tv Former Intelligence National Security Officials Discuss Intelligence... CSPAN December 10, 2018 7:00pm-8:33pm EST
reborn, and some of them are dead forever. so everybody who's got a bill is trying to get it in this last package, the big spending package and try to shoe horn it in as a christmas ornament, right? so that might be out there as a bill that somebody somebody's trying to make it a hanukkah ornament, christmas ornament, whatever, on to that big spending package, or there's also talk of a bunch of tax cuts, mostly for corporations, bipartisan. you know, there are kinds of things that sometimes finish. >> and you can see the rest of that interview at c-span.org. we go now live to george mason university where several former intelligence and national security officials discuss accountability from the intelligence community. we'll hear from former acting cia director michael morrell. it's hosted by george mason university and the michael hayden center. this is live coverage on c-span2. ..
>> and among our very highly ranked academic programs, actually is our master's degree program, international security studies that u.s. news and world report last year ranked as number three in the country. we have a very diverse faculty of scholars and practitioners which makes us quite unique, and among those faculty for the past ten years has been michael hayden himself. he's been an absolute gem in the
classroom as he has been a public servant throughout all of his life. we're very honored to have him on the george mason university faculty and to be hosting the michael hayden center there. we all wish michael of course a speedy recovery so he can get back to the public square. he is such an important and powerful voice in the sphere of public debate and discourse during some very difficult times. so i would like to introduce the executive director of the michael hayden center, who i believe has a message from michael as well, larry pfeiffer. larry? [applause] >> thank you. welcome everybody. really appreciate the turnout. i know december, it's cold outside and people have a lot of competing priorities, between holiday parties, shopping and whatnot. so thank you very much for coming out tonight. general hayden is obviously very
sorry that he can't be here tonight. i know many of you know, for those who don't know, he did suffer a fairly serious stroke in late november. he's very very hard -- working hard at recovery as we speak at rehabilitation hospital where he will be spending unfortunately part of the holidays there working hard to get back to us all here. he has asked me to extend his and his family's thanks to all of you and to anybody watching on television. his thanks for all the prayers, the concerns, the well wishes, the notes, the cards, folks from all walks of life, complete strangers, from across the united states and around globe. it's been very very heartwarming and inspiring, and i know he's watching us on tv right now and i know he appreciates all that. so given the fact that he is watching us on television right now, i thought it would be a
great opportunity for all of us to extend our well wishes through a round of applause for general hayden. [applause] >> thank you. i know that will mean a lot to him and his family. thank you very much. the hayden center, we are at the school of policy and government, and we are here to -- our noble cause is to educate the broad public about intelligence and how it informs and sometimes doesn't inform policy, as our nation's leaders make those hard decisions about events around the world. we have a series of events that we do throughout the year. this year our theme has focused on the accountability of
intelligence. i will talk about that in a moment. first a quick handful of administrative notes. first, i would ask you when we have our question-and-answer session, a little bit later, couple of asks for you, number one, wait to be called on. that would be great. number two, wait for a microphone to be handed to you so the rest of us can hear you as well as the folks on television can hear you. i would also appreciate it if you could identify yourself when you ask the question. if you have an affiliation that you would like to let us know about, please mention your affiliation. and last and most importantly, we would love it to be a question and not a speech. so appreciate that as much as possible. in addition, we have a reception at the end of the event. this reception is for everybody in this room. so please do come to the reception. enjoy a drink. enjoy some food. enjoy an opportunity to converse one-on-one with our panel members. we really would appreciate that. as i mentioned, this is one in a series of events we're doing
this year on the accountability of intelligence. we did an event on the 11th of september. it focused on the relationship of a president of the united states with his intelligence community leaders. and if you are interested in that event, if you weren't able to attend it, it is available on youtube on our michael hayden center channel as well as our website. please avail yourself of that opportunity. it was a really entertaining evening. we will be doing two more events in the series later in the year. in february, we hope to be able to do an event that will focus on congressional oversight and the importance of the role of congress in overseeing our intelligence activities. and then in april, we will do an event that will talk about the role of the press and the media in helping to govern and oversee our intelligence activities. tonight, however, we're going to focus on spy watchers. these are the people who are inside the intelligence community or inside the executive branch whose job it is to make sure that those
intelligence activities are conducted in a legal, moral and ethical manner. what i would love -- i'm one of those obnoxious hosts here. i'm going to ask you all do something. i would love everyone to stand up for a moment. please stand up. stand up. thank you. i would like you to all to raise your right hand. fantastic. i want you to just look around the room at your colleagues and friends and such here, fantastic. now you can all sit down. so when you looked across the room here, you saw people standing with their right hand up. what i would like you to know is that what every single member of the united states intelligence community does on their very first day of work. they stand up, raise their right hand, they swear an oath or affirm an oath, that oath is to protect and defend the constitution of the united states of america. it is bear true and faith and allegiance to that constitution and to the laws derived from
that constitution. and it is to well and faithfully discharge the duties of their office. it is a powerful moment for anyone who has ever experienced it. it sets the tone for everybody's career as they move forward in their intelligence careers. that's a number one important thing to remember. number two, the other thing to remember is that they are all human beings, and so they will make mistakes. and there are some who will be seduced by the power that the vested in them. there are some who will unfortunately skew over into criminal behavior. what we're going to talk about tonight are the ways in which the intelligence community protects itself and governs itself against those instances where we are not as expected entirely true and faithful to the constitution. so with that, i want to go ahead and introduce our panel members. i will introduce them one at a time. i'm going to flip my paper over to make sure i get everybody's
name and everyone right here. the first person i would like to introduce is the founding partner of a law firm that focuses on national security law, free speech claims and government accountability. he has represented many whistle-blowers, again, a very important function in our u.s. intelligence community. these are people who feel that they have availed themselves of the opportunities inside and still don't feel their grievances have been addressed. it is another avenue of approach. please welcome mark. [applause] >> secondly i would like to invite george little to the stage. george little, he and i go back a long ways. he was director of public affairs at cia and a spokesperson for cia, prominently during the leon panetta years as director. he then went with director panetta over to the department of defense where he served as the assistant to the secretary for public affairs. many of you probably remember him appearing on television as the pentagon press secretary.
