D/CIA Nominee Hayden's Confirmation Statement
CIA Director Nominee Michael V. Hayden's
Statement before the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
(as prepared for delivery)
May 18, 2006
Thank you, Chairman Roberts and members of the Committee.
It is a privilege to be nominated by the President to serve as the Director of the CIA. This is a great responsibility. There is probably no agency more important in preserving our security and our values as a people than the Central Intelligence Agency. I am honored, and more than a bit humbled, to be nominated to this office, especially in light of the many distinguished Americans who have served before me.
Before I speak of my vision for CIA, I would like to say a few words about the Agency’s most recent Director, Porter Goss. Over the span of more than 40 years, Porter Goss has had a distinguished career serving the American people, most recently as Director of the CIA, the organization where he started out as a young case officer. As Director, Porter fostered a process of transformation that the Agency must continue in the coming years. He started a significant expansion of the ranks of case officers and analysts, in accord with the President’s direction. He consistently pushed for a more aggressive and risk-taking attitude towards collection. And he spoke from experience as a former case officer and as a long-time member and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It was Porter Goss who, as Chairman of the HPSCI, supported and mentored me when I arrived as Director of NSA in 1999. More importantly we developed a friendship that lasts to this day. I thank Porter for his service and his friendship.
CIA is unique among our nation’s intelligence agencies. It is the organization that collects our top intelligence from human sources, where high quality, all- source analysis is developed, and where cutting-edge research and development for the nation’s security is carried out. As this Committee well knows, these functions are absolutely critical to keeping America safe and strong. The Central Intelligence Agency remains, as Director Goss has said, the “gold standard” for many key functions of American intelligence.
And that is why I believe the success or failure of this Agency will largely define the success or failure of the entire American Intelligence Community. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) gives CIA the opportunity and the responsibility to lead in ensuring the success of the Director of National Intelligence.
Let me elaborate on that last sentence. The reforms of the last two years have, in many ways, made CIA’s role even more important. While it is true that the Director of Central Intelligence no longer sits on the 7th floor at Langley as head of both the Intelligence Community and CIA, it is also true that no other agency has the “connective tissue” to the other intelligence agencies that CIA has. CIA’s role as the Community leader in human intelligence and as an enabler for technical access, in all-source analysis, and in elements of research and development—not to mention its worldwide infrastructure— underscore the interdependency between CIA and the rest of the Community.
And although the head of the CIA no longer manages the Intelligence Community, the Director continues to lead the Community in certain critical respects. Most notably, the Director of CIA is the National HUMINT Manager, responsible for leading national human intelligence efforts by coordinating and setting standards for human intelligence across the Community. The Agency is and will remain the principal provider of analysis to the President and his senior advisors. And it leads the Community’s open source activities through the Open Source Center, an invaluable effort that informs Community analysis and helps guide the Intelligence Community’s other efforts. In a word, CIA remains—even after the Intelligence Reform Act—“central” to American intelligence.
But this very centrality of CIA makes reforming it in light of new challenges and new structures an especially delicate and important task. The Agency must be transformed without slowing the high tempo under which it already operates to counter today’s threats. CIA must continue to adapt to new intelligence targets, a process underway thanks in large part to the leadership of George Tenet, John McLaughlin, and Porter Goss; and the CIA must carefully adjust its operations, analysis, and overall focus in relation to the rest of the Community while still keeping its eye on the ball—intelligence targets such as al-Qa’ida, proliferation, Iran, and North Korea, to name a few.
The key to success for both the Community and the CIA is an Agency that is both capable of executing its assigned tasks and cooperative with the rest of the IC. CIA must pursue its objectives relentlessly and effectively while also fitting in seamlessly with an integrated Community. CIA’s role in the Community is like a star player on a football team—critical, but part of an integrated whole that must function together if the team is going to win. And as I’ve said elsewhere, even the star player needs to focus on the scoreboard, not individual achievement.
Let me be more specific about the broad vision I have for CIA, if I am confirmed.
First, I will begin with the collection of human intelligence. If confirmed as Director, I would reaffirm CIA’s proud culture of risk-taking and excellence, particularly through the increased use of non-traditional operational platforms, a greater focus on the development of language skills, and the inculcation of wha t I would call an expeditionary mentality. I strongly believe that the men and women of CIA already want to take risks to collect the intelligence we need to keep America safe. I view it as the Director’s job to ensure that these operators have the right incentives, rewards, support, and leadership to take those risks. My job is to set the conditions for success
If confirmed, I would also focus significant attention on my responsibilities as National HUMINT Manager. I have had some experience in this type of role—as Director of NSA I was the National SIGINT Manager, and I often partnered with CIA to enable sensitive collection. As I did with SIGINT as DIRNSA, I would use this important new authority to enhance the standards of tradecraft in HUMINT collection across the Community. CIA’s skill in human intelligence collection makes it especially well suited to lead the Community. As CIA Director and as National HUMINT manager, I would expect more from our human intelligence collectors—those in the Department of Defense, the FBI, and other agencies—both in terms of their cooperation with one another and also in terms of the quality of their tradecraft. Here again, we welcome additional players on the field, but they must work together as a team.
Second, and on par with human intelligence, CIA must remain the U.S. Government’s “center of excellence” for independent all- source analysis. If confirmed as Director, I would set as a top priority working to reinforce the Directorate of Intelligence’s tradition of autonomy and objectivity, with a particular focus on developing hard-edged assessments. I would emphasize simply getting it right more often, but with a tolerance for ambiguity and dissent manifested in a real clarity about our judgments—especially our confidence in them. We must be transparent in what we know, what we assess to be true, and what we just don’t know. “Red cell” alternative evaluations, a rich source for thought-provoking estimates, should also be an integral part of our nalysis. And we must set aside talent and energy to take the long view and not just be chasing our version of the news cycle.
