tv Walter Mondale and Gary Hart on Strengthening Intelligence Oversight CSPAN May 31, 2015 1:18pm-2:39pm EDT
uality, your spirit. be a servant leader. as you transition into independent adulthood, finally moving out of the basement, but striving to put the needs of others ahead of yours and strive to be a leader, putting others first, and you will find a life's journey will be more fulfilling and enriching. look for the causes bigger than yourself, causes that provide and convey higher purpose, and dedicate yourselves wholly to those causes. be an exemplar of humanity and fellowship in action. in my long years of service i have no time for the complacency and arrogance of a professional. arrogance is a hare's breadth from ignorance. the two together are dangerous
to the effectiveness of an organization. humble servant leaders often discover that many of life's challenges large and small find their rightful place in the larger context of selfless service. it is hard to sweat the small stuff when you are focused on a greater cause and a greater journey. being a servant leader does not mean abandoning material comfort , or the pursuit of a comfortable life for your family. servant leadership does require understanding these objectives and putting them in their proper context. servant leaders understand that an endless pursuit of greater material gain or higher social status rarely leads in the end to personal satisfaction or fulfillment. there is a similar understanding that has long been part of monmouth's mission. quote, individual integrity, not appearance or social privilege marks the extraordinary person
from the ordinary. the charge for the servant leader is to help, help others to see their own extraordinary potential and lead them in such a way that they are empowered t de its. servant leaders understand what i call the human element. while for you all technology will grow in all processes will advance, there is still a substitute for the human element . servant leaders understand implicitly and understand that only success can be achieved by taking advantage of the individual backgrounds of the many that you lead, and leading them in a common effort. servant leaders pride selflessness and personal integrity and respect for inherent dignity, above all other things, and they find meaning and higher purpose in
using their individual talents and their gifts to contribute to our common humanity. there is a wonderful afghan saying that goes, if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. if you want to go far, go together. humbly leading and selflessly sacrificing for those you carry with you towards a greater goal. sadly, in too much of the world today there are places where there is very little respect for humanity. as a marine of 38 years, i have seen evil up close. al qaeda in iraq, the taliban in afghanistan, and the worst of them isil, now in the middle east. the extent of isil's depravity is in stark contrast to the ideals i call on you to embrace.
they are unspeakable acts, and what they espouse are a reminder that our own actions as individuals and as a society our humanity must be rooted in a set of unassailable values. in a world that is changing faster than ever before, you must decide what you stand for and anchor and discipline yourselves in a strong set of values. some of you might be thinking if you have not adopted a value system by now, it's too late but don't believe that for a second. one month college has given you a basis in values you may not know appreciate, but i'm telling you you will cherish it in the years to come. as of tomorrow, this discipline will take on greater importance.
he will enter a world that often seems unpredictable and at times unstable. you will find yourself buffeted and bruised by these realities. but by maintaining your personal balance, by remaining rooted in your values, by attending to your physical, intellectual, and spiritual selves, you will develop the ability to thrive and lead others. when i asked dr. wyatt what he wanted me to talk about today he said, i will you to talk about five minutes. -- i want you to talk about five minutes. i was so inspired by the president, so inspired by the institution and you that i wanted to give you more. after today and as the years passed, i don't expect you will remember much of me are what i have said. some of your cars are no doubt idling in the parking lot. even as your memories of monmouth begin to fade, i
challenge you to remember the three points i try to convey today. be aware of your physicality and maintain your physical condition . be masters of your profession. be a servant leader, rooted and strong values. as you go about responding to these challenges, you will find no further than you have to look inside your own monmouth community for examples of how you should live and how you should act, and how you should think and act anew. thank you for allowing me to be with you on this special occasion, on a day when your opportunities as students will sin become your obligations as graduates. on this day, when your journey as adults and citizens truly began, i congratulate you. for the graduates, i wish you
the best in all your endeavors. for the college i wish for the wisdom for the leadership, faculty and staff, for the many assembled here i wish god's rich blessings for you on this wonderful day, now and always, and may god bless america. thank you very much. [applause] >> certain provisions of the patriot act are set to expire tonight at midnight, including authorization for the nsa's data collection program. the senate meets this afternoon at 4:00 eastern to resume debate on the house passed usa freedom act, which extends surveillance provisions all making changes to the nsa's access to phone data. the bill was voted on in the senate last friday but fell three votes short of advancing. a bill that offered a two-month extension of the nsa's program also failed to receive the necessary 60 votes. here is what the senate majority
leader mitch mcconnell had to say last friday before the senate adjourned for its weeklong recess. mitch mcconnell: we are unable to clear any short-term extensions. the current law expires at midnight on sunday. the senate will be back in session sunday afternoon, a week from sunday. thank you, senator schumer. [laughter] we will be back in sunday, may the 31st, one more opportunity to act responsibly and not allow in this program to expire. this is a high threat period, and we know what is going on overseas, we know what has been tried here at home.
