Hearing Type: 
Date & Time: 
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 2:45pm
Hart 216

Full Transcript

[Senate Hearing 117-83]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                       S. Hrg. 117-83

                      OPEN HEARING: NOMINATIONS OF
                            STACEY A. DIXON
                         NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE;
                           THOMAS A. MONHEIM
                     TO BE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE
                      INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY; AND
                            MATTHEW G. OLSEN
                           NATIONAL SECURITY



                               BEFORE THE


                                 OF THE

                          UNITED STATES SENATE


                             FIRST SESSION


                         TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2021


      Printed for the use of the Select Committee on Intelligence

        Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.govinfo.gov

                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE                    
45-490 PDF                 WASHINGTON : 2022                     

           [Established by S. Res. 400, 94th Cong., 2d Sess.]

                   MARK R. WARNER, Virginia, Chairman
                  MARCO RUBIO, Florida, Vice Chairman

DIANNE FEINSTEIN, California         RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
RON WYDEN, Oregon                    JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
ANGUS KING, Maine                    ROY BLUNT, Missouri
MICHAEL F. BENNET, Colorado          TOM COTTON, Arkansas
BOB CASEY, Pennsylvania              JOHN CORNYN, Texas

                  CHUCK SCHUMER, New York, Ex Officio
                 MITCH McCONNELL, Kentucky, Ex Officio
                  JACK REED, Rhode Island, Ex Officio
                   JAMES INHOFE, Oklahoma, Ex Officio
                     Michael Casey, Staff Director
                  Brian Walsh, Minority Staff Director
                   Kelsey Stroud Bailey, Chief Clerk
                           C O N T E N T S


                             JULY 20, 2021

                           OPENING STATEMENTS


Warner, Hon. Mark R., a U.S. Senator from Virginia...............     1
Rubio, Hon. Marco, a U.S. Senator from Florida...................     3


Gordon, Sue, former Principal Deputy Director of National 
  Intelligence...................................................     4
Dixon, Stacey A., Nominated to be Principal Deputy Director of 
  National Intelligence..........................................     6
    Prepared statement...........................................     9
Monheim, Thomas A., Nominated to be Inspector General of the 
  Intelligence Community.........................................    11
    Prepared statement...........................................    13
Olsen, Matthew G., Nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for 
  National Security..............................................    15
    Prepared statement...........................................    17

                         SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL

Nomination material for Stacey A. Dixon
    Questionnaire for Completion by Presidential Nominees........    38
    Additional Pre-Hearing Questions.............................    55
    Post-Hearing Questions.......................................    82
Nomination material for Thomas A. Monheim
    Questionnaire for Completion by Presidential Nominees........    85
    Additional Pre-Hearing Questions.............................   101
Nomination material for Matthew G. Olsen
    Questionnaire for Completion by Presidential Nominees........   125
    Additional Pre-Hearing Questions.............................   158
    Post-Hearing Questions.......................................   193

                      OPEN HEARING: NOMINATIONS OF
                            STACEY A. DIXON
                         NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE;
                           THOMAS A. MONHEIM
                     TO BE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE
                      INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY; AND
                            MATTHEW G. OLSEN
                           NATIONAL SECURITY


                         TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2021

                                       U.S. Senate,
                          Select Committee on Intelligence,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:46 p.m., in 
Room SH-216 in the Hart Senate Office Building, Hon. Mark R. 
Warner (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
    Present: Senators Warner, Rubio, Feinstein, Wyden, 
Heinrich, King, Bennet, Gillibrand, Burr, and Blunt.


    Chairman Warner. I'd like to call this hearing to order and 
welcome to our nominees: Dr. Stacey Dixon, Thomas Monheim, and 
Matt Olsen. Congratulations on your nominations to be the 
Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence or PPDNI; 
the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, IC IG; and 
Matt, just the Assistant Attorney General for National 
Security. You don't have an acronym yet. Welcome to your 
families and those who are both here and watching from home.
    Dr. Dixon, I had a brief moment to meet your parents, 
Herbert and Phoebe Dixon. Mr. and Mrs. Dixon, I know you must 
be very proud of your daughter's accomplished record.
    Tom, I understand your family is watching remotely so want 
to welcome your wife Cathy, your children, Zach and Kristen, as 
well as your parents and sister.
    Matt, it's great to see you again and welcome to your 
family, who are also joining remotely, although I understand 
your son from UVA is here. So that is some home points with me. 
I may even vote for you now.
    I also want to welcome back to this Committee, someone who 
has been a good friend, the Former Principal Deputy Director of 
National Intelligence--as well as positions at NGA, CIA, and a 
host of other wonderful positions--Sue Gordon. Sue will be 
making an introduction in a few minutes.
    Thank you for your service to our country and as I 
indicated, I always sing Sue Gordon's praises--with the one 
exception that she did not finish security clearance reform. 
Dr. Dixon that will now fall to your plate, unfortunately.
    All three of you have been nominated to key positions in 
the Intelligence Community. Obviously, when we face enormous 
challenges, I think you are all incredibly accomplished and I 
look forward to supporting all three.
    Dr. Dixon, you've obviously been nominated to be the number 
two at ODNI, and as I previously said to Director Haines, we 
have to make sure that our Intelligence Community continues 
that top imperative, which is always to speak truth to power 
without fear of political retribution.
    And I know in our meeting you have made that clear, and 
it's something that is terribly important. And as we also 
talked, as we discussed with your capable predecessors, not 
just Sue Gordon, but Stephanie O'Sullivan, I will look to you 
to provide leadership across a range of critical issues that 
sometimes don't get appropriate attention. Security clearance 
reform, we've already talked about. We talked about overhead 
space architecture. Another area that we were trying, and we 
made some progress, is IT reform and bringing some greater 
efficiencies to the various IC's 18 different components. And 
obviously, your previous roles at the ODNI, CIA, NRO, director 
of IARPA, and Deputy Director of NGA will serve you well, and I 
know you'll hit the ground running.
    Mr. Monheim, as we saw over the last few years, the job of 
IC IG is critical. Should you be confirmed, you will hold one 
of the most vital roles in the Intelligence Community because 
independent and impartial Inspectors General help to ensure 
that there's appropriate oversight of the IC. We want to again 
make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. We want to 
make sure that the IC is conducting their activities within the 
rule and spirit of the law. And I know that Senator Heinrich, 
and if Senator Wyden joins us, this Committee strongly stands 
behind, and my colleagues on the minority side as well, 
protecting whistleblowers. So, all terribly important and again 
you have brought enormous experience, General Counsel of NGA, 
the Deputy General Counsel of the ODNI, and your other roles 
throughout the IC and military.
    Finally, Matt, it's always good to see you and it's good to 
reconnect. I do think many of us probably have asked questions 
in private which we may not ask in public.
    You know you had a great career at Uber and a series of 
other private sector firms. We're glad you're willing to come 
back to the public sector as Assistant A.G. for the National 
Security Division. You're going to be a key link between DOJ 
and the Intelligence Community.
    Your role will be not only to oversee counterterrorism, 
including domestic violent extremists, but as we discussed 
yesterday, one of the challenges of this Committee, FISA 702, 
which will come back up in a couple of years--how we maintain 
that tool but appropriately protect Americans' privacy. How 
we're going to make sure we continue to monitor China's malign 
activity, whether it's IP theft, traditional espionage, or 
strategic investments in critical technology.
    And I do think as we discussed yesterday, it's terribly 
important--and I'll ask you about this--when we talk about 
China, we make clear that our beef is with the Communist Party 
of China and Xi Jinping's leadership. It is not about the 
Chinese people in China or Chinese-Americans, Asian-Americans, 
and I think some of that bias will obviously potentially fall 
into the DVE category.
    Again, you are very familiar to this Committee from your 
previous service at DOJ, General Counsel of NSA, and as NCTC 
    So I commend all of you. The Vice Chairman will now make a 
statement, followed by an introduction by Deputy Director 
Gordon, and then the Members' questions will be for five 
minutes in order of seniority.
    I now recognize the Vice Chairman.


