tv Book Discussion on And Then All Hell Broke Loose CSPAN May 3, 2016 12:02am-12:45am EDT
put it near the end. it all began on a dark and stormy night. it's tied to a speech i gave in 2007 after i was director of the cia to the graduating class. duquesne is my alma mater and i use that to pivot off of my pittsburgh experience and how i brought that with me to the cia. i mentioned in the book i was in america's air force before his m.a. question they didn't have a crucifix in it. wonderful, broad, culturally-based historically-based education, kind of values based from the parochial school to the catholic high school to duquesne university and of course my parents and then it was in pittsburgh which is a blue-collar town and even though it has a white-collar economy now it still has a blue-collar style of life in a blue-collar
culture. i quote an article by bernie pyle the famous world war ii correspondent before he was somebody and before the war he was traveling through the united states visiting pittsburgh pretty wrote an article which is penned -- append to the bulletin board on what we call the vernaculars in downtowns pittsburgh and he characterized the city masterfully in 19391940. this place just goes to work so that's what brought me, that's what i brought to the job in the cia. >> host: i want to leap to the subject that you deal with more than once which has dominated many aspects of our debate on intelligence in recent years here in the u.s. and that's metadata. it used to be the case back when people just wrote letters in
longhand and put stamps on them. there were something i think all the male watch which would let the government tell the post office if you see anything coming will see her going from will say we want to keep track of the address and the return address and the postscript and the date. they could do that and then presumably if they saw it getting a lot of mail from a mafia figure. it strikes me that vote on still a wind which you deal with early in the book, something that you dealt with at the beginning of your time in the nsa and with respect to snowden, there have been a lot of misunderstandings and people thinking that when you were keeping track or the government was keeping track of the outside of the envelope
whether it's a letter or an e-mail, that there also reading the message and people got very scared and worried about that. could you help clear up what's going on? >> guest: there's so much to be said about that in jim muir right the public got stampeded into what i call the darkest corner the rim after the story came out. i blame a lot about on how some of the press covered it. frankly we should embrace a little bit of that responsibility ourselves. we could have been more forthcoming to pre-snowden and should have been far more agile post-snowden telling our story and explaining what it was we were doing but to look at the essential as you describe metadata is literally the outside of the employ up for electronic communication. as you said american law enforcement traditionally has been able to look at the outside of the envelope. the supreme court decided that the fact of your phonecall, who
you called, when and for how long also was essentially the outside of the envelope and a very fundamental case in 1979 for this stash smith versus maryland the court court held by decree just like the outside of the envelope telephonic metadata had no expectation of privacy and therefore was not constitutionally protected area so, when we gathered all of that data in after 9/11, to be fair commerce and limited access to metadata in the fisa act the foreign intelligence surveillance act but it was not constitutionally limited. it was limited by statute and after 9/11 the president using his article to commander-in-chief authority decided that to the degree fisa statute stopped the commander-in-chief from doing
that, fisa statute had to be unconstitutional because it was limiting his inherent -- and by the way that stood up. that has stood up in court on two occasions. the fisa appellate court said we take it as a given so we gathered the data. now i think constitutionally we could have gone long with it but out of respect for american privacy we didn't. we gathered the data, we put it into for lack of a better term a lot locks were it would just lie there fellow and we didn't try to create relationships. we didn't run the algorithm's against it or anything which frankly is common practice in business. all we did jim was when we got knowledge of what we call the dirty number we enrolled someone in a safe house in yemen, we had never seen this phone before, this phone is really worrisome. i wonder if that phone has ever called the united states.
sounding a little cartoonish here, we get to go to the transit and say hey anybody in here talk to this phone in yemen and we are in new york. the number the vault raises its hand and says well once a week or he then we get to say who did you talk and gem i have now completed my explanation of the metadata program. that's all we did. now, there is kind of the nervousness out there among the far right in the far left in the political spectrum. i don't care whether you use it or not, i just don't want the government having the ability to use it. >> host: no good deed goes unpunished and had the pleasure authorities to there'll to make legal possibility you might have gotten less of an angry reaction. i don't know. >> guest: may be, yap. to give you an amadou --
antidote -- anecdote. you don't understand how powerful metadata is. you can read relationships then he goes on and on and on. that's all true eric but we don't do that. all we get to do is say if any of those numbers, call that one. >> guest: no one said a metal ball that the google or amazon along with the other companies that manage data know a lot more about you and what you buy and what sites you visit and so forth than the u.s. government does. >> guest: there are a lot of folks that should know better. we take consistently even after someone tried to explain this to them would say consistently and then if they really get interested in who is called that number they can simply click on that number and get the contents of the call.
