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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 1, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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>> the president, the vice president, the chief of staff, the national security advisor, the dni, director of national intelligence. that was the core. then it would be supplemented on wednesday and tuesday and thursday, as i described, with other actors. but that was the core group of people. that were in the room. david, have i missed anybody? got it? >> negative response from addington. >> david addington's back there. he's going to correct me as i go. he's the repository of all the stuff. >> did you know personally governor bush? did you know him when he was running? when did you first meet president george w. bush? >> i was -- it was in the campaign period, probably late 1998, early 1999. i was asked by condi rice and paul wolfowitz to come down to sit in on a meeting and brief then-governor bush. that's how i got started to know him.
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and i made a big mistake in my first meeting. he schooled me a little bit. we were talking about a speech he was going to give on defense. he wanted to talk about how to revise and reform defense. i told him, well, you better not get into the details, governor, because there are a lot of experts who will then show the world that you don't know what you're talking about. he said, who are you, anyway? he said, you don't understand what elections are about. do you? i said no, i guess i don't, governor. he said, if i want to reform the pentagon, and i don't say anything about it in the campaign, i get elected and i go to the joint chiefs and say we're going to reform the pentagon, they're going to say who is this guy? he'll be gone in four years. but if i campaign on it and i come in with a mandate to reform the pentagon, i go in to the chiefs and i say the people have spoken, that's a different
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matter all together. so, you know, know your candidate before you meet him and sit down with him and don't step in the potholes. but if you do, you can still survive. that's the lesson with that. >> obviously, over time you develop a chemistry with the president you serve and as the deputy national security advisor, as national security advisor. you spent a lot of time with the president. i take it that, like any other human interaction, you got to learn how to read the president, just like you do with a close friend or whatnot. how did your relationship with the president develop? i mean, you started off in a sort of ignominious fashion by making a mistake when he was thinking about running. how did you come into the fold to eventually become the deputy national security advisor? >> condi rice asked me to serve that role. there was a group of people that was called the valkans. it was a group of about ten of
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us, headed by paul wolfowitz and condi rice. and we spent a lot of time on the phone and in meetings and developing positions for the candidate. i got to know -- i had known condi before from bush 41. i worked for paul wolfowitz for in bush 41. they asked me to be a part of the team, and i was delighted to do it. and when it looked like the president was going to be president, condi called me up and said, well, if this comes through, i'd like you to be deputy national security advisor. if it doesn't, you can go back to practicing law. so there it was. >> talk with us, if you could, about how your role as the national security advisor changed over time. you're serving as the deputy for a period of years. you obviously evolve over time and grow in your role. then you're tapped to be the national security adviser. talk about your development over time and how that relationship with the president evolved over time. >> so, one of the things that's
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interesting is that i had a very close relationship with condi rice when she was national security advisor and i was deputy national security advisor, and i would have told you i knew very clearly what her job was and what she did with her time because i was literally in an office that was five steps from her office. i saw her go in and out. we would talk 15, 20 times a day. and i realized when i became national security advisor, i had really no real conception of how she had spent her time. what i didn't realize was how much time the national security advisor spends with the president. under the pace in our administration, as josh bolten, chief of staff, and i would show up at 7:05 in the morning in the oval office talking to the president about what had happened overnight and what we were doing in the course of the day. and some days you'd be then continuously with the president until 10:00 or 10:30 when you
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got through national security nsc briefings. you got through morning phone calls and the like. if you were going to an nsc meeting, you then go down to the situation room. you may not get done with the president of the united states until 12:00 or 12:30. that's a long time with the president of the united states. and this was a president who wanted to know what was going on so you would get calls couple times in the afternoon. what's going on? what do i need to know? so one of the things is the relationship between the national security advisor and the president becomes a very close one. and you have -- if you're doing it right you have a lot of credibility. and it is one of the things that puts a big burden on the national security advisor because if you -- you can use that proximity to undermine and discredit the cabinet secretaries if you want to. i can give you examples of how you do that. and you can also use that proximity to put your finger on
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the scales and take what should be an open, transparent process, put your fingers on the scales and push to a particular outcome. and i think a national security advisor has to be aware of those temptations and resist them. and that's what president bush basically said. and very briefly, the only thing he said when he asked me to be national security advisor -- i told him i thought it was a mistake. there were a lot of people who would better do the job than i. but it is one of the few arguments i lost with the president. when you get in that position, only thing he said to me, was i want you to be an honest broker. i interpreted that that he wanted a process that is transparent, in which the cabinet secretaries would be full participants, and the vice president would be full participant. they would have access to him. they would be able to express their views to him, and it would