please welcome george. [applause] >> our next panel member is the former acting general counsel of cia it's chief legal officer -- its chief legal officer through probably one of the most turbulent periods in our recent national history. he served as the chief legal officer for much of the time, from 2001 through about 2009. so you can all go through your historical rolodex in your mind and think about all the thicks that happened between -- the things that happened between 01 and 09. john was making the legal recommendations to the director of cia and leading staff of lawyers that made recommendations to the officers of the agency as they took on, you know, edgy operations in support of the defense of our country. so please, john, is is also the author of a great book if you haven't had the chance to read it. it is called "company man 30
years of controversy and crisis in the cia". if you want to know what a lawyer's life is at the cia, it is a great book to read. please welcome john. [applause] >> next i would like to introduce a real national treasure. she has a long and storied career in the department of justice and its components cull nating with her being -- culminating with her assistant attorney general for national security. she was also a chief of staff to robert mueller at the fbi. during the cocktail hour you can ask her all the questions you want about bob mueller. she finished her government career serving the president of the united states as the assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism. and now spends a good amount of her time educating the next generation of lawyers up at nyu law school. please welcome lisa monaco. [applause]
>> last but not least, a good friend of mine is michael morrell. he is serving as our moderator tonight. he was going to be a panel member. he gets to ask questions instead of answer them which is always great. he's a former acting director of cia and deputy director of cia. but he's very famously known for being i think the only human being that was with president bush on 9/11 and was with president obama on the day of the osama bin laden takedown. a lot of great stories he can tell you during the cocktail hour as well. please welcome mike morrell. we'll get started. [applause] >> thank you, larry. and good evening to everybody. and thank you all for coming. i just want to start by reiterating what mark and larry said about general hayden. i know that i speak for all of the panel members here in wishing him a speedy and full
recovery and wishing the best to him and his wonderful family. we're going to miss him here tonight just as we miss his reasonable voice at this difficult time in our nation's history. so general hayden, we're thinking about you. so american intelligence agencies are secret organizations operating in a democracy. and the secret part of that makes it difficult to convince the public, which is the democracy part of it, that the intelligence community is number one, operating within the bounds of the constitution and statute and regulations, number two, that it is actually doing the job that it is supposed to do, and it's actually protecting the country, and number three, that it is doing all of that in a way using the taxpayer's money in the way that makes sense, doing all of that efficiently. and at the end of the day, the
way you square that, the way you square that, giving the public that sense of those three things is oversight. there are a lot of different mechanisms to oversight. you know, the two that we think about the most are congressional oversight and oversight by the media. but there are a lot of oversight mechanisms in the executive branch for what happens inside the intelligence community, and that's what we're here to talk about tonight. we'll talk about congress and the media at future sessions. to get started, let me give you a list of many of the mechanisms in the executive branch for overseeing the intelligence community. number one, there are lawyers. lots of lawyers. there are general counsels at each intelligence community agency. there's the dni general counsel.
there's an nsc lawyers group, so a small group of lawyers from the national security agency who get together regularly to ensure that the policy steps of the united states to include those at the agencies -- the intelligence community agencies are undertaking are legal. there's the office of legal counsel at the department of justice, which is the nation's lawyer. and ultimately there's the attorney general himself or herself. so a lot of lawyers. secondly, there are inspector generals at the different intelligence agencies. and there's an inspector general at the dni. and some of those inspector generals are statutory, special responsibility to congress. third there are executive branch oversight bodies. there is the president intelligence advisory board. there is the intelligence oversight board. and there's the privacy and civil liberties oversight board. then there's ad hoc commissions as well, such as the one that i
served on for president obama after the snowden disclosures on technology and intelligence collection. and fifth -- fourth, i'm sorry, there are whistle-blower provisions. some of those defined in statute. some of those defined in regulation. we will talk about those. and i want to add one more to tonight's discussion because i wasn't sure where to put it in this series, and that's the fisa accord. doesn't fit in media, congress, or the president's discussion, so we're going to put it in tonight's discussion even though it is not part of an executive branch oversight body. okay? a lot of different oversight going on here. so to kick this off, and with all of that as background, let me turn to our panelists, and i want to start by asking john and then mark a simple question, why so much oversight? what brought us here? what's the history?
john? >> well, i assume, michael, you are not calling on me because i'm the oldest person on this panel. [laughter] >> but i actually -- i actually joined the cia in 1976, as a young totally naive two years out of law school graduate. i was among the first wave of lawyers who were hired by the cia, after the investigations. we all remember those. i was the 18th lawyer hired and to your point, michael, by the time i retired in 2009, we had about 130 and i understand we have dozens more now. so that's the history. not that i personally had anything to do with this, but that marked the beginning of oversight, really. before that in the 50s and 60s, there was none.