my explanation to that is that's not only a violation of a lawsuit that's a violation of the laws of physics. you can't do that. it's not physically possible. post to let me turn you to another simple easy-going subject, waterboarding. i have been in many discussions about this and i'm curious as to your views and you make them largely clear but not especially clear in the book. our navy s.e.a.l.s and our special forces, many of them, perhaps most are waterboarded as part of their training. >> guest: they are as our whole bunch of american airmen. >> host: there is bad and then there is also the case that some journalists and authors had themselves waterboarded so they could write that her articles
for magazines and so forth. now, the test for torture is not simple and clear, but i don't know if any other things called torture by anybody such as putting bamboo shoots under one's fingernails that is done by journalist to see what it's like or that is done as part of our navy s.e.a.l.s training. there's got to be something a bit different about waterboarding which might put it in the same category as for some purposes that you put i think sleep deprivation and two which was in some difficult circumstances is a potential payoff in saving lives could be substantial you would limit sums of ability to sleep terror suspect or person or whatever. do you think of waterboarding in the same way or not? >> guest: i do in a sense must
make caveat that before again into some specifics. you are right they treat this in some depth in the book, not because i want to self justify pre-frankly although waterboarding was done here before i came to the agency but to create an historical record. i did that to the best of my ability in the book and you are right ready to make the distinction that there are some things that everyone agrees are always wrong. you can't do under any circumstance. then you have got some things over here that no one has any guess about than you have this body of steps in the middle and to be perfectly -- it's on the edge. so what i say and i repeat in the book is that to judge whether or not waterboarding is ethical, moral, legal, appropriate you need to understand the totality of the circumstances in which you find
yourself and even once you have digested the totality of the circumstances on the. >> and really differ. i was part of the demonstrations we took waterboarding off the table but that's because i had different circumstances than george tenet had. i had more penetration with al qaeda. i had that her knowledge of the threat profile. i is we have more legal restrictions. congress had acted taken some steps -- steps so i removed it but that was no judgment on what had been going on before. when people ask what would you have done and my answers from a heart in her repeat this. my answer is i think god i never had to make that decision and for those who work with to criticize they may want to thank god too that someone else step up to make a tough call. >> host: which is kind of what some aspects of intelligence are about, making decisions that nobody also make it.
>> guest: and an infinite array area jim as you know. plus he'll let me ask about khalid sheikh mohammed because there was a dispute ongoing as opposed about whether or not he being the only person who was waterboarded a substantial number of times, whether or not waterboarding of him produced information from him that did in fact help lead us to bin laden's career or to bin laden. what is your view on that? >> guest: it would be really nice to have this golden thread, whoa it's so obvious. you have been in the same office i have worked didn't jim. there are threads but there are hundreds if not absence of threads that are really good in a fabric bag 82 or you really want to be.
so let's hit a couple of data points. it wasn't waterboarding, it was sleep deprivation. we did use waterboarding but at the end of the day it was one or the other of the techniques. now having said that there's a difference and khalid sheikh mohammed before and after they be i.t., enhanced interrogation techniques. this was totally defiant. this was more cooperation. he didn't turn into a boy scout or patriotic democrat but he was more cooperated over here and in fact gave us large volumes of information including information that helps us on the courier. does this begat that, doesn't work that way but jim this is the way i explained it in the book and from the bottom of my heart. i cannot imagine any operation like what happened in abbottabad taking place and not rely on that shoppers food warehouse of information we got from those
100 plus detainees. it was like an encyclopedia of qaeda and now --. >> host: and now with the ease of once you find them what to point out is very hard but once you find the terrorist to be able to kill him with say a hellfire missile from a drone on the afghan pakistani border, that is something that still is doable technologically for us now in ways that it hasn't really ever been before and as a result we have killed a lot of people, that if we captured them we might get a good deal of information from them but we can't get information from them if we can't sometimes use enhanced interrogation methods