    Vice Chairman Rubio. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all 
for being here and willing to do this. You all have previous 
service, you know what you're getting into, and we're glad 
you're coming back--and we're grateful to you for your 
willingness to do it.
    You know, it strikes me--and I'll be very brief--one of the 
things that we don't often say enough is it's hard for 
democracies and open societies to conduct intelligence 
activities. It's hard for them to conduct espionage, because we 
are open societies and yet the nature of the work that we do in 
order to protect our country requires secrecy and not because 
you're trying to keep things from people, but because you don't 
want our adversaries to learn about how we learn things and 
what we know--for obvious reasons.
    And all three of you play a very important role in that. 
The American people have very little insight, for obvious 
reasons--they have insight into almost every other agency of 
government except those charged with our National Security and 
Intelligence. And so, they trust two things. One, obviously the 
oversight of Congress to play its proper role; and the other is 
the people we put in many of the positions you're about to 
fill. Dr. Dixon, you know to ensure that, as the Principal 
Deputy Director of National Intelligence, that as I guess the 
deputy leader of the orchestra, that all the instruments are 
playing the right music--that we're focused on the right 
targets, that we're not wasting resources. That people have 
confidence that we have the right target and the right focus 
because they don't know: they have to trust you and the 
oversight we conduct.
    On the Inspector General side, obviously both our workforce 
and our country needs to know that intelligence is not being 
abused. And that the employees within these agencies are not 
being mistreated. It hurts morale, it hurts our ability to 
recruit people and keep them, but it also allows wrongdoing to 
go on. And so, the independence of that office is critical for 
that sort of trust.
    And Mr. Olsen, at the National Security Division of the 
Attorney General's office is twofold. The first obviously is 
they have to know that we have a robust effort to keep our 
country safe from threats that come from abroad and that exist 
from within. But they also need to know that our intelligence 
capabilities are not being weaponized against our own people. 
We have had in our history, unfortunately, bipartisan examples 
of abuses of our intelligence agencies in the past; that's when 
they've been at their worst.
    These are really important jobs. The world has changed a 
little bit since some of you have been in government service. 
But the basics of what it takes to maintain the confidence of 
the American people and our system of intelligence gathering 
and analysis, the bar remains as high and the environment is 
more challenging. So, we welcome your willingness to serve once 
    And we look forward to your testimony here today. Thank 
    Chairman Warner. I'd now like to call on former Principal 
Deputy Director Sue Gordon to make an introduction.

                     NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

    Deputy Director Gordon. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much 
for your too kind words earlier. Thank you to Vice Chairman 
Rubio and to the distinguished Members of the Committee. It is 
so wonderful to see you and it is an honor for me to be here 
today to introduce my colleague and friend, Dr. Stacey Dixon, 
as President Biden's nominee for the position of Principal 
Deputy Director of National Intelligence.
    I also note that you will be considering for confirmation 
two other outstanding former colleagues of mine: Tom Monheim 
and Matt Olsen. This is indeed a great day for America.
    Now I remember my great honor sitting before you four years 
and one day ago at my confirmation hearing for the same 
position for which you're considering Stacey. I remember hoping 
that I would be worthy--worthy of the President's nomination 
and your confidence in me; worthy of the moment; worthy of the 
position; worthy of the standard set by my predecessor; and 
mostly worthy of the women and men who I would be graced to 
    I sit before you today knowing--knowing--that the woman I 
get to introduce to you to is worthy of all those things.
    Stacey is remarkable. Her biography from an education that 
could only be better if she had managed to fit in a degree from 
a really prestigious university, like Duke, to the range of 
positions she has held, demonstrates excellence and experience 
relevant for a dynamic, disproportionately technical world. And 
as you've had a chance to meet with her, you have surely 
noticed that she is special in the combination of intellect, 
drive, thoughtfulness, humor, and humanity that she exudes 
simply by entering a room.
    And I can feel her family nodding their agreement with me 
as I sit here.
    But Stacey is far more than potential energy. Because I've 
had the wonderful opportunity to know her, to be her boss on 
several occasions, and to get to watch her perform in a 
position I've held, I know the impact, her accomplishments, and 
who she is as a leader. I can assure you she will both do 
things and do things right. She has been responsible for 
identifying and delivering technology that made a difference to 
mission outcome. She has forged the type of partnerships both 
within and without government that were the cornerstone of 
lasting accomplishment. She's been the catalyst for disparate 
groups with disparate agendas coming together for shared 
    She has had the range of leadership opportunities from 
creation to transformation and from leading tens to tens of 
thousands. And perhaps most importantly, she has been a quiet, 
present beacon of hope for those who want to believe in their 
leaders and who need someone to aspire to be.
    Now you all know that these are remarkable times where the 
challenges seem daunting, where the opportunities hang in the 
air, and where new solutions must be found. We need an 
Intelligence Community that is true to the unique role it plays 
in national security, that is underpinned by sound tradecraft, 
that is relevant in a digital connected world of new threats, 
that honors the trust the American people place in us, and that 
inspires its own women and men to accomplish great heights.
    Stacey is designed for this. Her ability, wisdom, courage, 
integrity and devotion will certainly carry the day. Now, I 
need no crystal ball nor keen analytic abilities to tell you 
that should she be confirmed, Stacey will be a great 
substantive leader for all 18 agencies and organizations of the 
IC, a fantastic partner for Director Avril Haines--another 
remarkable leader and human, and that you will find no better 
ally in performing your vital oversight functions. I have seen 
her in action. I know the extent of the job she will be 
stepping into, and it makes me smile to think of how lucky we 
will all be to have her in place.
    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to introduce 
this exceptional nominee for the exceptional position of 
Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.
    Thank you.
    Chairman Warner. Thank you, Ms. Gordon, and again I speak 
on behalf of all of our Members, thank you for your service and 
it's great to see you again and please don't be a stranger.
    I now ask for unanimous consent that letters of support 
from the nominees received by the Committee will be entered 
into the record.
    With that, we will proceed to administering of the oath.
    Will the witnesses please stand and raise your right hand.
    [Witnesses stand and raise their right hand.]
    Do you solemnly swear to give this Committee the truth, the 
full truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God?
    [Chorus of I Do.]
    Please be seated.
    Before we move to your opening statements, I'll ask you 
each to answer the five standard questions the Committee poses 
to each nominee who appears before us. They just require a 
simple yes or no for the record.
    First, do you agree to appear before the Committee, here or 
in other venues, when invited?
    [Chorus of Yes.]
    If confirmed, do you agree to send officials from your 
office to appear before the Committee and designated staff when 
    [Chorus of Yes.]
    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?
    [Chorus of Yes.]
    Will you ensure that your office and your staff provide 
such materials to the Committee when requested?
    [Chorus of Yes.]
    Chairman Warner. Matt, you are saying yes on this as well, 
aren't you?
    Mr. Olsen. Yes.
    Chairman Warner. Okay.
    Do you agree to inform and fully brief to the fullest 
extent possible all Members of this Committee of intelligence 
activities and covert actions rather than only the Chairman and 
Vice Chairman?
    [Chorus of Yes.]
    Chairman Warner. Again, we'll have the witnesses' testimony 
and then we'll recognize Members by seniority up to five 
minutes each. We're trying to do that at the time of the gavel.
    Dr. Dixon, are you going to go first, please?