1976 marked the beginning of the establishment of oversight committees in the house and the senate. there was the establishment of the president's intelligence oversight board out of the white house, specifically oversee from the executive branch perspective intelligence activity. so that's how it all started. >> so what was it though that brought us to that need for oversight? >> well, i mean, there was just, you know, the thing preversely that drew me to apply to the cia in the first place back in 75 were the committee hearings. this was the first time, the year before the new york times first broke the stories about cia drug experiments, 50s and 60s, assassination plots, and
there were these sensational televised hearings in 1975 -- actually the first televised hearing at that point since watergate. and there was just this revulsion on a bipartisan basis in congress about not only these activities cia had done over the previous two decades, but the fact that no one outside the cia and the few select people in the white house, including the president, knew about them. so there was a consensus really that something had to change. there had to be some sort of oversight. that's how it was born. >> mark, do you want to add to that? >> they exist because they're needed. and i think john accurately sets forth the history that led to it. the u.s. government typically as i always explained to folks is far more reactive than
proactive. it doesn't do a very good job of anticipating something to happen especially in the intelligence community, and usually then reacts to something bad that happens because of course if it's good, nobody's going to do anything about it. we may not ever hear about it. but excuse me, but there have been and continue to unfortunately be bad things that happen to the intelligence community. sometimes by an individual who does things that they shouldn't have and then there's a reaction. often times, other times by perhaps an agency as more of a leadership issue, in some of the examples that john mentioned that led to additional reform and oversight. and we can certainly talk about whether that oversight works, as i'm sure we will, in dealing with some of the threats, insider threats and outsider threats. and they're both reabouted to very differently -- and they're
both reabout eed -- reacted to very differently. if you want to talk about some of the people who have -- some say are whistle-blowers from within the national security environment, i actually could give you concrete examples of them going public perhaps in a way that they thought was meaningful and beneficial and needed has made it harder for other whistle-blowers who actually want to follow the rules, to abide by the law and go through the system because of the way the agencies have reacted from an oversight standpoint to prevent another such person and he who shall not be named type situation. i will let one of you guys say their names so i won't be out there in doing it. but there's a lot of reactions by that where i would have hoped the system could have been improved, but instead, i think actually it's been made worse. >> we'll come back to that.
lisa let me ask you about policy oversight in the intelligence community. i want to do it in the context of the generally held view that the obama white house held a pretty tight grip on both the u.s. military and the intelligence community in terms of the operations it conducted, and my question for you is do you think that there's a reason that there's a need to more tightly oversee those two organizations than the rest of the government? what's your sense on that? >> well, first, let me say thank you to george mason, to the national press club for hosting us, to the school, and of course the hayden center for having us. and if -- i'm going to get to your question. if i can add to your prior question -- >> sure. >> i think the reason we have oversight is in part because and appropriately so over time the legal and regulatory and policy
requirements have increased. and i think it is healthy to have an apparatus within the executive branch to make sure that the intelligence community and the different agencies that are part of it are adhering to those requirements. i think that's just good government. and we will discuss i think whether that's sufficient. but i think it has been a natural appropriate and i think healthy response to the growth in legal and regulatory kind of mechanisms to make sure that we're adhering to the balance of both the security that the intelligence community and the military and others are sworn to provide as well as of course the protections in our constitution. to your question, i think -- i guess i would take issue with the notion that there is a particular tight grip on either the military or the intelligence community. i think that there is and was in
the obama administration a general view that the national security counsel created by the national security act of 1947, to be that place where coordination happens within the federal government of all integration of domestic, foreign and intelligence and military matters. there was a view i think i know president obama held it, that the national security counsel ought to do its job as laid out in the national security act and do so pursuant to a very clear process, that he articulated in the presidential directive that lays out that was issued i think on the first day of the obama administration and i think rightly was following a template that president bush 41 white house adopted. so that there ought to be a process and careful and clear integration of those interests
and a kind of integration of the policy needs and a clear set of goals for that foreign policy and execution of intelligence operations and matters. and so, you know, i think that it makes sense to have that happen with -- to use your words a pretty tight grip within the white house, because ultimately the president is -- he's one of two folks who are elected at the federal level and who is accountable for all that, for all that policy and for all those operations. so i think it is appropriate to centralize that in the white house. that ought to be, however, against a backdrop that it ought not to be an operational entity as learned through some cycles of kind of crisis and reform and response, in, you know, prior years. so there ought to be that process. there ought to be that structure. it is appropriate in the white house.
