tv Congressional Oversight of the Intelligence Community CSPAN March 12, 2019 5:25am-6:58am EDT
former state department official on "time for peace in afghanistan and in into the lies." >> it was the same i had seen in 2005 2006-2007, as well as when i worked on issues of the pentagon and the state department in between those times. there was no difference in administration. there were both -- the desire was to win politically, domestic political reasons. everything else was secondary. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." announcer: next, conversation on congresses oversight role of the intelligence community. former members of the congressional intelligence committees, including jane harman, mike rogers, saxby chambliss, and bill nelson, participate in a panel moderated by the former acting cia director, michael morel. we will hear first from senate
intelligence committee vice chair mark warner, posted by george mason university, this is about 90 minutes. >> this is one of 10 schools and colleges at george mason university, and we have a variety of programs and public policy, public administration, political science, and international security, among others, and we are proud to host a number of these public facing events such as this one this
evening that are put on by a number of our different centers at the university, including the hayden center. i'd like get started, to acknowledge special guests before we begin our programs at the shore school. i would like to make one specially knowledge meant. here this evening, general michael hayden and his wife, janine. thank you. [applause] >> general, thank you. we are thrilled you are here. thank you for everything you do for george mason university and our country. we are proud to have you here and to host the hidden center at george mason university. i have done these programs in the past year and always like to brag a little bit about our international security program having achieved a ranking of third in the country.
i told everybody that someplace called harvard is ranked number two. there's a happy ending to this story, because as of midnight tonight when they released the results of the latest rankings, we are ranked number two. [applause] >> and a lot of it has to do with events like this, programs that we have put on that i think really enhance the visibility of the school, in the nature of public debate and discussion that is so important to us to be sponsoring. i would like to introduce now senator mark warner. senator warner? [applause] you, mark.see mark warner was elected to the united states senate in 2008 and again in 2014. he served as governor of virginia from 2002 to 2006.
virginia was ranked as best in business in the united states when he left the governorship, and importantly number one in public education, which we still claim. we are delighted to hear mark, and we look forward to your opening comments. >> >> thank you for that introduction. it's great to be here to celebrate while we are in the district. we're celebrating a great institution, george mason and the schar school in particular. when the first give my best wishes to the general. he is someone who has brought from all of us who have anyway touched the intelligence community. you are in for a special evening tonight. l will be leading the discussion and you will be
hearing from four board members who have as much knowledge of the space is anyone you can listen to. mike rogers, jane harman, bill chambliss.saxby time.een wild our topic tonight's congress and the oversight of the intelligence community. , at times, congress can get in its own way in terms of intelligence oversight. we have three committees that touch our jurisdiction one way or another. that myhe things chairman and i have been trying to do is make sure we are better matched together so we can -- meshed together so we can provide the oversight,
particularly in areas where that domain continues to become more and more challenging, trying to think through the administration thinking about a space force. that is one of those areas where congress needs to do a little better job of oversight. the panel will be addressing that tonight. want to take some pride and i say this with some trepidation that the senate select committee on intelligence may be the last bipartisan committee standing in congress at this moment, that is a relatively low board to get unfortunately, but while the chairman and i don't always agree in our members nine times out of 10 we find common -- and our members,
nine times out of 10, we find common agreement. that has been somewhat tested as we've seen some of the other committees. in the last two years, mostly due to the russia investigation, we have had 12 public hearings. that is more than the senate committee ever had in terms of public hearings. while we are not concluded with our investigation, i hope it is shown to be a model on how we can try to make sure, particularly looking at the russia situation, but what happens in 2016 never happens again. i'm proud so far. i'm just giving you the opening remarks and you can hear the whole panel later. i would like to point out areas where we have already found bipartisan agreement.
one, we reached a common agreement reconfirming the intelligence community's assessment that, in 2016, russia ourively invested in campaigns. help one candidate and hurt another. -- did that to help one candidate and hurt another. this took pushing back and forth, but we managed to determine the russians had jiggled the door or window of 21 of our states electoral systems. on 2016, we were extraordinarily fortunate as a country, because the vulnerabilities our system had
from voter file security to voting machine security was a soft underbelly. in many ways, we are lucky the russians didn't open those doors could have.hat they our committee came out with broad bipartisan suggestions on how we can approve election security -- improve election security. 2018, i'm happy to report our system is much more secure. in many ways, 2018 is a warm-up for 2020. terms of where we have found common agreement as well, the role of social media. terms of priorn to 2016, in many ways, both the intelligence community and companies were caught offguard with how these platforms could be used to manipulate information, how we
initially thought our adversaries or an advertising, but the much more insidious way the russians and their playbook being out for other countries to look at used was the creation of fake accounts to drive divisions in our society. some of the indications we have seen is that if you look at the nfl player debate about nailing -- kneeling, regardless of which side of the argument you are on, we have determined, based on outside investigation, it is about eight to one foreign-based accounts over actual americans commenting on the subject. in many ways, one of the conclusions we come to is that we look at what the russians did in the elections and the brexit vote that has now become --
frenchnd in the activities. in the realm of social media, we have work to do. one other area i would like to highlight, the panel came out that our committee spent an enormous amount of time on. the chairman and i are in the face, in a sense, doing a roadshow on the subject and working with many organizations on the emerging challenges from china. have seen a dramatic transition in chinese government and communist party activities. has made xi jinping
ground on a theft of intellectual property and a whole host of challenges. one of the things we're still trying to work with is getting to declassify more of this information to make sure we allow the business or academic community and others to be aware of this. china is a great nation, and the u.s. needs to work with china on a going forward basis. but, there is a set of tools and procedures they are using that i think we have been naive to. this is an area of committee hopes to pursue. that is oversight and policy direction. a highlight those two areas anduse they are important the role of the committee has been evolving. it smiled that we will maintain
a cooperative and collaborative relationship we have been able to show over the last two years. a lot of that was due to people like bill and saxby. my hope is that we see that return to that approach of bipartisan and putting country first both in our committee and moving forward on the house committee. having that oversight, recognizing the role of the intelligence community is only going to increase in importance, that needs to be done in a thoughtful and bipartisan matter. the kind of leadership general hayden provided for years. i'm now going to turn it over to , mark, who am i going to turn it over to? larry? i look forward to seeing you.