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be a balanced way with a full set of views available. not tilted by the national security advisor. the president would make his decision. that's the burden i think that the national security add vidser comes with it. >> let's play out a hypothetical here. secretary of defense wants to talk to the president about topic "a." secretary of state wants to talk to the president about topic "a." you obviously figured out what their positions are somehow. they're different. do you as the national security advisor try to resolve that first and foremost? as they say in the military, try to resolve problems at the lowest possible level. or, do you eventually make a value judgment that actually these have to be teed up to the president? give us a hypothetical answer to that type of question. >> it's a great question. and i think it is one of the things that the president has to decide, what kind of nsc process they want. and he needs to be explicit
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about it because i think early on, there is a tendency, and there certainly was in the bush administration, i think, to try to, well, when the president says to the national security advisor, i have a problem, and the national security advisor will say, well, let me get the principals together and we'll come up with a recommendation for you. there is a tendency then to try to force a consensus. i think there was a lot of discussion in the first term about whether condi was knocking heads to force a consensus. she was a powerful figure known and close to the president. i became national security advisor. the national security press pool came in and basically first person raised their hand and said, if condi rice, with her close access to the president and her strong personality, wasn't able to knock heads and force a consensus, how are you, wimpy steve hadley, going to do it? and i -- you know, and how are you going to manage these 600-pound gorillas. i said i don't have any
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intention of knocking heads among 600-pound gorilla because i got a 1,200-pound gorilla 47 steps down that hall who loves to make decisions. and so we're going to have a good airing of the issue among the principals, and then we're going to go down the hall and in various forms we're going to put it to the president. the president is going to decide. i think that is the preferable model and it is easier to do in a second term because in a second term a president has been through a couple crises, knows all the world leaders, knows what they think. it's harder to do in the first term, particularly if you have a president who is not familiar with the national security issues and there may be a tendency by a president to, well, we'll see what the consensus. i think you need to err on the side of bringing issues to the president. >> at the risk of playing lawyer and cross examining you just for a second, you did an interview on the council of foreign relations talking about this
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issue back on july 29, 2014. you said, only the most important issues are the ones -- you say, the ones that are the most important have the most interagency aspects are the ones that get to the white house. talk more about that. >> if you think about what should the national security staff be doing, i would say its purpose of the national security -- remember, there's national security advisor. there's national security council, which is the president, vice president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, various other folks. there is the national security staff, couple hundred people to support the president. then there is these inner agency committees at various levels. what would do things. what's the whole purpose of that? i think it is three purposes. one, particularly for the nsc staff to support the president in their unique role in foreign
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policy, help write his speeches, help brief him for meetings, help prepare his trips. give him briefing memos. secondly, it's to be the advocate for the president's initiatives within the government as a whole. because if the nsc staff doesn't advocate the president's initiatives, no one else is going to. finally, it is to take those issues that require various agencies to work together and accomplish that coordination function. that word coordination is in the -- if you're sucking up to the white house for white house review issues that the province of a single agency, stop. don't substitute the white house staff for the line responsibilities of your cabinet secretaries. that's why i say it is the inner agency things. it's things that require coordination or that are
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important issues and issues for the president, or these kind of transcending issues of war and peace. those are what ought go to the president. that's what the staff ought to be spending their time. >> you described in an interview with chris wallace that you saw your job as "to work a little bit offstage." is that what you're talking about in terms of the way you approached your role? >> i think it's -- right. because if you think about it, the national security advisor is not senate confirmed and doesn't go testify before the congress. why is that? that was an issue that was litigated in 1987 under the tower commission report which is, remember, the result of the disclosure that arms were being basically traded for hostages with iran. and the reason it is structured
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that way is so that the national security advisor and nsc staff are completely independent of congress and are part of the executive branch and enable the president to carry out his or her roles in confidence. if the national security advisor then starts talking publicly and acting like a surrogate secretary of state, and particularly if they start doing operations out of the white house, which is a very dangerous matter, congress of the united states can rightfully say foul. if you've got a substitute secretary of state they should be senate confirmed. they should testify. so i think the national security advisor needs to be off stage, needs to be reinforcing the authority of the cabinet secretaries, both publicly and with the president. and when the national security advisor talks publicly, he or she should never say, i think. it's always the president has
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said and the president's view is. because your authority comes simply from the fact that you work for the president. you don't have an independent power base for senate confirmation. it is i think very important that the national security advisor redpects that. >> let's switch focus slightly to the nsa. what is the role of the nsa from the perspective of the national security advisor? >> so you have two functions. one is the honest broker function. you're running this inner agency process and bringing matters to the president for decision in this open and transparent way. then once a decision is made, you need to make sure that it is actually being executed by the agencies. that's your honest broker transparent role. put that aside, you're also an advisor and counselor to the president.
