public interest. When it will attract public interest is if they close down the electric grid system, but in the meantime we don't want that to happen so it's going to have to be done by the government, working with the private sector, and with an intensity which belies sort of the placid view of the Internet's a good thing and people can talk all across the world. Let me just end by saying I really enjoyed the process of working with you and I look forward very much to your stewardship of this. We had a discussion once that you spent your life sort of giving commands and in the military four-star it's chain of command, and you were in our conversation very, very sincere in understanding the dimensions of this problem and the need to share with the Legislative branch, although that sometimes can be very painful--hours in hearings, and you say why did I ever get myself into this. But it is a team effort. We are Team America and we are under attack, and we have to go at it with that kind of cooperative point of view. And I think you're precisely the guy to do it, and I think also that you will be very strong in your views and help move the IC community effectively. Thank you, Madam Chair. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you, Senator Rockefeller. Senator Whitehouse. Senator Whitehouse. Thank you, Chairman. Admiral, just a moment ago, in response to a question from Senator Bond, you indicated that there will be a public document on interrogations, but specifics of interrogation techniques may be held back. That's more or less the design of the Army field manual approach now--19 techniques, but the precise manner of their implementation is not disclosed. Is that what you intended to mean by your response? Admiral Blair. Thank you for giving me a chance to talk about that again, Senator Whitehouse. I don't know. Senator Whitehouse. You weren't talking about using techniques outside the Army field manual. Admiral Blair. What I was thinking--the general pattern that I had in mind is that information widely available is more general than that which is specifically used, which is of value to potential adversaries. That is, we use this in many other techniques in which we have to assure the American people that we are acting correctly, but nonetheless we don't want to provide open intelligence support to those who are trying to come after us. So striking that balance, the one way I'm familiar with, is the more general public documents and then, as the level of specificity increases, more limited in the distribution, more careful in the classification. So I'm certainly going in thinking in those terms but I don't know if that's the right answer. Senator Whitehouse. But not outside of the bounds of the unclassified array you begin with. Admiral Blair. No, sir. The idea is not: here's this public document--just kidding, here's the real stuff. That's not what I'm saying. Senator Whitehouse. That's what I needed to hear. Thank you. We have, during my brief tenure on this Committee, over and over again seen alarming, appalling leaks of classified information and over and over over again, every single time, as best I can tell, those are leaks outside of the legislative branch, out of the intelligence community, not from Congress, not from this Committee, and it happens over and over and over again. Apparently the record of getting these turned over for investigation and prosecution has been zero. I'm not sure. It's probably classified what the number was that we were given yesterday as to how many had been turned over. It was a large number, out of which zero cases resulted. Which suggests to me that there is a significant lack of energy and interest within the intelligence community in truly policing this stuff and that the device for kind of getting rid of it or fobbing it off is to say well, we'll send it over to the Department of Justice and if they can't prosecute it as a criminal offense, well, we're not going to take any further interest, when you have all sorts of personnel, administrative, supervisory and other authorities to deal with this as well. Now you can send as good a message by firing somebody as you can by marching them out in handcuffs in many situations. So I hope we can work with you on this later, but I hope that you will consider this business of leakage to be a significant and serious one and that you will be willing to use your administrative authorities and demand that those agencies reporting to you use their administrative authorities and not just pass the buck to DOJ and when they find out that it's for some reason not a criminal offense that they care to prosecute, and kind of feel they can kind of wash their hands of the problem. It's a serious problem and very serious national security information has been released because of it. Admiral Blair. I completely agree, Senator Whitehouse. If confirmed, I'd like to come and talk to you about some ideas where we can build in some technical and some procedural safeguards into agencies so that it's not a case of going back afterwards and trying to get records and question people but we have some tools that will let everybody who works for the government know that if you are going to pass classified information to a reporter or to someone there will be a trace of it which will make it relatively quick to identify you as the one who did it, so you shouldn't ought to think about it. So I would look forward to talking with you. Now, as I say that, we of course have been discussing aggressive techniques which have stepped over the line in the past, but I think we can work out something that will get people away from it. I've been bedeviled for years by reading things in the paper that I thought were very private and classified accounts of meetings that I participated in, and it just helps our enemies and messes up good government and we'd better find a way to get on top of it. Senator Whitehouse. I appreciate that. Madam Chair, may I ask one more question? Senator Levin has given me permission to do that. Chairman Feinstein. Yes, certainly. Senator Whitehouse. The focus of this hearing has to a degree been on the mistakes and the mishaps and misdirection of the past. It has left, I think, potentially, a flavor that these