REPORT OF THE JOINT INQUIRY INTO THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
with the FBI. Adding to the sense of urgency, a supervisor
in the INS Minneapolis office told the
FBI that INS typically does not hold visa-waiver violators like Moussaoui
for more than 24 hours
before returning them to their home countries. Under the circumstances,
however, the supervisor
said that INS would hold Moussaoui for seven to ten days.
After August 17, the FBI did not conduct additional interviews of Moussaoui. On Saturday, August 18, Minneapolis sent a detailed memorandum to FBI Headquarters describing the Moussaoui investigation and concluding that Minneapolis had reason to believe that Moussaoui, al-Attas "and others yet unknown" were conspiring to seize control of an airplane, based on Moussaoui's "possession of weapons and his preparation through physical training for violent confrontation."
In Joint Inquiry interviews, FBI Minneapolis field office agents said that FBI Headquarters advised against trying to obtain a criminal search warrant as that might prejudice subsequent efforts to obtain a FISA Court order. Under FISA, an order warrant could be obtained if the agents could establish probable cause to believe that Moussaoui was an agent of a foreign power and that he had engaged in international terrorism or was preparing to do so. FBI Headquarters was concerned that if a criminal warrant were denied and the agents then tried to obtain a FISA Court order, the FISA Court would think the agents were trying to use authority for an intelligence investigation to pursue a criminal case.
Around this time, an attorney in the National Security Law Unit at FBI Headquarters asked the Chief Division Counsel in the Minneapolis field office whether she had considered trying to obtain a criminal warrant. The Chief Division Counsel replied that a FISA order would be the safer course. Minneapolis also wanted to notify, through the local U.S. Attorney's Office, the Criminal Division within the Department of Justice about Moussaoui, believing it was obligated to do so under Attorney General guidelines that require notification when there is a "reasonable indication" of a felony. FBI Headquarters advised the Minneapolis field office that there was not enough evidence to justify notifying the Criminal Division.
The Minneapolis field office agent became increasingly frustrated with what he perceived as a lack of assistance from the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) at Headquarters. He had had
conflicts with the RFU agent over FISA issues earlier and believed that Headquarters was not being responsive to the threat Minneapolis had identified. At the suggestion of a Minneapolis supervisor, the agent contacted an FBI officer who had been detailed to the CTC. The agent shared the details of the Moussaoui investigation with the CTC detailee and provided the names of Moussaoui's associates. The agent explained in a Joint Inquiry interview that he was looking for any information CTC could provide to strengthen the case linking Moussaoui to international terrorism.
On August 21, the Minneapolis field office agent sent an e-mail to the RFU Supervisory Special Agent handling this matter:
[It's] imperative that the [U.S. Secret Service] be apprised of this threat potential indicated by the evidence. ...If [Moussaoui] seizes an aircraft flying from Heathrow to NYC, it will have the fuel on board to reach D.C.
The RFU supervisory special agent sent a teletype to several U.S. Government agencies on September 4, 2001, recounting the interviews of Moussaoui and al-Attas and other information the FBI had obtained in the meantime. The teletype, however, merely described the investigation. It did not place Moussaoui's actions in the context of the increased level of terrorist threats during the summer of 2001, and it did not analyze Moussaoui's actions or plans or present information about the type of threat he might have presented.
A CIA officer detailed to FBI Headquarters learned of the Moussaoui investigation from CTC personnel in the third week of August. The officer was alarmed about Moussaoui for several reasons. First, Moussaoui had denied being a Muslim to the flight instructor, while al-Attas, Moussaoui's companion at the flight school, informed the FBI that Moussaoui was a fundamentalist. Further, the fact that Moussaoui was interested in using the Minneapolis flight school simulator to learn to fly from Heathrow to Kennedy Airport made the CIA officer suspect that Moussaoui was a potential hijacker. As a result of these concerns, CIA Stations were advised by cable of the facts known about Moussaoui and al-Attas and were asked to provide information they had. Based on information received from the FBI, CIA described the two in the cable as "suspect 747 airline attackers" and "suspect airline suicide attacker[s]," who might be "involved in a larger plot to target airlines traveling from Europe to the U.S."
On Wednesday, August 22, the FBI Legat in Paris provided a report that  started a series of discussions between Minneapolis and Headquarters RFU as to whether a specific group of Chechen rebels was a "recognized" foreign power, that is, was on the State Department's list of terrorist groups and for which the FISA Court had previously granted orders.