my colleagues who would really want this lot to expire, we have got a week to discuss it. we will have one way to do it. we had better be ready next sunday afternoon to prevent the country from being in danger by the total expiration of the program we are all familiar with. unless there is objection, i understand there is not an objection, we will pass the highway extension on a voice vote tonight and we will be back in session sunday. >> would my friend yield for a question? mitch mcconnell: i yield. >> we would be happy to cooperate in passing that. i do say this. for those of us living in the
west, we cannot get back here sunday afternoon. it's a difficult for us to get back here on a weekday before 5:00. i hope on a sunday we would not be expected the senate to come in for session. i am protecting the western part of my caucus, which is pretty big. michmitch mcconnell: i just tried to get a short-term extension in order not to put us in this position, but we are left with this option only, and we will work with the democratic leader about the actual time but the law expires at midnight. i doubt there are many of us who are comfortable with that, maybe a handful. we need to act responsibly here
on behalf of the american people. >> as always, watch the senate live today when it gavels in at 4:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. the brennan center for justice recently held a symposium on intelligence oversight of that included former senator gary hart and former vice president walter mondale. they talked about their prior work on the church committee which was established in 1975 to oversee intelligence operations. they also offered their views on how some of the changes they championed have played out in subsequent decades. this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning, everyone. my name is mike german. i'm a fellow with the brennan center for justice and new york university law school. i welcome you to today's symposium on strengthening
intelligence oversight. this year marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the senate select committee to study governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities, more simply known as the church committee after senator french -- senator church. this is one of a series of activities the brennan center has undertaken to recognize this anniversary. we published a report called "what is wrong with the pfizer court. they will be leading two panels this afternoon on judicial and executive branch oversight intelligence activities. we also published a report on strengthening congressional oversight, signed by 18 search committee staffers. they have nametags on, so feel free to talk to them throughout
the day. it also contains a forward written by two church committee members. the senator from minnesota and then-vice president walter mondale, and senator gary hart of colorado. finally, the brennan center chief counsel, rich schwartz -- who was chief counsel of the church committee -- has written a new book called "democracy in the dark: the seduction of government secrecy." the purpose of today's symposium is to examine how the intelligence reforms studented as a result of the church committee investigation 40 years ago have fared and how they might be improved. when the church committee issued its report, it warned that its recommendations for reform would be tested over time and that new national security threats would arise that could be used to justify new departures from american values in the rule of law. and so we have it that chaos and co-intel pro and shamrock and minaret were replaced by stellar wind and x key score, by talon and the fusion centers, by black
sites and enhanced interrogation techniques. we're hoping that a new generation of intelligence overseers can benefit from the wisdom generated from the church committee investigation and be inspired by the decades of public service our guests have dedicated to strengthening our democracy. it's my honor and privilege to welcome vice president walter mondale, senator gary hart and brennan center counsel rich schwartz. [applause] >> thank you. thanks, everyone, for being here. i thought that i'd like to start by kind of knocking down some of the myths, and one of them that i think was persistent during my time in the government as an fbi agent was that the church
committee investigation took place during a period of tranquility and that in our current situation the threat is so high that we should put off any kind of comprehensive investigation so as not to distract those who are working to protect us from their important mission. but here are just a few of the things that were going on. the united states army had withdrawn from vietnam and the north vietnamese army started its final assault on saigon. the ca myrrh rouge took over in cambodia. the king of saudi arabia was assassinated. the red brigade's red army faction and japanese red army engaged in bombings throughout europe, the middle east, ira and the volunteer force were killing dozens in northern ireland and britain. a twa flight was bombed from tel aviv to jfk killing 88 people. cia station chief richard welch was assassinated, two fbi agents were killed at pine ridge indian reservation, a bombing of
croatian nationalists at laguardia airport killed 11 people, and a bombing in downtown -- [inaudible] and so with this dynamic threat environment going on, how is it possible that the investigation began, vice president mondale, and whiestles it necessary -- why was it necessary, and why did you want to be a part of it? >> i think you begin by looking at seymour hirsh's story, got an explosive headline in "the new york times" that contained the list of abuses and dysfunction in the intelligence agencies, a list made up by the agency itself that had leaked and told the nation that we were really in trouble.
