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June 10, 2015
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February 16, 2005
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Approved for Release: 2015/06/100062972941 A(c)<25YrsTo: Inspector General Helgerso(From: George J. TenetDEWORD SENSIMEMORANDUMFebruary 16, 2005In responding to your assessment of my performance as Director of CentralIntelligence in the period leading up to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, I must tell youin the strongest possible terms that your report has mischaracterized my leadership ofboth the Intelligence Community and the CIA with regard to the strategy, plans andactions which I directed to deal with a very difficult problem.' The segment of the report that I read portrays almost no understanding of the resourcecontext in which the Intelligence Community was operating, the programmatic prioritiesestablished by me, the obstacles I had to overcome to secure more resources, both dollarsand people, to meet all of our highest priorities. The report also shows no understandingof the geopolitical context in which we were operating during the mid to late 1990s, orthe requirements to perform against specific intelligence priorities which, as a matter ofrecord, are levied upon US intelligence not by the DCI, as your report suggests, but bythe President of the United States, through the National Security Council, as embodied byPDD 35.The report's characterization of my efforts as solely relying on CIA to combatterrorism is simply wrong. Your characterization of my "forceful" efforts as being onlytactical is also wrong. The report distorts the context that I operated in as DCI and as theDirector of CIA. The report ignores the strategic choices I had to make in the mid to late1990s across the board to resuscitate the acquisition of technology and people. It alsoignores the significant realignment and counterterrorism strategy that we forcefully put inplace in 1999 that benefits the war on terrorism today. Because we developed The Planin 1999, we were able to respond to the September 2001 attacks by increasing a widevariety of actions already underway, after this Administration provided a needed infusionof funds to carry out those activities. We did not have to go from a standing start to warfooting immediately after September 11, because the Intelligence Community wasalready well engaged.Our actions with regard to the growing threat of ten-orism were strategic, tactical andoperational. The senior policy makers most deeply involved in making decisions withregard to terrorism, from the President through the Principals and Deputies Committeesof the National Security Council, were intimately knowledgeable about the threat. Ourreporting and analysis ensured that this was so.Even though senior policy makers were intimately familiar with the threat posed byApproved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294terrorism, particularly those in the previous Administration who had responded to majorattacks, they never provided us the luxury of either downgrading other high priorityrequirements we were expected to perform against, or the resource base to buildcounterterrorism programs with the consistency that we needed before September 11.1When I became DCI, my first responsibility was to rebuild the IntelligenceCommunity, in the midst of enormous resource and personnel turmoil, in order toenhance our strategic ability to address the highest priority threats to US security,including, but hardly limited to terrorism. In terms of countering terrorism, I put in place,a strategy through the DCI's Counterterrorism Center that was designed to drive theIntelligence Community's collection and operations to penetrate al-Qa'ida's leadership. Irecognized that we needed to enhance our ability to warn, analyze, deter and disruptactions contemplated against US national security interests.In the resource environment in which we operated, dollars and people devoted tocountering terrorism continued to grow while other priority activities remained flat ordeclined. While your report focuses on resources devoted to the DCI's CounterterrorismCenter, it does not appear to take into consideration resources provided to other aspectsof our strategy to combat terrorism. My api5roach included funding providedto the area divisions of the Directorate of Operations and to the field where thetarget was located,to the collection activities of the National Security A encto the expanded work of NIMA (now NOMto fund strategic liaison relationships which provided us access to the al-Qa'ida target that we could not achieve unilaterally.The Joint Inquiry Committee never took cognizance of the context in which wewere operating in the Intelligence Community and blurred the distinction betweenIn terms of intelligence priorities, your report charges that I made a "strategic error" in not issuing a"formal reprioritization of intelligence priorities" between 1997 and 2001. Your report also finds it"ironic" that I cited PDD 35 in not "halt[ing] completely any collection or analytic coverage" and "the needto maintain global coverage." As DCI, I did not set national intelligence priorities. President Clinton did inissuing PDD 35. I could issue guidance within the constraints of the overall policy, but I could notunilaterally ignore a presidential directive. To the extent I was able to do so, I shifted resources through thebudget process to cover as many competing demands as possible. But there was no inclination shown bythe NSC in the previous Administration to revisit PDD 35. Given the policy context before September 11, Itake exception to your report's assertion that I should have formally reprioritized intelligence "issues"before September 11.2Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10006297294D SENSITIVEstrategic and tactical decisions. As a result, you report starts from the perspective ofconclusions that .1 believe to be terribly flawed.To provide an understanding of the context in which we were operating, I amsubmitting as part of my response, at Tab A, a study prepared earlier at my requestentitled "DCI Report: The Rise of UBL and -al-Qa'ida and the Intelligence CommunityResponse." It was not reviewed by the Joint Inquiry Committee. I ask that you factor itinto your final report as part of my response.I am also providing, at Tab B, my response to the 9/11 Commission's staff statement#11, and I ask that you review it as part of my response.December 1998 Memo and Mv Call for a New Strategic