The RFU agent told Joint Inquiry staff that, based on advice he received from the NSLU, he believed that the Chechen rebels were not a "recognized" foreign power and that, even if Moussaoui were to be linked to them, the FBI could not obtain a search order under FISA. The RFU agent told the Minneapolis agents that they had to connect Moussaoui to al-Qa'ida, which he believed was a "recognized" foreign power. The Minneapolis case agent later testified before the Joint Inquiry that he had had no training in FISA, but that he believed that "we needed to identify aČ and the term that was thrown around was 'recognized foreign power' and so that was our operational theory."
As the FBI's Deputy General Counsel would later testify, the agents were incorrect. The FBI can obtain a search warrant under FISA for an agent of any international terrorist group, including Chechen rebels. Because of this misunderstanding, the Minneapolis field office spent valuable time and resources trying to connect the Chechen group to al-Qa'ida. The Minneapolis field office agent contacted CTC, asking for additional information regarding connections between the group and al-Qa'ida. The Minneapolis supervisor also suggested that the RFU agent contact CTC for assistance on the issue. The RFU agent responded that he had all the information he needed and requested that Minneapolis work through FBI Headquarters when contacting CTC in the future. Ultimately, the RFU agent agreed to submit Minneapolis' FISA request to attorneys in the FBI's NSLU for review.
In interviews, several FBI attorneys with whom the RFU agent consulted confirmed that they advised the RFU agent that the evidence was insufficient to link Moussaoui to a foreign power. One of the attorneys noted that Chechen rebels were not an international foreign terrorism group under FISA. The Deputy General Counsel, however, testified before the Joint Committee that "no one in the national security law arena said that Chechens were not a power that. ..could qualify as a foreign power under the FISA statute." The FBI attorneys also said that, had they had
been aware of the July 2001 communication from the Phoenix field office raising concerns about al-Qa'ida flight training in the U.S., they would have forwarded the FISA request to the Justice Department's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.
Two FBI agents assigned to the Oklahoma City field office's international terrorism squad visited Airman Flight School on August 23 as part of the Moussaoui investigation. In September 1999, one of the agents had been assigned a lead from the Orlando field office to inquire at the flight school about another individual, who had been identified as Usama Bin Ladin's personal pilot and who had received flight training at Airman Flight School. The agent had not been given any background information about this individual, and he did not know that the person had cooperated with the Bureau during the East Africa U.S. embassy bombings trial. Although the agent told the Joint Inquiry that this lead had been the most significant terrorism information he had seen in Oklahoma City, he did not remember it when he returned to the flight school two years later to ask questions about Moussaoui. The agent acknowledged that he should have connected the two visits but he did not have time to do so.
[The Joint Inquiry also confirmed that an individual, who attempted to post bond for Moussaoui's roommate, had been the subject of a full-field FBI international terrorism investigation in the Oklahoma City Field Office. According to FBI reports, this individual was a Vice President of Overseas Operations and Recruiting for al-Fatah, the Palestinian group, and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was also a close associate of [ ], the imam at the Islamic Center [ ], which hijackers al-Hazmi and al-Midhar attended when they lived there. That imam was also a close associate of the imam in San Diego who served as the hijackers I spiritual leader. The Minneapolis field office agent and the head of the RFU both testified that neither of them knew that the individual who had attempted to post bond for Moussaoui's roommate was the subject of a terrorism investigation before September 11 ].
On August 27, the RFU agent told the Minneapolis supervisor that the supervisor was getting people "spun up" over Moussaoui. According to his notes and his statement to the Joint Inquiry, the supervisor replied that he was trying to get people at FBI Headquarters "spun up" because he was trying to make sure that Moussaoui "did not take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center." The Minneapolis agent said that the Headquarters agent told him:
[T]hat's not going to happen. We don't know he's a terrorist. You don't have enough to show he is a terrorist. You have a guy interested in this type of aircraft - that is it.
[On August 28, the RFU agent edited, and returned to Minneapolis for comment, the request for a FISA Court order that Minneapolis had prepared. The RFU agent told the Joint Inquiry that it was not unusual for FBI Headquarters agents to make changes to field submissions. The major substantive change was removal of information that tried to make connections between the Chechen rebels and al-Qa'ida. After the edit was complete, the RFU agent briefed the FBI Deputy General Counsel, who told the Joint Inquiry that he agreed with the agent that there was insufficient information to show that Moussaoui was an agent of a foreign power].
The Bureau's focus shifted to arranging for Moussaoui's planned deportation to France, planned for September 17. French officials had agreed to search his belongings and provide the results to the FBI. Although the FBI was no longer considering a FISA Court order, no one [Page 340] revisited the idea of attempting to obtain a criminal search warrant, even though the only reason for not attempting to obtain a criminal search warrant earlier -concern that it would prejudice a request under FISA -no longer existed.