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and that's a tricky role because you've got to balance that with your requirement to run a transparent process in which everyone participates and the way i did it in my own case was the following. i would never express my views in a large meeting. when the nsc meetings would occur, i would not express a substantive view, and i would sit in those meetings in such a way so i could watch everybody else and watch the president's interaction with people. and my job, i thought, was to make sure that that meeting produced all the information that the president needed and so that he got a good view of the views of his principals. but it wasn't for me to express my views. and i would do that one-on-one with the president in confidence, and i would not talk with others about what my views were. but i did do one thing. in meetings with my national
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security colleagues, i would not tell them what i was going to advise the president, but i would tell them very clearly where i was leaning and how i viewed the issue. so that they would know that was probably going to be what i was telling the president. and if they disagreed, vice president and the other nsc principals would have an opportunity to put that out in their briefing. that's how i tried to balance the roles between honest broker but also confidential advisor to the president. >> as we prepared for this discussion we talked about this division of time. i can just tell you, i was thinking of the first time you and i met when i came over to the white house and i remember the first thing you said is, the president thinks we should x, y and z. i never heard steve hadley think, i think, or i think
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about or i think it would be nice if you did. one of the things we discussed was, in retrospect, now that you've had many years back out in the private sector, what things would you have done differently as -- none of us does our job perfectly. we all try our best and keep plodding forward. but what would you have done differently if you had a chance to have done it all over again with all the circumstances being the same? >> one of the things i think, i -- we all come in with limitations from our own experience. and i spent very little time with the congress in my career. and i think that was a limitation. i don't think i was creative enough -- and it is risky. i don't think we were creative enough in using the congress in our diplomacy. what do i mean by that? when a congressional delegation would be going out, inviting
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them to come in, talk about the countries they were going to, suggesting some messages that would be useful for the country if they would then deliver. and then when the trip was over, ask him to come in and brief me on what they heard so i could pass that on to the president or better yet, have a session where they could sit down with the president. you have a tendency to sort of let congressional relations handle congress, and i think i should have been more active. i did a lot of briefing to the congress but i don't think i was really thinking about how to use the congress affirmatively to advance the foreign policy of the united states. >> let's switch focus again to intelligence assessments and the president. let's say the intelligence community says "x" about a certain topic and that's their reasoned judgment. how much did president bush push back, and why might a president push back?
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>> well, my sense is and there are a lot of people here can talk about this. but the intelligence community i think puts a lot of weight on what is the judgment of the intelligence community. the intelligence community assesses that x, y and z, or its judge something x been y and z. particularly once a president has been in office for a while, presidents i think are less concerned about what their bottom line judgment is and more what is it they know and how do they know it and what don't you they know. and i think that's the grist of the interaction between the president and the intelligence analysts. because in the end of the day, particularly a second-term president, they'll make their own judgments.
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so i think the interaction really weighs heavily on what do they know and how do they know it. second of all, there is a phenomenon that comes in and there would be briefers who would come in and brief an intelligence report and the report would go something like this. a reliable source who works next to someone who reports to a third level position in the iraqi government says that maliki will not agree to the agreement that would allow us to keep forces in iraq after 2008. this is briefed to the president of the united states. and the president says, i just talked to malaki on a secure video yesterday. we talked about this very issue, and he says he wants the agreement. so one of the problems in some sense -- and it is a dilemma that david shead and i tried to fix and we never really fixed, there's a lot of intelligence. there's intelligence coming from the intelligence community.