    Dr. Dixon. Chairman Warner, Vice Chairman Rubio, and 
distinguished Members of the Committee. It is an honor to 
appear before you today as the nominee for Principal Deputy 
Director of National Intelligence. I am grateful to President 
Biden for the nomination and to Director Haines for her 
recommendation. I would also like to thank Sue Gordon for her 
kind words and support.
    To borrow a geospatial term, Sue has been a North Star for 
many of us in the Intelligence Community, and I appreciate her 
leadership and her mentorship. There's also no way that I would 
be here before you today without the encouragement and support 
of my family and friends. I would like to recognize and thank 
my parents--my father, a retired judge, and my mother, a 
retired telecommunications vice president; my brother and 
sister-in-law, an engineer and scientist respectively; my 
Intelligence Community colleagues; and members of Delta Sigma 
Theta Sorority. Family, friends, colleagues and classmates are 
the village that lifts me up, grounds me, prays for me 
regularly. And I am grateful for their constant presence and 
    I'm a testament to the fact that encouragement matters. My 
parents taught me not to limit myself or constrain what I 
thought I could accomplish. My teachers had high expectations 
of me and challenged me to excel; my bosses gave me 
opportunities to learn, to take risks, and to grow; and my 
peers, they give me regular feedback that inspires me to grow 
as a leader.
    To give you some insight into my journey, I joined the 
Intelligence Community during the recession of 2002. What I 
needed most at the time was a job. My post-doctoral fellowship 
ended at a time when employment offers were scarce, even for a 
Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. What I received is a nearly 
20-year career full of opportunity, excitement, and service.
    I learned early on that being an intelligence officer is 
more than a job. I value the opportunity to serve my country, 
support national security, and work with some of the most 
talented women and men in government, industry, and academia.
    My colleagues, the intelligence officers who serve our 
country, embody the IC core values of excellence, courage, 
respect, and integrity.
    During my career, I've had the privilege of serving in both 
the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch. Within the 
Legislative Branch, I worked for the U.S. House of 
Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as a 
professional staff member, and then was budget director. There, 
in partnership with this Committee, I learned the importance of 
oversight, of authorization and appropriation, and of taking 
and considering the Community as a whole rather than just 
individual agencies.
    Within the Executive Branch, I gained direct experience 
working for four of the 18 elements of the Intelligence 
Community: CIA, NRO, NGA, and ODNI. I learned how to turn 
mission needs into technical specifications, and then validate 
the results. I learned the importance of communicating at all 
levels, especially during a crisis. I saw how research and 
development solves hard technical challenges, and in my current 
role as NGA's Deputy Director, I see daily that it is the 
people and our partners that allow us to succeed in today's 
mission while preparing for tomorrow's mission.
    I am so proud to help lead the women and men of the 
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. I know there are 
equally talented women and men in the Office of the Director of 
National Intelligence as well as in all the other departments 
and agencies in the IC.
    The challenges and threats that Director Haines discussed 
during the annual threat assessment hearing require more than 
ever an integrated Community approach. The IC's mission is to 
collect, process, analyze, exploit, and disseminate 
information. To do that well as a Community, we will have to 
embrace new approaches to enable our mission, while also 
protecting privacy and civil liberties. The IC will have to 
further harness accelerating technological change, from 
wherever it originates, to keep pace and evolve.
    There are increasingly sophisticated threats and the nature 
of our conflicts continue to shift. We must identify those gaps 
in our understanding and bring to bear all of the Intelligence 
Community's expertise against the current threats, while also 
being mindful of the emerging disruptive trends and posturing 
the Nation to be competitive against them in the future.
    During her confirmation hearing, Director Haines outlined 
three priorities: strengthen the institution, align work and 
resources to the major threats, and build partnerships. If 
confirmed, I look forward to working with Director Haines and 
this Committee to implement those priorities. And to that end, 
I will leverage my background and experience to help integrate 
the IC's efforts and drive collaboration, innovation, agility, 
and diversity and inclusion.
    The PDDNI's role is more than a manager and more than a 
leader: it is a bridge builder and a problem solver. There's 
great strength in the intelligence disciplines coming together 
to solve enduring problems and encounter the threats we face. 
And if confirmed, I look forward to continuing to serve with 
the women and men of the Intelligence Community--and the larger 
national security enterprise, which includes academia, 
industry, international partners, the American public, and 
    I look forward to focusing our efforts on protecting and 
preserving our Nation's prosperity, influence, and those 
universal values articulated in our Constitution. I am 
confident that my experiences have prepared me to assist the 
Director in leading the Intelligence Community; and if 
confirmed, I will gratefully continue serving my country.
    It is truly an honor to appear before you today. I 
appreciate your consideration of my nomination and I look 
forward to your questions.
    [The prepared statement of Dr. Dixon follows:]
    Chairman Warner. Thank you, Dr. Dixon. Mr. Monheim?


    Mr. Monheim. Chairman Warner, Vice Chairman Rubio, Members 
of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before 
you today as you consider my nomination to be the Inspector 
General of the Intelligence Community. I feel privileged to 
appear before the Senate, especially alongside my distinguished 
co-panelists Dr. Stacey Dixon and Hon. Matt Olsen.
    I'm honored to have been nominated by President Biden and 
grateful for the endorsement of Director of National 
Intelligence Haines. I also appreciate the various letters of 
support submitted by career government officials and political 
appointees from both parties. I believe this nonpartisan and 
bipartisan support is especially important for apolitical 
positions such as Inspectors General.
    I want to thank the IC IG team and others who supported me 
while I was the Acting Inspector General during the current and 
former Administrations. I also want to thank the many 
colleagues and friends who have helped me during this 
nomination and confirmation process and throughout my career.
    Most importantly, I want to express my profound gratitude 
for the unconditional love and support of my family, including 
my wife Cathy, my daughter Kristin, my son Zachary, my father 
Tom, my mother Cathy, and my sister Melissa.
    I hope my qualifications are evident from my performance in 
this position for more than a year, my answers to prehearing 
questions, and the letters of support. In the interest of time, 
I will not repeat that information here. I would, however, like 
to briefly highlight three key themes I believe will give you a 
better sense of who I am as a person and a professional.
    Those are values, people, and partnerships.
    The first and foundational theme is values. My parents 
taught me by their words and their actions the importance of 
treating everyone with respect, working hard, choosing right 
over wrong, being accountable, having integrity, and selflessly 
serving others. After following in my father's footsteps and 
joining the Air Force, I spent 27 years striving to model the 
Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self, 
and excellence in all we do. During my civilian service, I've 
associated myself with organizations whose values align with my 
own. The IC IG core values of integrity, independence, 
transparency, accountability, and diversity resonate with me, 
inspire me, and if confirmed, will continue to guide me and the 
IC IG team.
    The second key theme is people. People are an 
organization's greatest asset and leaders must take good care 
of the people we're entrusted to lead so that together we can 
better accomplish the mission. My highest priority during the 
pandemic was to protect the health and safety of the IC IG team 
while accomplishing our mission as soon as we reasonably and 
responsibly could do so. The team was resilient and I'm proud 
of how well they responded to the challenges we faced.
    Another top leadership priority was to recruit, develop, 
and retain a premier workforce. I'm pleased we made progress in 
several areas despite the pandemic, and I believe IC IG is on a 
positive trajectory. Throughout my career, I've been willing to 
tell the people I lead and the people we served what I believe 
they needed to hear and not just what they wanted to hear.
    The third key theme is partnerships. I have long believed 
that working closely and collaboratively with others can 
enhance efficiency and effectiveness. And I've frequently done 
so with interagency, intergovernmental, international, and 
other partners to achieve better results and promote the 
greater good. Inspectors General and Congressional Oversight 
Committees have a particularly important partnership. Congress 
and IGs have a shared responsibility to help promote good 
government and be the eyes and ears of the American people, 
because full transparency is not possible given the often-
secret nature of the Intelligence Community's work.
    During my time as Acting Inspector General, I demonstrated 
my understanding of the importance of congressional oversight 
by actively engaging with congressional committees on multiple 
occasions on a range of important topics. I have close, 
collaborative, and productive partnerships with other members 
of the IC IG Forum, the Council of the Inspectors General on 
Integrity and Efficiency, the Department of Justice, the 
Government Accountability Office, and Five Eyes intelligence 
oversight counterparts. If confirmed, I look forward to further 
fostering and strengthening all these partnerships.
    In sum, I'm a values-based, people-focused, collaborative 
partner, and dedicated patriot. I first solemnly swore the 
Constitutional oath when I was commissioned as an Air Force 
officer more than 30 years ago. And I have renewed that oath 
many times during my military and civilian career spanning 
seven different Presidents.
    If privileged to be confirmed as the Inspector General of 
the Intelligence Community, I would proudly take that oath 
again and do my level best to ensure that Congress and the 
American people have the trust and confidence that their 
Intelligence Community operates efficiently, effectively, and 
lawfully in service to our great Nation.
    Thank you again for your consideration and I look forward 
to answering your questions.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Monheim follows:]
    Chairman Warner. Thank you.
    Mr. Olsen?


