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tv   Book Discussion on Blinking Red  CSPAN  January 4, 2014 7:00pm-8:06pm EST

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attended to. c-span: our guest for the last hour has been robin wright. and she is currently with the los angeles times. this is what her book looks like, "in the name of god: the khomeini decade." thank you very much for joining us. >> guest: thank you. .. enjoy the authors ape their books. you're watching booktv on
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c-span2. here is our prime time lineup for tonight.
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up next on booktv michael allen, majority staff protecter of committee on intelligence provides an insider's account of restructuring of the u.s. intelligence system after 9/11. this program is just over an hour. >> good afternoon. welcome to the new america foundation. i'm peter bergen. i run the national security program here. it's with a lot of pleasure that we goat welcome mike allen to talk about his new book. >> thank you. >> and he's had a distinguished career, most recently in the government as chief staff on the house intelligence committee. he sent seven years in -- at the national security council
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and the george w. bush administration. he managed to writ book and have two young sons and set up a very successful new business. all in the space -- and continuing working on the hill at the same time. so very impressive. [inaudible] mike agreed to speak about the stories in his book for about a half an hour and i'll engage in him q & a and let him answer your questions. >> very good. >> mike? >> go ahead. >> i'll take the podium, if that's okay. i think you can do without that, yeah? [laughter] i want to thank the new america foundation for having me today. especially peter for the invitation. thank you for coming out in the rain to hear a little bit about my book "blinking red." i look forward to q & a about
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other pressing intelligence community topics. "blinking red" is an attempt to write the author at a timive objective history of the most substantial restructuring of the u.s. intelligence community since the foundations in 1947. the aim in 1947, of course, was to create a central intelligence agency that would, in the sense, sound familiar to any of you who studied 9/11 if you make sure that pockets of the u.s. government did not have information that if shared with other entities of the government might foretell of a particular attack or national security threat on the united states. the national security act, of course, also created the national security council, and the -- defense department. the creation of the central intelligence agency really laid the foundations for the modern american intelligence
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community. the fault of the national security act of 1947 was that it seemed to give the central intelligence agency many responsibilities for coordinating the variety of intelligence entities across the federal government, but not enough authority to do the job. so let me break it down for you just, if i could. the cia, of course, is famous for two missions you're all familiar with. covert action and the recruitment of spies around the world. the security act of '47 also sought to make the cia director give him another mission, which was to manage the community to be the dci and coordinate the growing infrastructure of intelligence agencies that had begun to group around world war ii. as you approached through the cold war years, a variety of task forces and commissions
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noticed that the underlying ability of the director of central intelligence to coordinate, for example, the signals intelligencenties in the department of the defense was very weak. literally dozens of commissions and foundations recommended augmenting the director of central intelligence's power so they would be able to keep up with the increasing complexity billions of dollars being spent in american intelligence none of these recommendations reform or centralize greater authority in went anywhere until 2004. there really several factors which i go through that contributed to this major jugger nut of activity which rewrote one of the most famous pieces of legislation in american history
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in four and a half months. there were a variety of things going on that summer. i want to take you back a little bit, i think you'll remember these very well. at the time the central agency agency had taken a beating. they had been through grueling hearings before congress about who should be blamed for 9/11 and whether the cia failed to watch list certain individuals and had otherwise failed to share information with the fbi that might have foretold of or allowed the fbi to investigate the plots on 9/11. the cia, i think it's fair to say, was buffetted by these particular hearings and the 9/11 commission came along and had another set of hearings which really were very, very tough. indeed the chairman of the 9/11 commission noted that the staff statement about what happened -- what the cia did on 9/11 was an
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indictment of the agency's performance. a second factor that contributed to the mom titus change of events in the fall of 2004 was the 9/11 commission itself. they were a group of -- they had a lot of cache and a lot of influence. indeed they constructed their own strategy to be able to build a legislative proposal that would have a chance of succeeding and could be acted on very swiftly. the third factor occurring at the time the failure or the misassessment iraq was coming in to stark relief in the summer of 2004. the senate intelligence committee report came out and faulted group think. again, the cia was at the very low level of prestige at the
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time. and finally, you have note, of course, the presence of the 9/11 commission families who i go through in the book became quiet a powerful special interest group advocating for reform of the intelligence comeenty joined forces with the 9/11 commission, and was able to have tremendous influence over the process. the last thing, and really the conventional wisdom, we created a director of national intelligence and a national counterterrorism center that the 9/11 commission recommended because of the presidential election of 2004. i think the conventional wisdom is a little bit wrong for the reasons i just stated. i think that the blooming presidential election in which the performance of george bush and whether he made the country safer or were undoubt belie incredibly powerful factors that influenced the likelihood of congress and the president to take on intelligence reform. but it's not the only factor.
