View Full Version : Intelligence Chief: U.S. Safer Since 9/11

12-02-2005, 04:06 PM
Intelligence chief: U.S. safer since 9/11
Negroponte rejects criticism that reform is moving too slowly


(Gold9472: Really? We're safer? From who? Certainly not the Government. Certainly not from all of those people we've pissed off around the world you stupid motherfucking dumbass Neocon.)

From David Ensor
Friday, December 2, 2005; Posted: 2:46 p.m. EST (19:46 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In his first one-on-one interview as the nation's director of national intelligence, John Negroponte told CNN, "I think our country is safer today" because of better integrated intelligence efforts, and he pushed back against criticism that his office may be moving too slowly.

"I think the story is quite the contrary," he said, pointing to a new National Clandestine Service that includes all the nation's spies, and a new National Security Branch at the FBI.

Negroponte said the nation's intelligence has been improved since December 8, 2004, when Congress approved an intelligence reform law creating his office, despite "the fact that we've been operating from temporary quarters." (View an organizational chart of the restructured intelligence community)

"We are scattered a bit here and there and that has made things somewhat difficult to carry out some of our activities, but we've overcome those obstacles," said Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence.

"I certainly believe America is safer than it was at 9/11," he said. "I believe from an intelligence point of view that our intelligence effort is better integrated today than it was previously. I think we are doing a good job at bringing together foreign, domestic and military intelligence."

The exclusive CNN interview was conducted at the DNI's temporary headquarters in the New Executive Office Building across from the White House.

Critics -- including some key members of Congress and former senior intelligence officials -- have complained that Negroponte's team is moving too slowly to implement change in the intelligence community.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, for example, said in testimony on October 19 that "there are four words missing, I think, from the way I sense the system is currently operating with the new director of national intelligence. Those are speed, intensity, urgency and accountability."

'Stay tuned' for secret prison announcement
The interview came as the Bush administration grapples with how best to respond to demands from European governments for information about news stories saying the CIA is running secret prisons for al Qaeda prisoners in Europe, among other places. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to travel to Europe in coming days and has promised some answers.

Asked what role he will play getting them for her, Negroponte said, "This is a collective effort that involves the intelligence community and the State Department and other interested agencies." He added, "I think you ought to just stay tuned for what she says during the course of that visit."

When he took the new job, Negroponte became the person responsible for briefing the president each day on the latest intelligence. He said he spends about two hours a day preparing for the briefing session. "One hour in the night, and one hour in the morning when I get myself updated," he said.

He denied suggestions he has too little authority over the intelligence budget under the law. Though 80 percent of the money spent on intelligence is inside the Pentagon's budget, "I think we've got ample authority" he said, and "we've already taken on some fairly difficult budgetary decisions" involving substantial amounts of money.

Negroponte defended the way authorities handled the New York subway and Baltimore tunnel threats recently, saying, "I think you could say, in some respects, the system worked there."

"We had threat information which was of perhaps ... questionable reliability. Nonetheless, because of the magnitude of the risk, it was considered important to pass that information to local authorities. Now, one doesn't want to second-guess what local authorities do with the information that is passed to them, since they have responsibilities to protect the people of their localities and to protect the infrastructure." He added that "the steps that were taken, in both those instances, were not ... unreasonable."

Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has argued that the federal government "should have handed them information ... with bigger caveats that said we don't think this is reliable, or we don't know how reliable it is, so please don't use it until we can check something out. That is what the DNI is supposed to do. It's supposed to be the coordinator."

Concerning reports of low morale at the CIA, and key personnel quitting, Negroponte said CIA "recruitment levels are still high. To be sure there have been quite a few retirements, but I think some of that simply has to do with the demographics, baby boomers retiring and so forth." He said there is a "major effort under way to increase both analysts and human intelligence collectors in the CIA."

Negroponte said he does not favor any changes for now in the laws governing the intelligence community. "I think now we ought to let the dust settle and we ought to give ourselves and the other agencies in the intelligence community time to implement the new law," he said.

12-02-2005, 07:31 PM
Intelligence Chief?? The same intelligence chief that supposedly missed/ignored all the warnings about terrorists hijacking planes and flying them into buildings???

Why would anyone believe him?

12-02-2005, 08:37 PM
Negroponte wasn't Intel Czar on 911, that post is new creation. Negroponte wa showever the pointman for the contra war and various other black ops in Latin America in the 80s.


No Major al-Qaida Ability Seen in U.S.

Associated Press (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AL_QAIDA_IN_AMERICA?SITE=WIMIL&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT)

U.S. counterterrorism agencies have not detected a significant al-Qaida operational capability in the United States since the 2003 arrest of a truck driver who was in the early stages of plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.

Nevertheless, al-Qaida's capabilities aren't clear and the group remains dangerous, the new deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Kevin Brock, said in an Associated Press interview.

The uncertainty reflects the tension facing national security officials even though the country has gone four years without a domestic attack from al-Qaida.