Operational PlanOn the basis of the record, I categorically reject your report's assertion that I wasoverly focused on CIA's tactical operations against al-Qa'ida at the expense of leadingthe Community against the target. My efforts drove community-wide collectioninitiatives (led by the ADC/C), established the framework for our entire approachagainst Bin Ladin and al-Qa'ida (embodied in the 1999 Plan), established and nurturedliaison relationships around the world with countries willing to act with us in periods ofheightened threat and in advancing our strategic objectives. I know that all these effortsresulted in actions that saved lives. During the Millennium period we launched thelargest disruption operations in history both worldwide in cooperation with key foreignserviees and in the United States in full cooperation with the FBI. Similar disruptionoperations took place during at other criticaltimes. Through my relationships with the leaders of the Intelligence Community,including my strong partnership with FBI Director Fred", and in my work with foreignliaison partners, I was leading the Intelligence Community.My memorandum of December 1998 was recognition of the seriousness with. which I.took the threat posed by Bin Ladin and his organization. It was also recognition on mypart that all elements of the Community and CIA needed to do more to penetrate al-Qa'ida.My concern was never simply a matter of augmenting covert action. Covert action isnot successful in the absence of hard foreign intelligence. It was clear to me at the timethat while we had been somewhat successful in pursuing a law enforcement approach inbattling al-Qa'ida, we did not have adequate SIGINT coverage and did not have enoughhuman penetrations of al-Qa'ida. In my view, the most important strategic message ofthe memorandum was that we needed more and better basic intelligence. Covert actionagainst Bin Ladin and his key operatives was not possible without it.I issued the memorandum with the intent of driving new collection and operationalA A I A" 11,Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294initiatives. I sent it to my immediate team of senior leaders who were empowered to helpthe DCI run the Community. CTC was, and is a Community entity, not just as a CIA unit,as your report suggests.The most important tasking in the memorandum was not, as you suggest, to have theDDCI "chair a group to coordinate the actions proposed above" but rather the tasking tothe ADCl/C, Charles Allen: "We need to immediately push the rest of the collectioncommunity to make Bin Ladin and his infrastructure our top priority. I want CharlieAllen to immediately chair a Meeting with NSA, NIMA, CITO, and others to ensure weare doing everything possible to meet CTC's requirements."ADCFC Allen's efforts became the most powerful vehicle at my disposal to energizeand focus the entire Community. I most directly disagree with your report's suggestionthat Mr. Allen's efforts were ongoing and, in effect, that there was no new initiative inresponse to my December 1998 memorandum. To the contrary, Mr. Allen took action asa result of my initiative and focused the Community's collection efforts intensely. Hiswork was not routine as your report suggests. In responding to me in December 1998,the ADCl/C advised that collectors had already taken an extraordinary range of stepssince the East Africa Embassy bombings and that all collectors were closely workingtogether. But, contrary to the implications in your report, this response was only thebeginning. I have enclosed (at Tab C) a summary of the activities pursued by Mr. Allenand the Community's collection cell he established to meet CTC's requirements from allthe disciplines. The closing paragraph of that memorandum merits particular emphasis:"Under the direction of the ADCl/C the Community's collectors pursued anaggressive, integrated, and sustained collection effort to bring bin Ladin to justiceand to disrupt and dismantle his al-Qa'ida organization. These efforts, undertakenat a time when intelligence resources were sharply declining and the Communitywas focusing on other important targets worldwide (China, Russia, North Korea,South Asia, and other terrorist targets like Hizballah), reflected the highest degreeof urgency and priority."An initiative derived from the 1998 memorandum was the creation of CTC's "ThePlan" in 1999. It included a strong and focused collection program to gather intelligenceand to act against Bin Ladin and his associates in sanctuaries including Sudan, Lebanon,Yemen and, most importantly, Afghanistan.The Plan was widely briefed within the Intelligence Community, the policycommunity, and to key foreign liaison partners. It was briefed to this wide audiencebecause it was our strategic approach in attacking Bin Ladin.22 I take particular exception your report's charge that I issued the December 1998 memorandum but itsmessage was never properly communicated. Your report spends paragraphs detailing who was ondistribution of the memo, who did or did not attend meetings, and so forth. The implication of the report isthat there was no follow through by me or others and, more offensively, that I simply issued amemorandum as an exercise in venting. The completion of The Plan, which captured key elements of my4Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294?TOP SECRET/ICODEWORThe ADCl/C used The Plan to drive collection activities inside Afghanistan andaround the world. He convened frequent meetings of the National Intelligence CollectionBoard, consisting of the most senior collection managers in the Community, to developcomprehensive strategies to support, in particular, CTC's human operations against al-Qafida. He created a dedicated al-Qa'ida cell, which met daily with collection managersfrom NSA, NTMA, DIA and CIA to bring collection focus on the Afghanistan sanctuary.In addition, he participated in daily meetings with the Executive Director of CIA andsenior leaders of CTC, including the Chief, Deputy Chief and Chief of Operations, toensure that Community-wide collection initiatives were seamlessly integrated with thoseof CTC.Following my 1998 memorandum and the 1999 Plan,I bring to your attention the submissions. of NSA, NIMA and FBIS to demonstratethat there were serious initiatives undertaken by the Community before September 11. Iwas not, as your report suggests, merely focused on CIA activities. In my view, theAmerican Intelligence Community was responding to my strategic and tacticalimperatives in attacking al-Qa'ida. Collection imperatives were directed by Mr. Allen'scollection cell, as focused by The Plan developed by CTC. NSA and other Communitycomponents were focused on al-Qa'ida and Bin Ladin as significant threats requiring ourbest efforts to combat. As an example, in December 1999, I raised a full alert basedprimarily on specific HUMINT reporting. As a result, our government's largest evercapture and rendition campaign was initiated. It involved the inteuation of action by  FBI, CIA and foreign partners.   