thank you for having me. [applause] larry: thanks again to senator warner. it's fantastic for him to make time today given how he is a very busy man and probably has all kinds of documents to go back and read. we will let him do that and he can get out of the. i want to thank you for coming. i understand the security line was a little rigorous tonight. i appreciate your patience in getting in here. for those of you that have not found a seat, at this stage of the game, there are seats down front that have pieces of paper on them. feel free to sit in those seats. those were four people sitting elsewhere or have not -- or who have not made it. thisht, we are recording event. c-span is carrying this event live, so that is great news for folks outside of the area wondering if they could artist of peyton the event.
they could participate in the event. number two, we will the -- we willhe audio be recording the audio for podcast later. please check out that podcast. oversight of intelligence, very important. it is something that has not been done for a long time. if you go back, intelligence oversight began in a rigorous manner in the mid-1970's in the post-watergate area after the church and pike committees had done a review of the intelligence abuses of our previous history. ,o these two select committees
the american people, at the time, decided having a select committee of hand-picked toresentatives chosen oversee intelligence, that was sufficient. as long as our representatives were keeping tabs on intelligence, we were happy. .hat worked great for 20 years getting to the 21st century, there is sand thrown in those gears. number one, there is a vast amount of information available to the american people and the american people are demanding greater levels of transparency. two, the intelligence community has grown in leaps and bounds. money, people, resources are just the norm us. there is some question -- the money, people, resources are just enormous. , advances in
technology have allowed the community to do incredible things some perceive as invasive , so that advance in technology needs to be checked and reviewed. we have seen an introduction into politics into intelligence oversight. thesenator talked about bipartisan operations taking place in the senate intel committee, but some might suggest there were times in the past when politics played a significant role in the review of detention and interrogation program of cia, or today, on the house side of the investigation with the russian interference into the election and potential collusion with the trump campaign. this is something else that needs to be looked at. is the current system efficient? could things be changed or modified?
that is what we will be talking about tonight. i would like to ask you to welcome our panel. moderating is michael morell, who is the former director of the central intelligence agency and a senior fellow here at the hayden center. we have jane harman who is a former ranking member of the house intelligence committee and the president and ceo of the wilson center. the award for having the least distance to travel to tonight's event. we also have mike rogers, former chairman of the intelligence currently head of his own center that looks a presidency and congress. we have senator bill nelson who served as a member of the senate committee intelligence and i can speak from personal intelligence she he is a way grist -- was a rigorous overseer of our operations in a positive way.
rigorous overseer of our operations in a positive way. ambliss. saxby ch the vice chairman in his tenure. please welcome our panel and we will get things started. [applause] thank you,rell: mark. thank you to everyone for coming. thrilledrtant, i'm that general hayden is here tonight. that he is the best intelligence officer ever produced by our nation. you areis great that here and great to see you on the mend. [applause] if you readell:
your program, you would know we have very special people up here. great expertise, incredible experience. i will tell you i worked with each one of these folks and each is deeply passionate about the national security of the united states. we are very lucky to have them. we have 80 years of congressional experience right here. panel the last thing i want to say is we are going to take, as a given, that intelligence oversight is important. there will be no discussion about that. oversight in general of the executive branch is important because the community is made up of a group of organizations that are secret organizations operating in the democracy. there has to be a process to assure the american people that
they are operating the way they should. where i want to start is i want to ask each of you, and we will go down the road here -- row here, is how you saw your responsibilities when you are on the committee. in answering that question, i would love to know whether you sought differently for the oversight of collection and analysis on one hand in the oversight of covert action on the other. thert action, at the end of day, is an intelligence activity and policy activity. good evening everyone and welcome to the building where the wilson center lives and thrives. the reagan center. but me first express my undying affection and admiration for the hayden's. both of them. i have to tell one story relating to all of this. when i was ranking member on the committee and another was
chairman of the house side, he is now in the best inter, we were invited to dinner at the hayden. nsaink mike was director of , if i understand it correctly. heat and i had had a fight. old marriedll us an couple because we would be fine for three weeks and then have a huge fight, not speak to each other, and then we would make up and get back together. hopefully, the committee would be benefited by the fact that we were working together. we went to the hayden's, having had a fight, and mike and -- and they had to have oversight over this. it is to illustrate the point that these committees work better when there is bipartisan cooperation. back in the day, when mike was
on the house committee and saxby was on the house committee before him, it works. -- it worked. i was proud of my service. it is hugely important, not only to have oversight, but to do it well. to distinguish between the types of collection -- i have been thinking about that for two seconds -- because i was a ranking member, i was a member of the gang of eight. the gang of eight is the chairman and ranking member of each intelligence committee and the majority and minority leaders of each house. it is eight people. mike hayden was a briefer for a long time of the most classified first term ofe george w. bush, after 9/11. things like the tell it -- tele
data program. i had access to information that others did not. i don't know how to distinguish -- to answer you, but i would say i took all of it seriously. i thought that the gang of eight briefings were an enormously sophisticated level. some of our other briefings were less sophisticated. you have to ask the right question of the intelligence briefer to get an answer that is useful. a problem,hat was but my answer is that oversight matters and bipartisanship matters just as much as oversight. i'm hoping the house committee in this term of
congress and will function on a bipartisan basis. >> i think it was critically important to the safety and security of the national security of this country to get it right. i looked at it as a review of the policies. and not just covert action. some other platforms became polarized when they entered the public debate. i looked at the policy reviews on corporate action. of themonthly reviews folks who were cleared to get into those reviews. the reason that we did that was because it was the most sensitive thing the u.s. government does and the thing that could go the most wrong if it were not to go correctly and it was to be known by the public. the budget review was important. we provided that oversight to the 17 intelligence agencies.