On Thursday, September 4, Headquarters sent a teletype to the Intelligence Community and other government agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), providing information about the Moussaoui investigation. The teletype noted that Moussaoui was being held in custody, but did not describe any particular threat that the FBI thought he posed --for example, that he might be connected to a larger plot. The teletype also did not recommend that the addressees take action or look for additional indicators of a terrorist attack. It also did not provide any analysis of a possible hijacking threat or specific warnings. The following day, the Minneapolis field office agent hand-carried the teletype to two employees of the FAA's Bloomington, Minnesota office and briefed them on the investigation. The two FAA employees told the Joint Inquiry that the agent did not convey any urgency about the teletype and did not ask them to take specific action. The final preparations for Moussaoui's deportation were underway on September 11.
The Joint Inquiry record demonstrates that the FB1's focus when Moussaoui was taken into custody appears to have been almost entirely on investigating specific crimes and not on identifying links between investigations or on sharing information with other agencies with counterterrorist responsibilities. The RFU chief testified that no one at Headquarters saw a connection between the Moussaoui case and the Phoenix communication, the possible presence of al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi in the United States, and the flood of warnings about possible terrorists attacks in the United States, some using airplanes as weapons, all of which developed in the spring and summer of2001. Moreover, as the RFU Chief testified, before September 11, the FBI did not canvass persons in custody and cooperating with the government in terrorist investigations to see whether they knew Moussaoui. After September 11, FBI agents showed one of those persons a photograph of Moussaoui and asked him what he knew of Moussaoui. He asserted that he had met Moussaoui in an al-Qa'ida terrorist camp in Afghanistan. When asked about this during testimony before the Joint Inquiry, the RFU Chief admitted that "[t]he photograph was not shown before 9/11 and it should have been."
[The indictment against Moussaoui, which was filed on December 11, 2001, alleges that Moussaoui possessed a number of items on August 16, 2001. On that day, which is when FBI and INS agents first interviewed him, the INS took Moussaoui's possessions for safekeeping. Absent search authority, however, the possessions were not examined at that time. As it turned out, according to the indictment, Moussaoui's possessions included letters indicating that Moussaoui was a marketing consultant in the United States for Infocus Tech. The letters had been signed in October 2000 by Yazid Sufaat, whom the Intelligence Community was aware was the owner of the Malaysian condominium used for the January 2000 al-Qa'ida meeting attended by hijackers al- Mihdhar and al-Hazmi. The indictment also alleges that Moussaoui possessed a notebook listing two German telephone numbers and the name " Ahad Sabet," which the indictment states was used by Ramzi Bin al-Shibh to send funds to Moussaoui. Bin al-Shibh, who was apprehended in Pakistan in September 2002, is named in the indictment as a supporting conspirator.]
In July 2001, an FBI agent in the Phoenix field office sent an "Electronic Communication" (EC) to the Usama Bin Ladin and the Radical Fundamentalist Units at Headquarters and to several agents on an International Terrorism squad in the New York field office. The agent outlined his concerns about a coordinated effort by Bin Ladin to send students to the United States for aviation training. He noted an "inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest" taking such training in Arizona and speculated that this was part of an effort to establish a cadre of persons, trained in aviation, who could conduct terrorist activity. The EC contained a number of recommendations the agent asked FBI Headquarters to consider.
The FBI's handling of the Phoenix EC is symptomatic of its focus on short-term operational priorities, often at the expense oflong-term strategic analysis. The Bureau's ability to handle strategic analytic products, such as the EC, was limited before September 11, 2001. The EC also highlights inadequate information sharing within the FBI, particularly between operational and analytic units. Several addressees on the EC, especially at the supervisory level, did not receive it before September 11 because of limitations in the electronic dissemination [Page 342] system. The Joint Inquiry repeatedly heard such complaints about the FBI's information technology. Finally, the FBI's case-driven approach, while extremely productive in the Bureau's traditional law-enforcement mission, does not generally encourage FBI personnel to pay attention to preventive analysis and strategy, particularly when the matter appears to have no direct, immediate impact on ongoing counterterrorism investigations.
The Special Agent in Phoenix who wrote the EC told the Joint inquiry he first became concerned about aviation-related terrorism in the early 1990s, while he was investigating Libyans with suspected terrorist ties who were working for U.S. aviation companies. Possible terrorists with easy access to aircraft conjured up for the agent visions of Pan Am Flight 103, which terrorists had blown up years before. His primary concern was that Islamic extremists, studying aviation subjects ranging from security to piloting, could learn how to hijack or destroy aircraft
and evade airport security. However, the agent told the Joint Inquiry that, in writing the EC, he never imagined terrorists using airplanes as was done on September 11.
