tv George Mason Discussion on Presidents Intelligence Community CSPAN September 11, 2018 7:00pm-8:36pm EDT
>> our live coverage continues as we take you to george mason university for a discussion on the relationship between presidents and the intelligence community. is former national intelligence director james clapper, and the former director of the nsa, michael rogers. i've coverage. >> policy and international security.
i am delighted to welcome you to the first annual event of this academic year, presidents and dissent. we are pleased to have the theral here as a member of university where he has been teaching for us for the past decade. he is surprisingly a very popular instructor in our international security studies masters degree program. it is our fastest growing graduate program here at george mason university and recently received a high ranking from the u.s. world and news report, of which we are very proud. proud. the turnout of this event says a lot about the importance that many attached to the issues our panel will discuss this evening. i would like to recognize some of the people here this evening.
evening. the congress member, former ambassador, ron bayer. thank you. the georgebers of mason university board of visitors are here. blackman, lisa zuccari, othero moreno, and board members. members. i acknowledge the associate dean of the school and the senior vice president of the administration will be here tonight. the most important member, member, mike's wife, who will be critiquing his performance. although not here tonight, i greatly acknowledge the vision, and thed counsel namesake.
i present a person who needs no introduction. it has been my privilege to work with mason's president for several years. several years. he is the sixth president of george mason university and is here serving in that role. time, george mason university has achieved outstanding growth, growth, transformational naming gifts for our law school, among other accomplishments. i am privileged to welcome our anhil cabrera. >> thank you very much and welcome to george mason university.
. as a short plug, you might like to know this is the largest university in the commonwealth of virginia and the youngest in the country. it is a remarkable story of period ofa short time. this is also one of the most .iverse universities in america we always say that diversity is our strength. for the diversity of people and -- it is important that we model what it is to have important conversations on important issues, and how to have them with people who may think differently from one. that is why i'm so excited about what is happening at the hayden center today and i hope that center today and i hope that
today serves as a model of the important and and lightened that we thinktion should be a model for society. we're fortunate to have general hayden here. his ability -- the reach and impact of the school and the role that he plays in dissecting and explaining crucial issues. general, we are so grateful for the work that you do. welcome the to united states representative don ayer. congressman bayer serves on the house committee for natural resources and is the vice ranking member of the science oversight committee.
he also served as ambassador to switzerland. i want to thank congressman buyer -- congressman beyer because of some thoughtful and important comments for our made.sity that he made he spoke very eloquently about the need for vigilance from security protections. he also underlined that foreign scientists play a crucial role in assisting research and innovation in this country. representativerepresentative beo stranger to mason. he holds an annual women's
conference as well as a small .usiness development event it is a pleasure to introduce to you congressman don buyer -- beyer. beyer: good evening, i am fortunate to represent the eighth district but especially george mason university. i can say with confidence that there is no university in the united states or the world that has had as meteoric a rise in meteoric a rise in reputation as george mason. congratulations. i will also point out any intelligence officials tonight that when i graduated from williams college the first thing i did was go to rosslyn and applied for a job in the central
intelligence agency and was turned away. [laughter] we are fortunate to be here at the school of policy and government. friends have built tens of thousands of homes for decades. now they are helping to build a whole contradre of new -- for ys to come. i am here tonight to talk about speakers -- commitment to be a speaker for the intelligence community, the president, and dissent. i cannot imagine a more interesting place to be while we wait for hurricane florence to hit. congratulations to the michael b hayden center for intelligence policy and international security. it is said that it is always
uncomfortable for people in always uncomfortable for people in charge. you can get ejected from a baseball game. you can be held in contempt of court. but dissent is a form of democracy. doesn't need a much introduction. ofserved in a variety positions throughout our intelligence committee and throughout the world. he served inhe served in the air intelligence agency, the u.s. command in korea, before being appointed the national director of security in 1999 and director of the cia where he served from 2006 2006 to 2009. he knows quite a bit about the intelligence community. before i hand over the stage, i want to take a moment to remember the significance of day, september 11.
we persevere, 17 years later, thanks to those who keep us safe. our servicemen, intelligence responders, and so many others. thank you to general hayden and larry pfeiffer. i look forward to this the grist discussion. -- to this vigorous discussion. i give you general hayden. [applause] [applause] gen. hayden: thank you, congressman. to the dean. thank you all you all for comin. this is the inaugural event of the second tier of the hayden center. we talked about truth tellers in a post-truth world. the doctor and i thought a nice organizational concept would be around the question of accountability with regard to
espionage in the democratic society. a rather laid out predictable course of events of things we would cover in the course of events for the hayden center. then there was the security clearance thing. we decided this would be a good opportunity to take advantage of that, to take a look at the question of presidents and dissent. for thatthe bounds kind of activity in a free so ciety? that is the topic. i will briefly introduce the panel members. you have some details in your programs. we want to get on to the discussion and your observation and questions. first, bill mudd.