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there was exhaustion with the cia and we had not one but two spectacular intelligence failuressing with really, in the same two to three year period. what did the 9/11 commission recommend? what they recommended was a director of national intelligence really a super empowered spy master who would have the ability to -- increasingly con flex world be able to in the 9/11 commission words have a we needed a quarterback. someoning a guile to be able to move dollars, people, and analysts to be able to meet new threats and organize quickly to meet what they determined was perhaps a more greater intelligence or national security challenge than the soviet union had been. in the 9/11 -- the soviet union while foreboding, of course, at least in an intelligence sense there
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were embassies from which to recruit spies. there were armaments to look at through satellite, and other particular government agencies to seek to intercept their communications. but this wasn't the case with terrorist cells. and so we need to able to organize differently. on the point about there being a particular electorial impact, john kerry, the democratic nominee for president endorsed the 9/11 commission recommendations 17 minutes after the commission rights were announced in july of 2004. george bush endorsed the dni in concept ten dais later. this speaks to the tremendous force and the incredible forces that were at play at this particular time. however, while a lot of members of the congress and the two leading individuals of each
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political party endorsed the 9/11 commission's recommendation near life immediately, it inspired tremendous bureaucratic opposition. this is really the heart of "blinking red." it is a tale of bureaucratic power over the enterprise who would be able to control the intelligence assets of the united. i'll go through them briefly and talk about what the entire act means for national security today. i think the three camps are very important because as people try to contemplate where -- a lot of people are asking how is the system working? and how can we improve it? why can we create it? what were we trying to do at time? >> one of the examples that
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broke out immediately in opposition to the 9/11 commission report were those in the military who argued that the primary mission of intelligence should be direct call support to the war fighter. and that now in this time period in 2004 was no time to centralize intelligence anywhere else be it to the current system with the director of central intelligence located in virginia at dci, in their estimation might retain the two other missions that the dci had. namely human intelligence and covert action. especially not to a new superempowered individual spy master. they viewed this as a zerosome game. any rebalancing of authority away from the department of defense would degrade the department of defense's intelligence capabilities. the two principle players in
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this camp were secretary rumsfeld and vice president cheney. secretary rumsfeld, of course, was very quotable. he, at the time, was vociferously against the 9/11 commission recommendations, and he wrote in a letter to george bush from the time period something i think is very notable. you can almost hear some of the intensity in his voice which was something basically that the united states congress, the media, and john kerry can afford to be wrong and pay no penalty. the president of the united states has to be right on a matter of such importance. he ended this memo to george bush at the time, which is detailed in the book with a single word: cautious. urging caution on the president before he adopted the particular recommendations. vice president cheney himself a former secretary of defense also 0 pods the dni recommendations.