Infonnation acquired in early 2002confirms that a major attack was averted in the 1999-2000 time frame. I raise this tounderscore that I was driving the Community to collect more and better foreignintelligence, and we were responding as a Community in preventing attacks and savinglives. I was not simply focused on CIA activities, as your report charges.December 1998 memorandum, was fully briefed to, among others: The FBI inSeptember 1999; the National Security Council on September 29, 1999; Richard Clarke on November 15,1999; National Security Advisor Berger (the executive summary) on November 30, 1999; the NSC SmallGroup on December 2 and 3, 1999; Lt.Gen. Kennedy on January 4, 2000; Army Vice Chief of Staff Keaneon January 31, 2000; General Taylor, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator on July 1, 2000;former Secretary of State Kissinger, former DCIs Helms.and Woolsey, and selected Members of Congressin July 2001. In short, the key officials working on terrorism knew full well what my approach was.= = " - ? =I - ? - ?5Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294. : DAnother key element of my strategic approach to countering terrorism was leveragingliaison relationships with key partners abroad. While we were developing andimplementing a strategic plan to target Afghanistan and other terrorist sanctuaries, theCommunity also had to deal with periods of enormous threats to the United States: duringthe Millennium period, the Ramadan 2000 period and the Spring and Summer leading toSeptember 1 I , 2001. We launched important, robust operations throughout the worldusing the best intelligence our Community could generate to propel our foreign partnersto action. This was not a mater of the DCI simply making phone calls to chiefs of serviceas your report suggests. Rather, it was a matter of forging strategic partnerships aroundthe world with key services, often through the provision of training and technicalassistance, the passage of SIGINT, imagery and analysis that broadened our reach so thatwhen phone calls had to be made, service chiefs would respond to our requests for action.We identified strategic partnerships we deemed essential. Our placement ofCounterterrorism Intelligence Centers (CTICs) was driven by a strategic understanding ofthe critical access these countries could provide to enhance our operational and technicalreach. While resource constraints limited the number of CTICs we could establish beforeSeptember 11, we were able to increase substantially the number of centers quickly afterthe attacks because of our previous, successful expdrience in proving the concept.At every liaison meeting with a chief of a foreign service that I had in my office or inthe field during my travels, I put al-Qa'ida at the top of the agenda. There was nothing"tactical" about my efforts. I had only one overriding objective and that was to increaseaccess for US intelligence to target al-Qa'ida.There were frustrations to be sure.A demonstration of the Community's active engagement against al-Qa'ida beforeSeptember 11, and my leadership efforts, is a map of Afghanistan on September 10 that Ihad prepared for congressional testimony (located in a pocket of this binder.)It shows thefruits of working with foreign liaison partners: human and tribal networks working forCIA. We never lost sight of the strategic imperative laid out by CTC in The Plan eitheras an Agency or as a Community.Your report does not reflect the reality I lived as Director of Central Intelligence. ItTOP SECRETHCODEWORD SENSITIVE6Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294SITI  does not reflect my active engagement, sometimes on a daily basis, with the NationalSecurity Advisor, with Richard Clarke and with other members of the national securityteam.' It does not reflect my strong, personal relationships with the Directors of NSA,NIMA, DIA and other leaders of the Intelligence Community, and their directinvolvement and knowledge about counterterrorism matters. It does not present anycogent characterization of my efforts to develop and nurture key relationships withforeign service chiefs who became essential partners in the war on terror. It does notdemonstrate any appreciation of the efforts of Charles-Allen's National Intelligence.Collection Board and his daily meetings of collection managers and CTC officials.Nor do the portions of the report I have been allowed to read provide any insight intothe accomplishments we achieved against terrorists before September 11. In this regard,I again ask that you review "DCI Report: The Rise of UBL and Al-Qa'ida and theIntelligence Community Response" at Tab A.. We, as a Community, disrupted terroristsaround the world and prevented the loss of life. We used technology, leveraged foreignpartnerships and operated at a feverish pace at. critical times against a determined andelusive target. With all my heart I wish we had stopped the attacks of September Il. ButI also know that I remained focused on terrorism, not just as head of CIA, but also asleader of a Community in trying to prevent harm.ResourcesThe report's discussion of resources is devoid of the strategic context in which I wasoperating and the geopolitical context faced by the Intelligence Community. Neither mypredecessors nor I had the luxury of thinking about one issue alone. Our responsibilitywas to look to the future, .fo-understand changing technology and practices adopted byour adversaries, and then to provide the strategic guidance necessary to close those gaps.To restate the facts that guided my strategic approach as DCI: during the I 990s, as aCommunity, we had lost 25 percent of our people and nearly $30 billion in investmentcompared to the 1990 baseline. The rebuilding of the entire Community became mystrategic focus, a focus that would benefit our actions against terrorism and the highpriority targets established by the President in PDD 35. Key elements in rebuilding theCommunity included the following:3 In this regard, your report appears to presume that I was the only official in our government who