bill is a career analyst at the central intelligence agency. he was the senior analyst in our counterintelligence center and living what he thought was a happy life until i called him when afternoon and said, bill, i need you to go to the fbi and set up their intelligence analytic structure. we remain friends. [laughter] up being theended director of the national security agency and u.s. cyber command. he was in that latter position when all the metal was still malleable. he had a big hand in shaping
he had a big hand in shaping what that will be in the future. jim clapper, i could shorten his introduction just by naming the important intelligence contributions. he has been the director of the national geospatial intelligence agency, he was on my board of advisors when i became the director of the national security agency, and he has been the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. refereerator, or our for tonight, is a good friend of mine, nicolle wallace. we were compatriots in the bush 43 whitehouse. you all know her as a regular commentator on msnbc. nicolle, we are ready for you. nicolle: thank you. of how much all
add to the conversation we have had about this moment in .ational security i want to dive right in. we can never do much planning because there is always some thing happening in real time. you gave us a guide with the the name here. ytoou all signed a letter dissenting with the president's decision to revoke the former fbi director's security clearances. about yourhear dissent from the dissenters. let me start with you, general. part, this is on, this is
the president's decision to revoke the security clearance a former cia director john brennan. you cosigned a letter that said we have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearance is used as a political security clearance is used as a political tool, it is quite clearly a signal to other former and signalsofficials -- it something inappropriate and deeply regrettable. candid,den: to be very the security clearance is a convenience but it is given for the benefit of the government, not for us. pole into up on 23, langley, go to the files, take some notes, and go home.
home. frankly, the question of people like us, or three of the four of us are under contract to a major news outlet to talk on the air. it is a fair question. should people like us continue to have security clearances given a role we have freely chosen? that is a choice. that is a fair question. that is not the question. that is not the action. the action was punishing john, and threatening to punish three four of us on stage with losing our clearance for political speech. this is a legitimate conversation here. this is punitive action for political dissent. k any of us would have enjoyed contesting any of this, given all of the personal burdens that would bring. there was, in our view, this principle involved, that
we would be denied something to which we would have otherwise been entitled, and that we would have been denied for political speech. that is why it is pretty easy to get the signature. nicolle: a former intelligence official who is not as public as the three of you signed his name to the letter, and felt that revoking the clearances of a critic locked the line of not being -- walked the line of not being an american practice. do you feel that is the line the president has engaged in? mr. rogers: -- gen. hayden: mike has just retired but the other three of us have been on tv for a while. i don't mind being on tv trying to explain american espionage to the broader public. that is a public service. because of the current circumstances, we are put in a position that when we do what i
just described, we seem to be in opposition to what the president or what his surrogates have said. we are not at peace with that. we are uncomfortable with that. bites is that thees is president, as a person, the administration, as an institution, doesn't argue the facts of the case. it attacks the character, legitimacy, and validity of the other side. i'm not saying that has never happened before in american almosty, but not to this reflexive response to any degree of criticism. you and i were talking earlier about my article for the hill where i said i have got myself emergencyition of "in
break glass." we are doing things we didn't plan on doing, we are not enthused about doing, but we will do them. nicolle:: and mr. rogers, you dissented from the dissent. mr. rogers: that is not what i would say. declined to sign a letter. [laughter] nicolle: do you agree with this argument? mr. rogers: no, let me say. i retired from the united states navy on june 21. as this was unfolding, i was by a couple things. i agree with the fundamental premise that it is the right of every citizen to express their views. i embrace that. like everybody on this stage, we have spent our professional lives focusing on ensuring that
right remains for all of us. i have two things that gave me pause. it's always about outcomes. it's always about outcomes. i said, will this be effective? a group of former senior intelligence individuals complaining about how another former senior intelligence official is being treated -- i'm not sure if that is a valid way to address the concerns. i applaud the admiral. i thought what he did was professional. someone who had no dog in the fight directly spoke up and said, there is a fundamental principle. gasoline on the fire is not going to decrease the flame. we have to focus on the outcome here. us,, along with everyone of
retains the right to say or do what we think is the right thing. the last thing, and this is what counted me to do this tonight. this the first time i have done anything with the media has been here since i retired after 37 years as a naval officer. is other concern i had was, this going to make the work harder for the men and women in the intelligence professionals doing their job. as a guy who was on the inside honesttimes was being would say, guys, this is not helping. my concern is, intelligence is most effective is when the perception of the customer is that what they are seeing represent a true, objective, objective, analytical assessment that is not in anyway influenced by political view, any administration, or policy. is, we musti value
ensure that nothing that we do calls into question the objective nature of intelligence. times, and we at have seen or experienced, when that has been called into question. you say, you are not listening to what we are saying but instead we are focused on, are you telling me this because you like or don't like this policy? for me, i thought that i agree with the point of the letter is making but i'm concerned this won't be the most effective way to make the point. i'm concerned about what this will do for the men and women doing the work in the agencies that we have been part of. as a result, i opted not to go as i recognizen that john, or anybody, need to stand up for what they believe in. nicolle: since this is the first
time anyone is hearing from you role, and you worked for donald trump -- [laughter] right? let me follow up with something that general hayden published yesterday. we'll all be surprised together. e creator did not endow trump with the emotional, intellectual tools to carry out ththe responsibilities of his office. gen. hayden: my expertise -- mr. clapper: my expertise is -- mr. rogers: my expertise is based on 37 years. i worked for two presidents. heard me talk about either of them. my view is each of them are trying to do their job to the best of their ability. you can argue about how or why,