are troubled agencies. I just want to say I was in Afghanistan recently up at a forward operating base in a former Soviet prison with no windows in the shadow of the border--no lights at night because it would attract rocket and mortar fire, pretty severe conditions of privation. And folks who will be working for you were operating there at a level of morale and enthusiasm and professionalism and tempo and expertise that just took my breath away. It is really, really impressive what is going on out there. I think there were probably some very goodhearted and professional people swept up in some of these mistakes, and particularly those who were involved and the interrogation procedures, detentions and so forth. It strikes me that one thing they are entitled to from their country, as they did what they believed was approved and legitimate and what they were told to do and what they thought would help the country, is to have accurate legal advice now about what their real predicament is. I hope that you will consider working with your colleagues at the Department of Justice to try to get them a fair and proper legal status report of what their situation is so they can understand what potential vulnerabilities they may have taken on, particularly at the individual agent level, in perfectly good faith without having any legal degree or anything that might suggest to them that somehow something had gone wrong up at the White House, in the Office of Legal Counsel and all these places to pollute the information that they were given. Now they may be stuck with it. They may be people who should be careful about where they travel and so forth. So I would urge you to consider that. I think it's important. I think it's part of what we can do for them to try to make this right and, as I said, there are some extraordinarily wonderful people who will be working for you. Thank you, Chairman. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator. Senator Levin. Senator Levin. Thank you very much. Chairman Feinstein. Oh, if I could ask staff, there are certain members that have not had an opportunity to speak. You know who they are. If you could tell them that now would be the time, because the intention is to adjourn when we finish this round. Thank you. Senator Levin. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Admiral, the National Counterterrorism Center, the NCTC, was created by the Intelligence Reform Act of '04. It was given two broad missions and I think you've already identified basically those missions. After four years of existence, does the NCTC function at the level that Congress and the President intended? You just participated in a review of their activities and the intelligence community in general. So on a scale of, say, one to ten, how would you rate NCTC in terms of access to intelligence, the quality of its analysis, and its ability to control what gets collected? Admiral Blair. I'll need some more time to give you an exact answer, Senator Levin, but I happen to know retired Admiral Scott Redd, who was the director there for a while. He's a friend and I had a chance to talk to him about it. I've talked with people who have worked with NCTC, and my impression is that that place is good and getting better all the time but I don't think it's perfect. I think we're on a good slope there and we need more, faster, better. Senator Levin. Going back to the question that a number of us have asked about, which is the treatment of detainees, there is a new Executive Order which has now been signed. In your judgment, is waterboarding torture? Admiral Blair. I think in answering that question, Senator Levin, I would say that there will be no waterboarding on my watch. There will be no torture my watch. Senator Levin. Let me ask the question again. From what you know of waterboarding, is it torture? Admiral Blair. In answering that question, Senator, I'm very much aware that there were dedicated officers in the intelligence service who thought they were carrying out activities which had been authorized at the highest levels and properly authorized. They had doubts about them originally, so they asked and asked again. Then they were given direction and then they took action. I don't intend to reopen those cases of those officers who acted within their duties. So I'm hesitating to set a standard here which will put in jeopardy some of the dedicated intelligence officers who checked to see that what they were doing was legal and then did what they were told to do. Senator Levin. The problem with that answer is that the Attorney General nominee has given us his judgment, and your reluctance to give your own judgment on that question, it seems to me, is troubling to me, because I don't think there's the slightest doubt about it, regardless of what the former Vice President said. So I'm looking for your judgment on that question from what you know of waterboarding. In your judgment, is it torture? If the Attorney General designee can answer that, it seems to me you ought to be able to give us an answer as well. Admiral Blair. Senator, you'll just have to make the inference from my answer that on my watch we will not waterboard. Senator Levin. We had a senior intelligence officer in front of us, Colonel Steve Kleinman, in front of the Armed Services Committee--I believe it may have been a hearing of this Committee--and this is what he said, and this has to do with the use of abusive tactics. He says, ``I was privileged to join 14 of America's most accomplished intelligence and law enforcement professionals in an intensive discussion of best practices in interrogation. Representing the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we collectively represented 350 years of operational experience in conducting thousands of interrogations and debriefings. Our respective professional experiences led us to a single emphatic conclusion. The most effective method for consistently eliciting accurate and comprehensive information from even the most defiant individuals, to include terrorists and insurgents, was through a patient, systematic, and culturally enlightened effort to build an operationally useful relationship.'' Do you agree with that? Admiral Blair. Based on everything I know, I agree with that, yes, sir. Senator Levin. Thank you. My time is up. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Levin. Senator Hatch, you are up. Senator Hatch. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I just want to congratulate you on your ascension to the chairmanship of this really, really important committee. We've worked together on a lot of things. I have a lot of respect for you and I appreciate the way you've started this Committee and started your tenure here. It personally means a lot to me. Admiral Blair, I want to welcome you. You've given long and distinguished service to this country and I have nothing but respect for you. We've had rather extensive conversation in my office and I personally appreciated the forthrightness with which you approach this job and really approach everything. You're the kind of guy that I think makes a difference in this world and who can certainly make a difference in this job. It's one of the most important jobs in this country today. I also want to pay tribute to Mike McConnell. When he came in, it was overwhelming, and you'll find it to be so as well. But a lot of the overwhelming part he's helped to put together and resolved. He's helped to resolve these approaches, but there are still plenty of problems and you'll find that that's so when you get there. I suspect you're likely to spend an awful lot of time before this Committee, and I certainly expect you to be confirmed. I wish you success in the role as the nation's third Director of National Intelligence. If I could just ask a couple of questions, Admiral Blair, I believe the July 2004 report by this Committee cataloging and analyzing the Iraq WMD intelligence failure prior to 2002 was the most comprehensive report done on this subject. It might be the most important report ever done in the history of this Committee. Have you had a chance to read it? Admiral Blair. I've read the summary of it, Senator Hatch, and I agree it's an extremely thorough document. Senator Hatch. What do you believe explains the failure of the Intelligence Community in assessing the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002? Admiral Blair. I've had a chance to talk to some of the officers who were involved in that in fairly senior positions, and, as I would describe it, I think there were a bunch of tumblers on that lock that all fell into place to produce that very wrong result. Some of them had to do with the lack of sources and sheer lack of penetration. Others had to do with attitudes of analysis which were flawed. Part of it had to do also with the extraordinary political pressure that was placed on some of the analysts. So I think there were a bunch of things that contributed to it, Senator Hatch. But what I think is really important is that when that happened, it was so clear it was wrong, the intelligence community actually took a standdown, stopped, stopped work, every analyst, half a day on how did this happen, and then went through a process of really critical self-examination and put in place a series of corrective measures to make sure it wouldn't happen again. Senator Hatch. Well, they weren't alone when they did this, because almost every major intelligence department of all the major countries felt exactly the same way. Admiral Blair. It doesn't excuse it. Senator Hatch. By the way, just to correct you, the report expressly said that there was no political pressure involved, so you might want to read it from that standpoint as well. Admiral Blair. I'm sort of thinking small ``p'' political-- the intense overwatch, the high stakes. Senator Hatch. Even there, they denied that there was any of that--at least that's my recollection of it, and I think I'm accurate on that. I also want to praise General Hayden. He's been a tremendous asset to the country. He's straightforward and of course he's been very forthright with this Committee as he served as DCIA. He's a very, very fine man. What do you believe the IC has done to address the flaws in the analytic tradecraft that contributed to the Iraq WMD intelligence failure? Admiral Blair. Some of the things I'm familiar with, Senator--and in the little bit of looking at it that I've done, which is not as extensive as yours--the re-examination of the process of reaching an intelligence judgment, checklist of checking assumptions and bringing in contrary views. And these sorts of ways of putting together an assessment I think have been now institutionalized within the intelligence community. So I think the primary point there is to make it clear to policymakers how well you know what you're saying, because you have to come down and make a call. That's the intelligence business. But there are some calls that are 90/10 calls because you have really good intelligence and some calls which are 51/49 calls because you didn't have that good evidence so you just have to use your judgment. I think the main thing is the people in the intelligence business have to make it clear to those who have to make the policies that this one we are very sure of and this one is based on making our best judgment based on relatively limited information so that the policymaker can avoid the wrong and make the right policies. I think that has been drilled into the intelligence community and, if confirmed, will certainly continue. Senator Hatch. Madam Chairman, my time is up, but could I ask one more question? Chairman Feinstein. Certainly. Senator Hatch. I'm the longest-serving person on this Committee. It's a very good Committee. Naturally I'm on so many other committees I can't give as much time to it as I'd like but I devote a lot of time to it as well. I particularly appreciate the time the Chairperson has given over these years. She has taken it very seriously, and I commend you to work with her as closely as you can. But a fundamental concern of mine when it comes to the questions of reforming the intelligence community has been the critique that in the past the intelligence community has not been a learning organization. When I speak of ``learning organizations'' I think specifically of the military. When soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors are not in combat, They are constantly in training. Even in combat every engagement is followed by a