but it has to be done adhering to a certain balance. >> and i think i would, you know, i think i would add that the risks being taken by the u.s. military on a daily basis and the u.s. intelligence community on a daily basis, the risks to the nation, the risks to the organizations, and the risks to the credibility of the nation, i mean almost requires -- almost requires a level of oversight, right, that we're talking about here. george, i'm wondering from your experience -- in part we're doing this to make sure that mistakes to happen, and we're doing it to ensure the public that all is being done as it should be done. how do you educate the public about all of this stuff, most of which they don't know anything about? >> it's a tough job, believe me. i spent many years attempting to do so. i will let you assess my success
or lack thereof. first, let me echo what lisa said, thank you to george mason, to the school, to the hayden center. i would like to give a shoutout to director hayden who took a chance on me and made me a spokesman at the agency after having never spoken to a reporter in my life. [laughter] >> and it was a real gamble. secondly, he's a son of pittsburgh, and i just want him to know that for the remainder of this football season, i'm switching my football allegiance from the washington redskins to the pittsburgh steelers. that's out after deep affection for him but also a little bit of the redskins performance. [laughter] >> certainly i hope he's watching. what was the question again, michael? [laughter] >> how do your job to make sure the public understands? >> one of the great lines that
director hayden had in one of his speeches. there's the openness and secrecy. the cia office public of affairs there used to be a button that people wore long before i got there but there was still some stashed in a desk, it was a comment with a red line through it, no comment. we made a decision at the agency that that was no longer tenable because there is no natural constituency let's face it for the cia. it just does not exist. you have intelligence officers who support the agency. but it's very difficult to have political following and routine support from other branches of government, especially. and so you have to -- we made a decision to actually say more on the record which surprised a lot of people. there's actually a whole lot you can say about the agency's mission, about its people, and about world events. so the press is obviously one
key way of trying to educate. the press is ultimately not the enemy of the intelligence community or anybody else. the press helps inform the american people, and yes, we're adversarial from time to time, in the intelligence community, with the press. but the intelligence community beat reporters who cover the agency and the intelligence community at large are generally very responsible, and if you develop a relationship of trust, understand when there's a bright line that veers on sources and methods, and people or operations that, you know, might harm life or national security. now, that might get harder -- harder in the digital age or more international press looking at all of this, but a press is a very important component of that education. it took us a while at the agency
to get through all the security clearances to finally approve anything on twitter or facebook or the rest of it. and the cia does have a digital presence now and does a very nice job of it. don't look at my twitter feed, but the cia does a lot better. and finally, i think that you have to harken back to there's some historians of the agency here, and you have to tell the stories of the accomplished men and women over time who have risked their lives for this nation. and some of those tales can't be told right away. but they can be told as time passes on, and with the appropriate clearances from john and others, in the general counsel's office. and telling the stories of -- i'm just going to call him joe -- he was still working at the agency, during world war ii, and became part of the oss i
think against his will and stayed with the agency until i left in 2011 as a contractor. spent 70 years of his life in the agency doing incredible things. you can tell those stories of the men and women of their mission. you can tell world events. you can comment on them. you can have a relationship with the press. and i think that is ultimately the bag of tricks that you have to inform the american people. >> let me just add that when general hayden came to cia, we were more closed. we were less transparent. and i remember him making an argument which was quite persuasive that, you know, i think we can push the fence line out in what we talk about. i think we can tell the american people more about what we're doing, give them more confidence in who we are and what we do, and by pushing the fence line out, we can actually do a better job protecting what we have to protect.
>> most americans understand that we need to have at least some secrets. >> and i think we did that during general hayden's tenure and i think we tried very hard to continue it after he left. but i think that's really important. >> yeah. >> i want to ask all of you kind of the big question here, which is about effectiveness; right? the effectiveness of this oversight. and so i'm going to go down the line and start with lisa. if you could talk about how effective you think all these mechanisms are. which are the most effective in your mind? do we need anymore? do we have too many? how do you think about all of that? >> the way i think about oversight in general and the part that is done by the executive branch is that it generally has two components to it. i think it has a component that checks, and this is a lot of what i did in the national security division, the lawyers that you left off your
copious -- your list of lawyers, the national security division lawyers has a wonderful group of about hundred plus lawyers whose job it is to represent the intelligence community before the fisa courts. and you know, part of that role as well as the other lawyers that you mentioned is to ensure that the legal requirements are being met. so think of that in the box of what can be done. is what is being done by the intelligence community consistent with law and regulation? but then i also think about compliance in terms of governance; right? this is -- does it make sense? is it consistent with our principles? is it consistent with who we are? does it follow the policy, preferences of those who were duly elected and who were accountable to the people?
and that i think of in the category of should we do it? right? i think the most effective oversight mechanisms that i've seen in operation both involve all three branches of government, and therefore, have the legitimacy that is attached to that, and that touch on both, that are both compliant but also have an element of governance, that ask the question, and this is what i have seen in my work over many many years with the intelligence community, across the board, the cia, the national security agency, the different components, the fbi of course, the different components of the defense department, that there is a real effort to get it right, to both satisfy the legal compliance, to ask the questions of is this something we can do, consistent with our legal obligations, but also to ask of themselves, is this something that we should do, but mostly that comes and there's i think
an inherent responsibility of the policymakers to be asking that question. >> john? >> first line of defense is the lawyers inside the intelligence community. and as lisa and michael have said, they have proliferated over the years. i mean, since i -- >> you say that with affection. [laughter] >> yes. and bemusement. [laughter] >> really that is where and george and certainly michael know this that is where inside the agency, that is the first place where the real substantive people, the analysts that operate go these days because they have lawyers literally sitting amongst them in every component of the agency. and you know, i observed it over the years.
i like to think i helped some in that regard over the years. that i would say would be the first line of defense. the second line of defense, and this is a phenomenon that grew out of the reform, is a rigorous tough inspector general system. inspector generals picked and confirmed -- nominated by the president, confirmed by the senate. we have now in all the intel agencies, including the dni. and i will tell you, as a guy who served in the cia office, inspector general for one year, as sort of -- that was sort of a vacation assignment. in by 8:30, out by 5:00. i mean, this new -- the idea of these inspector generals being truly independent, i think has
actually been a boon, a huge boon. although, you know, those of us on the inside who can tell you from experience, they can be a pain in the butt sometimes when you have to deal with them, but i think they have served a huge purpose. the final thing, and maybe this is problem i should jump this above the others is the congressional oversight. the house and senate intel committees. one of the regrets i have about the agency post 9/11 and all the controversies over, you know, the interrogation program, and i hold myself partly responsible for this, is that we didn't tell enough people in the congress at the time, at that time of great national peril what we were doing and more importantly why we felt we had to do it.