    Mr. Olsen. Thank you, Chairman Warner, Vice Chairman Rubio, 
Members of the Committee. I am honored to appear before you 
today as the nominee to be the Assistant Attorney General for 
National Security. I'm grateful to the President for his 
confidence in nominating me to this important position. I'm 
joined today by Members of my family: my son Nate, my sisters 
Jennifer and Susan, and my three nephews Sam, Charlie, and 
    I'd also like to just take a moment to remember my parents, 
Van and Myrna. I was born in North Dakota. My father and my 
family, we moved here when I was a young boy so that my dad 
could take a job with a Member of Congress from North Dakota. 
My mom was a school nurse. In my family, public service was 
always the highest ideal.
    Ten years ago, just about to the day, I sat before this 
Committee as the nominee to be the Director of the National 
Counterterrorism Center. Today, as we approach the twentieth 
anniversary of 9/11, the work of protecting the Nation remains 
as demanding and as urgent as ever. We now face a dynamic 
landscape of threats and adversaries that poses new challenges 
and complexities combating domestic and international 
terrorism, countering malicious cyber-activity by foreign 
adversaries, including China and Russia, and ensuring the 
confidence of the American people in the use of our 
intelligence tools.
    Congress created the National Security Division to take on 
these challenges, to lead the Justice Department's highest 
priority protecting our national security. I believe that my 
experience has prepared me for this responsibility, and if 
confirmed, I look forward to leading the National Security 
Division's extraordinary workforce, its career public servants. 
They are dedicated to securing our Nation with fidelity to our 
founding values.
    I began my career almost 30 years ago at the Justice 
Department in the Civil Rights Division as a trial attorney. I 
then served for about a decade as a Federal prosecutor here in 
Washington, DC. The terrorist attacks on September 11th changed 
the course of my career. I became a special counsel to Director 
Mueller at the FBI and helped support the transformation of the 
FBI. In 2006, I returned to main Justice at the beginning of 
the National Security Division as the Senior Deputy Assistant 
Attorney General. My job was to oversee the intelligence 
activities of the division and in part I was responsible for 
implementing the landmark changes that Congress passed to the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I served as the General 
Counsel of the National Security Agency. And then from 2011 to 
2014, I was the Director of the National Counterterrorism 
Center. And since leaving government, then I have served in the 
private sector working on cybersecurity issues.
    I know from all of this experience that the National 
Security Division works on a number of fronts to help protect 
the Nation. I'll touch on a few.
    First, terrorism. We know that the threat of terrorism from 
domestic violent extremists is on the rise. Combating this 
threat, domestic terrorism threat, as well as international 
terrorist threat is a top priority for the Department of 
Justice. And if confirmed, I will remain vigilant against all 
terrorism threats regardless of ideology.
    Next, the National Security Division plays a crucial role 
in safeguarding our critical infrastructure and data networks 
against cyberattacks from our adversaries, especially nation-
states like China and Russia. And if confirmed, I will work 
alongside my partners in government as well as with the private 
sector to deter, disrupt, and prosecute those responsible for 
these types of attacks.
    The Division has also played an important responsibility in 
preserving our national security tools. It is imperative that 
the government maintain the trust of the Congress, the FISA 
court, and the American people in the integrity of how these 
tools are used, particularly the FISA process. And if 
confirmed, I will work to ensure that our intelligence 
activities are carried out on behalf of the American public and 
that they are carried out in a manner that's consistent with 
our Constitution, our laws, and our values.
    Chairman, this Committee plays a critical role in 
intelligence oversight, in preserving the trust of the American 
people, and in advancing the security of our Nation. If 
confirmed, I pledge to be a true partner to Congress and to 
this Committee.
    I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Olsen follows:]
    Chairman Warner. Well, thank you all and for planning 
purposes, any Members of the Committee who wish to submit 
questions for the record after today's hearing, please do so by 
5 p.m. this Thursday, July 23.
    Let me also note, I think all three of the witnesses are 
extraordinarily qualified and I look forward to supporting 
    I'm going to ask a brief line of questions and then I will 
move to Vice Chair Rubio and he will take over the hearing. I 
apologize to the nominees and their families. There is some of 
the stuff that's popping in the news that requires my attention 
in about 20 minutes.
    Dr. Dixon, you know we've raised this. Given that the DNI 
is the government security executive agent, how do you see your 
role in leading the trusted Workforce 2.0 initiative, ensuring 
that transformative security clearance reform remains a top 
priority for the IC and Administration?
    We discussed this, but I want to get you on the record.
    Dr. Dixon. Thank you for that question. Certainly, how we 
bring the new employees into the Community is extremely 
important, making sure that there is not a long delay before we 
can bring in this new talent, because we know they have many 
other opportunities that they're also considering. We have seen 
some progress in reducing the backlogs for some of the returned 
background investigations for our current employees. We've also 
seen decreases in the timelines for new employees coming in. If 
I'm confirmed, I certainly look forward to further reducing the 
timelines, but also committing to the larger government-wide 
efforts that you mentioned: Trusted Workforce 2.0. We've seen 
some great examples of being able to do continuous vetting. So, 
letting the technology help us move our investigations more 
quickly and I look forward to continuing to further that into 
the next levels of maturing those particular programs.
    Chairman Warner. Well the next level--and this is something 
that we were hoping to get done--is reciprocity. We still have 
enormous challenges where somebody goes through a security 
clearance process in one part of the IC; that clearance is not 
honored by another part. Matter of fact, we saw even within DHS 
where people couldn't move from one project inside DHS to 
another project, sometimes with up to a 100-day delay.
    It's inefficient for the workforce, it costs more money for 
the taxpayer, and we are not attracting and maintaining that 
best and brightest diverse workforce if young people have to 
wait a year or two before they get clearance. So, I look 
forward to working with you on that.
    Mr. Monheim. Listen, again a topic we touched on, we've got 
to make sure that--we discussed this in our private session--
but please explain how you'd come to Congress to inform us of 
an important issue in your purview? And how do you see your 
obligations to keep the Congress and specifically SSCI 
currently informed?
    Mr. Monheim. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the time 
we were able to spend in your office. And as I indicated there, 
I do believe that keeping Congress and the DNI fully and 
currently informed are among my most important legal 
responsibilities. And I take those very seriously.
    I think in my year as the Acting Inspector General, I 
demonstrated not only a commitment to provide this Committee 
with everything required to do so by law, but exercising my 
discretion to provide information about problems, deficiencies, 
corrective actions beyond what was legally required because I 
thought it was important that you know that information in 
order to do your important oversight role. And if confirmed, I 
commit to take that same approach, and as I indicated, be a 
trusted partner to ensure that you have the trust and 
confidence, and the American people have the trust and 
confidence, that the IG is doing this important job.
    Chairman Warner. Thank you, Sir.
    Mr. Olsen, two quick questions for you. One, we touched on 
briefly yesterday. Every Senator on this dais and most of the 
Members of this Committee--almost everyone--with the exception, 
I think, of one or two--are working together in a broad 
bipartisan way and introducing the legislation today that would 
have some level of mandatory incident reporting of cyber-
incidents to some public-private panel, with appropriate 
immunity protections and confidentiality protections for those 
entities that report.
    Do you believe that this type of legislation would be 
useful as we try to deal with the enormous threat that cyber 
poses, that suddenly the American public, I think, has come to 
    Mr. Olsen. Chairman, I certainly have seen firsthand the 
challenge that we face in cyber, both from my work at the 
National Security Agency and the Department of Justice now 10 
years ago, when the threat was not as great as it is today. And 
in the private sector, I've seen firsthand, in particular, the 
threat that we face from the most sophisticated adversaries, 
which are nation-states, particularly China and Russia, and you 
can see this in the news on a daily basis.
    I don't know the precise terms of the legislation that is 
being proposed. I certainly think that whatever we can do to 
work together to improve the ecosystem that companies face and 
that the government faces--because really, we're all in this 
together, we need to take steps to improve the ecosystem, and I 
do believe that there's an opportunity for the public sector 
and the private sector to work together--and potentially with 
new laws and new authorities--to improve our ability to defend 
    Chairman Warner. I appreciate that. We look forward to 
working with you. I thank Senator Rubio and all the Members of 
the Committee for putting together what I think is a very, very 
good first product.
    And finally, I just want to come back to the topic I raised 
in our meeting yesterday and in my opening comments. I think 
the threat of our time is China: it poses a strategic threat 
and economic threat, a technology threat. But I think it's 
really important as we and China vie in so many ways that we 
make clear that our beef is with the Communist Party of China 
and their policies, not with the Chinese people. And that is 
not by any means a license for the unfortunate kind of anti-
Chinese-American, anti-Asian-American rhetoric that we see too 
    We've heard reports in the past, frankly, not even under 
the Trump Administration, under the Obama Administration, where 
there was a failure of the Justice Department to even meet with 
the Chinese-American community on a regular basis. And this 
needs to be rectified. These American citizens need to have 
their rights protected, but they need to be part of this. They 
realize the challenges in a more visceral way many times and we 