and if you look at these problems that you've cited, one of the reasons why we had to reform and make the agencies more responsive was in order to deal with the threats that were apparent to the security of our nation. and i would say that there was a general agreement to to that. i remember i was on the floor when john pastorly stood up and moved the creation of what is now known as the church committee on the grounds that this couldn't continue. i'm convinced that mike mansfield saw right away that this had to be dealt with. so i think what we did could be explained because it helped prevent symptom of the abuse -- some of the abuses in the past some of the mistakes of the past that cost us dearly but also because we had to straighten this out. and only an outside committee within the control of the senate could do it. >> and why did you want to be on it? >> wow. [laughter] well, you know, i had followed
this stuff as a senator. i had been attorney general in my state. i'd dealt with some of these issues. i sensed that something was really wrong without being in on the inside, and when i heard john give that speech, i went to mansfield, and i said when you're setting this committee up, would you look at me? and he said, yeah, i will, senator. >> great. and, senator hart, you were a freshman senator, only three weeks on the job at that point. how did you handle this kind of -- and given a prominent role as well as a drafter, primary drafter of the report. how did you handle that kind of responsibility so quickly? >> well, i was not only a freshman senator, it was my first month in the senate, and i had barely met the other senators by this time. the answer to your first question is, why do it now, is why hadn't we done it before? first article of the
constitution requires the congress of the united states to oversee the operations of executive branch. all of them. it does not exempt national security. and from 1947 and the passage of the national security act, beginning of the creation of what's been called the national security state which then incorporated this -- began to incorporate cia and expand very, very rapidly, there had been not only virtually, but had been no congressional oversight. so historically the question is between 1947 and 1975 why hadn't congress done its work? and we could spend a profitable hour discussing how most members of congress didn't want to know in fact, said -- senior members of the senate had sate i don't want to know.
well, that's not what the constitution says. you have to, you have to know whether you want to or not. so this was all overdue. >> and what did that experience teach you as a young senator about how the government works? [laughter] >> well, i still tell student audiences that i'm the last islist. so when -- idealist, so when i'm gone, there are no more. [laughter] and it was a hugely disillusioning experience, i would say particularly not just the surveillance that went on under particularly the previous administration, but what came to be or what we discovered as the assassination plots. and then even worse, the use by the cia of the mafia to carry out or try to carry out those plots against fidel castro.
well, this opened up so many dark currents under our government. i characterize it as a sewer under the city on a hill. and for a 37-year-old first-term, first-year senator this was a great disillusionment. but i think what -- in a way the work of the committee and a willingness on a bipartisan basis to make fundamental changes in the broadly-defined intelligence sector was a triumph of democracy. and a tribute to the 11 members of that committee and probably one of the best congressional staffs that's ever been put together in the history of the republic. >> and, fritz, you were the chief counsel of that staff. but you didn't have any intelligence background when you were asked to do that job. how did you gain the trust of the intelligence agencies? >> well, how did we, and i don't think i'm very important in that. but we got it by, first, being
determined. that was absolutely necessary, and senator mondale had a great remark in which he said, you know, we'll just get extensions so they can't outlast us, and then showing the bipartisan nature of the committee, john tower said something like hallelujah, god bless you or something like that. and then also, so in addition to being determined, show that you can reliably handle secrets, because there are legitimate secrets. and i think our committee did that extraordinarily well. we had, essentially, no leaks. and we made reasonable agreements with the executive branch about keeping certain things, keeping secrets. and in contrast, the house committee foundered and faltered and failed because they never were able to reach those -- refused to reach those accommodations with the government.
>> and, vice president mondale it's always hard to keep politics out of politics, and this was an investigation by politicians. what did you do to relieve any concerns that there was going to be politicization or partisanship in the investigation? >> you know, i think there ought to be a separate study of how this committee worked and how it was established and how it approached its activities because we did achieve, i think, a general acceptance as a committee that was truly bipartisan and was working with everybody to bring these results about. and i would start in that study by realizing the following names -- reading the following names: frank church, chairman, john g.
tower, vice chairman. phillip hart, walter hugging son, bob morgan, gary hart howard baker, barry goldwater, mac mathias and richard. >> liker. and as staff, bill miller, fritz schwartz, kurt smothers -- who i don't think is here. how did you get a committee like that? and my answer is, mike mansfield. he wanted this to succeed. and he wanted to set up a committee that he thought could go through this huge, explosive hearing, this process, and do what he knew would have to be done to work together and sustain bipartisanship. and that worked. this committee was working together. there was a single staff. we didn't have a republican staff and a democratic staff. bill miller came off the staff
of -- >> senator cooper. >> john sherman cooper, one of the saints of the senate and also a republican. and he had enormous prestige in that senate as a gifted staff member. and he was able, he knew exactly what had to be done. he was an old hand. and then i think you'd have to say that the executive branch -- maybe with a little time -- but they ended up, in effect supporting what we were all doing. you have to give some credit to president ford who was not an idealogue, probably a little afraid of the process but wanted, i think, to succeed. he had attorney general levy -- levi -- levy from the university of chicago who became a tremendous supporter as head of
the justice department in shaping regulations and rules and became a believer before it was over. and so the contrast of this committee that worked together excellent staff that provided that same background and then cooperating not perfectly -- the executive branch cooperating not perfectly, but when you think of what we asked of them and what they delivered, one of the jobs i had as chairman of this committee domestic task force, we called it, was to look into the fbi records. some of them were -- [inaudible] on the process. well, we were seeing stuff that had never been seen before. we were seeing a pattern of abuse. we uncovered, for example, the
fbi -- it was really hoover's -- antagonism toward martin luther king. he was convinced that martin luther king headed a black hate group, as they put it. he had agents all over the place trying to find something on king to knock him off his pedestal, as they put it. they tried to break up the marriage. when king was picked to get the -- go to see pope to get high international awards, bureau tried to block that. they tried to, in effect
corrupt the public process and undermine and destroy one of the great leaders america's had. and i think when this came out and we realized that this was not a process that let the public democracy work but, in fact, was a process that was corrupting one of the most essential elements, we knew we had something. and i think that carried the day. >> let me -- in the panoply of my heroes, certainly important figures, i would add what fritz has said, vice president mondale said, director colby, a very controversial situation toward him. he was under enormous pressure from the cia not to reveal some of the worst excesses or just say excesses. but he made a decision to disclose to us in a highly intense session, long session what came to be called shorthand the family jewels.