i'm concerned -- the three of us are senior retired military members. off,you take the uniform particularly as a four-star, it it doesn't end. i'm not trying to criticize anybody. everybody has to do what they think is right. i did what i thought was right. nicolle: i don't want to make you uncomfortable. you testified under oath on under tough criticism from democrats and republicans that you had not been given the tools that you needed to fight russia, that you what youeen given needed to fight fire with fire. between theprove time you testified and the time
that you left? mr. rogers: you can tell over time that we were moving in what i thought was a positive direction. nicolle: did that change come from the top? mr. rogers: the leadership is part of that because we are top down, but in terms of formally directing, that comes from the bottom. it wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. the fbi director was not given all of the authority that he needed. have you seen that improve? mr. rogers: yes. nicolle: let me bring you in on something that you said and let you say whatever you want to say. he write say. he writes, i don't believe in
human sources, donald trump told clapper. these are people, human sources, who have sold their souls and sold out their country. s.don't trust human source i believe dr. brennan said something like, i won't tell the team. you both spoke a year ago that it is the job and the mission of to intelligence committee customize the intelligence product for the customer, the president, whoever he or she is, but how do you customize it for but how do you customize it for a man who doesn't believe in human sources and things they have sold their souls and sold out their country. this was a comment that the president made on january january 6, not just to me but all of us, john brennan, jim comey, mike rogers. aten the remarks he made
haspel's installation at c. i., the inference you can draw is that he has got smarter about it or more educated about the value of humans. he did make a comment, or comment, orke something like that. i don't remember the exact words but we did not dwell on it at the time. this was 20 months ago. the president-elect, at the time, had virtually no exposure to intelligence at all. in fairness to him, it's part of the education process. the interesting contrast between mike hayden and rogers here. it reflects that the decision about whether or not to speak out is a highly personal one.
mike rogers, and it is quite understandable him taking the position he has taken -- he'll get over it. [laughter] having served in this administration, he'll come at it from a different perspective, mike rogers. was 24 years ago for me that i military.om the september 1995. i never thought --it never occurred to me to speak out or go on television or any of that. to the conclusion that we are in a very different place, a very different atmosphere right now. what bothered me to start with t was the characterization -- and with the then it
-president-elect, was his characterization of the intelligence community has nazis. i felt i had to speak up. i called him and, amazingly, he took the call. my thing was just explaining and defending the intelligence community, following the model set by general hayden, who was tremendous for us when i was dni in the aftermath of snowden. things in go on television, a way that we could not. i remember that model. is thethers me, institutions the values and norms and standards of this country that i spent 50 plus years in one capacity or another , when those are under assault, which they are now.
fitness and how he cares about his job. we believe our first duty is to this country. the president continues to work in a way that is detrimental to the health of our public. given instability, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th amendment. one wanted to pursue particular constitutional crisis so we will do a we can to student administration in the right direction. patriarch hour? patriot or coward? [laughter] reason i am here is because phil is here. whistleblower is another man's snowblower. in the information good
the matter where it came from? those whont is, for are trump critics, this is a courageous thing to do. to speak out and assure people that there are adults in the out fort are looking the best interest of the country and are abiding by the constitution and are not driven by loyalty to an individual. that, there is the other camp who thinks that it is treasonous and disloyal and all of that. depending on the position of that person, i am not convinced it's just one person, depending on the positioning of the person and their stature, it would have that he orompelling she had gone public then quickly
followed by resignation i think. it took take as long as us to find out about mark felt. >> let me challenge that. why is it a travel question about the president's fitness? >> that is a travel question and people come out on a travel basis. >> this is a republican. >> we can talk about whether republican, the republican party has a traditional identity it has always had. what it espouses now is upside down from what it has always been. this is different travel than weion traditionally ascribed. >> i agree. [laughter] let's be really clear. ofre is not an allegation
illegality in that document. presumably written by someone who was not elected. it is a person's analysis of fitness for duty. the american people get to vote for somebody who they think is going to change the dynamic of washington dc and we get to see -- say i disagree with his judgment his temperament and his intellect. i think this person gets one-shot. are notpoint, if you elected by the people and you make allegations that don't involve something that crosses the line into illegality, my question would be, i have said a few unkind things about the president, my view would be he is not fit for duty. that is not a legal judgment and i have not seen anything from the special counsel that indicates that the president will ever be alleged to have conducted something illegal. author,o know from the if you are going to undermine the president you get one shot. right not have the
long-term to try to attack the president who is elected by the people if you are alleging non-fitness of duty but you don't cross a line to say i have seen something that violates the law clearly. i did not see that in the op-ed. whiching in a system in everybody decides what they're going to do, i would urge anyone to stand up and speak her mind. , but iurself accountable structureower of the is the values of the institutions. as a member of one of those institutions up until 90 days uphold thee got to values and ethos even as others have different views and are engaged in behaviors that we all like. that wegot to make sure
are maintaining our professionalism. our egos. our integrity. said, you didn't get elected. if you feel you can't live with this, make the case. make an argument. .se your rights as a citizen stand up and be accountable for what you believe in. don't attempt this kind of resistance movement which just feeds the narrative that you cannot trust the institution anymore. i think that is a bad place for us to be. >> if i could make one comment. for every student out here to -- who watches cable tv, watch what just happened in this audience with a group of people who say i have a different perspective and you said the president had the opportunity. i'm not sure i should have a security clearance. as expect the answer is no.