need to make sure that we know who the opponent is, which is 
the Communist Party of China; and we talked about that. I'd 
like you to speak to that for a few seconds.
    Mr. Olsen. Absolutely, and thank you for the opportunity to 
address that issue and to meet with you yesterday. No doubt 
about it, China presents the greatest strategic threat to the 
United States of any country in the world, from economic 
espionage to theft of trade secrets, human rights violations, 
competition, and technology. It is the case, and I learned this 
when I was at the National Counterterrorism Center, that we 
need to speak precisely and carefully when we talk about the 
nature of that threat. And I agree completely with you that 
that threat emanates from the Chinese government, from the 
Chinese Communist Party and its leadership, not from the 
Chinese people, not certainly from Chinese-Americans.
    And we need to be very careful when we talk about this 
threat because we all have been horrified to see the rise of 
anti-Asian-American violence. I began my career in the Civil 
Rights Division of the Justice Department. I care deeply about 
discrimination and fairness. I think we just need to be very 
careful in how we talk about this threat.
    So, we have our eyes on where that threat emanates from and 
that's the Chinese government.
    Chairman Warner. Thank you all very much. Again, appreciate 
that Vice Chairman Rubio, continuing to chair that hearing. 
Senator Rubio.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Thank you.
    Let me just start, Mr. Olsen, by giving you an opportunity 
to address something that came up. I'm sure you're aware during 
the questionnaire, the initial questionnaire, you said you had 
never represented in any capacity, a foreign government and you 
also answered no when asked if you'd ever received any 
compensation from or had been involved in any financial or 
business transactions with a foreign government, or any entity 
controlled by foreign government.
    Then in additional prehearing questions that asked 
specifically about consulting work, you noted that you were a 
part-time consultant for two firms, Fairfax National Security 
Solutions and Booz Allen Hamilton, and worked on matters 
involving advice for or to the Saudi Arabian government. So I 
just want to give you an opportunity to address why you 
answered about your work for Saudi Arabia through these 
consulting firms in the follow-up prehearing questions but did 
not address in the initial questionnaire. I want to give you an 
opportunity to address it.
    Mr. Olsen. I appreciate that very much Vice Chairman. I 
interpreted the questions about representing foreign 
governments, I suppose as a lawyer, strictly. Did I represent 
those governments? The answer to that is no.
    I did disclose in the other form that I did a limited 
amount of work for two firms, Booz Allen and Fairfax National 
Security Solutions, that was in support of two initiatives 
involving the Saudi government. One was their interest in 
building a national counterterrorism center of their own and 
the other was defensive cyber protections. So, if I 
misunderstood, I apologize. My goal was to answer the question 
as directly as possible.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. The nature of your work was advice. 
You provided them advice and insight as to how to set up the 
counterterrorism center and the defensive cyber?
    Mr. Olsen. Yes.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Through these agents, through these 
    Mr. Olsen. Through Booz Allen Hamilton and Fairfax National 
Security Solutions. It was very limited.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. I think that the follow-up question 
that I think bears asking is have you provided any other advice 
like that to any other foreign governments?
    Mr. Olsen. No.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Mr. Monheim, let me ask you how you 
would handle--I think I brought this up when we spoke--an 
instance in which your legal analysis and conclusion as the IC 
IG would differ from the CIA's Inspector General or from the 
ODNI's legal counsel. The Committee confronted that at one 
point either last year or late the year before.
    How would you handle those instances in which your legal 
analysis and conclusion are different from what the IG at the 
Agency or at CIA or the legal counsel at the ODNI?
    Mr. Monheim. Thank you, Vice Chairman. I appreciate the 
opportunity to talk to you yesterday and I appreciate this 
question on this important matter. I think it raises very good 
questions of the respective roles and responsibilities and 
authorities of a variety of senior leaders in the Agency and 
the Community. I think that the overall shared objective of all 
of those positions is to ensure that Congress is fully and 
currently informed, and I'm confident that you would get the 
information that you needed to do your job.
    I think part of the independence that is built into the 
Inspector General system is that I have my own counsel to the 
Inspector General that does not go through the Office of 
General Counsel. So, in terms of being provided legal advice, I 
have my own counsel to have that independent legal advice.
    I will say in my time as Acting IG, I worked very closely 
and collaboratively with the ODNI Office of General Counsel and 
never had an issue where we disagreed such that it mattered in 
terms of the DNI's performance of their duties or Congress. But 
if that did arise, and if confirmed, in the future if that 
arose, I would work closely and collaboratively to try to 
address those issues. But at the end of the day, I think I have 
an independent duty to ensure Congress is fully and currently 
informed, and I would commit to do that.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Dr. Dixon, finally. With the 
exception--putting aside the FBI for a moment and its law 
enforcement role and its domestic obligations--and this is not 
a trick question. It's more of something that's really 
important and it's important for people as part of the whole 
confidence building in our Intelligence Community. But would 
you agree that there has to be a foreign threat nexus for our 
intelligence agencies to collect and analyze on the activities 
of a U.S. person, separate from a law enforcement function, 
which is looking at crimes that someone may or may not be 
committing. But when it comes to the intelligence agencies of 
the U.S. Government, or even the intelligence roles of 
individual agencies, for us to unleash the power of the 
Intelligence Community to be used to collect and analyze on 
what an American is doing--a U.S. citizen, U.S. person is 
doing, do you agree that there has to be a foreign threat 
    Dr. Dixon. Vice Chairman Rubio, yes. I do agree that there 
has to be a foreign nexus.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. OK, thank you. Senator Feinstein.
    Senator Feinstein. Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman.
    This Committee has been working to push the IC to get to 
the bottom of the traumatic brain injuries known as Havana 
Syndrome, which apparently have been sustained by some State 
Department and Intelligence Community personnel around the 
world. And I'm concerned that these attacks appear to be 
    Just this morning, NBC reported, and I quote, that as many 
as 200 Americans have come forward to describe possible 
symptoms of directed-energy attacks. Additionally, ``The New 
Yorker'' also reported last week that roughly two dozen 
possible new cases have been reported in Vienna. So, my 
question--and perhaps I could start with Dr. Dixon--is what 
would you plan to do about this, and what have you found thus 
    Dr. Dixon. Senator Feinstein, thank you for that question 
and I really appreciate this Committee's leadership on this 
issue. The impact to the employees in the Intelligence 
Community makes this the number one priority for the agencies. 
What we are doing now is literally coming together, both the 
State Department, the Department of Defense and the 
Intelligence Community to one, make sure that we are taking 
care of individuals who are afflicted by whatever it is that's 
causing this. Second, that we're also looking to figure out 
where it's happening, why it's happening, and who is 
responsible for it so that we can bring to bear all of the 
capabilities of the Intelligence Community to collect on it so 
that we can actually better answer the question. Because right 
now, directed-energy is a theory. We do not know what's causing 
    Senator Feinstein. Well, let me ask one quick follow-up. 
Are the people that have come to you from one area or are they 
from a mix of areas, and if so, what are the areas?
    Dr. Dixon. Ma'am, I can't say the areas beyond what's 
already been reported. So right now, you know Cuba of course, 
as well as Vienna that you mentioned in the news report.
    Senator Feinstein. How many people have come to you or have 
come to the Agency?
    Dr. Dixon. I can only speak on behalf of NGA, and we're 
actually still holding that. That is sensitive information with 
respect to my own workforce.
    I cannot speak to how many have come forward for the entire 
    Senator Feinstein. You are saying that that information is 
    Dr. Dixon. I'm saying at this point in time, because we are 
still going through the process of identifying whether 
individuals actually have been debriefed and we've gotten the 
information from them, it's not complete.
    Senator Feinstein. Let me ask another question. Is what is 
being reported in the press correct and sustained by what 
you're finding?
    Dr. Dixon. I can't speak specifically about the numbers 
that the press was reporting, but the symptoms that the press 
is reporting are correct. The locations that they've released, 
those two locations they've mentioned, are correct as well.
    Senator Feinstein. Can you tell us how many cases?
    Dr. Dixon. Ma'am, I cannot at this point in time, but if 
I'm confirmed, and I have access to all of the information 
across the Community, I certainly would have a better 
understanding and be able to bring that back to the Committee.
    Senator Feinstein. Thank you.
    Mr. Chairman, this is the second time I've mentioned it and 
it really bothers me that something like this is going on. I 
would just like to ask that the Committee get involved and seek 
some information. I understand it will be classified, but I 
think it's very important and I think we should know if 
something serious is going on.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. I agree. I'm going to scream at Mark 
Warner about it tonight. I agree 100 percent, you know. That's 
an issue that I think everyone on this Committee has expressed 
a deep interest in this.
    Senator Burr.
    Senator Burr. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Sue Gordon. Good to 
see you.
    Welcome to our three nominees. I'm not sure I can remember 
a panel of nominees more qualified for the jobs that they've 
been nominated for than what I see before us today. And I echo 
the Chairman's comments. I hope we will expeditiously go 
through the confirmation process.
    Having said that, I've got a question for each one of you.
    Stacey, my question for you is how do you plan to assess 