the review of that policy, the review of how we were using the resources, and then we add the element that if we thought they were getting outside of the lines, we had other means of bringing those folks in to try to make sure they weren't going outside of the lines in a polite or diplomatic way. the last part of this that often we were alsos that there to support the community. we asked them to do really hard, difficult things. what frustrated me along the way on the committee is that the only time they got to come up was when we were slapping them about the heads and shoulders about something that either went wrong, some serious and some not so serious. if we are going to ask you to do this, we need to give you the resources, authority, and make sure you are staying in the lines.
that is the way i look at congressional oversight when i was chairman. ms. harman: bill? -- director morell: bill? >> may i tell a story on general hayden? director morell: you sure may. [laughter] >> first of all, it is great to see him looking so good. thank you for everything you talk to me. that i asked time him to do something and he didn't want to do it. we were in the middle of the rhubarb on waterboarding. if i'm going to fly something, i want to kick the tires, so i asked general hayden if you would waterboard me. [laughter] that.said, i can't do director morell: i bet there were a lot of republican volunteers. [laughter] he said, oh no, i couldn't do
that. i said i can hold my breath for a while. he said, no. he couldn'tdecided do that, but he at least could sit the people down who could go through point by point what exactly they did. hopefully, i was a little better informed than going into that political discussion. found that dealing with people like general hayden and you, , it was thegher-ups questions answered crisply. when you get down into the pecking order, i found there was always an attempt to evade. thus, a lot of my discussion on
the committee was more interrogation of trying to get the answer out of somebody. that needs to improve because there has got to be that communication between the overseer and the executive agency. fan of what the intelligence community was doing. i would go to some far-off country and go out and ride with the agents to try to learn what it was all about so i would have a better perspective in order to make decisions. i think this is a part of government that doesn't get the accolades it justly deserves.
>> we can still make that waterboard happen. [laughter] it's great to see you. i know it has been tough for you to be here, and it means an awful lot so thank you for your commitment to our country. way to prepare yourself for any kind of hearing the intelligence committee had, irrespective of the level of leadership or under leadership you had there, was to be out in the field and sit around at night and -- in cabo or baghdad or wherever it may be in some .odforsaken place --went to asada bod
asadabad. they were there that night because we were there. you have a drink with them, and that is when you really find out what is going on out there. that kind of background gives you the preparation for being able to ask those questions, mike. as you well know, about what is really happening. if we are going to do oversight, and you are right, there is no question that that needs to be done, the way you prepare for that is to really get a feel for what is happening among the people who are doing it. standpoint,t action covert actions were always fascinating, but they were always complicated. obviously, that is why they call them covert actions.
there is nothing simple and nondangerous about it. they are all actions that put individuals life's in harm's way on a regular basis for some extended period of time. what always bothered me about covert actions was not the one the cia did in and of itself, but it was the mixture of the military and cia that used to be tocomplex that trying analyze whether it was the right thing to do or not and where the money was being spent -- and whether the money was being spent in the right way, the fact you had two entities working together made it difficult. at the end of the day, whether it was the first analysis on what is happening or deals with covert action programs, if you don't trust the leadership of the cia -- and i don't know anybody that didn't then -- you
are never going to be convinced. bill is exactly right, the ,eadership never did anything and the covert actions and non-covert actions, whether it was analytics or whatever, we always got the right answers from you guys, mike. we knew whether or not what you are telling us was right. there was never any variance from that. >> it's interesting the point to make about junior officers, because i saw the dynamic. i saw junior officers who were more careful about what they said to you than what they said to foreign intelligence services. i think they were careful to cousin they were worried about getting stuck in a political
sandwich, getting stuck in politics in some way. across to you as evasion, but that is a long-term problem. there, and i been think it takes the leadership of the committee and leadership of the agency to break that down. mrs. harman: they also had a narrower mission. when i would ask you junior person, what about this, he or she would say i'm only focused on that. it took a more senior person to have a broader view. director morell: let's broaden the south a little bit. this time, we will start with mike. what is the difference between good and bad oversight and what does it take to get really good oversight? what are the key ingredients? mr. rogers: i think members have to make a special commitment to be on the intelligence committee. you can't get everything through
somebody else reading it and adjusting it on a page. you have to read the raw material. there's a lot of members who don't make that commitment. i argue that if we were to have somebody before the committee, we would make those materials available part to them showing up, even in a classified setting. i expected members to read the material. that sometimes didn't happen. if you will ask those folks to come up, you need to understand the material, including the broader context. room,ed to understand the the glass, the water, all of those things. what happens, sometimes, is the oversight gets to myopic. they focus on one briefing that didn't go exactly right versus the whole picture of everything going on. to me, the best oversight is
that down range oversight where members go down range and spend time with people doing work on the front and the pointy end of the spear. understanding the geopolitics of the region, which means lots of reading, lots of analytical materials you need to pour through, and then understanding the program and what particular event it is trying to solve, or what collection you are aimed at. if you keep those layers of depth, oversight becomes easier. that doesn't mean we always agree or that the intelligence committee always agreed with oversight activities. that is going to happen, and that is ok. i would use to say that no is just a long way to yes. to me,ood, healthy, but if you're going to do proper oversight -- and in the other pieces, leave the politics out of the room.