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he focused on the fact we were at war at the time in iraq and afghanistan. and said no is no time to be rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic as we were trying to fight and wane war. the second view was those at cia. cia, i think took some offense they were being so heavily faulted for intelligence failures on 9/11, and began to argue that really what the essence of power in washington, d.c., is bureaucratic clout. and that at least the director of -- the head of the intelligence community, when he headed the cia at least had troops and analysts, he had collectors, he had someone he could ask and they would actually respond to what he wanted to do. so the point of robert gates,
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himself a former dci. he argued that summer that the 9/11 commission's dni would create essential lay -- someone who would be unto be affect wait his will. it was the view of almost all but one of the former districts of central intelligence who argued that the only way to increase centralized power in the intelligence community would be give him more authority and more bureaucracies to directly control and not to sub fact his authority by separating these community management functions. these coordinating functioning from the cia. from virginia. finally another camp. it's interesting because of the two people were and the positions they come to hold. a-- they argued without the knowledge of secretary rumsfeld
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that the national security agency and the national geo-spatial agency, at the very least, the two factories of intelligence. we know nsa well through the constant revolutions in the newspaper. they argued that the dni would be indeed feckless unless they had authority, direction, and control over the massive intelligence agencies that resided in the department of defense. the two individuals who argued for this bureaucratic position are the current director of national intelligence today, jim clapper. and the future cia director general michael hayden. at time they were -- it was quite an incredible position they would advocate of actual moving their bureaucracy out of the department of defense. the set up, of course, the infamous lunch in washington when secretary results field learned of the efforts to
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advocate around town on behalf of a more muscular dner. a dni that control the intelligence agencies and he invited them to lunch at the pentagon and to hear him retell the story. he staid look like peace talk between north and south korea as they sit on the opposite sides of the table. the only thing missing was respective flags. they sat there and argued whether the dni and the 9/11 commission rights would lead to a more successful intelligence community and according to the participates of the lunch, secretary rumsfeld slammed his fork to his plate and he said he couldn't believe what he was hearing from two people who had warned the uniform of their country. the dni should not i have any -- additional control. needless to say the lunch ended
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badly, and the rest is history. these bureaucratic division and the book goes through this. were reflected and argued aggressively throughout august 2004 in the national security council as george bush's adviser try to color in exactly what president bush's beliefs would be on a piece of legislation. i won't go in to this in great details. but the congress embraced the 9/11 commission recommendation. separate from the cia and really tried to -- in the united states senate enact the will exactly of the 9/11 commission's report. i was there at the time as a white house legislative affairs staffer, and people carried around the 9/11 commission book as if it were the bible. and tried to interpret as
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faithfully as possible when they thought the 9/11 commission meant. this is really the reason for my argument of why the 9/11 commission has been the most successful commission in american history. because they were able to dictate the policy agenda in the fall of 2004. cause the congress to immediately endorse and the respective presidential nominees to nearly immediately endorse their rights. the bill did hit some snags. the house of representatives -- the book goes through some of the arguments theyed advanced in the nieflt commission. and how after the presidential election of 2004. the bill was enacted in to law. i'll end with this. secretary gates was gracious enough to let me interview him
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for my book. i wanted to know his view and whether the rumor was true that president bush had offered him the job to be the first director of national intelligence. he confirmed that andy and steve, government president's top lieutenant had tried to recruit him to be the director of national intelligence. i think this is very sort of intlessing contemporaneous view of the statute after it passed. indeed looked down the road to some of the problems the dni would have in the first years he gave me his e-mails he sent to the white house in december and january of 2004 and 2005. critiquing the law and trying to lay out so. conditions he would ask president bush for him for him to consider it. secretary gate, i have this in the book, described the new law as, quote, strange. he said the president needs to
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make clear that the new director of national intelligence is the head of the intelligence community not some mere budget tier or coordinator. eventually turned downtown offer. he said funnily to me that hadly made a mistake. that a car salesmen would never make when i visited the white house. they let he off the lot without a sale. he went back to texas and thought whether to take the job and eventually turned it down. we had four dni in the first five years. it inspired bureaucratic opposition from the central intelligence agency, which i mentioned wasn't in a very good
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place to affect the outcome when the bill was under crshes but able to maneuver and jockey successfully so that the cia as we sit here in 2013, amist a variety of intelligence challenges from iran to syria and the crisis that edward snowden has caused for the national security agency. i think it's a good time to ask ourselves and reflect upon the situation the structure we set up post 9/11. this was the most tangible reform of the intelligence community. and what the american people thought they were doing when they asked for reform of intelligence after two intelligence failures in the