whether or not the ODNI itself has in fact gotten too large to 
function effectively current company excepted?
    Tom, how do you plan to recruit and retain the best talent 
you can to ensure your Office can fulfill its vital mission to 
keep the IC free from waste, fraud, and abuse, given that 
you're not going to be the most popular guy in the 
    And Matt, do you have a plan to work with Director Wray to 
address the compliance issues FBI has had with their vital 
    I'll start with Stacey.
    Dr. Dixon. Senator Burr, thank you very much. I enjoyed our 
conversation on this very topic. I am a firm believer that the 
ODNI plays a huge role in helping to bring the Community 
together; that it also has a number of duties that have been 
assigned to it through legislation. I don't currently believe 
that that I have information to suggest that it is too large.
    I believe that we will take a look at it, and if I'm 
confirmed, I would certainly be interested in looking from the 
inside--and I know that Director Haines has been looking at the 
organization--but to make sure that we are resourced to 
actually do all the things Congress is expecting us to do. It's 
something that we have to continue to look at because the 
situations change, the threats change, and the organization has 
to change. And I look forward to being part of the review of 
what size it needs to be to be able to accomplish those things 
that you're expecting us to be able to accomplish.
    Senator Burr. Thank you.
    Mr. Monheim. Thank you, Senator, and I appreciate the time 
we had in your office to discuss a variety of matters, 
including the importance of getting talent in an office to help 
ensure we can perform our vital functions.
    To the point about popularity, I certainly understand that 
popularity is not a good metric for success for an Inspector 
General. I would also note that was also true during my time as 
a lawyer and as a leader generally. Fortunately, I think that 
the Intelligence Community broadly, and the Inspector General 
community, currently has and will continue to attract people 
who are drawn to the mission. The mission matters. It's a great 
team of people. We have the opportunity to strengthen the 
Intelligence Community, and in turn, strengthen the Nation. And 
so, for our part, you know, we go and recruit. We have people 
who model the type of service that one could be drawn to, and 
for the variety of certain matter expertise and a variety of 
experiences to come.
    And although we've had some staffing challenges at points, 
as I mentioned, I believe IC IG is on a positive trajectory and 
especially post pandemic. I think we will continue to be able 
to aggressively address some of those staffing challenges and 
continue to retain and develop and recruit a premier workforce 
to ensure our job gets done.
    Senator Burr. Thank you.
    Mr. Olsen. Senator, thanks for that question.
    Restoring and maintaining trust in the FISA process is an 
absolutely critical priority for me. And I know it is for the 
Department of Justice, the National Security Division, the 
Attorney General, and the Deputy Attorney General, as well as 
the leadership of the FBI.
    I was very concerned by the information in the Inspector 
General's report on the FISA process, identifying a number of 
critical errors. I was at the National Security Division at its 
founding in 2006 and the oversight of the FISA process was one 
of the reasons the National Security Division was formed. And I 
know that there are a number of committed, dedicated lawyers at 
the Justice Department, as well as at the FBI, who've already 
started to work to implement the changes that flow from the 
IG's report.
    So, my plan in response to your question would be to meet 
with Director Wray, with the general counsel of the FBI, my 
colleagues at the Justice Department, if I'm confirmed, and to 
ensure that we continue on the path to maintaining and 
restoring the confidence that's necessary in the integrity of 
that process.
    Senator Burr. Thank you, Matt.
    Based on my back-of-the-envelope calculation, I think 
between the three of you collectively there's been service in 
90 percent of the IC just from the three of you and that's 
great to have that experience and knowledge concentrated here.
    Stacey, you've attended more universities in America than 
most people. Let me assure you, not having Duke on your list is 
not a disqualifier, but we would like to see a North Carolina 
school in there at some point. But I think on your bucket list, 
since you didn't have one, I'll add that just one degree from a 
school in North Carolina would be perfect. Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Senator Heinrich.
    Senator Heinrich. Moving on from our IC continuing 
education requirements. Dr. Dixon, you spent the last eight 
years at NGA, culminating in your service as Deputy Director. 
What did you learn from your time at NGA that you intend to 
take with you to ODNI?
    Dr. Dixon. Thank you for that question, Senator.
    I learned about the importance of not only having great 
people with the talents that are needed to move us forward, but 
really providing that supportive environment and being leaders 
that they can trust and look up to. It's really important for 
them to understand their mission and to have the resources 
necessary to get that mission done.
    It's also important for them to reach across, outside of 
their agency, and work with the other agencies and other 
elements of the Intelligence Community. And all of that, I 
would bring if I'm confirmed to this next position. I think the 
strength really is in having each of us come forward with those 
particular authorities and expertise to try to solve those 
really hard problems that we've attempted to solve on our own, 
but we really are unable to do so.
    So, I look forward to strengthening the support of all the 
people across the entire Intelligence Community and making sure 
that we're working together to solve those really hard 
    Senator Heinrich. Dr. Dixon, you wrote that the IC needs to 
be more flexible and agile to ensure state-of-the-art 
breakthroughs are actually fielded expeditiously, and that that 
may require different approaches, especially to acquisition and 
    Talk to me a little bit about what specifically you may 
have in mind, and then try to touch on the balance between 
buying things and building things that exist within the IC.
    Dr. Dixon. Certainly, Sir, two things. One is the ability 
to move things from say, research and development or from 
acquisition straight into operations. That has been something 
that's challenged many in the Community. Having worked in R&D, 
I see it acutely. There are things that we know are ready to go 
out there, but there's extra testing and then there's the 
budget cycle, which isn't always aligned. So, making sure that 
we can align the budgets so that we can actually have less time 
between something being proven and something actually being put 
in operations.
    With respect to building and buying--it really is. So, 
things are built within the Intelligence Community, within the 
agencies, but those also do rely on having great contractors on 
staff that are helping us do that.
    I think increasingly because there are so many great small, 
and even large companies, out there willing to provide 
capabilities to help us solve our mission, to satisfy our 
mission, we need to be able to bring them in more quickly. Some 
of them are not as used to working with large government 
agencies and there's a way to work with government agencies. 
So, figuring out how to reduce some of the bureaucracy so some 
of the smaller companies who are on that sort of faster cycle 
who, really, if they don't get that contract, they're probably 
going to go away in a year. Figuring out how to decrease the 
timeline so that we can work with them more successfully.
    Senator Heinrich. Do you see cultural challenges to moving 
some of those things from R&D--that things become fieldable--
but then you have to explain to people that they are ready for 
prime time and getting through that time cycle as well and get 
it out to the people who need it the most.
    Dr. Dixon. What I've seen work really well is being able to 
bring the partners, the future partners, in from the 
beginning--letting them know what you're trying to develop and 
deliver and having them see along the way as you press past 
those hurdles, as you pass those tests. That way, they also 
know when you're attempting to have it complete, and hopefully 
they can then budget that in. So, there are ways to do it 
better than I think we've done it historically. But those 
partnerships between the end user and the developers need to be 
really, really strong from the beginning of a project.
    Senator Heinrich. Kind of building in the buy-in from the 
    Dr. Dixon. Exactly.
    Mr. Monheim, you became Acting IC IG in April 2020, and you 
became acting under relatively difficult circumstances after 
your predecessor, Michael Atkinson, was unceremoniously fired 
for doing his job to protect a key whistleblower and to get 
information to Congress.
    What's your general view of the IC IG's role with regard to 
whistleblowers? And are there any steps that you would take 
should you be confirmed to ensure that IC employees are 
protected from reprisal for disclosing information to the IC 
    Mr. Monheim. Thank you, Senator. With respect to the 
removal of my predecessor, I was not involved in that other 
than to simply answer the call to serve my country as I've done 
many times before.
    With respect to whistleblower programs, I completely agree 
with and appreciate the support of this Committee about the 
importance of the whistleblower program that goes back, of 
course, to the Continental Congress passing a law that it's the 
duty of all people in public service to report allegations of 
    For my part, during the time I was the Acting Inspector 
General, during that year I issued a message of support to 
reiterate my commitment to protecting whistleblowers and their 
rights and the importance of that program. I asked Director of 
National Intelligence Haines when she was confirmed to issue a 
similar report and she did very soon in her tenure. I issued an 
instruction about external review panels to update and codify 
the processes by which IGs would review allegations of reprisal 
against whistleblowers. We submitted a report to this Committee 
to talk about possible efforts and made six recommendations to 
harmonize some of the laws and policies to further strengthen 
the program. I appreciate this Committee's staff working with 
the IC IG team to consider specific proposals. And I 
established an intake action committee to ensure that our 
hotline program analysts are working closely with our counsel 
and our investigators to give each matter the serious attention 
it deserves. I dedicated additional resources to the program 
and, if confirmed, I would do everything that I can do to 
continue the positive trajectory that I believe that important 
program is on.
    Senator Heinrich. Thank you, Chairman.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Senator Blunt.
    Senator Blunt. Thank you, Chairman, and again let me join 
everybody else in welcoming this panel. You are so well-