wasresponsible for designing a strategy for operating against al-Qa'ida. In fact, National Security AdvisorBerger, and at his direction, Richard Clarke, were actively engaged in developing approaches to deal withBin Ladin. By example, after the Millennium threat period, Sandy Berger called for a full evaluation of thegovernment's countertemism posture, including funding. We actively participated in that review.Substantial funding increases were proposed, but none were forthcoming. And, in the final months of theprevious Administration, Berger commissioned the development of a strategy to attack al-Qa?ida withoutregard to funding constraints. DDCI McLaughlin actively worked with CTC in the preparation of thestrategy, which was presented in modified form by Richard Clarke to the new Administration shortly afterit took office. Your report does not discuss these initiatives and therefore fails to provide important contextand understanding of what we were attempting to accomplish.7Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294? - ? ? - ?? w -wri-- We had to invest in the transformation and rebuilding of NSA to attack the modemcommunications that terrorists and other adversaries were using.-- We had to invest in a very costly, future imagery architecture to replace agingsatellites.-- We had to overhaul our recruitment, training, and deployment strategy inrebuilding the clandestine service, critical to penetrating terrorist cells and othertargets.-- We had to invest in analysis by recruiting, training and equipping the best analytictalent we could find.While we were rebuilding across the board, we ensured that funding forcounterterrorism continued to grow. We did this in an environment when both Congressand the Executive Branch embraced the idea that we could surge our resources to dealwith emerging intelligence challenges like terrorism, rather than provide us sustainedfunding.Your report does not adequately address the context of an Intelligence Communitythat had to respond to wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, the prospect of war between India andPakistan, China's military buildup and threat to Taiwan, the requirements of policymakers, particularly in Congress, to pursue narco-traffickers in Central and SouthAmerica, and numerous other such requirements. Despite all of these stresses, despite thefact that we had effectively been in Chapter 11 as an Intelligence Community, wecontinued on a path to methodically increase both CIA and Intelligence Communityresources and our personnel base devoted to terrorism.Your report criticizes my efforts to devote sufficient resources to counterterrorism.Yet, nowhere in the portions of the report that I was permitted to read, do you indicatewhat resources would have been sufficient.The report fails to recognize my direct efforts, together with those of the DDCI forCommunity Management, to secure more funding for the Intelligence Community and tomake tough reallocation decisions to increase our Community-wide efforts to counterterrorism. Let me provide some facts. In two succeeding years, 1998 and 1999, I wroteto the President of the United States in my capacity as DCI to implore him that weneeded more money for US intelligence. In my 5 November 1998 letter I stated:"Specifically, we must sustain the increased intelligence funding levels provided in FY1999 appropriations acts and emergency supplemental appropriations acts [terrorism].This will require roughl billion more per year for the intelligence budget above theexisting FY2000-2005 bu get."?Tttr14-Steitt-T-fi`ee?HE  Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294In my 1999 letter to the President, I asked him to support an increase in nationalintelligence spending by six percent over projected levels for the fiscal years 2001-2005.In the letter I said: "Our global, intelligence reach is slipping and we are rapidly growingdeaf and blind. The combination of dramatic technologic change and sophisticateddeception techniques used by nations and non-state actors with reason to hide theiractivities has put the Nation's strategic intelligence advantage in the future at peril.Already, today, we cannot meet critical demands from US policymakers on unfoldingcrises in some areas of the world." (Copies of my 1998 and 1999 letters to the Presidentare at Tab G.)In response, we received  increments of what I had asked for. OMB only approvedbillion for FY2000 and billion for FY2000-2005, with the result that total NFIPfunding for .FY2000 was. lower than FYI 999, a year for which we received sifppkmentalappropriations. For FY2001, OMB approved an increase ofnbillion and billionfor FY2001-2006. (We continued to press for additional funds in the 2002 budget andthe out-going Administration provided million for FY2002. I also worked hard topersuade the in-coming Administration for more funding and we obtained millionmore for 1Y2002 and over million in FY2001 supplementals.) (A summary of pre-September 11 budget decisions is at Tab H.)In 1999, I went out of Administration channels in responding directly and positivelyto Speaker of the House Gingrich about his desire to increase our funding. As a result,the Intelligence Community obtained S1.2 billion in supplemental assistancemillion of which was targeted against terrorism specifically. I do not want themillion to be misunderstood: the other money in the Gingrich supplemental was used tofund high cost and high priority items, including technical systems, which focused onmultiple targets, including terrorism. I also used this supplemental as an opportunity tobegin working within the Administration to increase the overall intelligence budget.Not only were we living in an environment where we received little in the top lineincreases we formally requested, but we also had to rely on emergency supplementals tofund certain CIA and Community activities around the world. This made it extremelydifficult to build long-term programs, with strategic integrity for our counterterrorismefforts. Funding through supplemental appropriations Was a policy decision made by thePresident through OMB, not by the Director, of Central Intelligence.Regardless of the wisdom of supplementals, when I got  such funding forcounterterrorism activities in 1997, I internally re allocated million and added  positions in FY98. We made re-allocations across the community for CCP million),CIDP million), GDIP million) and DOD-FC1P million to sustain the FY97counterterrorism package approved by the Congress. A total o million andpositions were internally