or at least something that is not over the border but on the tough side of the spectrum that you describe. i have characterized this in the past is treating terrorists like trout in certain streams, catch and release. you catch and hold them for a while, don't do anything and you can't get information and release them. >> guest: we haven't done quite the catch and release but i will offer you this. we have made it so legally difficult and politically dangerous to capture and hold someone that we have seen. now jim if we had our successor john in here, no, no we are still in the capturing business. we operate if we have a chance and so on. if you just look at the numbers,
since january of 2009 i probably have more fingers appeared than we have people that we have captured and held for american interrogation. >> host: do you think that's in part because where it attending the world's of criminal law criminal justice applied to what we are supposed to do with respect to terrorists or ignoring the fact that we are at war with terrorist groups? >> guest: that's one of the things i really try to emphasize because in the public debate you kind of have got this default option that if you are not treating them as you would in the criminal justice system than you are acting in a law this way and what i tried to point out stop, stop, stop we have multiple legal structures under which we can operate. in the criminal justice system which is very useful and don't give that up but you've also got the laws of armed conflict and
you have to presence in the conversation we are at war with these people and therefore if we choose, if that gives us more potency we can operate any particular operation under the laws of armed conflict, not under the laws of criminal justice. >> one more easily characterize in simple terms, weapons of mass destruction. i'm particularly curious about why we got into the habit of talking about wmd were weapons of mass destruction is that attacking that each weapon independently because one produces biological weapons in a very different way. you can turn them into powder. you can have huge volumes that once they are liquid in powdered form in the backseat of a volkswagen. chemical weapons are manufactured completely differently of course then the nuclear weapon and people get
confused when talking about wmd but the government has never tried to make this clear. why? >> guest: one of the underlying teams that i have tried to address is despite your inclination in mind that we are the secret security service here , we are looking after well fire. first of all it never worked in the really does work in today's society. they're such a high demand for transparency so if our successor continued to do what we did then the cost of doing business is more transparency. your question jim, that's just not tending to the change of political culture. there may be actually real benefit to that because you are actually telling the brick and people precisely what it is you are concerned and you are exactly right. let me parse out how we look at wmd with regard to terrorism for example. we have always said chemical
while nuclear disbursal nuclear detonation by just giving them an order probability. wmd, well you know as well as i we parsed it much more tightly inside the business and you know the american people are pretty smart. they can get that explanation. >> host: one thing that you put in the book which is the first time i've seen it work like this, it is very important which is if one is enriching uranium up to level 20% which is what you need for some medical uses, you have done about 90% of the work necessary to get it to weapons-grade. it's not a straight curve. i think there is a lot of misunderstanding about that. people being relatively relaxed
about iran having let's say some 20% enriched one time or another during the debate going back over the years. but that's another subject that has never really been clearly explained effectively to the public and to journalists or if it has been explained people don't pick it up. i try to bare my soul about the iranian question. i am uncomfortable with the joint conference of plan of action, the nuclear deal. i end a chapter saying something along the line of i don't think we would bought this deal, it's not like we have a better idea either so this has been a problem. >> host: the better idea might be to skip the sanctions. >> guest: i understand but i'm trying to suggest this is a very very difficult process for us to deal with. and one last.
>> host: one last -- >> guest: by the way on this aromatic progression thing one of the reasons i'm uncomfortable with the iranian nuclear deal is it that works, if it does everything we wanted to do and no one cheats will they cheat, of course they will cheat. will they cheat in a way that matters? maybe not because jim they just wait 10 years. there'll be an industrial-strength nuclear power never more than a few weeks away with enough fissile material for a weapon. >> host: let me ask a set of questions that people always ask me and i imagine they ask you, which are your favorites. spy novels, spy movies, whether or not any of the movies really have anything to do with reality and if there is something that has to do with reality and i
will offer an example that is in the espionage world, it's often hard to find that there was a film several years ago, german film called the lies of others about germany in the 1980s before the war was won. >> guest: electronic surveillance. >> host: as far as i am concerned it is good at getting about what really happens in intelligence from battle scenes and so forth. >> guest: one of the reasons i wrote was to actually pull the veil back and let people see into the nature of their own security services. i mentioned in there something about, then around the world and never met jack bauer. never even met jack ryan.