The Phoenix EC focused on ten individuals who were subjects of FBI investigations, Sunni Muslims from Kenya, Pakistan, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Saudi Arabia. Not all were in flight training; several were aeronautical engineering students, and one was studying international aviation security.
The Phoenix agent testified that in April 2000 he interviewed the primary subject of the EC. In the agent's experience, young foreign nationals who are subjects of interviews tend to be somewhat intimidated in their first contact with the FBI. By contrast, this subject told the agent that he considered the U.S. Government and military to be legitimate targets of Islam. The agent noticed a poster of Bin Ladin and another poster of wounded Chechen mujahideen fighters in the subject's apartment. He was also concerned that the subject, who was taking expensive aviation training, was from a poor Middle Eastern country and had not studied aviation before his arrival in the United States.
The agent described to the Joint Inquiry another incident that increased his suspicion about Middle Eastern flight students in the Phoenix area. During a physical surveillance, the agent determined that the primary subject of the Phoenix EC was using a vehicle registered to another person, who in 1999 had been detained with a third person after trying to gain access to the cockpit of a commercial airliner on a domestic flight. The two told FBI agents who questioned them that they thought the cockpit was the bathroom, and they accused the Bureau of racism. After an investigation, they were released and the case was closed. In November 2000, the subject's name was added to the State Department's watchlist after intelligence information was received that he may have received explosive and car bomb training in Afghanistan. In August 2001, the same person applied for a visa to re-enter the United States and, as a result of the watchlisting, was denied entry.
Finally, the Phoenix agent's concern about Middle Eastern flight students in Arizona was fueled by suspicion that al-Qa'ida had an active presence in Arizona. Several Bin Ladin operatives had lived and traveled to the Phoenix area, and one of them --Wadih EI-Hage, a Bin
Ladin lieutenant --had been convicted for his role in the 1998 East Africa U.S. embassy bombings. The agent believes that El-Hage established a Bin Ladin support network in Arizona that is still in place.
When the Phoenix agent sent the EC to FBI Headquarters, he requested that the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) and the Usama Bin Ladin Unit (UBLU) consider implementing the suggested actions. The Phoenix agent explained in testimony to the Joint Inquiry that:
Basically what I wanted was an analytic product. I wanted this discussed with the Intelligence Community .I wanted to see if my hunches were correct.
The EC was initially assigned to an Intelligence Operations Specialist (IOS) in the RFU, who worked on it with a Intelligence Operations Specialist in the UBLU. The latter consulted two lOSs in her unit, mentioning specifically the paragraph in the EC about obtaining visa information. Their discussion centered on the legality of the proposal and whether it raised profiling issues. The IOS also decided to forward the EC to the Portland FBI field office because a person named in the EC, with ties to suspected terrorists arrested in the Middle East in early 2001, was an employee of an airline and had previously lived and studied in the northwestern United States. Portland did not take action on the communication or disseminate it because it was sent to the field for "informational purposes" only.
On August 7, 2001, the Specialists in the two units decided that the matter should be closed. The Specialist in the UBLU told the Joint inquiry that she intended to return to the project once she had time to do additional research, but on September 1 I, she had not yet had an opportunity to do so. Both Specialists also said that they had considered assigning the Phoenix communication to a Headquarters analytic unit, but had decided against it.
The Chiefs of both the RFU and UBLU informed the Joint Inquiry that they did not see the Phoenix EC before September 11. They do not remember even hearing about the flight school issue until after September 11. An FBI audit of the central records system requested by the Joint Inquiry supports their statements.
The Phoenix EC was also not shared with other agencies before September 11, although the former Chief of the FBI's International Terrorism Operations Section explained in testimony to the Joint 1nquiry:
One of the great frustrations is that [the Phoenix Communication] talks about airlines-we have F AA people in the [International Terrorism Operations Section]; it talks about intelligence-we have CIA people; it talks about visas-there are State Department people and immigration people in that unit. That information should have been shared, if only for [informational] purposes, with all those people at our Headquarters. And it wasn't done, and it should have been done.