re-aligned within the NFIP budget for counterterrorismactivities for the years FY98-05.9Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294Tor SECRETHCODEWORD SENSITIVEI see nothing in your report to indicate any familiarity with the Joint IntelligenceGuidance packages I issued to the Intelligence Community in 1998, 1999, and 2000 tostrengthen US intelligence and my specific expectations for the Intelligence CommunityProgram Managers regarding counterterrorism. Indeed, there is no reflection of thedocument I issued in March 1999, "Director of Central Intelligence Strategic Intent forthe United States Intelligence Community," intended to serve as planning guidance forthe FY2001 to FY2005 program build. It directed the programs to prepare for five majortrends that will challenge the US over the next decade: terrorism was referenced directlyin two categories. (A background paper on counterterrorism related NFIP planning andprogrammatic guidance is at Tab I.)The facts are that NFIP counterterrorism funding tripled in both dollars and as apercentage of the NFIP during the 1990's, a decade during which the NFIP declined by10 percent (in inflation adjusted terms), when many competing issues emerged and theCommunity was faced with the need to fund long deferred modernization programs.The fact is that the CIA's counterterrorism resources nearly quadrupled in the sametime period.CIA's budget had declined 18 percent in real terms during the decade of the 1990's,and we suffered a loss of 16 percent of our personnel (slightly less than the 25 percent cutfor the Intelligence Community as a whole.) Yet in the midst of that stark resourcepicture, CIA's funding level for counterterrorism just prior to September 11 was morethan 50 percent above our FY1997 level.In the FY2002 budget request submitted prior to September 11, we again soughtincreases for counterterrorism. During a period of budget stringency, when we were facedwith rebuilding Intelligence Community capabilities across the board, we had to makesome tough choices. Although resources available for everything else at CIA were goingdown or staying flat, counterterrorism resources were going up.With regard to people, as I have noted in testimony, we had the equivalent of 700officers working counterterrorism in August of 2001 at both Headquarters and in thefield. That number does not include the people who were working to penetrate eithertechnically or through human sources a multitude of targets from which we could deriveintelligence on terrorists. Nor does it include the work of liaison services.around theworld on our behalf.In hindsight, none of us working on the problem can say we ever had enough people.We may not have enough people today, given the magnitude of the problem. But giventhe context of the budget environment before September 11, and given the other nationalsecurity priorities established for us, we allocated as many people as possible in10Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294I OP SEC,RE T //C ODEWORD SENSITIcountering terrorism. I reiterate that we were rebuilding the clandestine serviceessentially from a standing start after I became DCI. We needed to increase not only thequantity but also the quality of officers operating against a number of priority targets,including, but by no means limited to termrism. Support to military operations in Bosniaand elsewhere was a dominant theme before September 11, notwithstanding the clarity ofhindsight now.Beyond the need to bring in more officers, at CIA we were working in the context ofhaving to rebuild according to our 1998 strategic plan every aspect of the institution. Wehad enormous infrastructure, recruiting and technology needs. The infrastructure torecruit, train and deploy case officers was in absolute disarray. We rebuilt andoverhauled the curriculum. We made enormous investments in improving connectivitywith our stations and bases around the world. Similar requirements were being dealt within all of our disciplines. It would have been negligent on my part to igiore therequirement to rebuild the key elements of CIA's infrastructure. Not even in hindsightcan I justify the proposition that I could have simply shifted wholesale resources fromother components to CTC at a time when we were trying to recreate a vibrant Agency in ?all aspects of its work.We needed to position the Agency in the future to confront our greatest challenges.The strategic imperative was to rebuild CIA, its people, technology and infrastructure,while at the same time maintaining a consistent and methodical focus on growing ourcounterterrorism efforts. By example, one of the most important investments in the fightagainst terrorism was made in 2000 with the creation of the Information OperationsCenter, integrating operations, analysts and technology officers. Establishing IOC was astrategic decision that required money, people and technology. We could have avoidedsuch costs and simply allocated those dollars and people to CTC. But, I viewed IOC as akey investment in our future. That investment has paid enormous dividends in the war onterrorism today. IOC's integration of technology, coordinating effectively with FBI andNSA in particular, with human operations has resulted in the most sigiificant captures ofkey terrorists to date.In terms of the Intelligence Community, 1 paid particular attention to NSAAs the leader of the Community, I had to balance CIA's needs and the Community'sneeds to fund strategic programs to get us healthy again. Yet, your report asserts that Ishould have transferred some undetermined amount of funding in the year of executionfrom other Community agencies to support CIA counterterrorism efforts. This presumesTOP SECRETHCODEWORD SENSITIVE11Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294incorrectly that funding in other agencies was sufficient for them not only to conducttheir mission, but more importantly to meet the transformational objectives we put inplace in our 5-year budget submissions. Sustained commitment to these objectives hasgreatly benefited CIA's and the Intelligence Community's performance against terrorismand other high priority issues.As I have noted earlier, by the late 1990's, all of our agencies were facing majorchallenges.But Where we could, we shifted resources. I worked with DDCl/CM Joan Dempseyand her staff to identify any possible funding sources available to the highest priority  projects or programs.  