and it was an inspector general's report that pretty much covered the water front of things that might be controversial or illegal unconstitutional. and he made a decision to reveal those to us. and it was a monumental decision, and it made an incredible difference in our ability to address the reforms and propose the reforms that we did. and he had -- he left the agency eventually under great criticism from people who thought he should have stonewalled and chose not to. so i've always felt that he was a very, very important figure. >> and another factor that was really important was the structure of the committee because, as mansfield set it up, it was six democrats to five republicans instead of what would have been normal, 7-4. and john tower was a vice chairman and not a ranking member.
and then the committee in its reaching bipartisan conclusions in a way our most important finding was that every president from franklin roosevelt through richard nixon, six presidents -- four of whom happened to be democrats and two republicans -- had abused their secret powers. and i think it helped us enormously internally and externally to show that we were not being partisan in our major findings. >> and, senator hart, you worked more on the foreign intelligence matters, and in a recent remembrance you wrote that the church committee experienced -- of your church committee experience, it's important that we recognize the extraordinary power the united states has in the international respect for our constitutional principles. but it often seems in times of crisis we forget that power. why is that? >> i think the phrase "in times of crisis." we cede -- "we"
being the other branches of government, particularly the congress -- cede to the executive branch great powers if we are under assault or perceive ourselves to be under assault. the problem is that then encourages administrations to i wouldn't say generate crises, but to elevate a crisis to acquire power. and this is where congress is most under pressure to do its job and to ask questions. not to undermine executive authority, but to defend the constitution and protect the american people. and, again, as i said there and i've said many times in other places, the -- those of us who have had a chance to travel the world know we are being watched
by not only leaders in foreign governments, but people on the street. and they watch us not only for the kind of comical excesses that we exhibit -- [laughter] but degree to which we live up to who we claim to be. the american people and their presidents and others claim high standards for this country. and then when we don't live up to those, this isn't missed by people around world. they see that. and it's not only a kind of hypocrisy, it's used by our opponents to say, see, they claim one thing and do another. >> and, fritz, you've now written a book on secrecy. how does government secrecy undermine the power of our constitutional structure and our democratic process? >> i can pick up on exactly what gary said. the heart of american democracy is that the people should be
involved. that's what we're about. james madison said in a democracy public opinion is the true sovereign. and the problem is that we have over last 60 years, 60-plus years, we've gone into a secrecy society, a secrecy culture where the norm is to keep it away from the people instead of striving to get it to the people. and that is totally inconsistent with the values upon which this country was built. >> another one of the myths that i think has developed is the idea that the church committee investigation or another type of comprehensive investigation is about playing gotcha. it's only about trying to find the abuses and wag a finger rather than about trying to improve the functioning of intelligence. and vice president mondale -- >> i think one of the greatest strengths exhibited by the
church committee is how that report has endured. no one has challenged the accuracy of our findings. i haven't heard one serious scholar say this is not right. so we got our facts right. and it wasn't just a gotcha disclosure, it was, it contained a range of remedies that were designed to prevent recurrence of these abuses. the two intelligence committees which hadn't been there before, the foreign intelligence surveillance act, the fisa court, the new regulations and rules issued out of the white house. this was -- this was not a passing effort to move on, it was an attempt to bring about a fundamental change in how we dealt with intelligence so it'd
be more efficient, it'd be more responsive and also adhere to the laws and the constitution of the united states. >> and did the heads of the intelligence agencies at the time recognize that as a -- its purpose at making the intelligence agencies better at what they did? >> some of them did. you know, one of the underlying themes that i picked up and i think several others did is when you talk to people like colby, talk to some of the people in the bureau, talk to some of the people elsewhere in the agencies, they were complaining about how screwed up their agencies were. and many to his own office several file cabinets with every salacious rumor that he heard. what he would often do is go to the principal involvement say there's a story out. don't worry about it.
we'll keep it. this sensible reasons. agents. and so there was a great i think desire within these agencies to get reform. and they wanted us to succeed. >> he had a file he kept in his office with every rumor he heard. he would go to the principle involved and say, there's a story, but don't worry about it.
so you have another kept officer. it bothered a lot of the sensitive bureau agents. there is a desire within these agencies to get reform. and they wanted us to succeed. >> a story i told over down last night. occurs in one of our early organizational meetings as to how we should proceed. no one knew was step one was that took my turn to make a suggestion nests are starting a by each of us. i got very quiet. the silence was broken by barry goldwater who set said i don't want to know what they got on me.