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president bush's first term. has the dni been successful in making the country safer or did we give the dni tremendously more of a to-do list as john likes to say. the former acting districter of cia. did we give the dni all the responsibility but not enough new authority to make a decisive difference in the overall cohesive management of the american intelligence enterprise all 17 intelligence agencies that reside around the u.s. government. peter, that i'll leave it that the and welcome your questions. >> okay. thank you very much, mike. that was great overview of the themes your book. so, you know, something --
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is the director of national intelligence a figure head with no authority because he or she didn't have the budget sort of in the coordinatings position has the job somewhat evolved so that whether it's general clapper or some future dni he or she actually move them in a way. >> i think it's an open question. i think that the cia very -- at the beginning of the obama administration when admiral blare became the d initiation. he lead the statute and said the
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cia director reports to the dni, he tried to make it very clear to the central intelligence agency as far as he's concerned he ought to be able to appoint certain cia individuals in positions around the world. and that the dni i ought to have a greater oversight role in covert actions. these two issues i think leon panetta appealed to the white house in the dni law. >> it was a very public and speck already. he wanted that. he did indeed. this is where the book tries to get in to some of the vagary of the statute in that we didn't really consider ore debate very much 2004 the relationship between the cia and the director
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of national intelligence. however, this came to be one of the people in washington notice. the new director of national intelligence had lost an important issue and something appealed to the white house on. ting hurt the authority. is it going to be going forward is it personality dependent depending who the dni is because he or she will have to, in a sense operate by consensus and depends who the cia director is? or basically is it bureaucratic battle won, which is cia been a pretty kind of generate much of the covert action. i think the most optimistic case whether the dni can ultimately
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succeed or not is by looking back at history in the -- in the department of army and navy. and over time agreeded more authority up until congress revisited the particular when you. defenders of the dni like to say give it time. we're only in the first few years. the dni will acrete more authority over time. i think what a lot of experts also believe in if the president makes very clear that the dni is the head of the intelligence community and all the things that people want the dni to do here are the top two or three things that will lead to more dni success because that is in the end the key ingredient.
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if people believe that he's acting at the behalf of the president of the united, then he will have more bureaucratic clout. i see it as a way forward. i think your point is right. we've had real operators. and the cia director job and have been able to help outmaneuver the dni on a number of cases. >> was the national cowrnlt terrorism sent part of this 2004, i mean, was it or sort of evolving separately? with information collected domestically. how do we make sure we briblg the foreign domestic divide in president bush created an entity in the 9/11 commission did him
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one better and suggested he rename it and expand the mission and call it a national counterterrorism center. it was created in statute by the very same law. >> this is an example of an institution which actually i think has agreed to use your power and influence over time. more than perhaps the dni. working in many cases the same room in access to all the commuter centers. all the computer terminal around government i think enabled a better exchange of information and better analytical --
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an national analog of the joint terrorism task force in every city; right? who is at the national counterterrorism center? who is part of that? >> well, the db's staff, they clearly report to the director of national intelligence. they also report to the white house for congress -- they report to the director of national intelligence. they are detailed from variety of it other intelligence agencies. idea if you're an fbi -- you don't ntc. they want you to be able to e soot perspective of the intelligence community not just the narrow view from the fbi office but across the country and government with your colleague in other and ities sowing provide warnings and have a better product for the policy maker can have some idea. >> you mentioned the iraqi
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weapons of mass destruction, you know, sort of intelligence. you ask -- and you were on the house intention committee in the run. up. it's matter of public record you were briefed about it. you're part of a small group who knew. to the extend you can, what did george -- what did the director panetta 0 say to you? >> it's a pretty good story. the night that chairman rogers had formally assumed the chairmanship of the house intelligence committee in january 2011. i had been selected as staff director. and leon panetta invited
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chairman rogers out to dinner in the private dining room on the seventh floor of the central intelligence agency. i got to go along as his staffer. i assumed it was a shrewd way of the cia director beginning to build relationship with someone who had oversight responsibility over the agency. and as we work to the dinner i expected to go back and have a nice dinner. we were immediately beckoned to leon's office. he us sit at the conference table, which was strewn with pictures that were all now familiar compound in pakistan. he had at the table also two of the top five analyst on the case and able to lay out for chairman rogers.