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there's intelligence being gathered by the united states and the vice president of the united states and that isn't shared down to the analyst. so you're putting the analyst in a very difficult position because the analysts are dealing with all these various sources and doesn't know the intelligence that the president of the united states is gaining from his direct interactions with his other heads of state. we never fixed that problem. if you make someone play a card game and you don't give them half the deck, it is not going to be as productive an enterprise. >> in one sense when we talked to prepare for this, we talked about how, obviously, the intelligence agencies and influence the president, but the president also influences
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the various agencies as well, by his questions, et cetera. put more words around that. because i think people miss the fact that the president is a person and presidents tend to be inquisitive or push back for various reasons. how does that shape or influence the intelligence community? >> again, other analysts can answer this but my -- when the briefers of the various principals take the presidents' daily briefing, brief the president, vice president, national security advisor, various cabinet secretaries, i'm told that at the end of the day they all kind of get together and they talk about what they learned and what questions were raised by the president and vice president, various principals. presumably that causes them to actually do a little bit more digging. secondly, presidents can ask for information. i remember in one instance a briefer said, well, in iran there are 80 families that control really everything. really make all the decisions. in iran. president said, oh, really? so bring me a list. well, took a couple weeks. and a list came back and there were 86. he said, great.
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now give me a list of all the contacts of these 86 families with the united states. i want to know the businesses they own here. i want to know bank accounts they own here. i want to know where their children are going to college. i want to know what real estate they have here because he was thinking about the potential pressure points on these folks. that's a big lift. the intelligence community never came back with that list. so one of the things the president can do is he can task things. then the third thing is, when there is something that people believe is an intelligence failure, he can set up a commission. he did that after 9/11. we did it after the iraq wmd. to take a hard look at what happened, come out with recommendations in order to try to help the intelligence community improve its performance. but it is a dynamic and interact relationship if it's a healthy relationship. >> i'm not going to tell my kids that even the cia doesn't do their homework assignments. none of you parents out there --
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let your kids see a portion of this program. >> there were a couple incompletes. >> let's jump into some of the myths about the nsa and the nsc process that you and i talked about before. one is that the nsc makes decisions or the nsa and cabinet officer, or that competition and conflict between the nsa and secretary of state is inevitable. pick up on any of those myths that you want to debunk. >> sure. i will try. you'll have to remind me because i can never remember more than two or three things at a time. but in 19 -- february of 1987, we issued a report out of the tower commission which reviewed the arms for hostage activity under the reagan administration. what turned out to happen was the nsc was running on behalf of the cia intelligence operations
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with respect to iran. that's a very dangerous thing to do. out of the white house. it's not -- it's not what the nsc is supposed to do. it does not have the competence. operations get done by the military or by the intelligence community. and it was one of the things that really was at the center of that tower commission report. you do not do operations out of the white house. very dangerous. we talked about the national security advisor not a cabinet agency, not confirmed by the senate, doesn't testify before congress, and therefore, has to be self-limiting as to their role. which is the way you avoid the conflict with the secretary of state. if the national security adviser is operating mostly off stage and behind the scenes and lets the secretary of state be the face of the foreign policy of the administration to the
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american people and to the world. that is the right relationship. again, when the national security advisor does come forward, national security advisor ought to be speaking in the name of the president and only the president. that's their protection. finally, national security advisor, as i said early on, can undermine cabinet secretaries. i'll give you the easiest example. so you get up at 4:30 in the morning, and you're in your office at 5:30 in the morning. you're looking at the newspapers, and you see there is a leak on the front page of the "washington post." out of the state department. now there are two ways you can handle it. you can wait. you can go in to the president at 7:05 and say, mr. president, i'm sure you saw the front page of the "washington post" today. there's a leak out of the state department. i told condi rice she has to get her hands on that building.
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but don't worry, mr. president, i'll call her up and i'll fix it for you. now that's a prescription to make yourself look good and the secretary of state look bad. that is not, i would say, the recommended practice. the recommended practice is that you call condi rice at 5:30 and she will be on her elliptical because she worked out at 5:30. she'd pick up the phone out of breath and i'd say have you seen the "the washington post" today? she'd say no. i said take a look at the front page, there is a leak. call me back. she'd call back 20 minutes later. yeah, i saw it. here is how it happened, here is what i am doing about it. then she would say do you want to tell the president or shall i? i would generally say why don't you call the president at 7:05? when she comes in and tell him what you're doing about it. so then you come in and see the president at 7:15. not 7:05. you walk in, the president is on the phone. he puts his hand over the receiver says, i'm talking to condi. it's about the leak this morning.