senior members of the senate intimidated by the very agencies we were setting up to investigate. >> if we were not everywhere have a hard time to going. on your 1st. we did believe that to get reform it was important not just at the rise but to get hard evidence. that really helped. we should not only doctor king but many, many 's's less well-known people were abused and injured and committed suicide and so forth.
it is not got yet, but to make credible the need for fundamental reform. >> well, and most controversial area that we investigated, the assassination attempt, to a person members and staff, the effort was not to pin blame. the effort was to find out systematically how that decision was made. and we spent hours asking questions to my hearings, secret hearings where the people involved in the eisenhower and kennedy administration's who made the decision, who decides in our government to kill another foreign leader. and it wasn't pin the tail on the donkey. it was an inquiry that was systemic. how does the government of the united states make a decision to kill a foreign leader? >> the idea being that my knowing how those decisions are made's you can made's you can put in guidelines and procedures
and oversight mechanisms and make sure that we have systems that will prevent those improper activities'. >> discovering a system that was designed to make it extremely difficult to decide who made the decision was itself a terrible mistake. >> and that led to one of the reforms, a so-called presidential finding they came out. if you're going to conduct a significant covert operation the president of the united states has to authorize it. it is not supplant blame but to identify accountability. that's were trying to establish. >> one thing i appreciate i appreciate is how you have stuck to these issues and worked on them and worked on them the
the decades since. you cochair the 1998 commission on national security for the 21st century. increasing terrorism. what were you able to see in an investigation that the intelligence agencies warrant or that the administration was? -- wasn't? >> part of what we -- i think the intelligence agencies were beginning to see the terrorist threat. we had naval ships bombed. attacked. embassies have been attacked. it wasn't like a secret, but what we were led to conclude in that commission, two and a half years of study was that sooner or later this kind of conflict was kind our shores. -- coming to our shores. our statement in our final report was that america will be
attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction. we did not say commercial airliners, and that americans will die on american soil possibly large numbers. that was nine months before 911. what failed there was not the intelligence committee. it was the failure of authorities executive authorities to listen and pay attention, and attention, and they had the same intelligence we did. they just didn't pay attention to it. >> in your book you quote former white house chief of staff james baker who said at the church committee had unilaterally disarmed our intelligence agency. >> well, it was on the afternoon. i forgive them because i think he was emotional. at that moment it was the afternoon of september 11 and he
said we had cause 911 he did not pay attention to the record number one. for example, the church committee said the fbi should get out of the business of investigating's, you know, dissent and should concentrate on terrorism. we said the cia should spend more effort with human intelligence and was simply relying on machines. and also howard baker, his fellow republican with the same last name's who is a great member of the church committee had said in the long run this investigation will be very helpful to the intelligence community. and then the idea that for 25 years for which it was then the people and government have been helpless to collect this terrible wrong that we had done is itself absurd. and then finally picking up on the warnings that gary talked
about that were going on in the summer of 2,001 after's your report, the white house got many warnings that there was going to be a devastating terrorist attack. and i try to develop in my book the argument that had they release that information to the public and particularly importantly to all the people in the government who were responsible for looking at things like strange people getting pilots licenses, it is very, very likely that september 11 would have been prevented. they simply did not do it now out of malice but because the secrecy culture is one that once something is secret people stop thinking about it. i never thought about would wouldn't it be smart to the public in the people in the government no it's that there are these powerful threats.
>> secrecy culture operated even inside the intelligence community. our commission our commission represented the creation that the department of homeland security because we found out coast guard customs and border patrol were all operating, we knew, under different federal departments. they did not have a common database, a, communication system, no way of talking to each other, and they all reported the separate cabinet officers. that is why the recommended the creation of the department of homeland security. that the gargantuan thing that we now have. and the church community's recommendation to harness the power of our constitutional checks and balances and the recommended reforms touched off three all three branches. we mentioned the executive reporting requirements, attorney general guidelines for the fbi.
the ten year term for fbi directors. it was also judicial branch with the foreign intelligence surveillance which will talk about a minute. sen., a minute. senator, you were one of the founding members of the senate intelligence committee which was the congressional oversight committee created as a result of the investigation. how would you rate its performance? >> well, certainly earlier the believe -- the common belief in washington was members of congress' we will politicians cannot keep secrets. overwhelmingly it was in the press, this is going to fail because these guys can't keep there mouth shut. well, so that was number one don't talk. don't leak. well, in a culture, and as city of overwhelming leaks this was a
huge stray. not only the church committee, but the follow-on oversight committee. so that was the number one. keep your mouth shut. when you are told secrets don't devils the secret even to your friend and particularly if your friends are journalists. with all due respect. we had's institutionalized the reforms of the church committee. that was our 1st task, set these recommendations and to process some of which were statutory some of which were by executive order. and institutionalize briefings. you set up a system whereby the director of cia or his designee, fbi, nsa's would routinely come before us and particularly on covert operations this was a very tenuous situation because part of the mandate to the intelligence committee was if you are undertaking a covert operation you have to toss about it, and not just an agent on the
street talking to a possible source, but in operation. and that was also a question of can we keep her mouth shut. so i was involved in the 1st two or three notifications. i think our 1st chairman. and he was -- i think he was one of the 1st notices. happen to be when congress was not in session. i happen to be there. ok. we are told to do this. here is what we are doing. here is the operation. i had to go to a secure phone, a secure phone, call the chairman of the committee, brief attempts and let him decide whether to brief all the rest of the members of the community.