if someone signs a contract with a media organizations that might include commentary that is political, should we have a standard policy that says that person declines further access to classified information? that is a fair question the president asks. i agree with my former supervisor [laughter] this is really uncomfortable for thele like me who are told people should get out and speak. when i wake up on vacation and the president says i am going to threaten you after you say something you not like -- i i am going to say it know are not, that hunt. that is a bigger issue than my responsibility to remain responsible.
you are not going to tell me when i can speak when i didn't serve in the government. that's not going to happen. >> what is your redline? i watch all of you on tv. you believe the president is not stable enough to hold the nuclear codes. you believe the president can't the intelligence community. be.alk about why that might -- none one of his most of you are partisan. you are extremely alarmed by his conduct in office. sort of hede this has a right to know who is criticizing him, what is it about his conduct that created the red lines that forced you into the public space? deep disagreements with policy.
immigration is a good thing it is better for america. the world's most powerful is generally benefited by more free rather than less free trade. i argue about everyone of those. with the president has decided to do is rather than argue the , he attacks the institutions and government who might for their own reasons oppose this or that policy initiative. he tries to invalidate. the intelligence officers are not these. the fbi is in disarray. the deep state is correct. , 7:18 a.m.,day
there was another one that said the justice department under eric holder would be acting just like the justice department under the attorney general today. i responded to the tweet. i said bingo. that is exactly right. he meant it as a condemnation of today's justice department. , thehoice we have crossover point for me is is my continued silence, this is going to come out wrong, over respect for the office. i would be so differential. ona creating the assumption the part of others that that is
okeptable or normal or an attitude to have? that is the argument i have with myself. silencermalizing by my something that we should not consider to be normal? knowing full well everything might just said is absolutely correct. is being here nontraditional. it is norm busting. creating second and third order affects that are harmful to the institutions from which we have come, that i made the calculation that silence is no longer acceptable. each of us choose our own formula with regard to how we criticize.
john brennan would be here tonight if he hadn't been in korea. he is been the most forward leaning and personalizing the attacks on the president. we all enjoy some flavor of that at one time or another. there are certain choices to be made along the scale. those of us who have criticized have made the choice. we are willing to accept the risk in order to do something that might in emergency break glass. >> are you breaking the glass? >> yes. the fact that three of us are in under contract with cnn [laughter] i were in reston two or three weeks ago with the tribal isers having a conversation,
as a retired community. there were a range of views. some of them were supporters. others. we should not be there at all. that is not an illegitimate point of view. you were in the room. >> i am with you. that is a very articulate the portrayal of the issue and the controversy. where you come down on it is a very personal thing. >> what is your degree of alarm about russia and the ongoing practice of the president downplaying their role? the threat for you? you briefed the president.
russian threat has not improved. i am glad to hear that we are doing more but that is not an impulsive that is in check. he stood in helsinki and accepted his present version of events. >> this is a great opportunity for me to plug my book. [laughter] motivationsrincipal for writing the book was my alarm about the russians and in thesaw them doing 2016 election. 55 years and intelligence i have seen a lot of bad stuff in my time. nothing that disturbed me more this early. when i came to comprehend and understand the scope and magnitude and aggressiveness of what the russians did to our election. i said in my book, because of
the magnitude of aggressiveness and nature, they influence the outcome of the election. the russians are still at it. they are committed to undermining our system. one thing that disturbs me is for whatever reason, the outident's failure to dime putin and the russians, that is important. , the a lot of things government can do a lot of things, that without the sense of urgency that is impelled by the president's leadership in galvanizing that just the government and the galvanizing society against the threat posed by the russians, that's what disturbs me about this president and why i wrote my book. agree?you tell us do you >> i'm not going to speak for
anyone else. i will give you my experience. finisheded after we the assessment on this topic and i continue to discuss it with him about what we were seeing. he would often say to me, i am in a different place. i said mr. president i understand but you pay me. i am paid to tell you what we think. this isn't about politics or parties. this is about foreign states that are attempting to subvert our structure. they are trying to undermine. that should concern us as citizens and leaders. if we don't do something, they will not stop. the first time this occurred was not twice 16. it was a whole new set of technologies and capabilities that had an almost exponential impact in some ways in terms of
the breadth of activity. i do believe there is value in having relations with the russians. time, we cannot have the relationship we want if they are going to continue with this fundamentally undermining activity. that is unacceptable. we need to be direct with them. be sending that message from the top to the bottom of the structure. they are hearing it from all of us. >> you said he was in a different place, where was he? >> that is a phrase he was using. >> i would like to ask him where he was. [laughter] wasn't ideological? >> i will hazard a guess, we ran
into this in trump tower. the evidence of the russians undermining us cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. he cannot accept that. the spacendamentally he is in. important is the mueller investigation? >> it is usually important because of the cloud that is over this country and over the presidency. to resolve some issues one of that is collusion or not only the mueller investigation has any protestant dutch prospect of resolving the issue. at some point that investigation has to end and there has to be some transparency of the american people about the truth. i think it is a critical test