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and you don't say, i know, mr. president. i told her to call you. which again makes you look good. your job is to encourage the president to have confidence in their cabinet secretaries until the point when the cabinet secretary is not able to do their job. and then you've got to go in to the president and say, mr. president, we have a problem. >> how do you know that? how do you know they're not able to do their job? there is no course you took in college or in law school, you didn't read a book about how to be the national security advisor, the golden rule book. i mean, i take it from your life's experience, you were assistant secretary of defense in the george h.w. bush administration. put more words around that. how do you know that? >> these are very tough jobs. no one -- i don't think people appreciate how difficult and demanding these jobs are. when someone's drowning in a job, it becomes pretty apparent. it becomes pretty apparent. and the truth is, it is probably going to be apparent to the president. in some sense what you're doing
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is you're telling the president something that the president already knows. and the other thing i would say is, the national security advisor is not the only voice. i mean, one of the things i think somebody like vice president cheney did for president bush, vice president cheney had been a cabinet secretary, been a white house chief of staff, been up on the hill, wide experience. you know, that -- when the two of them would have a lunch the president could say to the vice president, how's so and so doing? and that would be the kind of conversation on those issues would be raised, as well. >> so, i, in my time at the pentagon, came over to the white house a bunch of times with secretary rumsfeld as plus-one or deputy secretary of defense gordon england as the plus-one. the additional person at the table for those of you who haven't had to do that yet. those are principals meetings and deputies meetings.
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talk to us about -- there is a lot of policy making that goes on behind the scenes in interagency. in preparing for principals' meetings, how do you go about getting the full intelligence picture to prepare for that meeting? and what role does the president play in those principals meetings? >> so one of the things we would try to do, as i mentioned, is if there was a principals meeting come up -- principals basically meeting was all the cabinet secretaries and the vice president with the national security advisor and the chair, meeting without the president. and the way a principals committee then becomes a nsc or national security council meeting is it's the same cast of characters with the president present. so in some sense, principals committees are opportunities to work through issues and get all the issues on the table and
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prepare to go to the president. what we would try to do is when there was an nsc meeting, we would, as i say, try to have the presidents' daily brief provide relevant intelligence on the morning of or the day before an nsc meeting that was going to address the issue of kosovo or something like that. and then, secondly, most nsc meetings would begin with the president turning to the director of national intelligence, the director of cia, and saying, today's subject is -- let's have an initial scene setter from an intelligence person. i would do that in the principals' committees meetings. a cia person or someone else from the intelligence committee would stand up and frame the issue in terms of what we knew of the intelligence, of what was happening on the ground. thirdly, when you got into the policy discussion, and even though the director of national
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intelligence or the director of cia was not supposed to do policy, i would usually invite george tenet, for example, to give us his view about what the policy issue was. he would, of course, say, i'm director of cia and cia doesn't do policy. but if you ask my view. because i always thought that was helpful. i think that's kind of the input. michael, have i missed something? >> he's shaking his head no. in one of the panels this morning they discussed at length overseas collection of intelligence. they talked about it in various contexts, but they also talked about it in the context of section 702 which expires next year and hopefully will be reauthorized. how valuable is information about foreign leaders to the president? and what role does positive
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foreign intelligence play in the run-up to those types of bilateral or multi-lateral meetings? >> so usually when the president would meet with a foreign leader or go on a trip, there would be kind of a one or two-page cia document that would talk about the foreign leader. those are helpful particularly for a new president who hasn't met the leaders. when you get to a second-term president, you spend a lot of time with the leaders. it is probably a lot less important. secondly, my sense of what would be useful for the president -- these are political leaders. these are political animals that become president of the united states, and they're dealing with political leaders. and one of the questions they always has is, what are the political problems that the leader i'm going to meet with, what political issues are they working with and what are their constraints?