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a detailed update. i think we found blood. here are the reasons we think that. and some of the biggest intelligence questions facing the government. the case bin laden was a
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circumstance case. and the case that weapons of mass destruction essential. it wasn't -- and some was -- -- do you think that better way of interrogating essential cases was used in the bin laden case? what are the sort of -- how is that being internalized by the intelligence community? i think so. one of the argument for the dni and something my old boss advanced is one of the reasons he and condolezza rice supported the dni. they were scwhroored by the experience in iraq. they believed that the cia's
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information -- weighted too heavily against other dissending views across the intelligence community, of course, namely the department of energy's intelligence office. i think they saw that the dni and others had seen this as a benefit as well able to marshall all the intelligence. all the information from across the community and not just look at cia. i think cia still plays the most prominent role. they have among them the most brilliant analysts we have in the country and certainly in the government. i think it's one benefit of the dni is that the dni is able to bring together all the points of view so we might have a completely balanced assessment on important questions like wmd. >> right. when a national intelligence estimate is written, the dni is
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coordinating that? >> yes. previously it reported to cia director. now it reports to the dni. but really people with point to me and say, well, you know, the national intelligence process always considered views across the government. it can d. it meant a way of forcing it. it gave more rig gort process especially as we were sorting through the recommendation of other commissions that looked at the wmd intelligence failure. >> let's go back before we throw it over. you mentioned obviously it was a view that the cia had sort of failed on 9/11. the very specific issue which is they knew of two people
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associated with al qaeda who had visas who are here in the united states the month before 9/11. they didn't flag it to the fbi until august of 2001. there was a very specific intelligence failure. i think if you look at the 9/11 commission, the cia did a pretty good job of strategic warning than al qaeda was planning a big attack in the summer of 2001. the system was brinking red. was the cia kind of aware of people who crewed up about the piece of information? they did a pretty good job of -- it seems to me if you look at the pre-9/11 the cia and the phi office and your, you know, the
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two institutions that did the most and were concerned about the issue. super official explanation of what happened. after all the bin laden unit that cia from early '96. that sort of speaks for itself. there was no other place in the u.s. government to have that kind of attention to.
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blank to fight the new terrorist threat but i think it's fair to say that the cia felt a little bit like a political football. >> yeah. do you think the cia's mission. is providing strategic warning for the president -- right? that's the bottom line. do you think it may have distorted the mission to some degree? i'll give you a for instance. particularly when the arab spring is going to happen. we could all make the prediction the regime would face opposition. the question is when it would happen? i don't think you fault the cia for not knowing which day or month.
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fighting the last war. i think there's something to it. i'm more of the defender of what the cia has done post 9/11. >> yeah. >> 9/11 was such a shocking credibly terrifying event for many americans and they double, tripled down on their counterterrorism mission and did something they needed to for the country. it was a threat. the most threat. i think now as we begin to get a better handle on the ability to pull off the spectacular style attack like they did on 9/11. it's fair question to ask of rewe devoting enough resources
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to all the different problem in the world, egypt, libya, with a is going on in syria. i think something the oversight committee, the dni and the president need to be able do. are we posturedble to able to face coming e americaning threat -- >> 2002 george tapped to be the iraq mission manager. he does. is that somebody within dni or somewhere else in the intelligence community? they often are from another
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intelligence agency. when they're serving in a capacity across community capacity to try to bring together, for example all the china experts from every different department house director of national intelligence office so they can try and some sense of everyone is doing and make sure it's coordinated. >> can you tell us your understanding -- we hear about it. what is that mean. to say we would like for do you give to us what we call meta
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data. had is a fancy word, if you remember looking at your phone bill and said this number called this particular number. was in born out of 9/11 because the two individual hijackers in san diego. we didn't know it at the time. we later found out they were at san diego. we were monitoring a safe house in yemen, and we been able to figure out that the particular safe house was calling a resident in san diego if we had access to the data base we might have -- this is not ironclad. an example how it could have helped and how 9/11 influenced nsa's collection efforts later. it could have helped they
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answered themselves in the phone book. it would have been a readily easily thing to find. any intelligence or law enforcement tool you want to be able many tools to bear as possible. it's possible if these individuals names had got ton the right people they would have launched a full investigation and maybe they would have been different. the point is why people thought we needed something like 215 and the answer was that we want to be able to build an analytical case for if there are additional people who do us harm inside the united states.
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the measure basically and was very, very close. >> it was. and -- implying, you know, a usual amount of republican and democratic kind of agreement from the house as it economists today. >> i think you're right. i think the votes were on view on national security issues changed since president bush was in office. and since tea party members of congress had joined the house of representatives. >> because? >> because it's not just -- 9/11 is not as recent as it once was. people have forgotten some of the lessons and people have a heightened degree of skepticism about the role of the government. or increased disappear see privacy and civil liberties protection in place.