we kept it to a small group, the so called gang of eight, congressional leadership. the briefings were episodic, off the record, no staff, no transcript, and, you know, i mean, this is the political reality three or four years later, after the original briefings about the program, political tide that turned, and the few members -- how do i put this -- not all of them stood up and said they were aware of the program from the beginning. that was actually to be expected. what we should have done is to tell as many people as possible, certainly the full intel committees about what we were doing at the time it was being done. it wouldn't have insulated us, but it would have helped. so that's my last -- >> john, does oversight get in
the way of the ic doing its job? >> well, you know as well or better than i, michael, oversight can be a huge pain. i mean, you have to -- you know, you have to do briefings. you spend half -- you get higher up in the hierarchy. you spend half your time briefing sometimes members, but frankly most of the time staff. when you think you're doing the right thing, and the legal standard for reporting to the intelligence committees is all of significant intel activities, the cia is required to do that. i can't tell you how many times we would dutifully go down to the oversight committee staff and say this is what we're doing now, and we think it's pretty significant and they would look at us and say why are you telling us this stuff, you know? so it's -- it can be hugely
frustrating. and as i say, the second guessing can be, you know, in my experience can be very difficult because it gets personal. but i mean, it's, you know, without oversight, especially in congress, you want to be able to say yes, we not only followed the law, but look, we're going to put you guys in the boat with us. we're going to tell you what we're doing. if you have a problem with that, let us know. so i just think it's great for the country, but for the protection of the intel community, it is indispensable. >> george, effectiveness >> so i agree that there are many many lawyers who i have spent time with in the united states government and a lot of
bonding time. [laughter] >> director hayden used to say in speeches that there are more lawyers in the intelligence community than there are in some intelligence services around the world. >> which is true. >> which is true. i think that there are two broader trends that i think are worth talking about with respect to congress. i don't think that we have the congressional oversight piece quite right. we can attribute that to interesting personalities in congress or the politics of the day or what have you, but i think there are two broad trends. one sounds a bit silly. one is that, you know, the informal relationships that used to exist, the social relationships that used to exist in washington don't anymore generally. the intelligence community's interactions with congress have become more formal. you march into a hearing room,
it is kind of adversarial by definition, you answer questions, etc., etc. there used to be a more informal exchange between the executive branch intelligence community leaders and congress, which i think helps. director panetta would have coffees on a weekly basis with members of the congress. i think that helps. but it is something to bear in mind. the other trend i think is a broader trend about our country's politics. it used to be that politics stopped at the water's edge. and now i think that's not the case. and we've seen regrettably more of the politicization of intelligence in the congress which does not in my opinion lead to responsible and informed oversight. >> to the extent -- i'm asking this question to see if you agree, to the extent that those trends are happening, it actually makes the oversight in the executive branches of the intelligence community even more
important to the extent that it's breaking down to some degree in congress. >> agreed, agreed. no doubt about it. and there are extensive accountability mechanisms in the executive branch which we all have referred to, but i think that we need to get back to a time where congress is the more constructive player in the process. >> mark, enough, too much? not the right kind? what's your sense? >> i will give a little insight on sort of both sides. i would also throw in the judiciary as an oversight mechanism. it is one of the areas that those of us in the private sector can use to ensure a degree of oversight at the executive branch, not as much on the legislative branch, little bit every once in a while. i totally agree with george on the partisanship. i mean that's been part of the problem. and i would say it certainly goes back a long way. i been in d.c. now for a quarter centu
century. i would say the last 10, 15 years, post 9/11, and we can blame it on redistricting and all sorts of jer gerrymandering and stuff like for how it worked, that's a different subject all together. when i bring intel compliants -- intel compliants up to the committees, they only have so much staff for one thing and the staff are doing a lot of the work than the members. every once in a while i get to know a member, but i'm usually dealing with staff. and they as a general rule, in the years i have gone to them, just by attitude, just difference between house and senate. they don't particularly want to hear about individual cases. they want to hear about more of a systemic problem. so i always have to try and say hey, this client of mine at whatever intel agency is undergoing this issue and it is not just highlighted to them. they are not just being retaliated because them.
there's something bigger for the committee to take a look at. and that's difficult to do very often. then the other committees which get lost in the shuffle of any type of intel oversight is there are a number of committees that at least by the way they're created have dual jurisdiction over the intelligence community. the judiciary committee, armed services, government reform, certainly appropriations obviously. the intel committees obviously have an agreement when they were created in 77, 78, to be the priority, but they are not exclusive. there was a hearing about why the cia refused to cooperate with them, and jim woolsey was the surrogate witness because the committee was furious that they were not getting any type of cooperation, in fact, originally the agency had agreed
to show up on some sort of non-controversial issue, and then the cia from what it was told me by a staffer the other day talked other agencies actually cooperating as a group, but part of the problem that also happens that i will tell you, there's a lot of great oversight in a lot of the agencies. in each of the branches. one place where i have been really disappointed, though, is in the inspector general's. particularly in the sense that given the work that i do, in representing a grieved individual employees, whatever it might be, security clearances, let's put aside that they're being investigated by the ig. they want to complain about something else within another part of their agency or the ic in general, whether it's a whistle-blower or whatever it might be. and i got to tell you, other than having personal relationships which after 25 years, fortunately i will, with folks in different agencies, it's been very hostile from the outside to try and work with the
ig's. you would think the ally i would have inside any of the agencies, intelligence or otherwise would be the ig; right? they are supposed to care about whistle-blowers. >> think about how it feels on the inside, mark. >> exactly. [laughter] >> but we don't see it from the outside unless we have a very special personal relationship with someone in the inside that that level of oversight or receptiveness exists, which is a really sad thing, and i would love, and i continue to try to change it. what do i see as somewhat of a success from an oversight? i think one example i can give would be the information security clearance appeals panel within the national archives, part of information security oversight office. this is a classification, declassification entity. it is not dealing with whistle-blowers and things like that, but from an oversight perspective, why do i say it is a good thing?