there are plenty of things to fight outside of the door, but i think we didn't do a great job, and i don't think they are still doing a great job, of leaving the politics out of the room. if you are in the committee, to find the one thing running outside and say i caught them doing x, you are doing a disservice to your community. it's a major consumption of time on the committee because you have to do the reading, you have to do the traveling down range. i think that makes better oversight of something that is really an important piece of our national security apparatus. mr. nelson: i would certainly identify with everything you said. let's me amplify on the politics. the politics gets in the way of good intelligence and, certainly, good oversight.
i never did like to go to the public hearings with intelligence officials because i was afraid i would say something that i should not have said. explore to be free to whatever the issue was, and i think, as the chairman says, that rush to the microphone after the hearings is one of the worst things that can happen, timewe are living in that where there is almost a demand. you are an elected official, you need to address this, and if you say i can't talk about that, somebody is going to try to get you to talk about it. i think that will be a continuing problem. and to add insult to injury, the leaks, that has complicated everybody's lives.
director morell: the difference between the way the ssc i has approached the russia investigation and the way others have approached it, is it personality-based? is it that civil war is a deeper than that? mr. nelson: looking at it from afar, it seems it has been personality-based and much too partisan in the house. you see theary, great degree of cooperation between richard and mark in the senate committee. i commend them for that. that carries over, by the way, into the discussions on the floor where senators are often talking to each other, when you can find another senator is when you are voting on the floor. you will often see the clumps on the floor of the senate of republicans and democratic senators that are all on the
intelligence committee conferring and talking. do you agreell: this is just personalities or is there something special about the house? mrs. harman: the house is a perpetual election machine. two your terms mean you are out there all of the time running for reelection. if you are in member of the intelligence committee and you handle yourself correctly, you can't talk about being on the committee. it's not helpful in an election to sit and do everything mike said, which is right, which is do a lot of reading, do a lot of work, and disappear. a lot of members, recently on the house intelligence committee, much more that the senate committee, want to hit the microphones and be visible. there is pressure to do that. when some of them do it, there
is pressure on others. just to make a couple other comments about it, from my perspective, the committees always had, back in the day, people chosen who were suited for the work and wanted to work hard. i think the appointments to the committee, especially on the house side, changed in the last decade or so. people are put on the committee more for political reasons than in the past. some of them, more political on both sides. the lack of bipartisanship -- let me start again. bipartisanship has been hurt by that. the other comment, at least on the house side, there are term limits. most people rotate off. i never thought they applied to
,he chairman and ranking member but people rotate off when they become experts. as mike said, it is a foreign language. you have to learn the acronyms and what th -- and you have to learn what the comments or answers by the briefers mean. if you don't put in the work, you will never get it. it is kind of unfortunate the expertise of members and respect for members has declined. i think we all suffer from matt. mr. chambliss: you can get through this. i would like to think i was the greatest chairman of all-time. [laughter] mr. chambliss: it would have never happened that we had any success at all if we hadn't gotten together with dutch and we both decided together to do this. it wouldn't have worked. we would've had the same problems. , we hadn'tlly agreed been able to get authorization budgets and five years on the
committee. it was all for political amendments that were designed to score points outside of the doors. nothing that had to do with proper oversight of the $70 billion budget. we agreed, sat down when he became ranking member of the house, and i said i will stop every republican amendment poison amendment -- every republican poison amendment if you stopped every democrat poison amendment. when we finally got the first agreement on the budget, we were at the basement of the capital and we shook cans. the building shook. [laughter] mr. nelson: i wish i were kidding -- mr. rogers: i wish i were kidding. do you remember the earthquake? [laughter] mr. rogers: we cause to that. [laughter] -- we caused that. [laughter] mr. rogers: we had to get out of the building. two things happened with that.