so it so it was a work in progress. we were inventing oversight as we went along. and then finally one of the staff members made, i think, the 1st congressional trip , it was just the two of us, do visit cia stations abroad to see how they operated. and we went to some of the key stations in europe and the middle east, as many as ten or 11 of them including in tehran. seventy-seven or eight. bishara was still in power. i got some stories to tell about that. >> but you were elected vice president and then went to the executive branch. how how did you look at these reforms, recommendations once you changed branches? >> if i had any questions i would call someone to help me understand it. i think that was a fortuitous development that helped for a
smooth transition, recommendations of the church community to the incorporation of those recommendations to the executive policies. and president carter agree with that. we -- i talked to the head of the agency's. they agreed to it. when our executive rules went into place there was almost unanimity within the executive branch and with the congress about where we wanted to go. that unanimity, i think the word for about five years. then slowly it went elsewhere. i would say our proposal was based on the idea that there has
to be a separation and checks and balances' while trying to keep this information secret. it had not been tried before , and we gave it the college try. and i would say it works fairly well, but some disappointment. i think the congressional -- the work of the congressional committees has been somewhat co-opted by the federal agencies themselves. and i think we have seen evidence that they are restrained by maintaining diplomatic relations with each other and the public pays the price because we don't get full accountability. we have had some recent disputes. internal disputes that have been
i think helped demonstrate that. we thought that the courts, the fisa court was going to be a magistrate function for the federal bench. in other words, it would be what it was. it's only function would be to act on applications for warrants. it was not to be a court that operated with general jurisdiction as though it were a regular federal court that has slipped some, and i know this afternoon we're going to hear from one of the judges command that bothers me. because the fisa court can be a private supreme court for the agencies. everything they do is an camera and without any other litigants
of are persons who might be interested in the issue involved in all. is in secret. it is without other interests involved. not only at that level but the appellate level. there is no way that a responsible party who objects to what is going on with solid reasons for doing so will be heard. and i think that the idea of giving broader jurisdiction to that court is a mistake. and either we have to broaden the rules for who can participate in these hearings are we have to walk the court back to the rules that we put in place when we made our recommendation. the recommendation.
the idea of having a secret court of general jurisdiction competing with regular courts and with him from how they are being viewed secret agency courts is intolerable and we should do something about that. another thing that bothers me is the state secret defense. almost every court case involves activities of the agencies. very quickly a petition comes in from the government saying this is a state secret issue and cannot be heard. we cannot participate. the courts not always but very often we will say we we will dismiss the case. it can't even it can't even get to the merits of the case. no matter what the reasons. we have a general statute. forced to deal with secrets and make a judgment about what can
be done. under the current process the state secret issue is being used across the board now. almost every case. so we don't -- and also i don't know if these are today from local law school, but she said that the -- there is a lot of evidence that private companies will press the government to claim state secrets to help them in the case. so it is really dangerous tendency to read. >> you your frying to laura donohue. >> issue here? no. so i think this is really a serious problem. and i would like to see's -- i would like to see some reforms in these issues to make the
court more accountable. >> because there is so much secrecy and the court and the intelligence committees one of the ways that we find out about things going on our often leads to the media. a lot of conscientious government employees who see something wrong and try to report end up suffering greatly losing their jobs, jobs, even being prosecuted. how important is that channel of information? >> it is vital. there is one person who is here today is crime was describing how nsa was being inefficient in trying to deal with the incredible volume of information that they take in every 2nd and who was charged with the espionage act, 35 years potential sentence. a terrible overreaction to what was essentially an effort simply
to blow the whistle and they get the government to do a better job. and being more general, this country depends on newspapers and journalists in general. we were built on newspapers. right after madison may that report, that comment about public opinion, the u.s. congress gave subsidies to newspapers. the males were newspapers and only 10 percent of the revenue. so journalism is vital. and it is still vital today. whistleblowers are vital. i'm just going to make an unsolicited comment about edwards known. it seems to me what with the congress is now doing and trying to amend patriot act prove that he acting from patriotic motives
information coming from investigative journalists is absolutely vital to american democracy. >> thank you. you both signed on. all three of you signed on to strengthen the intelligence oversight report that calls for a comprehensive investigation. do you think it's time for that kind of investigation and what advice can you give? >> before we get to that, big obama supporter. i don't like what is doing in the intelligence area. this administration has been tougher on the press by far than any other administration in