this is all executive branch members, from a variety of different agencies who if you make a mandatory declassification request to an agency to declassify a document, and an agency says no, you can take it to this body, this appeal body of other agencies including the agency you requested it from, and they will sit in judgment over the decision. and something like the last stats that i saw, 71% of the appeals are successful, meaning that that appeals group overrides the agency that said no, it's classified. so a dod state department, nsc person is saying no to an nga individual who said we can't release this information. that to me is fantastic oversight. and that's all within the executive branch. what i would love to see and especially for whistle-blowers and clearances quite frankly is
to have another agency within the executive branch oversee a decision process, and there's all sorts of debates we can have on it. but when i really see sound informed impartial decisions made is if i can get it outside of the agency where they have a personal stake involved, either because of friendships or embarrassment or whatever it might be, that's when i start to see the difference. now, that could be congress. that could be judiciary, but quite frankly -- >> have you found that the dni can play that role, or not? >> so -- >> be honest here. [laughter] >> you are only on tv. >> totally off the record, mark, totally off the record. [laughter] >> there have been times where the dni has been fantastic in helping out some cases that i had, without a doubt. i was on a panel with the form general counsel for the american
bar association last month, and bob was a great general counsel from the outside when i was dealing with him on issues. i will say and we can have a separate panel on this too, the dni is still trying to figure out what role it plays within the community and how much oversight and authority it will exert upon the agencies. we are routinely bringing cases to the dni ig because we're having issues with the cia ig, and we're trying to get them to function in the way we think or believe congress had created it to be sort of this oversight body, overall, but i don't -- i think they still haven't reached a level of maturity to play that role. >> i want to add on to this by saying i think people are not aware of the level kind of cross agency oversight that there is. for instance, the lawyers who used to work for me in the national security division would conduct on sight reviews of what was going on at the national
security agency, in the fbi, for the conduct of national security investigations and the appropriate use of the fisa authority. so that was kind of cross agency oversight. when i was chief of staff to bob mueller, i spent, he and i spent many many hours in front of the president's -- at the time it was called the president's foreign intelligence advisory board because they were really pushing the transformation of the fbi into a national security focused organization, focused on preventing the next attack and the buildup of a more robust intelligence capability. when i was in the white house, after the snowden disclosures, there i said it, we sought outside expertise and created a commission that you served on where the former acting director of the cia served hand in glove with a card carrying member of the aclu and constitutional law professor jeff stone at the university of chicago precisely
so we could get a variety of perspectives. >> we faced each other every day and we argued and argued and argued, and we came to a meeting of the minds. >> and it made for a better product. and it made for a set of recommendations, not all of which that we took to the letter, but it forced us internally in the executive branch to really think through. those are just three examples of executive branch oversight in different flavors that i was a part of that i found to be quite effective, not perfect, but certainly effective. >> so let me bring together three things here because you said something earlier that i agree with 100% which is when you have all three branches of government doing oversight, it's very effective. right? number one. number two, we talked about snowden, right? and number three, we had a discussion about the public. and i'm trying to figure out
here how the public fits into the oversight because the snowden disclosures in particular two of the programs that he disclosed were two of the programs that had the most oversight in my memory, in the history of the intelligence community. >> yeah. >> they had executive branch oversight. they had congressional oversight. they had judicial oversight. they had oversight by two different white houses. multiple national security teams. multiple. and multiple fisa decisions. and yet the issue exploded because the public reacted in a certain way. >> yep. >> how did you think about that? >> so i think it comes back to this framework, you know, didn't just dawn on me and colleagues of mine at nyu i should give a shoutout who has written on this about this notion about
compliance and governance. i think what happened with the snowden disclosures revealed was take for instance, the 215 program, the collection of telephone meta data, subject to robust oversight in the executive branch, fisa court oversight, multiple different judges approving of this, lots of oversight by the congress, and inspector general oversight i should note, but when it became public, all of that, the way our constitutional structure was set up, to have all of those branches engaged in overseeing to lend that activity legitimacy, it was not seen that way by the public. that's an overgeneralization, but so much so that it -- that a different law was passed to put it under different authority. so in essence, i think what the snowden disclosures revealed was that this activity was lawful.
now there was a court in the district court that had a different view, but multiple courts and all the oversight that i indicated, and it was done pursuant to a statute in congress. i think you could say it was lawful but deemed illegitimate in the eyes of many in the public. what do you do? what does the intelligence community do in that instance? and i think what the answer is is public debate which is what we ended up having, and ultimately a retention of the authority in the executive branch but changing it to house that information in the phone companies instead at the national security agent, but that was done pursuant to a congressional statute. ::
to give credit to director hayden who was much more open during his time there. but they never really developed that environment and it goes back to the culture and then to even acknowledge that maybe the date is wrong but it is close. so when the foreclosures had at the time i immediately thought to myself nsa has no reputation and this will be a very bad. the crisis when it comes to the window but they have no ability to effectively tell their story and they have missed several opportunities in my humble opinion to defend
broadly without going into detail their work of the men and women of the nsa. and it is a vitally important program. >> what is more important at the end of the day? those mechanisms of oversight or the integrity of those operating inside? could another iran-contra affair happen today even with all the oversight? [laughter] >> here we go again. i had the job to be the liaison between cia and the iran-contra communities. so there were a lot of unique personalities in the executive branch at that time at the
agency and in congress. [laughter] now i have lost control. [laughter] but i would just say that with the iran-contra affair since then the oversight mechanisms have been built up since that time in the inspector general with the cia general counsel. i don't think it could happen again. the country learned lessons and commerce learned lessons.
it's hard to say i'm nostalgic but with the joint committee , 26 members. [laughter] the house and senate republicans and democrats. but to try to keep in perspective with that well-intentioned policy rules. so in those days not done as a bipartisan basis. [laughter] that now everybody just retreats to their corner.