we also did something unique at the time. are going totaffs brief budget matters together at the table in front of all of us, no more you get your budget staff brief and you get yours and we fight about it -- and we get ours and you fight about it -- we fight about it. it can't be just us, it has to be you, too. there were triumphs and low points during that process. time, theourse of team started gelling and understanding our goal and purpose was to get this right. it doesn't mean the intelligence committee does everything right. we took that pretty serious, as a big part of our responsibility. if we were going to do things behind closed doors, we better take it seriously. i think you can do it, but you have to have both parties
willing to do this. it is personally based in that regard. i think it is unfortunate that it is personality-based. candidly, you can talk to people in the intelligence committee today who say they would rather -- butte,es, montana montana they go to the committee. i don't think people understand, this is dangerous. it won't be 20 questions, it will be 100 questions. it won't be your top briefers and best analyst, that creates a level of tension that is not healthy to getting the right information. i hope they get back to this, i hope they start leaving candidate -- candidly. it'll have the resources to do will have to
hire folks to come in who aren't related to the proper oversight of the 17 agencies. what that tension will do -- there are other places you can do in congress -- do that in congress. you have to take that step out of the committee and let the committee do what it is supposed to do. isyou do it right, it time-consuming, difficult, and not always pleasant. i do think they got themselves in this not -- knot where they can't get themselves out of it. i argue it is not healthy for the intelligence committee. they will pay a price for this overtime because something may or may not get caught -- addressed is a better word. [over talk] >> another aspect of this we need to make sure we state is that none of us would have ever been able to be prepared or be able to do our job without good
staff. a committeeere on together when 9/11 happened. we were on the subcommittee on terrorism and homeland security. i was chair and she was my ranking member. we did good stuff in the aftermath of 9/11, but we had great staff working hard for us. two of them happened to be former cia guys you remember, mike. the same thing is true over on the senate side. without great staff on both sides of the aisle, the senate is a little different in that all staff works for the chairman and vice chairman. ,ou may have staffed designees everybody works for the chairman and vice chairman. diane couldn't hire anybody that i didn't agree to and i couldn't hire anybody she didn't agree to. that was a great way for it to work. i got two former staffers here
tonight. week and i spent a in the jumbles of columbia chasing drug folks around. it is that kind of -- in the jungles of columbia, chasing drug folks around. that is the kind of thing that gets you what questions you need to be answering -- asking. director morell: the president's rebukes of the intelligence community, public rebukes, what advice would you have for the current leadership of the two committees about how they should think about that and how they might want to work with a leadership of the community to ensure that there isn't any damage or you minimize the damage from that kind of thing? how would you think about that if you are still there, jane? mrs. harman: carefully.
[laughter] thinking about several of these comments, and we are all good friends appear and worked closely together, so you have to start with that. you also have to start with the proposition that the terrorists are not checking our party registration before they blow us up. it's important to have accurate and timely intelligence assessments. i think this: the president is the president. he is the duly elected leader of represents, but he the article two branch of government and congress is the article one branch of government. congress authorizes and appropriates funds for all of our government business, including the business of our intelligence agencies. i think it is enormously important for congress, on a bipartisan basis, to send a
message to the intelligence committee, and all of us did it. a message that we stand with them and at the we understand the stars in the hall of the main -- the stars on the wall of the main hall of the cia were those who died in the line of duty as the tip of the spear, protecting our country. i tear up every time i walk into that building. it is a hallowed space and we have to protect it. we have to depend on their making objective assessments. on what they reasonably think will happen based on what information available -- is available. that's the only way we can prevent or disrupt plots against us. otherwise, we can't. last comment on this. that is the right question. it is a tough point.
congress is not supposed to , --nd-guess my view second-guess intelligence assessments. we are supposed to set them up so the best assessments are made. that is why, when we did , we passede reform it on a bipartisan basis in the house and senate. what it set up was a joint command across the agencies so towouldn't then not be able coordinate, but it also set up a process -- a new process for preparing national intelligence efforts. we had a colossal failure on the wmd in iraq intelligence assessment.
this process includes things like featuring the sense by government agencies and having what i always called an outside book review from a panel of experts and vetting sources. that seems obvious, but that was not done effectively before. nowadays. -- now it is. that is the role of congress, setting the process so the people who know their jobs and put their country first get it as right as possible. director morell: i will ask you the same question about the president. mr. chambliss: i'm not sure what the president expected to hear from his intelligence community when he was inaugurated. clearly, the right kind of intelligence message was not getting through. it's ok to disagree with the intelligence community if you are the commander-in-chief. i would do it -- i wish he would do it more in private.
mike, you were directly involved in this. 2007 nie, whene -- they came back and said they stopped operation in 2003, we remember that was crazy. way they did at the right so it was never a front-page story on the new york times. there's a way to be critical of the intel community, in a way not to -- i do think there was a lot of redemption on the part of the intelligence community that happened recently, and that is the meeting with kim jong-un. the intelligence community found these instances of violation of what can said he would do -- kim said he would do with the north korea. the president walked in with all
of the allegations that he needed substantiated by the intelligence community. thank goodness the president has recognized that. evolving and i hope that positive step leads to more positive comments coming out of the white house. there's an i believe extra obligation on the part of the leadership of the intelligence committees to rise in workingsanship with the intelligence community when there is a disconnect with the white house. character when that happens. director morell: mike? mr. rogers: i don't think it is helpful to any degree. i think it's healthy for the intelligence oversight , even the national
security council, even the president to challenge nies. they are not a hundred percent right every time and we should challenge the underpinnings of these. we often did that. it is better informed decisions when that is over. that doesn't mean the intelligence committee is wrong, but all of those challenges should happen. is noty doing this helpful for the men and women overseas trying to get other folks to work on behalf of the united states as well. still doeswho international travel, i can tell you it has an impact. people think why do i work for you because you don't believe in yourself? why should i believe in it if you don't believe in it? they don't make this different parsing we might hear in politics whether it is this president or that president.
that.on't see if you want to have a disagreement with the intelligence community, have added, but there are channels. that is where i would keep it-- have at it. there are channels. that is where i would keep it. ordidly, one administration one leader is not going to get them off of their mission, and they are not pouting in the corner, hiding under their desk, sucking her thumb. -- their thumb. that was me most days. [laughter] mr. rogers: it is not helpful. we don't want to make their job any harder than it is right now. president would know these are his people trying to get it right. mrs. harman: it also has an
impact on recruiting. the best people don't join our intelligence community, what are we going to have in five or 10 years? director morell: before we go to questions, is there any on the panel-- anybody on the that thinks there should be major changes to the way oversight is done? it tinkering at the margins at this point? mr. chambliss: i made the point about covert action programs where you have some sort of combination of title 10 and title 50. there needs to be a better way for that to be seamless. ,he way you do that is through i think, coordinating that oversight. there's not a lot of coordination right now, but that has to happen. also, you have to have that strong interaction between the pentagon and langley because
they -- there is going to be more and more of that type of covert action program out there taking place just because of the nature of on the ground complex. those are going to be the same conflicts -- conflicts. those are going to be the same conflicts. there is going to be military interaction with the intelligence community and there has t -- and it has to be more seamless. mr. rogers: we in the house did intelligenceonal budget and military intelligence budget in the same place, which was helpful because it gave extra insight into the military activities. we always said it is maybe time not for title 50 or title x, but maybe a title 60.