prepared. I look forward to not just what happens after today, 
but the relationship we have working with you after today.
    Dr. Dixon, one of the challenges the Intelligence Community 
faces is making all the investments we have out there work: 
artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, 
cyber. If confirmed, what's your vision of how we maximize the 
moment we're in and make those things work together in the most 
effective way?
    Dr. Dixon. Thank you, Senator Blunt. And you've named many, 
many of the challenges that we are all in the Community facing 
and focusing on. I think one of the things that I've seen work 
well within the Community is when we talk about and we expose 
to each other's agencies, the types of things we're working on. 
We can come up with a shared plan for how to go forward 
together. That is more efficient and more effective, I think, 
than each individual agency going forward by itself. So, I look 
forward to harnessing the same experiences that I've had when I 
was in research and development organizations and we were 
trying to do that but doing that on a global scale. So, it's 
both R&D as well as operational systems.
    We need better insight into how each other is approaching 
the hard challenges that, I think, we will need to come 
together to face. And I look forward to, if I'm confirmed, 
helping the Community come together when those discussions.
    Senator Blunt. Well, I think we're not going to have less 
information to deal with all the time. We're going to have more 
information to deal with and how we get that narrowed down to 
where a set of human eyes ought to get on it is going to be 
really important, and I think you're well prepared for that.
    Mr. Olsen, you've had great private sector experience, 
great experience in counterterrorism as well. From your 
counterterrorism experience, can you comment on the value of 
things like FISA and the danger of what happens if we don't 
treat the FISA process in the right way?
    Mr. Olsen. Yes, Senator.
    FISA, along with other intelligence tools, but in 
particular FISA, has proven to be an indispensable tool for the 
collection of foreign intelligence in the counterterrorism 
context. Going back to my experience at the FBI and then at the 
Department of Justice over 10 years ago, FISA led to a number 
of operational successes for the government. And it is 
imperative that we maintain that tool. The Inspector General's 
report recently that disclosed a number of failings on the part 
of the Justice Department, including the FBI, in preserving the 
integrity of that process to ensure that the applications were 
complete and accurate is a significant concern.
    One, it wasn't consistent with the expectations of the FISA 
court, wasn't consistent with the expectations of this 
Committee and Congress, and it certainly wasn't consistent with 
the expectations and trust that the American people have placed 
in the FBI and the Justice Department. So, it would be a 
priority for me, if confirmed, to work with the FBI and to 
ensure that the steps that I understand are currently underway 
to improve that process are carried through. And to see if 
there are other steps that we need to take in working with this 
Committee to ensure that that process is one that the American 
people can have full confidence in.
    Senator Blunt. Well, I think if we see any inconsistency 
there, as you pointed out, that puts the whole program at great 
risk and it's the kind of thing if we do it right, has great 
value. And if we do it wrong, we could easily, easily lose it.
    Mr. Monheim, we had a chance yesterday to talk a little bit 
about whistleblowers and the role they play in the government. 
Give me an idea of how the IG best relates to whistleblowers 
and what the proper role for the IG is in insisting that the 
right processes be followed there.
    Mr. Monheim. Thank you, Senator and I appreciated the time 
you took yesterday to discuss this and other matters with me.
    With respect to the Inspector General's role in the current 
legal framework that Congress provided is that an Intelligence 
Community employee can come to the Inspector General to provide 
evidence of wrongdoing and other concerns. And there's a 
structure in place by which we determine a number of things. Is 
it credible? Is it urgent? Does the whistleblower intend to 
communicate this information to Congress? And such things. And 
then we have specific responsibilities to forward that 
information to the Director of National Intelligence, and to 
the Congress in certain circumstances. And we take that program 
very seriously. We dedicate a number of resources to it. And as 
I indicated in a prior answer, I remain committed to that 
    With respect to the roles and responsibilities of others 
involved, the Office of General Counsel at ODNI has a role, the 
Director of National Intelligence has a role. But again, for 
the Inspector General's part, we are committed to do that 
again, not just for what is legally required, but as was the 
case when I was the Acting Inspector General, I exercised my 
discretion to forward some complaints even if I did not find 
them credible and to state an urgent concern as legally 
required, simply because I thought it would be important for 
this Committee to have the benefit of information and to do 
your important job
    Senator Blunt. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Senator Wyden.
    Senator Wyden. Thank you, Chairman Rubio. And first of all, 
it's great to see Ms. Sue Gordon. Sue Gordon always gives 
public service a good name and it is just very good to see you, 
Ms. Gordon.
    My first question for our nominees is: last year the 
Committee directed the IC to report on what can be done to 
protect our country from commercial spyware, the kind of threat 
that is now being reported at the top of the news across the 
    So, my question to you, Ms. Dixon and Mr. Olsen, is how 
seriously do you take this threat and what should the 
Intelligence Community and the Department of Justice be doing 
about it?
    Let me start with you, Mr. Olsen, and then you, Ms. Dixon.
    Mr. Olsen. Senator, I believe I share your concern from the 
headlines of the past couple of days on this issue. One initial 
thought is to emphasize the point that when it comes to the 
United States and its collection activities, the Intelligence 
Community must adhere to the Constitution, the laws, the 
regulations, the court orders that apply to those activities 
regardless of the tools that may be available.
    So that is an imperative that would be partly my 
responsibility to enforce, if I'm confirmed as the head of the 
National Security Division. I think the threat that you 
mentioned from these tools goes outside of this country to 
where the concern is that other countries can use these tools 
in a way that would have human rights concerns or violations. 
And that's an area where I think we have work to do, myself at 
the Justice Department along with the Intelligence Community 
and this Committee.
    Senator Wyden. Ms. Dixon.
    Dr. Dixon. Thank you, Senator Wyden, and I also share your 
    I think, in addition to what Mr. Olsen said, I think it's a 
good reminder of the larger cybersecurity challenge that we 
face, right? Spyware, malware. These are all things that can 
infiltrate not only our cell phones, but computer networks more 
broadly. We need to have a better whole of government approach 
to dealing with things like this. I think the challenge that we 
face, of course, is that we've got industry, we have 
government, we have academia, we have all sorts of different 
rules and regulations that are keeping us from having the 
conversations that--well not necessarily rules and regulations. 
We're not having all the conversations that we need to be 
having. I would like to see us be more forthcoming in terms of 
who is experiencing attacks from other places and how we can 
better provide and secure their networks as well as the cell 
phones that we have.
    Senator Wyden. We're going to have more conversations about 
it, but I'll just let you all know that I think there's got to 
be some accountability for spies for hire and that is going to 
be a central part of this discussion.
    Let me go now to the whistleblower issue. I want to make 
sure that our nominees agree that the law is clear: that a 
whistleblower complaint that an Inspector General determines is 
an urgent concern has to be submitted to the Congress.
    And this is a yes or no for our three nominees.
    Mr. Olsen?
    Mr. Olsen. Yes.
    Senator Wyden. Ms. Dixon?
    Dr. Dixon. Yes.
    Senator Wyden. Mr. Monheim?
    Mr. Monheim. Yes.
    Senator Wyden. Good. With respect to the previous 
Administration, we were finally able to extract from them some 
commitments about civil liberties and transparency. And I want 
to make sure that there's no backsliding.
    Last November, Director Ratcliffe informed me that the IC 
considered Internet searches to be content, meaning that they 
would not collect them under the warrantless authorities of the 
Patriot Act.
    Do you agree with that, Mr. Olsen?
    Mr. Olsen. Senator, I will repeat an answer I gave earlier, 
which is to say that it is imperative that all of these 
activities take place consistent with the Constitution and 
statutes. The precise letter of Director Ratcliffe, I'm not 
familiar with the context of that statement. Certainly, I 
appreciate that the collection of search terms or browser 
history raises serious privacy concerns. And I would certainly 
look to understand better how that information may be collected 
under various authorities, if I'm confirmed.
    Senator Wyden. I would like a written answer to that one, 
Mr. Olsen, because, look, through no fault of their own because 
of the virus, millions of Americans were home. And Senator 
Daines and I, on a bipartisan basis, tried to get protection 
for browser content. We failed just because a couple of 
Senators were absent.
    So, I would like a written response to that question. All 
right, can you get that to us quickly?
    Mr. Olsen. Yes.
    Senator Wyden. Okay. The previous Administration also 
stated that in light of the Supreme Court's ``Carpenter'' case, 
it would not collect cell site or GPS information under Section 
215 of the Patriot Act, which didn't require a warrant.
    Mr. Olsen, if you're confirmed, and Section 215 were to be 
reauthorized, would you continue this position?
    Mr. Olsen. Senator, I am not in government now. I need to 
understand how ``Carpenter'' is being interpreted. It's 
certainly a significant decision on the Fourth Amendment in the 
context of the collection of digital information. It applies to 
cell site location information, the breadth of that decision, 
how it's being interpreted--I know that prosecutors and 
investigators need guidance on that question. If I'm confirmed, 
I'll have the opportunity to engage in understanding how it's 
being interpreted and to support the guidance that's given to 
folks in the field.
    Senator Wyden. I'm over my time and Chairman Rubio is being 
    One last question.
    Mr. Olsen, do you agree that the public deserves to know 
whether and to what extent the various entities of the IC 
believe ``Carpenter'' applies to them?