and so although there is truth in fiction as you know and you and i talked about it, i want to show a little bit of reality. taking that and now moving into the realm of fiction number one the best written piece on cia i think is actually david ignatius ' first article ages of innocence. it was reviewed on the cia web site which is very unusual and i still remember one of the lines. ages of innocence is a novel. it's based on robert ames. >> host: and no relation to the other, the farthest thing possible. opera aims was a remarkable officer and station chief and david slightly but people knew him and when he was killed in
the embassy was blown up, it's not exactly a biography but it's close and i completely agree with you it really does give you a feel for what it's like to be an officer. >> host: i teach at george mason. i talk about covert action but i can't talk much about covert action. that's prose. in a more visual medium, one his homeland, okay? here is my short summary of homeland. everything in the foreground, if you have us cell phone at langley someone will pull aside term on your but the background. but session, focus, mission. it rings really true and that made all of "zero dark thirty" the abbottabad raid. my line there is there are many things in their that are physically correct but are not
factually correct. i actually touched upon this in the book. they say for example there is a straight line in the movie between enhanced interrogation and getting to abbottabad raid in the movie it's like this. in real life they were connected but it wasn't like this. it's like this. the first 20 minutes of the movie are alleged cia interrogations impotently over-the-top. that said we weren't very nice to couple dozen people so artistically correct, not factually accurate in the me have my f. who is into heroin. it was a team effort. it wasn't an individual effort but again artistically correct versus factually correct. i will tell you the team that got bin laden they were comprised of women looking at
that problem before chasing bin laden was cool for the rest of the agency. >> host: on the terry -- interrogation at least in terms of literature, let me ask you this. as you and i know and a lot of other people know too of course the cia girl out of the military organization and as a result of that heritage it is the full-time employees of the cia who operate particularly overseas and are called officers and not agents. cia officers recruit agents inside al qaeda. fbi agents recruit informants inside al qaeda. it's actually insider code that i use personally.
taught to lie cheek to and steel and then recur to but i have had difficulty of people to depart from political correctness. >> you're talking about officers? for what we really do officers in the intelligence service. that is one reason why a man to be special forces but some of us know of a little bit and with that
but the way you describe is the incredibly difficult moral burden attack drug going down for graduation for a trading course and talking to the graduates and telling them about this moral responsibility i city will cultivate sources when they agree to cooperate they are placing their fate in the state of their families in your hands you may be only face of america these people ever see never forget your moral responsibility that you have been braced by recruiting this person. so we can make mistakes because we always operate under low probability shots ahead we can see and that but we cannot stay and
dishonesty if you have an officer that is not totally candid -- candid you have no use for them. >> it is a demanding profession. turning to iraq, you vividly said it was $0.84 of your focus at one time. >> actually the president-elect, it focuses on iraq? actually asked. [laughter] and i am describing this meeting in chicago. 80% mr. president. mr. president-elect. >>. >> and then the focus of the counterterrorism. >> what is your priorities here? did i would respond it is
like alphabet soup. counterterrorism, counter proliferation, rest of the world that is why a happy description. because they were so demanding but those that have distinguished themselves to be the number one terrorist sponsor. and as sanders did it to recommend to not just tolerate. >> is important for people to understand with respect
to the issue of whether a rand was a war was not in the process of reacting to iraq or under the process to build itself in such a way and he was worried about iran and one new reports suggest the interrogation of him a very effective interrogation indicated he did no longer have that. and did everything they
could to convince the world for the iranians. so one of the things that i stress with terrorism a and iran. with terrorism a and iran. into asked me to kinds of questions. how much have they enriched? and the other question with the incident of the chapter there. i always wanted those nuclear questions.
and that president bush was a little impatient and then to show some aigrette couple of times. number three is a closed society free of tens of millions of americans going back and forth every summer. indebted say tough nut to crack. with good services. >> turning to the new york police department you had a fascinating relationship with them for most americans with the sea a?
to operate. but if you go someplace where they don't normally go to seattle comeback from myanmar to chat with somebody that is not compensated. but it is everything overseas. in this is part of though legal ambiguity we don't like what is lawful or not but it with the security in in the though liberty in
domestic over here law enforcement over here. and then write down the sea and. right between foreign and domestic. so i tell the tale at of moral responsibility we had to close that. those with the intelligence service and in addition we think of new york has been a special case. certainly it is always of america it is truly international city law% population was not born -- one-third of the population was not boarded.
it is more than twice as large does chicago which is even larger them los angeles. so under we are bloomberg they had very aggressive intelligence program that we thought it was within our responsibilities to support a tight liaison relationship to see that maas crawling. but this is a special case. knowing that york was the special targets but he points out.
became - - before you became director with the case officer the one that had wrongly identified tell us what happened but it is your credit how you handle that. >> when it happened i thought it was an easy decision now looking back to think it is an easy decision but with the moral dilemma or pressure.
and as a director you are responsible for the overall health of the agency in the success of the mission. so to create a false positive i will be teaching every analyst the one thing they have to make sure to avoid is a false positive. and to have more true positives because if i skip over true positive but how