In fact, Transportation Security Administration Assistant Undersecretary for Intelligence Claudio Manno testified at a Joint Inquiry hearing that "the first time that we saw [the Phoenix EC] was when it was brought to our attention by [the Joint Inquiry Staff]. Had the F AA received the memo before September 11, Mr. Manno believes that:
[W]e would have started to ask a lot more probing questions of FBI as to what this was all about, to start with. There were a number of things that were done later to try to determine what connections these people may have had to flight schools by going back [to information] maintained by the FAA to try to identify additional people. ...[I]n fact our process is whenever we get a threat, we open. ..an intelligence case file, and that is so we segregate that issue from the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other intelligence reports that we get and that we focus on it. And the work that may entail in trying to determine whether this is a credible threat, something that needs to be acted upon, maybe going back and working with FBI to try and get additional information. In some cases it can be working with the State Department or the CIA if it requires overseas work. So we make all efforts to try to get to the bottom of what this is all about.
The Phoenix EC was sent to two FBI New York field agents who specialize in Bin Ladin cases. They were asked to "read and clear" the memorandum, but were not asked to take follow-up action. A Joint Inquiry audit of electronic records shows that at least three people in New York saw the EC before September 11. Two of the three do not recall seeing the communication [page 346] before September 11; the third remembers reading it, but said that it did not resonate with him because he found it speculative.
The New York agents stated in Joint Inquiry interviews that they had been aware that Middle Eastern men frequently came to the United States for flight training because the United States was considered the best and most reasonably priced venue for such training. In the agents, view, information about Middle Eastern men with ties to Usama Bin Ladin receiving flight training in the United States would not necessarily be alarming because the agents knew that persons connected to al-Qa'ida had already received training in the United States. Before September 11, many agents believed that Bin Ladin needed pilots to operate aircraft he had purchased in the United States to move men and material. Two pilots with al-Qa'ida ties testified for the government during the East African embassy bombing trial.
Nonetheless, the FBI had also received reports not entirely consistent with this view of Bin Ladin pilots. One of those who testified and one other pilot had been trained in al-Qa'ida camps in Afghanistan to conduct terrorist operations. One who had received training in surveillance and intelligence apparently was selected for the course because of his aviation skills. In addition, the FBI's New York field office was one of the recipients of the 1997 communication from FBI Headquarters, asking that the field office identify Islamic students from certain countries who were studying aviation within its area of responsibility.
The manner in which FBI Headquarters handled the Phoenix EC provides valuable insight into the Bureau's operational environment before September 11, 2001. A number of FBI
executives have acknowledged that the handling of the EC illustrates important weaknesses before September 11. For example, Director Mueller told the Joint Inquiry:
...the Phoenix memo should have been disseminated to all field offices and to our sister agencies, and it should have triggered a broader analytical approach. ... These incidents. ..have informed us on needed changes, particularly the need to improve accountability, analytic capacity and resources, information sharing and technology, to name but a few.
The Joint Inquiry found that the FBI's strategic, analytic, and technological problems were the primary weaknesses demonstrated by the handling of the Phoenix EC. As a supervisory Headquarters agent testified: "when you want to look at systemic problems, ...clearly you are going to be focused in on strategic analysis and you are going to be focused in on technology; and to run a national program you have to do both."
The Phoenix EC demonstrates how strategic analysis took a back seat to operational priorities at the Bureau before September 11. Many people throughout the government and the FBI believed that an attack was imminent in Summer 2001, but this led only to further de- emphasis of strategic analysis. For example, the Specialist in the UBL unit who handled the Phoenix EC was primarily concerned with a person in the EC connected to persons arrested overseas and paid less attention to the flight school theories.
The RFU Chief told the Joint Inquiry that because he could not keep up with the approximately one hundred pieces of mail he saw daily, he assigned responsibility for reviewing intelligence reports to an Intelligence Operations Specialist in the unit. Even the FBI analytic unit responsible for strategic analysis was largely producing tactical products to satisfy the operational section. There was no system for handling projects with nationwide impact, such as the Phoenix EC, differently than other matters. In fact, the Phoenix agent testified that he recognized the possibility that his EC might not receive a great deal of attention.
I am also a realist. I understand that the people at FBI Headquarters are terribly overworked and understaffed, and they have been for years. And at the time that I am sending this in, having worked this stuff for thirteen years, and watched the unit in action over the years, I knew that this was going to be at the bottom of the pile, so to speak, because they were dealing with real-time threats, real-time issues trying to render fugitives back to the United States from overseas for justice.
The handling of the Phoenix EC also exposed information sharing problems among FBI Headquarters elements. A number of analysts commented in Joint Inquiry interviews that the UBLU and RFU frequently do not share information with the International Terrorism analytic unit. A UBLU supervisor explained that the Investigative Services Division, of which the analytic unit is a part, was not a "major player" and that information was often not shared with it. In testimony before the Joint Inquiry, the FBI's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis referred to strategic analysis as the Bureau's "poor stepchild" before September 11. As a result, strategic analysts were often marginalized by the operational units and rarely if ever received requests from those units for assessments of pending al-Qa'ida cases.