These transfers occurred in the programming year, not the execution year.Any major reductions to NF11) agencies budgets in the year of execution would haveonly worsened their financial plight and created collection and processing problems."Nor did I believe we could or should move large amounts from NSA, NIMA or evenNRO to CIA's counterterrorism program Without understanding the overall impact ofsuch funding shifts on the missions of those agencies. For it is fundamental that theprograms of those agencies are also a vital part of the counterterrorism effort. CTC'sprogram needed more, not less imagery; it needed more, not less signals intelligence.Any short term gain in CTC's program would have been more than offset by the impactof further cuts in our collection and processing systems. As DC1, had to recognize that4 Experience with transfers in the year of execution taught us that as 'a practical matter we could nevercount on approval in .a timely manner. They required the concurrence of Agency directors, the .Director ofOMB, the Secretary of Defense, and six committees of Congress. It took months of effort to securetransfers. In my view, years of execution transfers were never a way of meeting pressing requirements in atimely manner.TOP SECRETHCODEWORD SENSITIVE12Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294accomplishing the Community's fundamental mission is a function of improving theperformance of all its elements, not one at the expense of the others.Your report's focus on my failure to seek such transfers misses the strategic contextof my efforts to build long term, sustainable programs to address the strategic capabilitiesneeded to attack terrorism and other high priority issues. The report seems to lack anyunderstanding of my work with the DDCl/CM and her staff to rebuild essentialCommunity capabilities over a period of years. Without acknowledging these efforts, Ido not understand or accept the report's criticism that I failed to marshal sufficientresources for counterterrorism.Strategic AnalysisThe report mischaracterizes the context of terrorism estimates in the mid to late1990s. The Community produced an estimate in 1995 with a follow up in 1997. Thoseestimates accomplished the objective of informing policy makers about the threat andproviding a framework for the development of policy.However, after 1997, senior policy makers in the previous Administration, includingthe President and Secretaries of State and Defense, the Attorney General, the Director ofthe FBI and the National Security Advisor, became so deeply and personally involved incounterterrorism issues that another estimate would have added little to what they alreadyunderstood. Their understanding came from personal experiences in dealing with actualattacks against US interests, from daily analytic briefings, policy discussions and detailedreview of covert action proposals. The attacks on our embassies in Africa, theMillennium threat period and the attack on the USS Cole deepened their personalawareness of counterterrorism threats, policies and programs.In addition, our government organized itself on terrorism in a unique, tightly focusedmanner, with the operation of the CSG at the National Security Council. Its deliberationswere fed directly into the NSC Deputies and Principals committees. There was truedepth in understanding the threat posed by al-Qa'ida and a continuity of the key peopleinvolved in counterterrorism.A test of the practical value of a terrorism estimate is whether it would lead to policyresponses to the threat. Our experience with the issue of potential attacks using aircraftindicates that policy makers, law enforcement agencies and the private sector did not takeany of the countermeasures in response to the threat identified by our analysis or by theGore Commission, which specifically referenced our analysis.CIA, FBI and FAA focused on the potential threat represented by using airplanes in1995 plotting in Manila to bring down 12 US airlines. The 1995 NIE made it clear thatterrorists were focused on symbols of our democracy, including the White House andfinancial districts. It also made clear thatIt AII ???13Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294?T-etl-S`E,eitt-T-75`&80EPEW RD SENSITIVE"Civil aviation will figure prominently among possible terrorist targets in theUnited States. This stems from the increasing domestic threat posed by foreignterrorists, the continuing appeal of civil aviation as a target, and a domesticaviation security system that has been the focus of media attention: We haveevidence that individuals linked to terrorist groups or state sponsors haveattempted to penetrate security at US airports in recent years. The media havecalled attention to, among other things, inadequate security for checked baggage.Our review of the evidence obtained thus far about the plot uncovered in Manilain early 1995, suggests the conspirators were guided in their selection of themethod and venue of attack by carefully studying security procedures in place inthe region. If terrorists operating in this country are similarly methodical, theywill identify serious vulnerabilities in the security system for domestic flights."In the 1997 Estimate, we reinforced that: "Civil aviation remains a particularlyattractive target for terrorist attacks in light of the fear and publicity the downing of anairliner would evoke and the revelations last summer of the vulnerability of the US airtransport sector."In addition to our estimates, on December 4, 1998, we published a PDBmemorandum which stated: "Reporting suggests BinLadin and his allies are preparing for attacks in the US, including an aircraft hijacking toobtain the release of Shakh 'Umar 'Abd al Rahman, Ramzi Yussef and Muhammad SadiqAwda. One source quoted a senior member of the Gama'at al-Islamiyya (IG) saying that,as of late October, the IG had completed planning for an operation in the US on behalf ofBin Ladin but that the operation was on hold. A senior Bin Ladin operative from SaudiArabia was to visit IG counterparts in the US soon thereafter to discuss options -- perhapsincluding aircraft hijacking." (The December 4, 1998 Memorandum is at Tab J.)We know that our strategic message on terrorism was reaching its audience. TheCommission headed by Vice President Gore specifically referenced our analysis on thissubject. And, in its 2000 annual publication, Criminal Acts Against Civil Aviation 2000,the FAA emphasized threats to civil aviation posed by Bin Ladin, and others."Although Bin Ladin is not known to have attacked civil aviation, he has both themotivation and the wherewithal to do so. Bin Ladin's anti-Western and