the legal complications for taking unit a and making it work with unit to be in place of seeing -- of c is almost comical. nobody sees this, number one, and we are making this so hard and complicated that it's a wonder any of these things work when they are done. most of the effort is in the back half of the operation. got to changehave the way on these covert actions. and thes to be a way -- doesn't have to be the entire committee on both sides, but maybe a smaller subset of members. they ought to go through and look at all of the things we have to do. and theseit chopping other things that have its own than i kill her, to get military guys to work with civilian guys -- have itsion a
construed, depending on what the circumstance is, as a declaration of war. and what our intelligence folks do falls in a different bucket. we are doing it to ourselves, but there also are international signals we are sending by what we call these folks. i wanted to make an additional point, that the intelligence budget is dispersed throughout the whole federal budget. there is not one bucket for intelligence operations. itis difficult to oversee and authorize funds for a variety of things. -- when it is not
having partisan fights -- does that well. did is right, he and dutch well on getting authorization bills out the door. the appropriation of funds goes through different committee, the appropriations committee. some of those folks are in different subcommittees and they don't get all of the nuances. there has been a long-standing argument that the intelligence committee ought to have both authorization and appropriation jurisdiction. of course, the appropriations committee does not agree, let there was no effort for a time, which i think failed. i'm not sure if it is still in place. it was to designate to try to get enough people up to speed so the process would work responsibly. i don't think it happened. director morell: we are going to open this up to questions. it's very difficult for me to say, so larry is going to spot
the questioner. we will get you a microphone. please, ask a question. the question in a speech or speech in a question. larry? >> we have great students running microphones for us on the margins of all of the areas you are seated. what i would ask is that the students work to find you, raise your hands if you want to ask a question, and i will bounce around from student to student. let's start with a student on that side of the room. while that person is asking a question, somebody over here then find somebody and we will do the back. >> don't forget us up. >> thank you all for coming. i have a question about the contemporary situation. what are your biggest praises or criticisms as to how the house
of representatives, currently, is handling the oversight of the intelligence community, and particularly, the russia rump'sigation into to administration. we need the wisdom of the senate on this. [laughter] i think it has been abhorrent. i have a different view on this that got me in trouble along the way, but i think if the government is going to issue a subpoena or issue a report that condemns any american. i don't care who they are, if you hate them, love them, or in between, they have a huge responsibility to try to get it right. guilt by inference is a dangerous thing in a democracy.
all of thek about activities over the last few years, even when people in this distribution -- it drives me crazy. they run up to the microphone and say i can't tell you what we just talked about, but i think he's guilty. i think he's innocent. we have no way to know the back story. that person is a federal official engaging the investigation. candidly i think that's a disaster for us as americans. i wish they would get away from all of it. theel pretty strongly intelligence committee is not the place to be investigating finances. there are other committees for that work and they need to get back to the regular oversight. i know for a fact that they are not doing the kinds of oversight that happened when we were in congress. i know for a fact it's not happening.
you only have so many hours in the day. there are spending their time on things that get you on tv but might not be proper oversight. eventually we are going to pay the price for this. they locked my head in a safe, i couldn't talk about that either. all of those things are kind of going on right now and it worries me a lot. i think it's dysfunctional at a very high level. >> earlier you talked about jurisdiction. seebasically said hip should not be looking into the question of the president's finances. who makes that call? is that a call on the part of the chairman or committee? is it in the leadership of the house? where is that? >> it can't happen without the leadership's blessing. now, every committee
is going to investigate the administration. whatever you think of the administration, take that off the table. is this a functioning government that we want. i was pretty vocal about what happened the last two years as well. i was pretty opening that i don't think that's the kind of government we wanted either when it came to this oversight question. i think we have to come to grips. what do you want your congress to do and when it comes to oversight how do you do it in a way that protects people's character and dignity? i'm old-fashioned. as an fbi guy i like due process. i think that's an important thing in our constitution. and seems to just be gone in the court of public opinion anything goes. means committee now has an oversight committee to investigate the president. the intelligence committee has an oversight committee to
investigate the president. it's getting to the point where you are thinking, all right. i get it. agentt the smartest fbi in the world. we would call this a clue. you all don't like the president of the united states. got it. now what else are you going to do? you are distorting that committee to a place where it would be really hard to put it back together because even though you have tools and power as chairman and vice chairman you have turned the trust of the community that's doing this work and has sworn an oath to protect the constitution and the lives of the people they're asking to do really hard things. trust in have to have that environment even when you disagree. i argue that thing is broken. rewind.to there were abuses or misbehaviors in the last administration. the so-called midnight run to the white house was pretty jarring for many who were watching this.
oversightwas not much of this president. the wilson center is nonpartisan so i really don't want to get into who's right and who's wrong and there may be an overcorrection going on. i do think watching this from afar relieved that i'm watching this from afar hitting a nonpartisan organization that i think performs pretty well in that the speaker and the minority leader have an obligation to rein in bad behavior and try to make the house especially on issues like this put its best foot forward. that is working to some extent. not working perfectly. hopefully there will be some course correction. the intelligence committee especially in the house will reclaim its mantle under prior times when all of us try as hard could.