>> so you think that can't happen again. >> not at the grander scale of the iran-contra. and then to be suspected of doing something they should not be doing as the case officer wherever they may be. those were caught by the agencies whether they are right or wrong. >> which was not a major controversy in that type of situation but with the data mining operation and what those agencies were doing what view you have of it so when
they have congressional hearings agencies were not sure how they were reacting and then started the allegations that individual intelligence officers were off on their own doing certain operations. whether it was put down in writing or not. and we look back one dozen years later those that authorized it. but now they are out of government service. that i remember telling you it was okay to do but that was some frustration to say the least. without a doubt. and i really do think the snowden situation it was a pr
failure not anticipating what would likely happen and how to react. the very few articles in the last few months. and what the impact has been since. and i would dare say but the programs are probably stronger and more active because like she said a complete oversight. now congress cannot complain they did not know about it as they did and that litigation coming from the snowden disclosure. but from the pr standpoint only looking at domestic surveillanc surveillance, and we now get the fisa court
decision declassified. yes there are redaction's but it still goes strong. we could have congressional hearings in the program is still growing strong. that could easily have happened. >> talk about aspects and then to say let's reveal some information the agency said we will not do anything and right or wrong. been to do that for ideological purposes. >> so first i have complete sympathy and with the colleagues in the agencies and
then to have their hands tied because of that classification of time program. it is true the government could not turn on a dime but it did force a lot more declassification. >> i cannot see very well because of the lights mike is coming. >> thank you to the panel who will be here tonight this is crucial how we talk about democracy and secrecy in finding the balance.
my name is jennifer i am of public policy focus with intelligence oversight. so my research question looks at the mechanisms that congress and the executive branch employees for different problems. specifically what commissions and why the executive branch chooses commissions over the executive branch and the agencies using the ombudsman as well as the congress committee hearings. so to think about the expertise and the scandal of failures and agenda setting is crucial. looking at that what is the focus on your time and why these choose these commissions
to hold government accountable. >> because in the wake of the disclosures we fired up all of the mechanisms fund the advisory board and a key club and the oversight board. and those that were represented. so we decided to put together this panel those who had never served in the government or were from different perspectives to really give a wide range of views. >> the political aspect? was there a public relations
aspect? >> certainly the reason why we thought we needed to get a broader set. also because with president obama tended to take a long view on issues he saw what was the merging - - emerging that talked about how had this been public at the time these programs were adopted in the wake of 911 they may have been crafted differently but in a world where technology takes on different roles and we need to grapple with. >> in terms of the national defense strategy once every
four years congress wanted a different view about the country's defense and the administration itself. >> talk about the roots of oversight going back to the church which may also go back to the subcommittee oversight hearings on the intelligence community's surveillance of citizens, the intelligence
oversight mechanism with that controversy up to and including the church, do you feel the structure has weathered itself well since the time then? that was a different time and a different set of problems than what we face now. >> yes is the short answer. as you recall that was special there was no intelligence committee at that point. and in many ways it was sensational and a lot of posturing from both sides of the witness table on the dais. but the creation of the intelligence committee, i think we have been fortunate with some exception over the last 40 year years, the heads
of the two intelligence committee committees, regardless of party or house or senate, they have been good, responsible, conscientious . there are a few notable exceptions to that rule but as i said earlier, i think the intelligence committee structure is not only part of our democracy that is a huge insurance policy. that has evolved very effectively. >> i will defer but i left in
2009 and honestly mentioning the intelligence oversight boar board, honestly i did not view them at the time as terribly rigorous. they were appointed by the president with a lot of famous people. but i just have to tell you from being inside at that point, i never viewed them as terribly rigorous. >> im courtney fleming i work with a contractor supporting cia and various intelligence communities private and then public service. my question is about the mechanism of the ig's office
and how they can truly be effective when they report to the head of the cia themselves. they are not really independent at all in my opinion. they are not statutorily independent. i know that you mentioned at the cia mister rizzo, they do have to go through the appointment but they still report to the head of the cia that report to the outside organization. nga at one point reported to the head of nga i think that is the case of all other intelligence organizations. can you speak to that? >> i can. every ig that worked closely with during my seven years, i certainly felt they felt they were independent i felt they
felt they could report to the director and that didn't affect what they were thinking. they were statutory that they could go directly to the hill they did not need our permission to go to the hill and they frequently did. so i think they have the independence they needed that my issue with the ig has always been effectiveness. i always thought the audit piece did a magnificent job to audit the various activities of the agencies to point out where there were problems. the inspection part didn't ever really tell me anything i didn't already know. these were people from the inspection staff probably from a short period of time on
rotation they didn't bring any expertise or give me insight into a particular unit and the investigative side i felt they didn't have any resources that they really needed for an issue to get all the facts in one place to make a decision. mine was effectiveness not the independence. >> that goes to what i was talking about with the audit that was easy they would check the bad reading machine if people were at work and then to prove that case officers were actually working when they didn't show up but to bring the whistleblower the agencies are very small. we live in a small town coming from new york it is a small town as far as i'm concerned and the agencies are pretty small especially on the operational side. you have folks going on rotation for an x period of
years, everybody knows one another or is connected so to bring a whistleblower inside the agency even though the ig in my experience gets along with the director a few cases they were totally at loggerhead which could be good or bad for my client. but to bring someone where the individual doing the investigating has a relationship with the people you are reporting on where they could go back to that office was problematic which is why i would like to see some sort of external oversight at least four whistleblowers to bring someone to get a completely unbiased and independent view of a particular agency because there would be pushback obviously because of the equities but the thing about whistleblowers that always bothers me if you look on paper the work that i do with