for whether america says we can have independent investigations of individuals regardless of where they are in society area i don't think it will lead to charges that indicate that the president was involved in something the farias related to the russians. i don't know if that involves people on his staff. i worry about not whether the investigation will show hollywood undermining of the electoral process. i worry about is that someone who served in the fbi and department of justice. it is fine given what i have seen for the department of justice to investigate this. it is the same thing they would do with someone like me. were you involved in message financial fraud that should be investigated? i am afraid if there are not russian charges, there will be a political process to say the whole investigation is inappropriate. i would say it is the same thing
we do with all of you if we saw the kind of fraud. if you defraud the american government out of millions of dollars that is substantial. as theer concern is that investigation gets closer to the white house or if it stops now, if the president steps in and says i'm going to sidestep this -- process for my son-in-law or my son, to pardon them, that would be incredibly corrosive in terms of the congress and how the american thate look at something they have historically looked at as very positive. his justice in partial in this country? that is the real? . state arens of whatpt, i don't care about
he did was stormy daniels. this stuff about institutions of state is very corrosive that's what i worry about. worked alongside robert mueller. i worked with him. i want to know what all of you think having known him personally. what do you make of the ferocity of donald trump's efforts to malign his character? the character of robert mueller, if i had a choice among 330 million americans of who to with the future of confidence and american democracy, it would be robert mueller. honest, thorough,
professional, talented. continuing in the course of the investigation. a year and aan, half ago, i said i think it will be over by the summer of 2018. wrong. that it will end up in a national rorschach test. cloud.d be a bit of a it has gone on longer. it has expanded and gotten deeper. it has multiple threads. i think there is more there than i thought there was 18 months ago. >> what about collusion and obstruction? >> on a variety of questions. those instincts are mine that not the president, but the broader staff is going to have a
lot of tough questions to answer. of thet indictment russians from the gr you was establishing the predicate for a criminal act which then we will see if we can connect it with any americans to the criminal. preceded, my instinct actedt the president has more and more desperate and frightened by the prospect of the investigation continuing. he has doubled down on his attacks on the person of robert mueller and on the institutions that mueller represents. the sum total of what he has done is for his transient personal or political needs however legitimate they are or
, he is willing to embrace long-term destructive action against critical institutions of american society. you are asked in march of to7 by the president publicly deny that there was any evidence of collusion. you refuse to do so saying it was inappropriate. >> i was never asked that. i am not going to correct. spent my time trying to correct media reporting of would never get anything done. >> this is been reported and stood incorrect until tonight. [laughter] was also reported that according to the washington post trump's conversation -- >> no comment.
do you think that robert mueller's mission is noble? >> i think he is fulfilling an important mission for us as a nation. i like to think it shows that we are a system and a nation of laws and processes and structure that are designed to ensure independent assessment at times. i look at it and say that is a good thing for the nation. i have no clue what they will will not find. everyone has opinions. i think the only person who knows are those who are involved. let's let the process go through into a comes out. >> you testified under oath that you were worried we were not putin hashe president come to the conclusion there is little price to pay here. that was one of his methods for meddling. clearly whato say we have done has not been
enough. was it your sense that his efforts were ongoing? >> i've lost the thread. -- putinestimony didn't believe there was a price to pay for ongoing meddling in our democracy. that seems to be an area that may overlap with robert mueller's investigation. >> i don't have a clue what he is looking at. >> is getting to the bottom of the meddling, is that an urgent >> we need to be public about this and articulate exactly what happened. will be sub, we optimized for dealing with it in the future. as important thing to me is, important as the discussion is but did they or didn't they, what are we going to do to make sure doesn't happen again? that is what we need to focus on.
some things ongoing but among the most important is to make sure they understand us is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it. >> do they hear that message? >> i don't know, i am no party to his direct conversations. at times, he has chosen not to use public forums. he could have chosen, he opted not to. you heard me say we need to synchronize the message. we need to make sure we are consistent. we need to be very direct. >> you are saying is not treated the president asked you to -- >> i have never had a discussion about collusion. i have never been directed to do , anytime i had a
discussion i was able to say this is my view and i am comfortable. shareyou are asked to that information with robert mueller would you? >> of course i would. >> to you understand the freak out that people had after helsinki? do understand what people thought, we talked before about were in pennsylvania and they don't have the concerns we have in washington. do understand the degree of alarm people have when a president takes the word of vladimir putin over the collective assessment? >> i've out there was an opportunity that i wish we had taken up -- advantage of. he opted to go a different direction. that is his right is the president but i wish you taken
advantage of that opportunity. they could send a very powerful message. coats said he would not advise him to have a one-on-one meeting with vladimir putin. would you have? proponent.al i am a i am not going to get into what it's an different scenarios. about the threat , that we being lost have missed opportunities? are you speaking about the security and sanctity of our election process? >> all of it. >> i do worry about that, because remembering that our voting apparatus is controlled at the state and local level.