american history. the press is terrorist people might want to talk to the press, scared to death. and i would hope they would think this over and try to help us find balance between the responsibility of the press and the ability of americans to speak out. this is real tough problem. >> am going to go ahead and opened up to questions. we do have a mic. >> a lot of intelligent people here. >> good morning. thank you for being here. sixty to 70 percent of our national security budget is now paid the private contractors and many of the abuses are now being handled by these private contractors. i'm thinking of janet parker who was surveilled by eight years by claire george because she was
something unfavorable about ringling brothers circus. we saw that with the hack where they had powerpoint presentations describing how they were going to harass wikileaks contributors and glenn greenwald and various different critics. i think what you are doing is fantastic. how do you reach out and include the intelligence community in this effort. the worst abuse is happening there. >> and to repeat the question, the increasing privatization -- excuse me of intelligence and how we get oversight control a private companies that are doing work that used to be in the purview. >> well, this is the biggest development, one of the biggest in the last 40 years the explosive growth of the
government side of intelligence, the expansion of the nsa, to some degree the cia and others and, of course, the knew layer of director of national intelligence with hundreds if not thousands of employees. that is a separate issue. so the government side of it has grown explosively. but then you have the contractors. and i don't think in our time, ancient time there were private contractors in the so-called community. how many there are today god knows. it is estimated the number of employees and contractors is in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands. and many, the new system of government is to go off budget. so you don't even have budgetary accountability because the
directors, the cia or the mvr, whatever he is called can hire these consultants, mr. snowden, by the way, for better or worse and they are not in the same level of accountability as public employees. and then finally, right on top of that explosive expansion of technology. so you've got a bigger public community. add to that a private side of the dimensions we do not know and maybe even the president of the united states does not know. and then the ability to bring out of the ether any individual and america or the world. it is a brave new world. >> high. i want to talk about intelligence agency charters one
of the big projects that came out of the committee, mr. vice president, there was actual work done on this inside the administration early in the carter years. if you look at the paperwork and that you see suddenly the administration started out supportive of the intelligence agency charters and just tops doing anything and then senator hart, the senate intelligence committee which pushes on charters stops after 1980. i would like to get your reading, did we lose an opportunity there? should we have charters for our intelligence agency? how would we go about doing that if we wanted to get they're? >> my recollection, pretty vague, but i think we found it impossible the right. we were for it.
we tried to write it. it is so difficult on the community. >> right. >> i think we gave up. i was for it. we. we could not get it done, did not know how to do it. >> maybe wrote internal guidelines, attorney general guidelines for the fbi that sort of took some of that pressure off. unfortunately those have been amended many times since including in 2,008 where they were basically eviscerated. certainly a great question. >> something was directed to me, but i did not hear it. >> that the committee stopped pressing for it eventually. the intelligence committees that were pressing for charters for the agencies eventually grew weary and stopped fussing for the charters. >> intelligence committees today. >> no. some 1980.
>> thank you very much. i am atomize brown. librarians of course for decades have been on the frontline of attempting to restore some of the civil liberties that have been lost to the patriot act and before. in 78 hours the senate is going to reconvene to do something or nothing with respect to the usa freedom act, extending expiring provisions of the usa patriot act. i would be a hell of that lobbyist i did not take advantage of this panel test you gentleman does say whatever you wish to your former colleagues'. [laughter] >> there are three provisions of the patriot act that are set to expire. congress is now coming to a decision. what would your advice be?
>> well, it is fashionable to say we have to find a balance between security and liberty for privacy. and yet no one has figured out what that balances. and it is one i think that perplexes all of us even to this day. there are bad there are bad people in the world, and some of them are in our country. and so the public was by and large if surveyed would overwhelmingly say protect the privacy. 99 percent of whom when the ball goes off would say why were you doing a job? again, we are into this 21st century world of technology where the ability to surveilled
someone, listen the phone calls contract messages and so forth is greater than it has ever been. in the old days you had to send 40 fbi agents to follow somebody. today you can sit in the control room somewhere and listen to virtually anything 's. i am told that we are now entering an age of encryption in which your cell phone, the vendors of the cell phone are saying no will protect you from the government. well, if your concern is the ball going off then you are not quite sure whether you want citizens protected from the government. the government is doing his job in the appropriate way. so i keep coming back to the best projection of people's liberty is the 4th amendment to the constitution and if the
pfizer system is not working the let's find one that does in which in secret or not, probably in secret, but with the public advocate on the other side of the case to say your honor, you have heard the government's case. let me tell you hypothetically or otherwise what the case for rejecting this is so at least you have an advocacy proceeding. that is one solution. but all i can say i can say is there will be another major terrorist attack on this country. i happen to think it will be biological, but it may not be. it concerns me. people in new york are deeply concerned, as they should be. people in denver should be concerned as well. >> i will just pick up on that question.