Even if the Phoenix EC had been transmitted to the International Terrorism Analytic Unit, its capacity to conduct strategic analysis on al- Qa'ida was limited because five of the unit's analysts had been transferred to operational units. According to the Chief of the National Security Intelligence Section, the Bureau had no personnel dedicated solely to strategic analysis before September 11. The Joint Inquiry has also been told that, as competent new analysts arrived, UBLU and RFU would recruit them as operational support analysts or refuse to share information with them if they remain in the analytic unit.
Due to the FBI's technological limitations, operational units, such as UBLU and RFU, controlled information flow. Strategic analysts often had to rely on operational units for incoming intelligence, a problem the FBI's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis acknowledged before the Joint Inquiry: "[because] the FBl lacked effective data mining capabilities and analytical tools, it has often been unable to retrieve key information and analyze it in a timely manner-and a lot has probably slipped through the cracks as a result." Thus, even if the project had been assigned to an al-Qa'ida analyst in the analytic unit, there can be no guarantee that the several reports the FBI had received about airplanes as weapons and terrorist networks sending students to flight schools in the United States would have been drawn together.
The handling of the Phoenix EC also illustrates the extent to which technological limitations affected information flow because most EC addressees have told the Joint Inquiry that they had not seen the EC before September 11. The FBI's electronic system is not designed to ensure that all addressees receive communications, a point a Headqual1ers supervisory agent
addressed in testimony before the Joint Inquiry: "I can tell you that, based on my position, that my name is on hundreds, if not thousands of documents in that building that will probably not be brought to my attention." In fact, the electronic system was considered so unreliable that many [page 349] personnel in the field and at Headquarters used e-mail and followed up personally on important communications to ensure that they were not neglected. The same supervisory agent described the FBI's information systems as "a setup for failure in terms of keeping a strategic picture of what we are up against." He went on to conclude that, "the technology problems...are still there."
RFU and UBLU policies at the time of the Phoenix EC gave the person to whom the matter was assigned discretion to determine which people in the unit would see the report. One FBI employee said that he was not certain why the Phoenix agent put all the addressees on the EC but believes the Intelligence Operations Specialist probably decided that the EC was more relevant to UBLU and therefore did not route the communication to all addressees within the RFU.
FBI officials have noted in public statements and Joint Inquiry testimony that the September 11 hijackers did not associate with anyone of "investigative interest." However, there are indications that hijacker Hani Hanjour, who was unknown to the Intelligence Community and law enforcement agencies before September 11, associated with [-.-], an individual who was mentioned in the Phoenix EC, had taken flight training in the United States, and was possibly a radical fundamentalist. There are several reasons why [ ]'s association with Hanjour did not bring Hanjour to the FBI's attention before September 11.
FBI personnel believe that, beginning in 1997, Hanjour and the person named in the Phoenix EC trained together at a flight school in Arizona and may also have known each other through a religious center. The Bureau attempted to investigate this person in May 2001 , but discovered that he was out of the country. The Phoenix office generally did not open investigations on persons they believed had permanently left the United States. Although there were no legal bars to opening an investigation, Headquarters discouraged this practice. The Phoenix office did not notify [NS, the State Department, or CIA of its interest in this person. The
[page 350] FBI was apparently unaware that the person returned to the United States soon thereafter and may have associated with Hanjour and several other Islamic extremists.
For the FBI to be aware that persons of investigative interest have returned to the United States, close contact must be maintained with INS and CIA. Unfortunately, before September 11, no system was in place to ensure coordination. In this case, the FBI did not notify the INS, State Department, or CIA of its interest in the Phoenix subject. Therefore, this person was able to get back into the United States without any notification to the FBI.
The FBI has confirmed since September 11, 2001, that another individual mentioned in the Phoenix EC is also connected to the al-Qa'ida network. This individual was arrested [ ] in Pakistan in 2002 with [ ], one of the most prominent al-Qa'ida figures and one of the primary al-Qa'ida facilitators.
The Phoenix EC must be understood in a broader context: it was not the first occasion that the FBI was concerned about terrorist groups sending persons to the United States for aviation study. The agents involved in drafting the Phoenix EC and the Headquarters personnel who worked on it were unaware of this context.
In 1981, as the U.S. military was involved in hostilities with Libya, President Reagan decided to revoke visas held by Libyan students in the United States involved in aviation or nuclear studies. In March 1983, the INS published a rule in the Federal Register, terminating the non-immigrant status of Libyan nationals or persons acting on behalf of Libyan entities engaged in aviation or nuclear studies. The INS turned to the FBI for assistance in locating such persons. In May 1983, FBI Headquarters sent a "priority" communication to all field offices, asking for assistance in complying with the INS request.