lessons learned exercise. For example, if a new type of IED is detonated at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon in Baghdad, that event is analyzed almost immediately. By morning our commanders in the theater will know about it. And then when not in combat the military is constantly studying and training. The military, in short, is a learning organization. Over your career in the military, a professional soldier, sailor, airman or marine will spend years in training and school in a twenty year career following their initial training; an intelligence officer will spend only weeks. Now this is of particular concern to me because I know that in this new conflict, the global war on terror, our intelligence officers in the field are learning a great deal about how to deal with armed groups, and I'm not sure if these lessons are being captured into evolving tradecraft or are taught to new officers or incorporated into an evolving doctrine. I'm unaware of the institutional mechanisms that are designed to do just that. Do you believe that the IC is a learning organization? Should it be? How often should officers be exposed to training and studies? What are the institutions of learning in the IC, and do you foresee changing those? Admiral Blair. Senator, of those questions the one I can answer unequivocally is number two. Yes, the intelligence community should be a learning organization. I have only a limited knowledge of the organizations to do it. I know there is a CIA Center for lessons learned, because I happen to know the director of it from my past life. I know there is a new director of the Intelligence University and the education component, as you say, is absolutely vital. So this is another of those areas that I bring some background within an organization that believed in learning. I carry that belief with me and I'll dive into it and make the proper changes there if they need to be made. And I look forward to consulting with you about it. Senator Hatch. Thank you, Admiral. I'm grateful for your service and your willingness to do this. It's a difficult job and a demanding job. I'm grateful for all the service you've given all these years. Thank you, Madam Chair. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you very much, Senator Hatch. Admiral, it looks like we've come to the end of this hearing. The Committee may have some questions for the record and will try to get them to you by the end of today. I'd like to mark this up as soon as possible. In order to do so, we will need to see the answers to the questions, so the quicker you can get those back to us, the quicker we can do our markup. Also I want to take a moment to thank Admiral McConnell and General Hayden for their service to our country and to the community. Those of us that have worked with them know that they did the very best they could and I think did some very strong and positive things for both the CIA and the community that the DNI heads. So their services are very much appreciated and I want to make that clear. I would also like to express my welcome to your wife, Diane Blair. Thank you for your patience during this hearing. I believe that completes our questions. Admiral Blair. May I make one final statement, Madam Chairman? Chairman Feinstein. Yes, you may. Admiral Blair. As I think over the last three hours, it seems we've been somber, negative and so on, and I just don't want to end on that note. If you confirm me, going in, I'm extremely optimistic about what we can do with intelligence for this country. We've got tens of thousands of incredibly dedicated, smart, hardworking people that want to do the right mission. You've given us a lot of money. It's a public figure. You've doubled it. We're going to win this puppy. This is not something I'm discouraged about. This is not something I have my tail between my legs about, nor does the entire community. We've got a mission. We're going to do it great, we're going to be worthy of the American people, and we're going to win it. So I don't want to end on a note of how difficult this is and how many mistakes have been made in the past. I wanted to end on a note of the incredible energy and capability and dedication and resources you've made available to the fine men and women of the intelligence services who go out there and do a great job. Chairman Feinstein. I appreciate that. I think we all appreciate the service of the men and women of the intelligence community, and there are a lot of them there. It's true the good things take care of themselves. The difficult problems and the untoward happenings always come to our attention, so necessarily we have to deal with them. I think what's important is that we have an openness between the Committee, between you, between the various agencies and that you are forthcoming with us. There's nothing that puts the Committee in a stone wall position more than being refused data or having someone be untruthful with us. So if we can have a candid, upfront, anticipatory relationship and include in when things are developing problems and what the solutions are and have an opportunity to discuss them with you, I think that's very helpful. I mentioned to you that one of our committee's best meetings was when General Hayden invited us to come over to Langley and we spent an hour and a half or so with them on certain classified programs. The back-and-forth was very useful and also enabled us to really understand the full course of what was being discussed, kind of away from the harassment of having to do two committees or be interrupted to go to a phone. So I hope you will facilitate more of those kinds of interactions. We're also going to put together a CODEL of the entire Committee, if you can join us, to go to some of the operations throughout the world so that the entire Committee is able to see the on-the-ground effort, the difficulties of that effort, and I hope come back much better informed for that trip. It will be a hard-working trip, I promise you that. Admiral Blair. I think it's a wonderful idea. Chairman Feinstein. Thank you. Thank you very much. If there's no further testimony to come before this Committee, the meeting is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m., the Committee adjourned.]