anti-American attitudes make him and his followers a significant threat to civilaviation, eSpecially U.S. civil aviation."The FAA also issued threat advisories in the summer of 2001 based on our reporting,noting the heightened concern of terrorist attacks.Notwithstanding a keen awareness on the part of policymakers and the FAA in--T-efa-SfeRE-T-75CODEWOR713-SENSITI*E--14Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294CRET//CODEWORD SENsmVEpartiCular to the threat against aircraft, nobody undertook a program of systemicinitiatives to increase the security measures associated with the commercial airlineindustry.In terms of the current Administration. I believe it would have been helpful at thebeginning of the Administration to have produced a comprehensive estimate on al-Qa'ida. An NIE would have provided useful background as we engaged the incomingnational security team on terrorism, notwithstanding that Richard Clarke initiallyremained in his post at the NSC and that I actively briefed the National Security Advisorand her deputy on al-Qa'ida in the months before September 11. However, it isproblematic at best to know whether strategic protective actions would have been takento minimize the threat, given our previous experience with the estimates in the mid1990s, and the limited time available to the new Administration before September 11.I do not agree that estimates on terrorism would have driven resource allocationdecisions. I was extremely conscious of the terrorist threat, as were the national securityofficials with whom I worked the issues on an almost daily basis, and our CommunityProp-am Managers. I do not believe an estimate would have provided more texture ordata that would have changed resource allocations in fundamental ways.Finally, while your report focuses on a lack of strategic analysis, it downplays mypersonal and persistent efforts to insure that policy makers were made directly aware ofthreat reporting. On nine separate occasions, starting in December 1998, I sent detailedmemoranda to the senior-most leadership of our government, including appropriatesenior leaders in Congress, to warn of terrorist plotting. I have included the memorandaat Tab K. From these and from my constant interaction with the national security team atthe White House, I know that those dealing most directly with terrorism in ourgovernment were fully informed of the threat. Moreover, the national security Principalspersonally deliberated and approved a number of extremely sensitive, specificallytargeted covert action operations. In doing so, they fully assessed the terrorist threat, asevidenced by the actual language of Memoranda of Notification.5 For example, theDecember 1998 MON, approved by the Principals and signed by the President stated instark terms:"Usama Bin Ladin poses a continuing, serious, and imminent threat of violenceand death to United States persons and interests throughout the world. By hiswords and actions, UBL has demonstrated his intent and ability to murderAmerican citizens. CIA considers this threat unprecedented in geographic scopeand potential risk, in light of UBL's resources and ability potential [sic] to obtainnticlear, biological and chemical weapons. Among other things:s All covert action Findings and Memoranda of Notification were fully briefed to the new National SecurityAdvisor and her deputy at the beginning of the 'Bush Administration.? San as aW  .15Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294TO ECh EWORD-- In February 1998 he issued a ruling (Fatwa) 'to kill Americans and their allies -civilians and military - is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it inany country in which it is possible to do it.' (Source: CIA report, 'MuslimWorld: Text of Fatwa urging Jihad against Americans.')-- Bin Ladin associates are awaiting trial for their role in the August 1998bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Bin Ladin himself has been chargedwith the murder of the 227 persons ? including 12 Americans - who died in thosebombings.-- Bin Ladin's organization has a presence in at least 60 countries and has forgedties with Sunni extremist terrorist groups worldwide. Recent intelligenceindicates conclusively that the UBL organization has extensively surveyed U.S.targets overseas for vulnerabilities to terrorist attack.-- The intelligence community has strong indications that Bin Ladin intends toconduct or sponsor attacks inside the Unites States.- UBL is known to be aggressively seeking chemical weapons including VX and,according to CIA, captured documentation indicates he is well along in doing so.CIA assesses that if the UBL organization does have the ability to use chemical orbiological weapons, he will use them against American official and civiliantargets.CIA has concluded that 'recent intelligence reporting indicat[es] that UBL isplanning to conduct another attack against U.S. personnel or facilities verysoon."I am absolutely certain that the national security team fully understood the threat in all itsstrategic and tactical implications.?T-erP-StettET//CODEWORD SENSITIVE16Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294Technology and.NSARegarding the issue, I was made aware of CTC's interest inacquiring access to such material, and I asked DDCI Gordon to deal with it. As I recall, Iwas told the problem was resolved, and I was never asked to intervene further at anypoint before September 11.In terms of the matter, the essence of your criticism is that I did notwork hard enough or quickly enough to resolve this problem. The criticism implies that Ishould have commanded a result. This is not the way I worked with General Hayden onany issue, and, in the case of I was not empowered to do so. The Presidentultimately clarified the matter, as was required.General Hayden and I discussed the issue many times during ourregularly scheduled meetings. We believed that our professionals would have to workcollaboratively  through difficult questions, including concerns relating to civil liberties.The issue was complex and far reaching for the Community, both in terms ofpolicy and law, including authorities of the DCI and the Director of NSA. Given theincredibly rapid  changes in technology and the ways people communicate and storeinformation, the issue challenged our existing legal, organizational andoperational structures. I knew that this was an issue that I had to get resolved correctly.As DCI, I recognized that there were conflicts over the years among officers ofCIA and NSA, based in part on differences of