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and i -- the president i worked for i think was always interested in that piece. i don't recall -- and others can comment -- i don't recall us getting an ah-ha, you know, that the intelligence community would say that leader "x" is going to raise issue "y," and we're suddenly surprised that that's the issue. maybe that happened on occasion. i think generally the policy community kind of knew in advance what issues were going to come. you would occasionally see stuff about the health or peccadillos of a certain leader and i thought that was useful. usually that turned out not to be right. >> did the president ever get mad at you? >> yeah. yeah. >> don't to want say any more about that? >> well, we -- i -- early in my tenure we were getting him ready for a speech. there was one issue we hadn't resolved. i thought, we'll get it resolved, we'll have a page, put
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it into the speech. kind of like at the last minute. well, that's not how president bush wanted his speeches prepared. and we walked in and he said, you guys didn't get this agreed. let me show you where that is going to go in the speech. and he flipped it through and he came to a blank page. and he said, that's because you guys didn't do your job in a timely fashion. and this is not going to happen again. you read me? i said, yes, mr. president, loud and clear. and it did not happen again. >> two more questions and then i want to open it up, if you don't mind, to questions from our distinguished audience. given your years of government service, including several transitions, what advice can you give the incoming new national security adviser in terms of
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structure, lessons learned, things to avoid or how best to serve his or her boss? >> so, i give them in some sense to the national security adviser and the president. you know, one of the things i would say to the president is, your nsc is a -- it's a team sport. and, you know, one of the considerations -- two of the considerations and the people you ask to serve on your national security council and in your senior cabinet positions, one, it's good if you know them and they have your confidence because, particularly, i think historically the state department has sort of disappointed a lot of presidents. it's very helpful if the president has a strong relationship with their cabinet secretary. secondly, it is a team sport. select people who know one another, have each other's
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confidence and can work together. and i would say in the -- you know, for me, you know, i had worked for vice president cheney for four years. i had known bob gates for 40 years. i had known condi for 20 years. you know, you have a comfort with people, and you have confidence with them, and there's a presumption of good faith. and it really helps things get done. secondly, and i'd say the president, and i'd say the national security adviser, the inner agency process in the nsc is the president's -- the president has to take responsibility for it. if it's not working and it's dysfunctional, the president needs to fix it because nobody else is going to be able to fix it for him. thirdly, i think i would say to them, yes, get consensus, if you
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can, on lower level issues among the principals but take it to the president as a check because the president may not agree with the consensus. again, the national security council does not make decisions. it prepares decisions for the president to make. that's who the country has elected to make decisions. so, yes, work on consensus on lower level issues but bring the consensus to the president. and on the big issues, bring him or bring her options and let's have the president make the decision. i think that's the way the system works best. and one other i would say that's very important, there are kind of two ways of doing business in the white house in my experience. one is kind of how domestic policy tends to get done, which is a very white house staff centric process. the white house staff tends to get some ideas together, goes to the president. the president says, i like that one. and then it's kind of brought to
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the cabinet secretaries in the sense of there's a train going down the track and the president's in the locomotive, driving the train and this how it's headed. let's talk about how we're going to implement it and execute it. we had a different model on the national security side which was to involve the cabinets secretaries in the development of the policy from the get go. i think it meant for better policy because these are the people the president has chosen and the senate has confirmed to be the national security principals. if they feel their part of the process, they have ownership of the initiative, they have to implement it and execute it. you tend to be more excited about things you're part of. i would say use that model in terms of you running the process. and, again, for the national security adviser, don't try to
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substitute for the cabinet secretaries and do not undercut cabinet secretaries. be modest, stay in your lane and work offstage. >> great advice. my last question has to do with young professionals. we have a great paid internship program here at heritage. we bring in a lot of bright minds every trimester. a lot of them who have had the pleasure of working with, say, how did you get to be a naval officer? how did that person get to be this or how did they get to this position in the government? what advice -- and a lot of them are interested in national security matters. i'm sure a lot of them would like to be 30 years from now, 20 years from now, 40 years from now national security adviser to the president. regardless of party ideology because that's irrelevant to this question, what advice do you have to the young men and
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women here at heritage and elsewhere of how they can position themselves as young professionals to be able to take advantage of opportunities that you had? you went to cornell undergrad, yale law school, and then onward and upward. how does one position one's self to do that sort of thing? >> five things. one, what do you study? read history, understand economics and, you know, understand law because how we organize our society really is between economics and the market and laws, regulations and statutes. and i didn't read enough history. i was a government major. that was fine. i took too many government courses and not enough history courses. second, i would say, travel and live outside the country. there's no substitute for having the perspective of the rest of the world when you're conducting foreign policy.
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we don't do that enough. three, get as broad a set of experience as you can. be more of a risk-taker. i was very cautious. i think one should be more of a risk-taker and gather as much broad experience as you can. it gives you a broader perspective. four, take time to get to know your colleagues. particularly in the early jobs that you have in the national security business because you're going to get to know a peer group and these are people who are liable to be your colleagues for the next 30, 40 years. i was, as you could probably tell, i was not a shining star as a young person. i never had a mentor. i didn't impress anybody enough. every job i ever got was because somebody i had worked with knew what i could do and recommended me to the job. that's how it worked for me.