to not be partisan and to try to put the country first which is what our intelligence community needs to do. >> next question. >> thanks very much. dave buckley. >> he used to work on the house intelligence committee. he was a brilliant member of the minority staff. >> thank you. and also the inspector general of the cia. here's the question. when you consider all of the activities of the 17 agencies from a committee perspective how do you decide what gets the attention of the committee in a given year? how do you sort through what you are going to focus on. an second question is expansion of the inspectors general within the community. how effective are they in helping you do your oversight? thank you. i mentioned having good staff is a critically important earlier.
that's another reason why you have to have good staff. as a member i don't care how much you really or how much time trying tothe field keep up with what's going on in all 17 agencies is just not possible. what's going on. you've got different staff members that are responsible for each of those 17 agencies. with cia, theted nsa, when the dni was created. because they are at the top. everything is assembled underneath the dni so you always start there. day just did ahe great job at nga. most people probably never heard
of nga. and certainly didn't have any idea of what they do. every membert for of the committee to understand what every single committee does. trying to keep up with the oversight of all 17 of them is just very difficult. with good staff you can do it. the federal government would not function properly without good ij were and i don't even consider that oversight work. i consider that investigative work. and not just when there's a problem. you avoid problems with good ig work and we depended on that. >> is there a question on the mezzanine level? look up. alchemy.
>> senator warner asked about the oligarchs interfering. called newompany knowledge funded by the founder of linkedin. iny have been interfering the 2020 presidential election and they interfered in the alabama senate election. can you say something about .ompanies like that the unlimited private money and politics. >> not sure what the question is. >> i'm not following the question i'm afraid. >> can you rephrase the question? money and government then there's private money posing as government money. how do you differentiate? i'm assuming you're talking about the social media effort to influence political campaigns.
if that's what you are talking about let me just take that for a second. i work with the german marshall fund. there's a group that tracks with the russians are doing and we try to make it transparent. never given up the mantle of that best intelligence officer. the -- toappened to him the last year he sure got a lot better looking. what we were trying to do is track what the russian trolls and the bot armies were doing and then make it available for the public to get on and take a look so they can make an informed decision. this is going to be a very difficult thing for the country to go through is to try and decipher what is unlimited speech and what is speech that the origins are outside the country with the sheer effort to try to create chaos and other things.
i heard senator warner talk were what the russians doing and i argue very effectively. they didn't change the election. what they did effectively is hit black activist groups against white nationalist groups because they were trying to raise the noise and the chaos. they tried to pick muslim groups against christian groups in the united states. createl for that was to chaos and anxiety and their goal is to make americans not like each other. it's pretty hard to argue they weren't successful in that given our political climate today. and iorries me a lot don't think we have a good handle on it. groups and how to get ahead of this. you want to be really careful. you don't want to take something down that is just freedom of speech. at the same time you don't want
the russians pretending to be an american who is clearly trying to disrupt and create chaos. we have done some good things leading up into 2016. hopefully it's getting better between now and 2020. theear now is not just russians. other nation have also determined this is a very cheap low consequence way of causing trouble for the americans. i'm in. that part worries me more than anything. >> it was the intelligence community unanimously that told president obama the russians were interfering with the 2016 election. he then communicated that did to the or you incoming trump administration. theyey got it right good
were right and we should have heeded that warning more effectively than we did. threatink as an external is one of the greatest threats that we are going to be facing. the cyber threat. read dan coats report to the congress this past january he lays out in a public document pretty clearly what we are facing and we don't know how to get this genie back in the bottle. in a country that has to have , the more thatng it's difficult to build that regardless of party. that has certainly been an
impediment. things that you've mentioned. race, attitudes, religion. anything that is a way with an external threat can penetrate our body politic and drive people away it's going to be increasingly difficult to govern this country. that to me is one of our biggest threats. thinkt say that i don't that the department of defense as part of the overall cyber effort has got its act together yet. and i believe that it is still ofstovepipes and the role cyber command as part of the protection against the cyber threat i don't think has been
fleshed out as it has to be and we better be doing doubletime to get ready. hearingni said at the the russians are continuing to do it. the chinese are doing it now. the iranians are doing it now. the north koreans are doing it now and others are doing it. so it is a growing phenomenon that we haven't figured out what to do yet. did good innity the 18rk during elections. it was headed up by nsa and obviously all of the details -- the community did a spectacular job with the 18 elections. one that folks didn't try. it wasn't just the russians.
they are coming at us from lots of different directions. but we were better prepared this time and our folks really did a good job. >> all right. let's go over to my right. givem on the exec to committee for the tc young democrats and i would like to ask about -- first of all thank you for your dedication to this country. how do you feel about prudence putin'somments -- recent comments. >> what did he say? there are missiles that can reach america within hours
and they are specifically directed at the capital. he's just been kind of making some. >> how do you think about the russian threat? >> the hypersonic missiles is what you are talking about. there is a mixed bag on can he really accomplish it. fact that we know certain technologies like that exist. do they have it, have they mastered how that works in a missile system and if they do that is a game changing event encounter missile technology. that is a huge thing. when the last time you ever bought anything that said made in russia? not often. those little dolls i think. >> vodka. >> that's pretty good.
you have to have a lot of it to make that work. work with me, people. he's got a bunch of problems on the horizon. his population is declining. the economics of russia are really not very drawn to out side of natural resource as they just don't have much going on. he knows that and what he has done is invested wisely into things that he knows can project power. submarines. he just launched a whole series of marines with missile capability that he showed for the world which he wanted to do when he fired those missiles into syria. he wanted the world to see it to show that he's doing this. sure andis a bully for he's going to use all the things that he has knowing all the things he doesn't have. economy is not on his side. he has a great intelligence community.