a nonprofit that was so - - represents whistleblowers for free, we are on the same page all the laws are in favor of whistleblowers the presidential proclamations are. you encourage whistleblowers until one blows the whistle internally. [laughter] and then they don't feel like they want that in a friendly wa way. it is frustrating when we try to bring people who want to do it the right way and there are people who want to and then there are people who don't do it at all because they are concerned if they do it the right way they will be penalized. but they are not received over one - - well enough but that is sad because the mechanism on paper is there that's where the people and the relationship comes in. >> and then you don't feel like you were being taken seriously. >> yes. >> and snowden said he went outside the system because he saw how others were treated
now i could debate if that was legitimate but it doesn't matter because that is what he thought and why he did what he did. >>. >> i work for the united states army which just be navy on saturday. [laughter] >> so my question is a follow-up that i that you wish you had been more forthcoming on the hill so to play devils advocate if you had done that what are the odds that somebody who disagreed with you, we are at the press club would have leaked it and it would have been adjudicated not through legitimate oversight but through the media? that more things need to be
weighed by the public so that's the way we should go? >> i think from the beginning of the interrogation of the secret prison system early 2002 with congress and media , it would have been supportive and at the time we brief the congressional leaders, at that point they were all tremendously supportive even with that interrogation techniques even with the exclusionary date - - excruciating detail is this enough cracks do you need to do anything more? now i don't know if they would
have leaked it then but i did not discern any opposition or revulsion. now four years later of course we are further away from 911, politically, i think if we had just gone down there to put it on the record and a transcript. it would be like the torture opinion. we would have read it verbatim at least they could not have said years later 90 percent of congress did not know or to say i never knew this was going on. but for those eight they could say maybe i was briefed but i always opposed it but we have no record that's what i was talking about. >> and the program is starting to get leaked in with the
white house has a lot of c - - a lot of say what you brief to congress. >> yes. i took a role in this but the decision actually came out of the vice presidents office at the time to limit them for four years until general hayden arrived and went back and said we cannot sustain this. one of the many great acts of service the general did for our agency. i briefed congress many many times on extraordinarily sensitive issues with both member and staff in the room and nothing i've ever briefed to congress was ever leaked. it's not well known but most of the leaks of classified information don't come out of congress it is the executive branch.
i never had anything leaked i told congress. >> i agree. >>. >> i will throw this question out to the panel it's very interesting that you mentioned the review process inflation classify or declassify information and that the other agencies would strike down a decision or the representatives they are of. but i just wanted to go further how would you explain that? i would think there would be more empathy not to overturn a fellow position but how do we
apply this to those areas that need more oversight? >> you were talking about this. >> but i don't have any insight how it works with the agencies from that standpoint. represented some of the folks that were on that panel over the years and i worked with the directors for many years and therefore a long period of time. bill leonard who i represented in some foia matters with the espionage act as the expert witness and i always saw they took their job seriously to apply what rules are that d classification guide stated and frankly to me maybe someone else could say from the inside the difference of
any equity and it did not feel personal. that's what made the difference. whatever the issue was, that agency that classified it didn't want that information or thought pandora's box would open and other members of the community to oversee that would say no. what are you talking about? nothing bad will happen. actually came around through this process. >> i was going to add in my experience it is arbitrary rule rules. for the longest time nothing gets d classified because it impinges on the presidents decision-making and discourage analyst to call it like they see it. so that is the position the cia took four years until president bush decided to declassify that then it fell
apart. so people debate these rules which tend to be arbitrary they don't debate individual declassification's very often there is an agreement. >> and you are part of some of these discussions as part of the process that mark described but i was part of a number of discussions about whether or not to declassify certain things and they brought their equities to the table. in other words if it were to be declassified what is the impact? we would hear from the cia or nsa or foreign policy about the impact of what they would be in and ultimately make decisions. so frankly some of that
process should be at that level with that equity. >> that would be the so-called torture memos in early 2009. >> if there were less classification than we have over classified and if we understood and agree to that debate of what we should release. >> the sign of a good panel is everybody once more. we would love to ask more at the reception when we conclude please exit through the rear doors giving the panel members that chance to get a drink first. also thanks to those at the
hayden center everything that went well tonight is to their credit anything that went wrong is my oversight. please a quick round of applies. [applause] we also have blank note cards available as you exit and some pens available if you feel inclined to write a note of encouragement for general hayden we will make sure he gets that as soon as possible last but not least think you to the wonderful panel offering a lot of food for thought for those mechanisms in place to ensure we do the right thing for the american people a final round of applause. [applause]
we examine a study that found mission-critical cybervulnerabilities in the us weapon systems then teresa made announces a delay in the house of commons on the racks that vote leon panetta former cia director join former trumper administration national security advisor mcmaster to discuss the role of the us military around the world and global hotspots.
>>host: this week on "the communicators" we want to introduce you to author of the government accountability office report on weapon system cybersecurity, christina chaplain. what is the overarching find in your report dealing with weapons and cybersecurity? >> we look at weapons in the development process and what we found is many are vulnerable to be hacked there very vulnerable to cyberattacks in general as they try to penetrate it was relatively easy to do so. a lot of the time it was physical like password management with patch updating and things like that. it is a grim situation they are taking a lot of action recognizing there is a problem but there is a long road ahead of them but the cyberhygiene
to take it seriously. >>host: the senate armed services committee requested this report. >>host: both senator reid and the chairman of the committee as well? >> mccain was the chairman at the time. >>host: christina chaplain is our guest this week to talk about this report and we are joined our guest reporter. >> thanks for having me i am curious talking about the systems that they are secure but what are we doing to deter adversaries? >> in the meantime there's a lot that could be done to shore up the culture of dod to pay