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so, take time to get to know these people. and build confidence with these people so when you arrive at the top, you're working with people that you know and trust and have confidence in and who know and trust and have confidence in you. and fifth is, be smart. that's great. smart is great. it gets you in the door. but i believe that how far you go in your career is going to be more determined by your character. i think character counts. i think it means, as somebody said, character is what you do when nobody's looking. and i think you want -- washington is a small town. and you want to get a reputation for integrity, a person who has principles, a person who says what they're going to do. and always does what they say.
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a person who treats people with respect whether up above you or below you. as my friend david bears used to say, always answer your phone calls and always return your mail. but i would say, you know, think about your reputation, think about character, because i think those things in the end of the day matter. that's what i would say. >> thank you very much. i think we have some time for questions. if you would be so kind as to raise your hand, identify yourself by name, any affiliation you have and wait for the microphone. go ahead. mr. johnson, right here in the front. >> thank you. justin johnson. with heritage foundation. mr. hadley, can you talk a little bit about the tension
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between open source information? you know, your press shop is getting called because there's tweets about something that happened in ukraine, things like that, versus what you're able to get from the intelligence community, what you're getting through official government channels, how that informs a president's decision making process. just kind of the information environment that we're in today and how that impacts the senior leaders. >> the good news is there's been a huge explosion of information from a lot of sources and the agency, i think -- cia understands that and they're using open sources. i've seen wonderful programs of people, you know, big data collecting social media in real time and in, for example, election situations, being able to detect very quickly where a electoral violence is starting to happen and a counter twitter or counter text message campaign to calm the violence down. these are wonderful tools that
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allow us to know in real time what's going on. and i think the challenge is for the intelligence community to become an information community and incorporate these into our -- the kinds of information support that goes to principals. there's a tendency to think the only reliable information is the information you steal. i don't think that's right. i think a lot of things you need to know are hiding in plain sight. a lot of -- you know, if you look historically, particularly about some of our more nefarious world leaders, they told you exactly what they were going to do in the written literature, in their speeches. it's just that nobody read them. i think there's a rich opportunity for open source and big data and all those other things. the problem, of course, is there's a lot more information than there is understanding or knowledge or wisdom. and the trick of it is not getting overwhelmed by it.
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and the problem with all that information and the availability of it to senior level decision-makers is that it really invites them to get down into the weeds and into the tactical. when what you really need to do as a senior policy leader is stepping out of the weeds and ask about strategic. one of the great stories, if you read -- george schultz has written a book three or four years ago "things on my mind" and he says secretary of state, he would go to folks outside my office and he would say, i'm going to go in, sit down, close my door for the next hour and a half and i don't want to be disturbed unless the president -- unless my wife calls or the president calls, showing that domestic policy is more important than foreign policy. even to the secretary of state. they all thought he was going to go in there and take a nap. i would say, i would take a yellow pad, a pen, say what's
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the issue? what is the issue? you know, what is the issue? what is the real issue we're thinking about? what are we trying to do? and then in simple bullet points, how are we going to do it? we don't -- when's the strategy, as you would say. we don't do that enough. there's so much information, so many events, so much press of business that, you know, we're fighting fires and we're managing crises. if all you do is manage crises, all you will get is more crises because you would not be putting in place the strategies and policies you need to shape events and avoid crises. that's the real challenge for people in senior national security positions today in my view. >> this gentleman in the back
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with the lanyard. >> reporting for the voice of america news. we know that members of the u.s. congress sometimes don't go to -- don't go home and stay -- sleep overnight on the capitol hill because they're too busy. has your on duty presence in the white house ever required more than 24 hours, maybe in a time of crisis, and what was the reason? thank you. >> well, after 9/11, i can't remember when i finally went home, but it wasn't for a while. and i remember one night in particular. the president has written about when the president and national security adviser and secretary
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of state had all got on a plane to go to china and a bio detector around the white house president clearly had been exposed before he left, and we didn't know whether it was a false alarm or a real indicator, and i was back and worked with the vice president and the attorney general and head of homeland security to try to manage that crisis. well, we were up all night. quite frankly, figuring out how to try to figure out how to get some medical support to the president, but also waiting for the report because they were going to test the sample on some rats, and the question -- and so i talked to the president. what are we going to do? you know, we're going to test the rats. we've got some anti-toxin coming
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your way by airplane and we're going to test it on the rats, and the question will be the next morning are the rats feet up and dead or feet down? so we stayed up all night and we got the report, and it was a good report, and so i called over and asked them to pull condi rice out of a meeting. this is in beijing, they were meeting with the chinese, and she went by the president and the president said what is it? she said it's a call from hadley, and we'll find out the news. so she got on the phone, and i said good news. feet down. so she walked back in the room and the president said, condi? she said feet down. that was a long night. that was a long night. >> this young man in the front with the striped tie.