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who almost were able to score a real victory against the patriot act 215 provision in july. >> and your loss -- [inaudible] >> that's right. he and senator feinstein have i think it's fair to assay aggressively offending oversight of the program and aggressively defended whats in ark's role is in the particular matter. it says this in the statute that refers to the fisa amendment act we debate and passed through
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congress in 2007 and 2008. the shorthand for our ability to intercept foreigners, phone calls if they transit for the united. >> yes. >> phone calls and e-mails. it's a big issue overseas. i know, -- i read the paper of europe and the germans err os are upset. it's less of an issue in the united states because it's about foreign intelligence collection. -- i think so. i think you're right. congress is split on the issue. the intelligence committee i think it's fair to say are generally comfortable. say that pass laws to make, you know, codify and strengthen civil liberty protection and
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increase the transparency. not change it in the house and senate. republican and democrats in the judiciary committee are in a different place. the congress is split i think on these two. president obama said he was flying to make change. he didn't specify what they were. the group in the white house is work on what the changes might be. >> do you have any sense -- i think it's an open question as to what the review group recommend and whether president obama will -- >> do you agree with them? >> it's made up a variety individuals. i think the two most recognizable figures was michael deputy cia director. >> who now works for you. >> for my -- and richard the counterterrorism
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adviser for bush. they along with others are charged reviewing the question how do we reck size the tension between security and privacy and civil liberty. i expect it will be aggress pitch i suspect president obama will speak to it in a matter ever weeks. it will drive the legislative agenda at least on intelligence. >> if you have a question go to the microphone and identify yourself. [inaudible question]
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the cia had the functions and in addition to the functions -- [inaudible] it times that the coordination function. who wants that? do the intelligence agencies want a coordinator? or prefer to be left alone? i get to the question because you outlined we stuck with the situation where there is coordinator but not really resolved. and have the authority to perform that function in an unambiguous way. >> can you point sort of evolution of the director of national intelligence [inaudible]
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they have the role but -- [inaudible] >> right. >> i think he was on to something. one of the point of the book is that the -- i think on the one hand they didn't want to be blamed for 9/11 and county like the idea they would perhaps have a new boss. on the other hand i don't think that they -- he's not sure how the predecessor is able to do all the work that was required. i don't think cia wants to have the dni trying to get between the cia and national security council. as you know they have an intimate role in every --
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[inaudible] about what the cia is doing for the presidents and that -- [inaudible] sort of the relationship with the cia is called the.-- [inaudible] over time wanted to affect national security policy and release they didn't have enough tools to do it at least didn't have what they wanted to be able to do and sort a medium course of action between diplomacy and between military action. i don't want them trying to play an oversight role what the activities are. >> you know, a custom -- speaking of oversight. discussions about how we can make the drone program more accountable. some i think are remarkable, for
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instance. prereview board. things move quickly. >> right. but what about an action. somebody grading your home work you spend more effort to make sure it's accurate. and have the advantage that the military routinely compensates any casualty and drone strikes and other military activity. is in anything we can do that speaks to -- [inaudible] chief of staff had that is realistic to make the program -- prabble gave a big speech on may 23rd talking about some changes.
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nothing really sub standard seems to happen. the proposal out there is there anything that makes sense? >> ting gets to the issue of congressional oversight. having worked in the congress for so many years, the reason these committees were set up is precisely so there is a check on in an oversight of community actions. a lot of people are not doing aggressive enough oversight. i think the congress can do a better job of explaining what they do. i think there is definitely room out there for more citizenship scholarship on what the appropriate role of oversight is. i think most members of congress, at least the chairman of the two committees would say that is our job. it's our job to check the home work of the intelligence agency. we think we're doing a pretty good job of it.
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so they also will have a check on with what the agency is up to? >> yeah. >> i guess the argument independent body outside -- are close to the people -- >> yeah. a small group of people. a counter argument might be. do you think there will be any -- one of the ideas of course was the -- [inaudible] >> judging from the paper. i'm not sure it actually happened. i don't know i guess if you subscribe to the view that cia ought to be sticking to collection of intelligence and
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analysis then you feel better with the migration authority that the department of defense. but i don't know how it that necessarily leads to increased oversight. i guess the theory is dod able to talk about it more and others be able to check the work more. >> i think that's part of it. and obviously a, you know, sending an armed bomb in to somebody's house is a mill torr function. and, you know, the whole apparatus who sort of -- [inaudible] decisions all the time. the argument increased oversight. i think the dni does play some role are awareness about the particular program. so the department has to apply the legality.