i am sure that some entities have done a lot to enhance the security and others not so much. that was certainly what we observed in 2016. again in the absence of which ie leadership think can only come from the aboutent, i have concerns the security and sanctity of our voting apparatus for the midterms. you put the question to because you make the distinction that you did not come as far as you did in terms of your assessment, you believe that the 2016 outcome was impacted by the russians. has enough changed since the election? >> i am not in a position to assess that. i have been out of the government for 20 months.
i would surmise that from what i read, it is uneven. is it your sense that america is less under president trump than under president obama? >> i am not going to compare the possibly -- policies of two presidents. enough?e nsa doing >> yes. >> do you about for the sanctity of the results in 60 days? >> i don't know. >> are we sufficiently fortified? specifics.ds on the the positive side is the recognition of the problem. part of it also highlights one of the challenges of our current structure versus technology. in the u.s. structure, a
elections are processes that are only done in a state and local level. -- generate -- of the challenges it, i tried to work on, we have got to figure out how we can come to a much more integrated approach to how we are working with these problems sets. this is where to me at times, our processes are not always optimize for the digital world we're living in now. you watch the russians for example take advantage of that. is part of their strategy. fill in those to scenes. it is all about getting great solutions to problems.
that isn't going to be enough. i'm not going to argue it is just the one but there is definitely a structural piece that we need to be paying attention to. >> can you give me your assessment of where we are policy wise as a country heading into the first election since the 2016. those are still under investigation. we still have a president who often lumps that people in the basement and the chinese into his suspect list. >> i've been out of government for 10 years. i still have my pension. [laughter] i think we are better defended under the trump administration then we were under the obama administration.
we are taking lessons learned and experience. you said this was an and youented attack were impressed by it. it evolved in front of you and your knowledge about it developed and the policy guys were lagging even further behind the intel guys in appreciating what it was you were telling them. we are beyond that now. >> it does point out something misapprehension or allusion about intelligence that all revelation occurs in one day. that was not the case at all. faq, when was the exact instant when the light bulb went on and you knew this was different than anything the russians ever done before? it wasn't a grand revelation.
evolved in the spring summer and fall of 16 and as we gathered more information, got more insight, understood better the magnitude of what they were doing. the system ist, going to build on that knowledge that we built when we left. that was exactly the reason why president obama ordered of the assessment. he wanted everything we had at the time to be put together in one document in several versions of various degrees of classification. was that it was an unclassified version to educate the public. baseline bit of information to the public to tell them what the russians had done.
the institutions and committee and apartment of homeland security have built on that. have are the indus institutions of government, i've got it. everyone is doing far more than they did in 2016 because we are learning institutions. we are doing less than we need to do because without superseding extraordinary presidential intervention, everybody is doing what they are doing but playing positions. lanesa is playing in their the cia is playing in their lane. but like 9/11 is a bad day to 9/11 up the analogy, after president bush in essence intervened and said we are going to go do things really differently. a lot of those are controversial.
connecting the dots. we will restructure. how we do things because we just got an attack from an unexpected direction against a previously unappreciated witness. point.to make a u.s. the question about manipulating the election. i don't think that is the big issue. i think we can defend against that. it is manipulating our heads. the russians have been magnificent at that. building on inherit american division. >> i think we are missing the story here. i don't think this is an intelligence story, this is a political leadership story. if you look at what the russians have done, we keep talking about protecting the electorate process.
this is a revolutionary leader in russia that wants to reestablish the empire. he is about sowing discord at a profound level in our society. to disrupt the election. he is trying to discredit -- create a civil war in this country. that is where the white house say weo interject and are an american people. we have to get over discord and talk about things like how do we get beyond charlottesville and racial divide. that's of the russians are trying to do and it is profound. >> how do we do that with the president that attacks the fbi? one of the questions is you have congressional leadership, they don't have to attack the president although that is a debatable question.
i think there has to be a conversation that says how do we bring people together instead of encouraging people to demonstrate against someone else and charlottesville saying that oh white supremacist equates with a black activist? you can't do that. . have a website if the information and the emails i get from across america that are threats are any indication of what is going on in this country and the volume is such that i think they are, i think we are in trouble not from disrupting the electoral process from people in cities across country hating each other. that is what the russians are trying to go after. the subtext is electoral discord. , weoverarching messages want america to be so consumed with civil discord that they don't care about what we do in ukraine. people including your
peers get wrong in their analysis on this president? >> i don't know. i literally have spent a hundred days trying to focus on my family. [laughter] >> he has a reputation for not being curious about foreign policy. are there narratives out there that you're aware of the people get wrong? you are coming fresh out of serving him. >> he approaches this job in a fundamentally different way. the system is finding it a challenge to try to understand some of the implications of that. what is most effective with him versus others? a very normal kind of thing.