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>> john wilt, sir, army captain currently attending georgetown. you mentioned you don't think nsc should be running operations out of the white house, that's not its intent or real purpose. can you comment on the size of the nsc and what that does for interagency relations? >> well, the nsc has gotten larger over the years and there are some reasonable explanations for that. you know, after 9/11 the whole homeland security piece became much more important, and we did not have the kind of interagency process to coordinate the domestic side that we had on the foreign policy side. so some of the growth made sense. what's the role of the nsc staff. one of the things you have to try to do is remember it's in the 47 act about coordination. the government is very stove piped. agencies have their own
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perspectives, their own interests. they don't always communicate the way they need to do, and what the nsc has to do, you've got to coordinate and integrate across the stove pipes. if you're going to integrate across the stove pipes, you know, you want to have a small group of people. you want to be organized so you're meeting kind of in task fo force form. i would have task force in the office and fi or six different offices in so you would get a full perspective but if your nse gets too big and you get stove pipes within the nse that mirror the stove pipes within the government agencies, you will not be able to integrate the crosses. you're just reproducing at the white house the stove pipes that it's your job to overcome. my preference was always to have more information in fewer heads
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because it allowed you to integrate, it allowed you to see connections between things and overcome the stove pipes. so i think one of the challenges for the new team is to get back to a smaller, leaner nse that supports the president in all the functions but with the presumption that less is more and smaller is better. >> steve, we're going to end where we really started, and that is the title of this presentation is "how intelligence is used by the president." give us your thoughts. how is it used by the president? >> it's an input to the president. it is both information and it is an interaction with people in the intelligence community who
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have spent their lives studying these problems, and it's one of the things i think that makes our government unique. we have this phenomenon that a president comes in and brings a lot of people who share the political agenda of that president, and they then interact with the permanent government. the military and the foreign policy. the military, the foreign service officers, and the intelligence officers, and they are the repository of knowledge and experience, and our government puts them in dynamic tension where the political appointees are trying to impute some of the president's priorities on the permanent government, and the permanent government is trying to take those priorities and filter them through their knowledge and experience, and if it is a mutually respectful relationship and interactive relationship, the country is the better for it. so the intelligence community
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plays a part of that. but they are only an input into the president, and there are judgments the president has to make that transcend the intelligence community. there are some people who think that the president can never go use military force unless the intelligence community has told him or her with a high level of confidence that there is an imminent threat to the people of the united states, and i think giving the intelligence community that kind of check off, which i think some people -- is not how our system of government works. the people that the american -- the person that the american people elected to make those kinds of decisions is the president of the united states. intelligence is an input, but intelligence is often wrong, and in addition to the intelligence, a president when they make hard decisions are taking into
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account a whole lot of other factors, their sense of history, their sense of politics, their sense of where the country is, their sense and judgments about the political leaders that they're dealing with, all these kinds of intangibles that really come to play when the president has at judjourned the meeting os national security counsel principals and is thinking overnight about a decision he or she is going to announce the next morning. it's in that period of time that all of those things, sense of history, and the views of their spouse, comes into play. i think that's important to recognize that's the process and intelligence community is an input but it's only an input and at the end of the day those are hard decisions that the presidents make in the deep night of their soul and that's how our system is designed. >> steve, this has been terrific. i appreciate you coming over to heritage to share your thoughts
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with us. >> great pfun. >> please join me in thanking steve. [ applause ] and we are adjourned.
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next, archival coverage of presidential races, including the 1960 democratic primary debate in west virginia, the 1980 texas republican primary debate, the 1984 democratic candidates' debate, and a promotional film which aired in new hampshire by the richard nixon campaign. each week until the 2016 election road to the white house rewind brins you or archival coverage of presidential races. in the 1960 campaign a west virginia democratic primary debate between senators john f. kennedy of massachts


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