understandings over authorities and theproper conduct of their respective missions. In order to deal with lingering concerns andto resolve specific issues as they arose, General Hayden and I supported theestablishment of the Strategic Partnership Advisory Group, to provide senior level,ongoing focus over the critically important relationship between NSA and CIA. In fact,the two organizations have worked effectively on the most difficult national securitychallenges, certainly including the war on terror and support to our military inAfghanistan and Iraq. The relationship is anything but "dysfunctional" when measuredby the successes we have had together in decimating the al-Qa'ida leadership to date.17Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294TOP SEeitt eertIEW RD SENSITIVEConcluding ThoughtsThere is no issue on which I spent more time and energy as DCI than terrorism. Myengagement on the strategic dimension of the problem was manifest in everything I did torebuild a Community that had been decimated, into a Community now responding withagility to our most pressing national security problems, including terrorism. At CIA Ifocused on recruiting and training case officers and analysts, and rebuilding ourtechnological base with the most modem tools we could buy or leverage from the privatesector through In-Q-Tel and other such innovations. While rebuilding the Community'scapabilities and those at CIA, I realized that we could never do it fast enough tomaximize focus on any one issue. However, because of the emphasis I placed oncounterterrorism, we insured that CTC grew in resources.I made strategic investment decisions across the Community to try to stay a stepahead Of an agile, sophisticated terrorist organization not for the next week or so, but foryears in to the future. I used the ADCI for Collection to drive the Communitystrategically in collecting against terrorist sanctuaries where the secrets resided that couldprovide insight into how this enemy planned to attack us. We built a worldwide coalitionof partners, some certainly more effective than others given the circumstances beforeSeptember 11. In doing so, I emphasized terrorism to key partners at the expense ofalmost all other issues and I fostered personal relationships around the world to give usthe access we needed to get things done.Our policy makers throughout my tenure as DCI were provided access to our analysison terrorism through a variety of products and a variety of means, including some timesdaily interactions at the CSG. During heightened periods of threat, I personally andforcefully intervened with the national security team to insure that they understood thethreat and what we were doing about it. There is no doubt in my mind that all of usunderstood the threat in great detail. In fact, actions that were taken in the late 1990s todisrupt attacks are remarkable accomplishments of the Community and the FBI. Yet,your report captures none of this, or my efforts to counter terrorism. Instead, your reportfocuses on whether I held the right meetings and who was on distribution of certainmemoranda, rather that the actions I actually undertook to deal with this fundamentalproblem, including my interactions with Community leaders and my persistentengagement with the national security Principals on counterterrorism. I categoricallyreject your assertion that my performance was "sub optimal."In the years since September 11, the Intelligence Community, buttressed byaggressive policies and serious funding, has had a large role in dismantling al-Qa'ida'scentral leadership and protecting the American homeland from further attack. This is notby accident. It is because we had the strategy along with a sophisticated understanding ofthe target that we built over years of hard work. When properly resourced and tied to asystematic program of homeland protection for the first time in our history, driven everyTOP SECRET//CODEWORD SENSITIVE18Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294 Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294TOF S Rday by intelligence, the results have been dramatic.I know that we were never perfect in all that we did in the CIA or the IntelligenceCommunity. But in truth I also know that I did all I possibly could do to drive homeurgency, strategic focus and discipline against a very difficult problem. The picture youhave created in your report is not close to the life I lived or the actions I took as DCI.Finally, I must address a matter that is deeply troubling to me as I reflect on mytenure as DCI. In the JO's inspection report of CTC in August of 2001, your officeissued findings and conclusions directly at odds with many aspects of the sections of thecurrent report I have been permitted to read.In August 2001, the IG informed the senior leaders of CIA that "CTC fulfills inter-agency responsibilities for the DCI by coordinating national intelligence, providingwarning and promoting the effective use of Intelligence Community resources onterrorism issues." Now, however, I am charged with not using CTC to drive theIntelligence Community.The August 2001 report on CTC informed us that "CTC's resources have steadilyincreased over the last five years, with personnel growing by 74 percent during thatperiod and the budget more than doubling. The Center's comparatively favorableresource situation allows it not only to expand its own programs but also to supportoperations against terrorists and liaison relationships that DO area divisions otherwisecould not fund." But I am now charged with "sub optimal" performance in not properlyresourcing CTC. 6The August 2001 report also stated that "relationships with the FBI had been vastlyimproved." The IG further informed us that "CTC 's relationship with NSA has improveddramatically since the last inspection." The entire thrust of what the IG reported inAugust 2001 is, in my view, directly at odds with the accusations in the limited sectionsof the current report I have been permitted to review. In August 2001, the 1G did not askthe DCI to take a single action regarding CTC or our efforts against terrorism around theworld. Today, however, your report characterizes my performance as "sub optimal."This inconsistency is remarkable and deeply disturbing.6 The report also cautioned that funding increases, in recent years, came from supplemental funding.However, as I have noted previously, I did not favor, nor didI control the policy decision to seeksupplemental appropriations.TOP SECRET/ICODEW01--19Approved for Release: 2015/06/10 006297294