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in the white house i think does do a lot of work i know the bush white house on trying to oversee the issues. there a lot of layers. i don't think i know this is a big issue. i don't know that congress is going to particularly get involved in that. i know, there are -- national security agency issues. we'll see how it develops. if do you the experiment where there is a -- leaks hasn't happened. >> right. the growing movement in public hearings. there was more public discussion. this is a worst kept secret in the world. it's been a lot of -- but we seem to be more movement around discussing than the president talked about it. but -- [inaudible] edward snowden. has he performed a public service for having a discussion in a more involved away about what the nsa does?
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do you agree or disagree with what they're doing? >> i'm -- >> he broke the law. he was -- he broke the law. but that's a different question than did he perform a public service. >> well, i'm more of the view of the, you know, having written the book and study the failure. it's worth noting that just as long as -- as short as ten years ago commission reports were beating up the national security agency for not keeping up with technological change. ..
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so that they might be able to avert a disaster like 9/11. so i want to be careful that we don't just -- the intelligence community one year -- one, five-year period and you better get better hole quickly and if you do we will get mad at you because you are too good at some the things you are doing. >> is group that was advising president obama. >> there is peter swire who i believe was a lawyer out there
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in chicago and the commission on american progress, the committee on american progress here and the other two are escaping me. >> that sort of sounds like an ex-pat group. garrell was a nonpartisan guy. >> i think that people have seen it in different ways. i have seen criticism that they are all insiders, cronies of the president than i've seen some people say you shouldn't have to people on there that have intelligence backgrounds and i've heard some people say well there isn't a real strong defender except for michael morel on the intelligence committee. i think it depends on where you sit for the commission will report and i think you will need to read it. >> you think it will be public? >> yes. >> great, when the baby comes out? >> i think it will come out in
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december but i'm not down there and i don't know for sure. a couple of shutdowns have complicated their work but i hear it's coming out soon. >> thank you wait for the microphone for one second that way c-span viewers will be able to hear. >> is our intelligence and good enough now and the core mission of it to prevent another 9/11? >> well i think you have to look at the record. we have a think prevented another major 9/11-style attack so i think if the intelligence community has undoubtedly -- max. >> which one are you referring to? >> am referring to generally the fact that nothing on that scale is happen. i'm talking about other plots that have been foiled that you speak and write about a no very well. some have slipped past like abdulmutallab and we got lucky and we were able to prevent that. >> abdulmutallab was -- the
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underwear bomber of 2009. that actually goes to some of the big themes of your book which is national counterintelligence center, there were shards of information system obviously easy to see postevent that didn't surface. the dad talking about his son and he was on the second-degree list for people that are secondary. if you got to detroit he would have been secondary for additional screening. so that was kind of an example where the apparatus didn't quite work or maybe that's an unfair critique of the apparatus. >> so it gets down to what you think you know the intelligences. are you going to be a live prevent every little event and i think the answer is no. you're not going to be a let to always operate perfectly. the larger thrust of your
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question i think the intelligence community is doing a much better job on counterterrorism and as a result i think we are safer at least from a large-scale attack. the question peter raises is whether that is because of the institutional reforms that i have in my book or just because we were spending up to $80 billion on the mission doubling what we spent before 9/11 so it's debatable because of the increased money, focus and lessons learned from 9/11 or whether over time the institutional improvements of the commission and some would argue that we have made and whether that will lead to increased national security down the road. i think the institutional reforms are an open question that are still being debated but the intelligence community certainly has improved its performance. >> thank you, a great look. you will be prepared to sign do
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my thing. it's the absolutely. thank you very much for having me. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] next on booktv joshua dubois former executive director of the white house office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships. he talks about the devotional e-mails he has been sending president obama. this is a half-hour. [applause] >> hello everyone. it's great to be with you this evening. there has been a little bit of a change in s.


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