it is as much to me the system trying to understand him and him trying to understand the system. as a leader, i would sit down with my team and say this is what we need to do to be effective. here is what i think helps provide the insights and general operational systems. with anto realize that individual from a different background he is going to approach things differently. the system finds this very challenging. the thing that concerns me the most is, our institutions are under attack. i always thought that was the strength of our system. it is the fact that we can count on these institutions, their egos and professionalism and commitment to the rule of law over time regardless of the context that is ongoing. that has been a real strength for us as a nation and i do not thereo lose that because
are huge implications for us if you cannot trust the institutions. that puts us and a bad place. >> they are under attack by the president. it is an interesting dynamic we find ourselves in. it is not just about one individual. symptomatic, it is of a broader kind of dialogue that is ongoing. i have been in places with no internet access. while, is the dialogue i am hearing different than the world of just spent.
part of me was asking myself why? why is this big disconnect? for example, the op-ed piece. nobody asked me. on the other hand, i was back in ..c. for 48 hours it strikes me as bizarre. question around, to protect those institutions, what would be helpful? would be understanding that they are the thing on the line?
would it be helpful if the president stopped attacking the intelligence community and the fbi? let's focus on the things we control. i would argue here are the things we need to do to keep moving forward. we did ask ourselves how can we strengthen these institutions? have him in major they are part of the problem. if they are part of the problem, this is our structure. if we don't believe in the usucture's ability to give the outcomes we want, we are in a hurt locker. this is the structure that the founding fathers created.
so we have done over time and how we generate great things for our nation. it is not perfect and the men and women were a part of it are not perfect, but in my experience they want to do the right thing for the right reasons. they focus on serving the citizens of the nation to the best of their ability. they are imperfect individuals. that is the part i want to see. had we keep that moving forward described others are as the guard rails against the reckless and unstable president. >> i don't know but that. >> had a feel about that analysis? a place of fear and desperation that we want to believe people like you and general mattis are and others are guardrails. >> i never felt i was a guard rail. on doing the right
things for the right reasons the right way. as long as you do that, you are part of that you those in the , one of you lead for me the 10 senior operational commands, as long as you focus on that in the teams focused on and doing the right thing the right way, we are going to be good. >> that is emblematic of the ic in general. doing are an embassy x your thing, you're focusing on your job and your mission. there are parts of the intelligence committee does community that are not affected at all. i have great faith and trust and confidence of the men and women of the intelligence committee because they will do the right thing at the end. powerill tell truth to whether the powerless and stitchers are not.
>> does the ethos that was described extent to this white house? >> to the professionals in the white house, we have president who is instinctive rather than thoughtful, prone to action. i think he is far more confidence in his instincts than he does in data presented to him. he gets confident to a particular conclusion more often based on who told him rather than the evidentiary stack that is underneath that particular conclusion. the problem the presents for all of us is the institution operates on the polar opposites of what i just described. evidence-based, fact-based, analytical experimental pragmatic. trying a president, i'm to use non-judgmental words. he is instinctive, intuitive,
confident in his own prior knowledge of how the world works. this is a much bigger jump. we adjust to all presidents but this is a much bigger jump. adapt and do it in a way that gets inside the head of the first customer. i had to adjust with president bush. i had to adjust how i talk to president obama. we have to adjust president trump. it's different when you are serving a stable master. wasour specific question how the president affects that.
the president makes it harder for the institutions to do these jobs. no president wants unwelcome news. i think this president is more unwelcoming with regard to unwelcome news than any president in memory. that causes us not to abandon our oath of office but to delay going in there with information he would otherwise get because you know it is not going to work until you build up a stack of evidence that is almost inarguable. what happens is, the information you can give to a president at a -- i argued that the president's approach to this the president's words about intelligence and isitudes about intelligence destructive to the presidency.
>> money press you on that. just let me press you on that. about he doesn't want to hear it. he watches fox and friends area there is such a delta between the forces -- sources that he trust and sources that are truthful. >> [laughter] yes? let me tell you how i try to describe it in a more neutral way. [laughter] reality is not the departure point for the president deciding what he does or says. it just isn't. is a digital truth? >> that is the whole issue isn't it? someone else mentioned it. the president is product not cause.
