Remarks by CIA Director at DNI Headquarters
General Michael V. Hayden at DNI Headquarters,
Discussing Intelligence Reform Progress and
Introducing Director of National Intelligence
Ambassador John D. Negroponte
GENERAL HAYDEN: Good afternoon everyone, please be seated. First of all, let me welcome our friends from Congress, my colleagues from throughout the Intelligence Community, everyone else gathered here this afternoon to help us assess the work of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
It's been a little over two years since the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 went into effect. At the signing, President Bush said, and I am quoting him now, “Under this new law, our vast intelligence enterprise will become more unified, coordinated, and effective. It will enable us to better do our duty, which is to protect the American people.”
Just looking at the words in between the two quotation marks, those are fairly profound phrases. But when you attach them to this President, who attaches so much importance to intelligence, whose decision making is so much centered on intelligence—the fact that he begins his day with intelligence, they take on even added significance and meaning.
The Act was a landmark piece of legislation in the wake of 9/11, one of those moments in the life of our Republic when a crisis compresses years into months, theory into doctrine, and compresses will into action. Our enemies weren't very interested in spotting us the time to regroup the IC [Intelligence Community] for a new kind of war. We would have to maintain the highest operational tempo in our history—and, at the same time, restructure our Community to better fulfill our mission.
You remember those days in late 2004, wasn't an easy time as we were trying to craft legislation—I think most of us as the time thought there wasn't enough time to craft legislation. But out of that effort came a bill that has given us every opportunity to be better—to be better as a community.
Shortly after the passage of the bill, the President nominated—and the Senate confirmed—Ambassador John D. Negroponte as the leader of this new and extraordinarily complex effort. It was my honor to be chosen as his deputy. I can recall my phone call at my home at Fort Meade, it was from Andy Card. He said, “Mike, do you know Ambassador Negroponte.” I said, “We met in Baghdad but I know him only by reputation.” He said, “Well, can you work with him.” I said, “I think I can.” I learned later that the Ambassador got a similar phone call from Andy Card about me. And when he was home on leave from Baghdad, with both us knowing that these nominations were in the works, we dared to have lunch in broad daylight at his club downtown; fearing the cover story of the Ambassador to Baghdad and the Director of the National Security Agency wouldn't draw much attention the day before the official announcement. On the morning of 22 April, at seven o'clock in the morning, the Office of the DNI was officially up and running.
The Ambassador and I, and Pat [Kennedy], and David [Shedd], had long discussions in the Old Executive Office Building about what needed to be done—and I need to tell you right now, the page was literally blank. We filled the walls of our office in the Old EOB [Executive Office Building] with butcher paper. And around the walls of the office, we began to sketch in putative organization charts for this new organization, with the only guidance from Congress being you could have up to four deputies. Whether we wanted four, what those four would do—that was all to be decided. A lot of ground had to be covered very quickly. We benefited enormously from the hard work, and creative ideas, and dedication of the many Americans, inside and outside the IC.
The Intelligence Reform Act itself was our foundation document; the recommendations of various commissions—the WMD Commission, the 9/11 Commission—those informed our decisions, helped guide our way. And, of course, we were acutely aware that this was not a file and forget enterprise. We had the abiding interest of the President, the Congress, and the American people.
Today I think I can speak on the progress we've made based on both my experiences as Ambassador Negroponte's Principal Deputy, and as a Director of an agency within the Community. It's like seeing a game from the perspective of the coach and player. From either viewpoint, the past two years have been a success—a success for CIA, for our Community, and for the nation.
As CIA Director, I can tell you that the DNI structure allows me to devote my full attention to running a large, important, and complex agency. I tell anyone who cares to listen that by eight o'clock in the morning, I have read the PDB [Presidential Daily Brief] and all the other traffic, and I am ready to go to work as the Director of CIA, while the Ambassador is waiting to go into the Oval Office. For the first time ever, our Agency's Seventh Floor is completely oriented toward managing CIA.
This newfound focus, this opportunity for focus within CIA on CIA is important not only for the Agency, but for the Community as well. The Ambassador has always said that CIA has to be at the top of its game if the IC is to thrive. Our capabilities, our position—two things that have defined us over the years and has established strong connective tissue from CIA to the rest of the Community—requires us to fulfill our role in the Community and work with our colleagues. My first session in the bubble, after my confirmation as D/CIA [Director, Central Intelligence Agency], I told the CIA workforce, “Don't worry about being Central.” If we are competent and collaborative, our role in the Community will be clear.
And that's why we are implementing that in what we call our Strategic Intent. It's our blueprint for making our Agency more collaborative, both within the fence line at Langley and within the broader Intelligence Community. It outlines how we need to be proficient in the core missions that the Ambassador has given us—human intelligence, all-source analysis, covert action, open-source collection, and so on. We didn't draft our plan in a vacuum; just like the folks I see up here—my colleagues didn't draft their strategic plans in a vacuum either. Our Strategic Intent is aligned with and complement the National Intelligence Strategy that comes to us from the Office of the DNI. That strategy gets to the heart of effective intel reform—it provides us a strategic direction that cascades down from this building, this office, this leader, and promotes collaboration and cohesion throughout the entire Community.
I think the pattern here is very clear. Integration has been the mantra of our Community now for two years. And we're seeing the results, good for our nation and bad for our enemies.
You need look no further than the action we took in Iraq last year against Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. And those of you know the fine print of that operation, know how seamless the intelligence cooperation was that allowed us to put 500-lb smart bombs on a target.
We are seeking greater collaboration, not only within our American Intelligence Community, but greater collaboration with our foreign partners as well. And that explains the stream of liaison partners, foreign visitors to the Ambassador's office, to his aggressive travel schedule. Meeting with, and cementing ties with these very powerful, very important partners.
If you want an example of how that works, look no further than last summer to the foiling of the transatlantic plot. Nothing less than intensive cooperation with our overseas colleagues could have achieved such a complete success.
Our time here this afternoon is limited, and I have only scratched the surface of what I think our Community has done in the past two years. We've seen the creation of the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI's National Security Branch, the establishment of the National Clandestine Service, the formation of the National Counterproliferation Center, Mission Managers against our toughest and most important targets, and any number of other initiatives that have brought our Community closer together and made it more effective.
Those who don't see the import of those kinds of structural changes occasionally are tempted to talk about overhead or moving boxes on a chart. I prefer to think of those things I just described to you as task organizing for the fight. Bringing to bear the resources of the Community, bringing them into a logical organization and creating what in my other profession I would call a joint taskforce for the mission at hand. There is more to be done, but what we have done so far is made the nation safer. What we have done so far is part of the legacy of a man who stepped forward into this role at a crucial juncture in the history of our country and of our Community.
Ambassador Negroponte will now bring his sharp intellect, steady leadership, deep wisdom—pending Senate confirmation of course—into another chapter of public service. And whenever that might happen, we will remember him for those attributes that he brought to us, as well as for a unique strength he brings to our field of intelligence. For even though his first calling is that of a diplomat of the highest rank, he has grown to understand our profession—like frankly very few of us do. His many years in the Foreign Service—highly sensitive positions like Honduras or Baghdad —give him a unique comprehension of how intelligence informs policy in time of conflict, and made him the ideal man for this job when the post of DNI was created.
So it's now my honor and privilege to introduce to you the first Director of National Intelligence, and my good friend, Ambassador John Negroponte.