these folks are very good and very effective and very mean. that gives him a little leverage. cyber security is the one place can haveknows that he an advantage. he can destabilize things. either social media or destructive attacks. and we have seen senator nelson mentioned how it's getting worse. about two years ago we would see about 10% of all nationstate attacks were destructive. last your the estimate is 40%. it's not just russia. they're are coming in and trying to turn businesses off for right things and businesses or cause economic harm. that's a huge policy shift and it was really led by the russians and others are always. i think you need to continue to meet trouble with trouble. let them understand that we are not backing away. continue to offer sanctions where it makes sense and we have to build our international alliances in a way that focus us pushing back on certain
activities. if you look at where you -- he thinks he is, 20% of georgia is now occupied by the russians. he owns crimea. he has announced troop movement in the arctic. he is world renowned for messing in the 2016 election. if he was successful or not doesn't matter. the narrative count. every decision in syria has to go through him and tehran. those are all big wins for him. the more you allow him to look like he's strong at home and strong internationally hurts us i think. deal withw to tyrants. we have to be patient. we have to it together with our international allies and we have to be aggressive about pushing back when he tries to get out of line. >> we have to play to our strengths. our economy is so much stronger than any other economy in the world at least now.
his asymmetric strength is to meddle in the countries surrounding russia which is what he's doing militarily and using cyber andke propaganda. there's a huge russian diaz perez and all of those countries. a largemonth there is nato event here celebrating the 70th anniversary of nato and today it's on the airwaves that mitch mcconnell and nancy pelosi our environment the joint secretary of nato to speak to a joint session of congress. my view, that's a really cool idea because nato is the world's best defense alliance. most people in this country support article five which has become the defense provision and it is the policy of the united fives to support article and having the secretary general there to talk about it and to answer some of the tougher questions before congress which strongly so words article five
is a great way to push back on russia. >> i wonder if we could very quickly go down the row here. what do you want the american people to know about the women and men of the intelligence community? >> the intelligence community is made up of very dedicated and professional men and women not unlike our armed forces that put their life and harm's way every single day. mostve some of the technologically and danced -- that are members of the intelligence community and sometimes we feel like we've got to make sure they are challenged if we are going to keep them and let me tell you. the days we live in today, they are challenged every single day. it used to always amaze me the caliber of the individuals he
would meet in these faraway places that are in the middle of nowhere and that these people who do we knows their name, they have no uniform. they are performing human intelligence gathering while arms are going off all around they never tell you anything except isn't it a great country we live in. they are just some of the greatest individuals in the world and it's always been a privilege and a pleasure to get to know those folks. young and old. even you, mike. we were glad you were there. accurates certainly what saxby said. i would add that the word product is usually accurate and the american people ought to know that.
and they ought to know that that work product being accurate isn't just us talking to ourselves. it's talking to our friends and allies around the world and some of the most significant intelligence that we get because of a tip from a foreign intelligence service. havebecause our guys slowly and carefully built those relationships so that they could get that information. >> ditto completely. some of the most intellectually capable courageous people you'll ever meet are in the intelligence business and this is important and i think the american people don't know because sometimes politics creeps in. oath to thek an constitution of the united states. i never met one person that talked about the opportunity to circumvent the laws of the united states or the constitution to do what they do.
never happen. sometimes they bump into things that it is always because they believe they are legally right and doing the right thing. i know there's a lot of suspicion and it's easy to be suspicious of something you don't understand and can't see or touch and you don't ask questions of. i would say that we ought to stand in reverence of what they are accomplishing for us internationally and the leverage they provide the united states of america in the national security space. they know if they do their job right it isn't about getting into conflict. it's about staying out of conflict. you can have these conversations at those fireside chats and you did aes and when chance to get around these folks conspiring to know they are out there working for the team and they try not to pay attention to what's being said about them.
they try to go after what they know will either save someone's life or save some conflict from americans getting into it. families. in many cases their families don't know where they are or what they do. because those things cannot be disclosed in order to protect them. and those families are heroes, too. get people lakes killed. if we reveal sources and methods and for example those in foreign lands who are working with us, they get killed. when people's identity is disclosed inappropriately they get killed. and if our methods are shared inappropriately and this has happened, to, with the public and those methods are compromised, we don't have the tools to find out the plots next time.
is a reason for the intelligence committees in the house and senate to do their jobs well. fund the rightnd activities by our intelligence community and to support the people in it. i think the point of this conversation was about that. and aigence oversight to big thank you to all of those currently serving in congress and their staff who are in most cases working to get it right and they really deserve our support. >> last word to larry. >> thank you everybody for coming. doingxt event we will be will be looking at the media's role in intelligence. we will the great andrea mitchell there. we will have national security editor of the washington post and susanne kelly who is ceo of
-- an online resource. i know michael has enjoyed this evening very much. for a very rare opportunity someone in michael's position to turn the tables on his former inquisitors and ice and in all of the information we got tonight to i don't think there is a man or woman in this room who is going to walk out the wiser. please a round of applause. >> please join us for the reception. exit through the backdoors. get yourself a drink. look forward it -- to chatting with you out there.
onc-span, where history staley. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> here's a look at our live coverage on tuesday. 10:00 a.m.s back at eastern for general speeches with legislative business at noon. on the agenda are several bills dealing with russia including one that would prohibit the u.s. from recognizing