driftan expression of a towards a post-truth world in american society. as a society, we are far more willing to make decisions based on emotion or preference or tribe or loyalty or grievance rather than data fact or evidence. that is a broad spread expression. the president recognize that during the campaign and appealed to that form of reasoning. >> is that brilliant? >> it is tactically brilliant in its rejection of the egos of the enlightenment that has governed the western approach in the decision-making since the 17th century. >> bring us back to 2018 please. [laughter] leslie the 17th century. i think something else trump ushered in with an appetite for
bluntness. the blood assessment that a lot of people have is the trump doesn't like the truth because the truth doesn't depict him in a good light. his first fight was with the intelligence community via spent the most time attacking the fbi and the justice department. they're investigating his campaign and his family for possibly obstructing justice. what do you make of his rejection of evidence-based disciplines like science and intelligence and law enforcement? >> it puts a tremendous premium on leadership. mattis, pompeo, haskell. you have the attorney general regardless of your political views he stood up to the president and the sanctity of federal investigations. this sounds like a civics lesson. as someone who has served under the other three here.
leadership means two things at a premium. number one, iran. if i am working for general hayden, the president is a million miles away. boss, what are we doing? you are focused on what your the national security leadership is praetor strong and people are be watching when they change. people like me and those jobs are looking at the boss, saying . have trust in you whatever the president decides to say on twitter, there is a what of evidence about were doing on strategic met
missiles and his the evidence says. if you want to fire me, ok. to say i will present much is the boss is at a premium. >> do we want to do questions? let me take one from the overflow room. you noted the 2016 was the first on the russians try to impact american elections. when did that happen before and what do we do to respond? , wee have seen the russians watch them for decades engage in -- theior in terms of
things that was different in they just combined -- it had a breadth of impact that i don't make we had seen before in such a massive level. if we were to do with the russians did, we would call covert influence. i would be last one thing we never did that. as a practitioner, covert influence never create a fractured society. the additional factor in addition to technology is the fact that we are far more inviting far weaker target and 84889286.we were in >> we have records going back to the 60's were the russians made some attempt to interfere in the presidential election.
the big difference is technology the massive and aggressive use of social media. >> let me do one more from the overflow room. what advice do you have for current intelligence ?rofessionals >> why would it be disregarded? why would you set back and say that my work is not valuable? because that's what i said before. your leadership, gina haspel with it cia is saying i don't say -- care what the president says. i want to know exactly what our
penetration is of the nuclear program. whether we can certify that they are not building a nuclear weapon. yes or no. >> let me defend the questioner. [laughter] he or she is safe. [laughter] i'm sure the people are worried that young people will be discouraged from this profession because they think that the on twittery getting and attacking the community by comparing them to not these by calling the justice department broken and corrupt may be discouraging a young person. cannot -- say you [laughter] i think that is a fair perspective. you cannot have the president of the united states calling the fbi leadership corrupt and referring to intelligence professionals is not these and they go out to college campuses. the brand of the cia regardless
of your political perspectives was awesome. you go on campus and say you're going to take a 40% pay cut. [laughter] think over the course of time you cannot have the leadership of the executive branch saying don't trust the executive branch. argue that the corrosion will take years. if we have a second president starts to do that, my level of concern will jump traumatically because i will start to say this must reflect what american culture thinks about the institutions of government not what one president thinks. >> does anyone else want to jump in? >> i would tell that professional remember the criteria for us should not be does the customer always agree with us?
i have had plenty of times as an intelligence professional were commanders said i don't see it sure.ay or i'm not i always try to tell the teams that i was a part of, you have to be prepared to live in a world in which some of our customers will have different views. thet is worth remembering basics sometimes. the oath of office that everyone , to support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. that thought which is part of our history is important to remind people. i have done a lot of colleges and a university the last few years. i find a lot of interest in public service and national security and the intelligence
community today. if you look at the statistics on applications, but have not gone down by much. >> i believe -- agree with everybody. i've had commanders to say i don't agree with you. , we havenction here had presidents who disagree with us and we have argued about the facts. we've had presidents who disregard -- disregard our fax and my. i don't mean that to be judgmental just descriptive. that is an accurate description of this president. hard for the very fact-based guys it doesn't
change the oath or our responsibility. the interface between our ears office, thethe oval teeth don't mesh. i think we will have to end it there. we could go all night. we do have to let our folks free here. thank you for being a wonderful audience. we did not get to as many questions and answers and we had hoped. there is a reception following. you will have opportunities to challenge these individuals. to stay in everyone their seats for just a moment or two longer so we can let the guests off the stage and the first row or two of people are distinguished visitors to get out into the reception area
policy issues that impact you. morning, wednesday examiners kimberly leonard discusses continued efforts to undo major provisions of the american care act. on the group's efforts to help independent candidates. national suicide prevention week and legislation related to suicide prevention. be sure to watch washington journal live at 7 a.m. eastern wednesday morning. bob woodward joins us on washington journal. ken starr joins us tuesday at 830 eastern to discuss his book content a memoir of the clinton investigation.
live wednesday on the c-span networks, 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span a discussion on the 2008 financial crisis with fed chair powell bernanke. at noon the u.s. house returns for general speeches in at 2:00 p.m. members take up legislative business. the bills expected, 2019 spending, the conference report for funding energy and water programs, the legislative branch, being programs. on c-span two at 3:00 p.m., the u.s. senate returns for work on the nomination of charles redding to be the next irs commissioner. on c-span3, the women's -- sexual harassment in the workplace. a conversation with justice ruth bader ginsburg at george washington university law school.