with one of the expiring provisions, section 215, when the government did an analysis and offered end independent groups they found it was never actually useful to preventing a terrorist attack. >> i would like to answer that question. i agree with what he said. i think that the issue before the congress the next few days as whether we we will eliminate the so-called metadata strategy's. there have been to insider commissions with key officials experts, both of which said this is not effective. it is an enormous undertaking. it is a big unlimited strategy to interfere with the privacy of americans and the 4th amendment. it was adopted in secret. it was -- the congress acted
later without being told what they were voting on. this is the 1st time we have really no what is going on. i hope when this is over -- and i think the president said that he was to get rid of metadata, this is a good time to put many of the leaders in congress. this is the most optimistic opportunity i have seen in a long time to step back for some of this access that we have been dealing with. >> picking up on the word optimistic. you know, it is natural for all of us to say while particularly since 911 look at all the terrible things that have happened. excesses have happened, but what's going on now is not partisan. you have that vote in the house, 340 to 80, overwhelmingly republicans, overwhelmingly republicans and democrats upset
about access and wanting to find creative ways that still protect the country but that don't just say you can do anything you want. >> let me add to my comment. we have to cancel, not renew the great hoover and the sky, not j edgar. what i was talking about was the targeted -- probable cause that a a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. >> the side. >> thank you for coming in and speaking. so my question -- and we touched on this earlier, walking the fine line between liberty and secrecy. as you said before -- actually i was wondering if there was
a.in time when you guys were working in the church community where you found that something you had seen was not to be shared with the public, you found it was better to keep it secret. how do you find her how you feel -- sorry. let me collect my thoughts. how do you feel about keeping certain things secret? walking that fine line between liberty and secrecy tonight where does it end? what do they not need to know? >> during your church committee investigation did you come across secrets that needed to be kept secret? in your later life how do you look at the balance between
secrecy and five. >> yes. that was the great challenge of the church community to do our work knowing that much of it had to be in secret. an extraordinary event. we had -- we tried to put in place things that helped us. we would not accept the name of any american agent. we did not wanted in the files. we did not want to hear the person's name. we want to stay out of the. it was not essential to lower for doing. all the way through we were trying to sort out ways of dealing with your question and yet moving ahead with a strategy. >> one interesting issue we faced was whether the hearings on the assassination plots to kill castro and other people would be held in public.
senator howard baker pushed hard that they should be held in public giving good arguments. senator frank church said, no, i don't think we should hold them in public because these are going to be our 1st hearings and it is inevitable if you hold those hearings in public things will come out which would not be good to come out. one thing in particular, names. whereas if you hold the hearing in executive session and then write an extremely detailed report you avoid those risks. of course it would have been politically great for senator church to hold those incredibly dramatic hearings it would have been kind of fun for me. the 1st examination of the witnesses. but i think he was right that it was better to be cautious and
hold those hearings and private and have extremely detailed report. gary was one of the people in the draft a community. >> and could i use this occasion as i have in the past to identify tangentially i hang out that plays me 40 years later naming names. the three mafia figures involved in the castro plot with the cia. we heard from one of them twice. the 2nd time -- the 1st time he came and went no public notice of all. highly secret. the questions obviously were who ordered castro killed, what role did you plan so forth. i felt that the time that he was
generally forthcoming the still new a lot of wasn't telling us. he went home to miami and disappeared and ended up dead. he was in his 70s. and mafia times in those days that was retirement. for the rest of us now it's middle-aged. the 2nd figure was probably the top mafia figure in america. prepared to subpoena him with the house committee. he was killed in his basement. killed in killed in his basement with six bottles in his throat. neither of these crimes of been solved. now, by and large the media included with these were dismissed as mafia stuff. there is no doubt in my mind they were killed in connection
with our committee. the question is why. who did it and why. >> go ahead. >> a brief comment on the question. the judiciary committee a couple of years ago reported out a bill, bipartisan to dramatically change the state secret problem which this administration opposed. my question goes back to mike's original question about how the church community was able to come about and describe the turbulent times. my experience is that the history of intelligence and oversight is all before 9/11 and
after 9/11. what i mean is that not people in this room the people who follow current events, a lot of my acquaintances who are liberals, after the church community report and disclosures were sufficiently outraged to back a lot of reforms which have been vitiated leaving guidelines which came from the church committee recommendations the vice president mondale worked on, and assassination executive order. but after but after 911's those same people, the same kinds of people in my experience have a different attitude command it is essentially i don't care even if they are eavesdropping on my first amendment activity. dissent protest command i don't care even if they can't show that they have ported terrorist attacks as a result.
if an infinitesimal decreases the chance of my husband getting blown up the grand central, just do it. and so my question -- and the votes in the house bipartisan now on 215 maybe show a little improvement, but i think it has been vitiated. my question is how do you get the public to really understand the harm of excessive secrecy in light of that attitude? >> that is a reality. when americans are afraid they reach for a strategy where they wipe away the constitutional
legal protections and usually a great sacrifice to our security and to america's stature as a law-abiding nation. and whenever these issues, the people that want to go in that direction try to fan the flames of fear rather than trust. even though i think they are all kinds of evidence that responsible intelligence operations committees like ours actually strengthen the capacity of these agencies to defenders. they made it more possible that they would do their job well and efficiently. also this argument totally ignores the effect of limiting democracy upon the public process. if you just