In 1998, the Chief Pilot in the FBI's Oklahoma City Field Office informed an agent on the office's counterterrorism squad that he had observed many Middle Eastern men at Oklahoma flight schools. An intra-office communication to the counterterrorism squad supervisor
was drafted noting the Chief Pilot's concern that the aviation education might be related to terrorist activity and his speculation that light planes would be an ideal means to spread chemical or biological agents. The communication was sent to the office's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" control file, apparently for informational purposes only with no follow-up requested or conducted.
The FBI also received reports in 1998 that a terrorist organization might be planning to bring students to the United States for flight training. The FBI was aware that persons connected to the organization had performed surveillance and security tests at airports in the United States and had made comments suggesting an intention to target civil aviation.
In 1999, the FBI received reports that another terrorist organization was planning to send students to the United States for aviation training. The purpose of this training was unknown, but organization leaders viewed the plan as "particularly important" and reportedly approved open- ended funding for it. An operational unit in the Counterterrorism Section at Headquarters instructed 24 field offices to pay close attention to Islamic students from the target country engaged in aviation training. This communication was sent to the Phoenix Office's International Terrorism squad, but the agent who wrote the Phoenix EC does not recall it. The communication requested that field offices "task sources, coordinate with the INS, and conduct other logical inquiries, in an effort to develop an intelligence baseline" regarding the terrorist group's involvement with students. There is no indication that field offices conducted any investigation after receiving the communication. The analyst who drafted it explained that he received several calls from the field for guidance since it raised concerns about the Buckley Amendment, which bars post-secondary educational institutions that receive federal funding from releasing personal information without written student consent.
The project was subsequently assigned to the International Terrorism Analytic Unit at Headquarters, where an analyst determined that 75 academic and more than 1000 non-academic institutions offered flight education in the United States. In November 2000, the analyst informed field offices that no information had been uncovered about the terrorist group recruiting students and stated that "further investigation by FBI field offices is deemed imprudent" by FBI Headquarters.
The former chief of the operational unit involved in this project told the Joint Inquiry that he was not surprised by the apparent lack of vigorous investigative action by the field offices. The FBI's structure often prevented Headquarters from forcing field offices to take investigative action they were unwilling to take. The FBI was so decentralized, he said, and Special Agents in Charge of field offices wielded such power that when field agents complained to a supervisor about a request from Headquarters, the latter would generally back down.
Personnel working on the Phoenix EC at Headquarters were not aware of these earlier reports on terrorist groups sending aviation students to the United States and did not know that Headquarters had undertaken a systematic effort in 1999 to identify Middle Eastern flight students in the United States. This example demonstrates the lack of information sharing in the FBI. According to interviewees, this is a problem not only at Headquarters, but also in the field. Agents often will be familiar only with cases in their own squad. The FBI's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis, recently detailed from CIA to improve the FBI's analytic capability, testified before the Joint Inquiry that the Bureau "didn't have analysts dedicated to sort of looking at the big picture and trying to connect the dots, say between the Phoenix memo... and some other information that might have come in that might have suggested that there were persons there who might be preparing to hijack aircraft."
The Phoenix agent also testified that he was unaware of most of the earlier reports on the potential use of airplanes as weapons. He explained that after a downsizing at Headquarters "we in the field...saw a decreased amount of analytical material that came out of Headquarters that could assist someone like myself in Arizona." In an interview, the agent noted that he often felt "out on an island" investigating counterterrorism in Phoenix. In his words, before September Il counterterrorism and counterintelligence were the "bastard stepchild" of the FBI because these programs do not generate career-enhancing statistics like other programs, such as Violent Crimes/Major Offenders or drugs.
A recurrent theme throughout this Joint Inquiry has been the need for stronger, more focused analytic capability throughout the Intelligence Community .The FBl had fewer than ten tactical analysts and only one strategic analyst assigned to al-Qa'ida before September 11. At CTC, only three analysts were assigned to al-Qa' ida full time between 1998 and 2000, and five analysts between 2000 and September 11, 2001. Including analysts from other CIA components in CIA who focused on al-Qa'ida to some degree, the total was fewer than 40 analysts. DCI Tenet acknowledged at a Joint Inquiry hearing that the number of analysts in the CTC analytic unit working on Bin Ladin and al-Qa'ida was "too small" and "we should have had more analysts than we did."
