Statement Of Senator Barbara Mikuski On Release Of Senate Intelligence Committee Report - Southern Maryland Headline News

Statement Of Senator Barbara Mikuski On Release Of Senate Intelligence Committee Report


WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, of which Senator Barbara Mikulski is a member, today released to the public the Committee’s Report on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq. The text of the report is available on the Senate Select Committee’s Website at: http://intelligence.senate.gov/

Below is Senator Mikulski’s statement on the Intelligence Committee’s report:

“As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I endorse the Committee’s bipartisan, unanimous report on intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq.

“The investigation, its report and conclusions must be a clarion call for reform. Now more than ever, the security of our nation depends on timely and reliable intelligence. We depend on intelligence to detect, disrupt and deter terrorist attacks. Policymakers need accurate intelligence to make the right decisions about diplomacy and deployment of troops.

“The intelligence failures documented in the report are stunning. Our intelligence agencies were wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and wrong about what our troops would face in the aftermath of war. Errors were not limited to the CIA. They also occurred at the Defense Department.

“Flawed intelligence was fuel for activating the policy of pre-emption. The men and women of our armed forces were put, and remain, in harm’s way. Relationships with our treasured allies are frayed. These are grave and severe consequences.

“That is why I believe it is not sufficient to merely investigate what went wrong. That investigation must be the starting point for reform.

“There must be modernization of our intelligence community. It cannot be slow or timid. Reform must be undertaken with a sense of urgency. It must be broad, deep and authentic. Our homeland security, the safety of our troops, and our national honor depend on such action.”

See attached Senator Mikulski’s “additional views” on the Intelligence Committee report.

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Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

Additional Views

The Urgency of Reforming U.S. Intelligence

Over the last two years, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has investigated and completed reports on two of the most significant intelligence failures in America=s history – the September 11th attacks and intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. I endorse the bipartisan, unanimous report of the Intelligence Committee on intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq, as I did the December 2002 report by the Joint Inquiry on intelligence activities prior to September 11th.

The report on pre-Iraq war intelligence explains in detail what went wrong with the collection and analysis of intelligence leading up to the war. The purpose of these additional views is to outline recommendations for where we go from here.

The investigation, its report and conclusions must be a clarion call for reform. Our national security, our national honor and our standing in the world depend such action. We must be as energetic, as far reaching and as vigorous in our reform efforts as we were in the investigation of intelligence failures.

IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATE AND TIMELY INTELLIGENCE

Now more than ever, the security of our nation depends on timely and reliable intelligence. We depend on intelligence to detect, disrupt and deter terrorist attacks, and to help policymakers make the right decisions about diplomacy and deployment of troops.

The full report of the Intelligence Committee makes clear that the intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq was seriously flawed. Our intelligence agencies were wrong about Iraq=s weapons of mass destruction, wrong about what our troops would face in the aftermath of war and wrong about how and when Iraq would move to a stable, democratic system. Errors were not limited to the CIA. They also occurred at the Departments of Defense and State.

Two of the world’s other great intelligence services – those of the UK and Israel – were also in error. These countries have already begun a process of self-examination and reform. So must we.

For our own country, these intelligence failures were not small, insignificant or isolated. There are persistent, systemic problems with how we gather and analyze intelligence, and how that intelligence is used to formulate policy.

In the case of Iraq, flawed intelligence was fuel for activating the policy of pre-emption. The men and women of our armed forces were put, and remain, in harm=s way B perhaps needlessly. Relationships with our treasured allies are frayed. These are grave and severe consequences. That is why I believe it is not sufficient to merely analyze what went wrong. That analysis must be a starting point for reform.

Since the attacks of September 11, we have seen a few modest changes in our intelligence procedures. For example, progress has been made on the consolidation of watch lists so terrorists who seek to cross our borders can be identified. Intelligence Agencies report improved information sharing and increased personnel dedicated to intelligence analysis. These are steps in the right direction. But more needs to be done.

Modernization of our intelligence community cannot be slow or timid. Reform must be undertaken with a sense of urgency. It must be broad, deep and authentic. America’s intelligence professionals are capable and dedicated. They often do their jobs in dangerous and difficult circumstances. They need strong leadership, a renewed focus on mission, and clear lines of authority and accountability to excel.

Structural, organizational and jurisdictional reforms must be made and will be made. But, the goal ultimately is to create an environment and a culture where truth to power is spoken from the bottom to the top.

IDEAS FOR REFORM

There are many ideas for reform. All should be carefully and thoroughly considered, including the following:

1. Give Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) authority over all intelligence agencies.

Elevating the DCI to a true position of authority over the entire intelligence community—and the entire intelligence budget—is the first step to an integrated intelligence community free from turf battles, internal rivalries and tunnel vision.

Today's DCI is not empowered to provide strategic direction or management oversight over the entire intelligence community. Organizational authority is dispersed among fourteen different agency directors. The vast majority of intelligence funds B 80 percent B are controlled by the Department of Defense. This is a dysfunctional structure. The DCI cannot deploy intelligence resources in the most efficient and effective manner when his recommendations may be ignored by the Department of Defense.

This new DCI should be appointed to five or six year terms B similar to the term of the Federal Reserve Board Chairman B to ensure independence of the DCI. If it is important to ensure independence of monetary policy, it is important to ensure independence of our intelligence community.

2. Institute and formalize procedures for alternative analysis

Even the best analysts need to have their work checked and challenged by others. The best way to vet assumptions, information and sources is to open them up to scrutiny and initiate a “devil’s advocate” or red team mechanism. Experts who do not have a vested interest in any particular agency or outcome should be part of this process.

3. Create Intelligence Community Inspector General

There is no single Inspector General with oversight of the intelligence community. Instead, there are individual IGs spread across the 15 intelligence agencies. Creating an Inspector General position empowered to identify and investigate problems throughout the intelligence community should be considered.

4. Improve Congressional oversight

Congress must make a number of structural changes to better oversee the intelligence agencies. First, we should consider modifying the term limits of members on the Intelligence Committee. It takes time for members to learn and understand the intelligence agencies. We need a system that retains the benefits of experience and knowledge while still bringing in fresh ideas and perspectives of new members.

Second, the jurisdiction of the Intelligence Committee needs examination. The Intelligence Committee has no budgetary authority over large segments of the intelligence community. For example, 80% of intelligence funds are controlled by the Department of Defense and fall under the jurisdiction of the defense committees. The FBI falls under jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee. Some of these functions may be more appropriately reviewed by the Intelligence Committee. How to organize ourselves so the Intelligence Committee has sufficient authority and broad oversight is a question to be explored and examined.

CONCLUSION

The investigation of the Intelligence Committee shows that the intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq were serious and pervasive. So were the failures prior to the September 11th attacks. While the investigations will continue, reform must begin. There can be no delay when the safety and security of America and Americans are at stake.

The goal of review and reform is to build 21st century intelligence agencies that America and the world can rely on, with the best trained, best led people and a Congress that does its due diligence with the most efficient and effective jurisdictional oversight structure.

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