In this regard I take very seriously the lessons from your joint inquiry with the House intelligence committee, your inquiry into pre-war intelligence on Iraq weapons of mass destruction, the 9/11 Commission, and the Silberman-Robb Commission, as well as internal Intelligence Community studies of what has worked—and not worked—in the past. Ultimately, we have to get analysis right—for, in the end, it is the analytic product that appears before the President, his senior advisors, military commanders, and the Congress. Intelligence works at that nexus of policymaking—the nexus between the world as it is and the world we are working to create. Many things can legitimately shape a policymaker’s work and action. Intelligence, however, must create the left- and right-hand boundaries that form the reality within which decisions should be made.
Let me make one final, critical point: when it comes to “speaking truth to power,” I will lead CIA analysts by example. I will—as I expect every analyst will—always give our nation’s leaders the best analytic judgment.
Third, beyond CIA’s HUMINT and analytic activities, CIA’s science and technology efforts provide focused, flexible, and high-quality research and development across the intelligence spectrum. If confirmed as Director, I would focus the Directorate of Science and Technology on research and development programs aimed at enhancing CIA’s core collection and analytical functions. Further, I would work to more tightly integrate CIA’s S&T into broader Community efforts to increase the pay-offs from cooperative and integrated R&D. Most specifically, I would dramatically upgrade the entire CIA information technology infrastructure to bring it line with the expectations of the first decades of the 21st century.
There are two “cross cutting” functions on which I would also focus, if confirmed. To begin, I would focus significant attention, under the direction of the DNI, on the handling of intelligence relationships with foreign partners. As the Members of the Committee well know, these relationships are of the utmost importance for our security, especially in the context of the fight against those terrorists who seek to do us grave harm. These sensitive relationships must be handled with the greatest care and attention, and I would, if confirmed, regard this responsibility as a top priority.
Equally importantly, I would vehemently push for greater information sharing within the United States, among the Intelligence Community, and with other federal, state, local, and tribal entities. Under the leadership of the DNI, in concert with the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment and the Intelligence Community’s Chief Information Officer, and with agencies such as the FBI and DHS, CIA has an important role to play in ensuring that intelligence information is shared with those who need it. While at NSA I focused my efforts to make sure that all of our customers had the information they needed to make good decisions. In fact, my mantra there was that users should have access to the information at the earliest possible moment and in the rawest possible form where value from its sharing could be obtained. I would do just the same at CIA.
In my view both of these initiatives—working with foreign partners and information sharing within the U.S.—require that we change the paradigm from one that operates on a “transactional” basis of exchange (they ask, we provide) in favor of a premise of “common knowledge, commonly shared” or “information access.” This would entail opening up more data and databases to other IC agencies as well as trusted foreign partners, restricting the use of the overused “originator controlled” caveat, and, fundamentally, embracing more of a risk management approach to the sharing of information.
Finally, everything I have said today matters little without the people—the great men and women of the CIA whom, if confirmed, I would lead—but also the people of this great Nation.
Respectfully, Senators, I believe that the intelligence business has too much become the football in American political discourse. Over the past few years, the Intelligence Community and CIA have taken an inordinate number of hits, some of them fair, many of them not. Yes, there have been failures, but there have also been many great successes.
We will do our lessons learned studies, and I will keep the Committee fully informed on that. But I also believe that it is time to move past what seems to be an endless picking apart of the “archaeology” of every past intelligence “failure” and “success.”
CIA officers, dedicated as they are to serving their country honorably and well, deserve recognition of their efforts. And they also deserve not to have every action analyzed, secondguessed, and criticized on the front pages of the newspapers. Accountability is one thing—and we will have it—but true accountability is not served by inaccurate, harmful, and illegal public disclosures. I will draw a clear line between what we owe the American public by way of openness and what must remain secret in order for us to continue doing our jobs as charged. CIA needs to get out of the news—as source or subject—and focus on protecting the American people by acquiring secrets and providing high-quality all-source analysis. Internally, I would regard it as a leading part of my job to affirm and strengthen the excellence and pride of CIA’s workforce.
In return, I vow that, if confirmed, we will dedicate ourselves to strengthening the American public’s confidence and trust in the CIA and re-establishing the Agency’s “social contract” with the American people, to whom we are ultimately accountable. The best way to strengthen the trust of the American people is to earn it by obeying the law and showing what is best about America.
As we do our work, we will have difficult choices to make and I expect that not everyone will agree 100 percent of the time, but I would redouble our efforts to act consistent with both the law and a broader sense of American ideals. And while the bulk of the Agency’s work must, in order to be effective, remain secret, fighting the “long war” on the terrorists who seek to do us harm requires that the American people and their elected representatives know that the CIA is protecting them effectively—and in a way consistent with the core values of our nation. I did that at NSA and, if confirmed, I pledge to do it at CIA.
In this regard, I view it as particularly important that the Director of CIA have an open and honest relationship with congressional committees such as yours, so that the American people know that their elected representatives are conducting oversight effectively. I would also look to the members of the committee who have been briefed and who have acknowledged the appropriateness of activities to say so when selected leaks, accusations, and inaccuracies distort the public’s picture of legitimate intelligence activities.
We owe this to the American people and we owe this to the men and women of CIA.
I hope that I have given the Members of the Committee a sense of where I would lead the Central Intelligence Agency, if confirmed.
I thank the Committee for its time and look forward to answering any questions Members may have.