Brock was the FBI's special agent in charge of the Cincinnati office that investigated Iyman Faris, now serving a 20-year prison sentence for aiding and abetting terrorism and conspiracy. Faris, a Pakistani who became a U.S. citizen in 1999, was exploring whether he could ruin the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting the suspension cables.

Brock said the case demonstrated al-Qaida's weakened state following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Faris didn't strike Brock as someone who could carry out a sophisticated plot though he was ordered by a top al-Qaida leader now in custody, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, to handle complicated operations.

"Since the Iyman Faris case and other investigations, the FBI and other agencies are just not detecting an operational capability by the al-Qaida organization in the United States of imminent significance," Brock said.

Yet he and other senior officials say now is not the time to relax.

"We have to assume that they remain a very viable and very dangerous threat," Brock said. "You almost can't define al-Qaida just as an entity that you can put on an organizational chart. It has now expanded to an ideology that has gotten quite dangerous."

Brock presides over one of three daily teleconference calls on the latest terror threats in the U.S. and abroad. Sitting in the operations center's conference room, he and other officials from the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and elsewhere draw from more than two dozen U.S. networks and receive information on computer monitors that, with the push of a button, emerge from within a conference table.

Elsewhere, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a speech Thursday that there is no alternative to constant pressure in the anti-terror effort. "We are continuing, every day, to evaluate and employ existing laws and tools that can help us in this fight," Gonzales told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as he pressed for renewal of the Patriot Act.

Forty-five days after Sept. 11, Congress overwhelmingly passed the anti-terror legislation, but its reauthorization has been delayed this year by Republicans and Democrats who want to ensure there are adequate checks on governmental investigative powers.

In 2002, then-CIA Director George Tenet publicly touted CIA-FBI successes in bringing "terrorists to justice" by grabbing them off the streets and delivering them to third countries. Called rendition, the practice is now criticized by U.S. allies, human rights groups and some policymakers.

California Rep. Jane Harman, the House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, said the domestic terror threat has changed. She worries about the copycats with a "faint connection to al-Qaida" but potentially as dangerous as the organization itself.

House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said there have been hints that al-Qaida operatives continue to work toward attacking the United States, beyond the group's public pronouncements.

"I don't believe that ... we have gotten so good at this that we are perfectly safe. I still worry about attacks on the homeland and U.S. interests overseas and believe we have significantly more work to do," he said.

Hoekstra said the focal point has moved from the United States to Iraq because the various terrorist organizations want to beat the United States there, akin to how jihadists ran the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Brock said he doesn't believe the invasion and war in Iraq can be blamed for the threat reports that come into his center each day. "That would be too simplistic," he said. "There is too much of a diverse nature to these threats."

Had the U.S. not invaded Iraq, Brock said, terrorists would still carry out attacks. "But now they are mostly carried out in Iraq. That is where most of the people willing to commit suicide are going."

Officials have investigated whether the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has connections within United States. In communications intercepted by the U.S., Osama bin Laden has encouraged al-Zarqawi to look beyond Iraq.

Brock said distant links between al-Zarqawi and individuals in the U.S. do emerge and are investigated. For example, one extremist may phone another, whose number is found on a slip of paper in a third extremist's pocket.

"But there is nothing that has surfaced in the recent past that tells us that there is some imminent threat," Brock said.

He said the most worrisome attack would be one causing mass casualties - "God forbid," a weapon of mass destruction. "We have to look at this from a hierarchy of horror, and work downward," he said.

12-02-2005, 08:38 PM

9/11 Panel: U.S. Failing on Security Reform

Associated Press (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SEPT_11_COMMISSION?SITE=WIMIL&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is still failing to enact many swift and strong security changes to prevent terror attacks, the former Sept. 11 Commission has concluded.

More than four years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the government has not done enough to stop nuclear proliferation, give emergency first responders adequate communications systems and ensure that homeland security grants are going to the most high-risk communities, former commissioners said Friday.

"We're taking small steps when we need a giant leap," said former Democratic commissioner Timothy Roemer, who is now president of the Center for National Policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "We're watching al-Qaida change and spread out like mercury on a mirror while our bureaucracies are still sometimes stuck in Cold War mentality and cultures."

Congress established the 10-member, bipartisan commission in 2002 to investigate government missteps that led to the 9/11 attacks. It issued its findings - that the United States could not protect its citizens from the attacks because it underestimated al-Qaida - in a sweeping July 2004 report.

But since then, any sense of urgency by Congress and the Bush administration to safeguard key national vulnerabilities has dissolved or gotten tangled up in turf wars, the former commissioners said.

The group - now operating as the 9/11 Public Discourse Project - began a series of hearings in June to examine what it described as the government's unfinished agenda in the campaign to secure the country. It will issue a report Monday grading the government's overall response to its recommendations as well as assessing Washington's performance on each of a dozen potential problem areas.

"This is an end-of-the-game summary," said former Republican commissioner Slade Gorton.

Added former Democratic commissioner Jamie Gorelick: "No parent would be happy with this report card."

A spokesman at the Homeland Security Department declined comment until the report is issued. Spokespeople at the House and Senate homeland security committees had no immediate comment Friday.

12-02-2005, 08:41 PM