    Mr. Olsen. I believe that the public deserves to know the 
frameworks around which or upon which we collect information on 
behalf of the Intelligence Community or in the law enforcement 
context. I think it's important that to the extent we can, we 
disclose the legal framework that supports the collection of 
this type of information.
    Senator Wyden. I think the response to that one has got to 
be a yes and you got pretty close. So, we will continue the 
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Senator King.
    Senator King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    A general comment about the issue that Senator Wyden raised 
about the spyware is certainly concerning and I'm sure we're 
going to have discussions about that subject. On the other 
hand, my first thought was that we all have to be careful about 
what we put on these devices. One of the 10 points in my high 
school graduation speech is: Don't write anything into 
cyberspace you don't want your grandmother to read on the front 
page of the ``Bangor Daily News.'' And I think we all need to 
think about that, that there's no such thing as perfect 
security. That doesn't mean we don't have to deal with this 
issue that's arisen. But cyber protection starts at the device 
    Dr. Dixon, I just want to underline a point that the 
Chairman started with.
    This security clearance problem is a serious problem. It's 
a national security issue because in my view the biggest 
problem is lost opportunity. People we lose because they can't 
wait. So, I hope you will continue to follow the good example 
of Sue Gordon and others who have made such progress on this 
and not--. I'm afraid if it's not attended to aggressively, we 
will backslide and we'll end up back with 700,000 or 800,000 
people in a backlog.
    So, I hope you will commit to continuing that project.
    Dr. Dixon. I will, Sir.
    Senator King. Thank you.
    One of the unusual things about the history that we're in 
right now is that we have to reimagine conflict. We've all 
thought of conflict over a thousand years as armies against 
armies, navies against navies. But now with the advent of cyber 
warfare, the private sector is the front line. They're the 
target and so I believe one of your missions has to be--and 
this also goes for the national cyber director, for you, for 
Avril Haines, for others to form new kinds of relationships 
with the private sector. We can't have this arm's length. We 
don't--you know, we don't trust the government. We're not going 
to share information and successfully meet the cyber challenge.
    Do you agree with that proposition?
    Dr. Dixon. I absolutely agree with the proposition. Without 
having that trust between the two of us, we're not going to be 
able to deal with the threats that we're facing effectively. I 
look forward to forging those partnerships if I'm confirmed.
    Senator King. Thank you. And one other thing and I'm 
loading tasks on you. But from the point of view of the 
Director of National Intelligence, it's got to be concerning to 
us as representatives of the taxpayers and the public that we 
have 17 agencies. And the specter of duplication and excessive 
cost is always there.
    So, it seems to me that one of the roles of the DNI should 
be to constantly be on the alert to how do we do these things 
more efficiently. And we just can't have duplicated cyber 
agencies, for example, within each. I mean they have to be 
cyber protection within each agency, but there's also a role to 
be had for some kind of central, efficient administration.
    Dr. Dixon. Sir, I would agree with you completely. I think 
that avoiding duplication is number one, but finding 
efficiencies and sharing the way that we're approaching things 
and just coming up with better solutions by working together is 
the priority that I will put in place if I'm confirmed.
    Senator King. Thank you and you're going to work with and 
for an outstanding leader. I think the team that the President 
has put in place at the Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence is outstanding.
    Mr. Monheim, you and I have talked about the role of IG as 
an incredibly important role, a very unusual role when we 
essentially hire people within the government to report on the 
malfeasance of the government. As you point out, it goes back 
to 1778, prior to the actual adoption of the Constitution with 
the Colonial Congress, Continental Congress, but particularly 
important in the Intelligence Community because it's a secret 
agency. So, I understand your commitment and I hope--. I guess 
my question is would you be willing to be fired if the 
executive didn't like the fact that you released what you 
thought was a valid and urgent whistleblower's report?
    Mr. Monheim. Thank you, Senator. I've repeatedly risked my 
life for this country and I am certainly willing to be risking 
my job for it.
    Senator King. There could not possibly be better answer. 
Thank you.
    I said that once about one of my state troopers. I said, I 
trust my life to this guy and then I said, as a matter of fact, 
I did.
    Mr. Olsen, one of the issues that I think has been brought 
to the fore by the SolarWinds attack is the fact that our very 
powerful intelligence agencies like the NSA and the CIA stop at 
the water's edge. They're not allowed to work within the United 
States. So, the SolarWinds hacker, they're based in Russia. 
They go through a server in New Jersey and all of a sudden, we 
have a gap in our coverage, if you will. I don't expect you to 
provide an answer to this, but do you believe that this is 
something that needs to be addressed? Bearing in mind that we 
don't really want to be spying on Americans, but we've also got 
to protect Americans. That's the tension inherent in the 
    Mr. Olsen. Yes, Senator. And I agree that your question 
really goes to the heart of one of the great challenges that we 
face when it comes to defending the country against 
cyberattacks. I would commend you and your colleagues for the 
work on the Solarium Commission report on cyber security. I 
think the recommendations in that report are excellent.
    And I do think you have individuals who are in office now, 
a really strong team who understands the challenge that your 
question raises. We have a great deal of authority and 
information through the work of the Intelligence Community on 
threats we face in cyber. But the private sector inside the 
United States is the primary victim of these attacks. And we 
need to bridge that divide between what the government knows 
and what the private sector faces when it comes to 
cyberattacks. I think the Justice Department and the National 
Security Division, particularly over the past few years, has 
really upped its game in supporting the work of the 
Intelligence Community and working with industry to help to 
bridge that divide. But there's certainly more work to do.
    Senator King. Thank you very much. Thanks to all of you for 
your willingness to serve in these important positions.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. Senator Bennet.
    Senator Bennet. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'll echo my 
colleague from Maine's observation about how grateful all of us 
are for your willingness to serve in these positions. I only 
have one question today.
    And Dr. Dixon, it won't surprise you to know that it's 
about space. Maintaining our superiority in space and 
protecting space as a peaceful and secure domain is critical to 
our competition with China. In its annual threat assessment 
from earlier this year, the Intelligence Community wrote, 
quote, Beijing is working to match or exceed U.S. capabilities 
in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits 
that Washington has accrued from space leadership.
    The Intelligence Committee also wrote that, quote, China 
has counter-space weapons capabilities intended to target U.S. 
and allied satellites. With respect to Russia, the U.S. Space 
Command said in December that it concluded that Russia 
conducted a test of a direct ascent anti-satellite missile 
which if tested on an actual satellite or used operationally 
could cause a large debris field that could endanger commercial 
satellites and pollute the space domain.
    You spent time at NGA, which is responsible for developing 
the requirements for geospatial intelligence space 
capabilities, including commercial imagery. Do you believe our 
processes for acquisition are keeping pace with the threat and 
with innovation and the innovation that's occurring in the 
private sector?
    How can we improve the requirements process for things like 
commercial imagery so we're effectively capturing advancements 
in innovation?
    Dr. Dixon. Senator Bennett, thank you for that question.
    Space has definitely been something that I've been spending 
much of my career on from the very beginning. A couple of 
things. I'll start at the end of your question with respect to 
working with commercial industry.
    We do need to be able to move faster than we have in the 
past. I think working with the NGA and the NRO working 
together, we have a very good understanding of both the current 
space capabilities that are out there by U.S. companies as well 
as what's coming in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing 
the role that commercial space will continue to play as we try 
to satisfy our missions. But we do need to figure out how to 
bring to bear the new capabilities that they're developing more 
efficiently and more effectively than we have in the past. It's 
not about big, large contracts of one particular vendor. It's 
about really being able to take advantage of all the 
capabilities and the diversity there.
    With respect to the other side of it, the protections in 
space also are extremely important and you mentioned some of 
the threats that we're facing now, and we do have strategic 
competitors that are trying to be better than we are in space. 
We feel that very acutely at NGA. We need to maintain that sort 
of superiority, not only in the underlying understanding of the 
science behind getting things to move around in space, but the 
capabilities that are out there and what we need to keep the 
society going We have so many dependencies on space that it 
will take all of us working together--defense, Intelligence 
Community, and really society writ large--to really be able to 
protect the capabilities and continue to leverage space in the 
way that it's in fact impacting our world in a very positive 
    Senator Bennet. I think the only thing I would add is I 
think this Committee stands ready to be helpful if we can. So, 
to the extent that you detect barriers or ways in which 
existing law is compromising our ability to come together in a 
unified way, intelligence and defense, I think people here are 
going to want to hear about that so that we can try to improve 
the ecosystem and keep that edge that we need to keep.
    So, thank you again for your willingness to serve and 
everybody else. I'm very grateful.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Vice Chairman Rubio. All right, anything else? Thank you 
for your time, and with that, this hearing is adjourned.
    [Whereupon the hearing was adjourned at 4:07 p.m.]

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