NSA had, in all, approximately [-] analysts in its Counterterrorism "Product Line," supported by analysts in other lines. Throughout 2001 , the Counterterrorism Product Line had a standing request for an additional [-] SIGINT analysts, but there was little expectation that such a large request would be satisfied. Moreover, requirements for NSA's Arabic linguists were substantial. Before September 11, only [ ] language analysts were working "campaign languages," such as Arabic, Pashto, and Dari. Today that number is almost [-], but requirements continue to increase.
When CTC was created in 1986, DIA's analytic capability remained as a parallel analytic organization. In 1993 or 1994, DIA began a concerted effort against Bin Ladin, with a total authorized strength of 80 terrorism analysts.
The Intelligence Community's analytic focus on al-Qai'da was far more oriented toward tactical analysis in support of operations than on strategic analysis intended to develop a broader understanding of the threat and the organization. For example, the DCI's National Intelligence Council never produced a National Intelligence Estimate on the threat al-Qa'ida posed to the United States. According to an August 2001 CIA Inspector General report, CTC analysts only had time to focus on crises or short-term demands and "did not have the time to spot trends or to [page
[W]hile the unit's production had gone up dramatically-particularly in the area of current intelligence where the increase had been more than double-production of strategic research had, in fact, remained flat. Earlier correction of these shortcomings would not have enabled us to produce explicit tactical warning of the September 11 plot-the available data was only sufficient to support the strategic warning we indeed provided -but we did recognize our shortcomings and took several steps to address them.
In a Joint Inquiry hearing, DCl Tenet explained the importance of strategic analysis:
[T]he single lesson learned from all of this is the strategic analytical piece of this has to be big and vibrant to give you the chance to be predictive, even when you don't have much information to go on. I think it's a very important point. We've made a lot of progress.
FBI witnesses identified little, if any, strategic analysis against domestic al-Qa'ida activities before September 11, 2001. The Chief of the FBI's National Security Intelligence Section testified to the Joint Inquiry that the FBI had "no analysts" dedicated to strategic analysis before September 11. In fact, as of that date, the FBl had only one analyst working on al-Qa'ida. FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Dale Watson testified that he could not recall any instance where the FBI Headquarters analytical unit produced "an actual product that helped out."
In regard to the September 11 attacks, witnesses confirmed the Bureau's failure to connect information on al-Mihdhar, al-Hazmi, Moussaoui, and the FBl Phoenix memorandum in the summer of2001. The FBI's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis, recently detailed from the CIA to improve the FBI's analytic capability, testified before the Joint Inquiry that the Bureau "didn't have analysts dedicated to sort of looking at the big picture and trying to connect the dots, say between the Phoenix memo and Moussaoui and some other information that might have...suggested that there were individuals there who might be preparing to hijack aircraft."
One of the primary reasons there was so little focus on strategic analysis in the Intelligence Community may have been the perception that operational matters were more important to counterterrorism missions than analysis. Consistent with its traditional law enforcement mission, the FBI was, before September 11, a reactive, operationally-driven
organization that did not value strategic analysis. While FBI personnel appreciated case-specific analysis, most viewed strategic analytic products as academic and of little use in on-going operations. The FBI's Assistant Director for Counterterrorism acknowledged in Joint Inquiry testimony that the reactive nature of the FBI was not conducive to success in counterterrorism:
No one was thinking about the counterterrorism program what the threat was and what we were trying to do about it. And when that light came on, I realized that, hey, we are a reactive bunch of people, and reactive will never get us to a prevention and what we do. ...Is there anybody thinking and where's al-Qa'ida's next target? And no one was really looking at that.
The Assistant Director also acknowledged the difficulty of going beyond the FBI's traditional case-oriented approach:
We will never move away from being reactive. We understand that. And that's what people want to talk about most of the time is how's that case going in East Africa, or how's the USS Cole investigation going? But if you step back and look at it strategically you need to have people thinking beyond the horizon and that's very difficult for all of us. It's particularly difficult for law enforcement people.
A former CTC Chief also told the Joint Inquiry that in CTC:
We have underinvested in the strategic only because we've had such near-term threats. The trend is always toward the tactical. ...The tactical is where lives are saved. And it is not necessarily commonly accepted, but strategic analysis does not ...get you to saving lives.
In Joint Inquiry testimony, the FBI's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis explained that, before September 11, strategic analysis was the FBI's "poor stepchild." As a result, strategic analysts were often marginalized by operational units and rarely, if ever, received requests from operational sections for assessments of pending al-Qa'ida cases.
In 2000, FBI management aggravated this situation by transferring five strategic analysts, who had been working on al-Qa' ida matters, to operational units to assist with ongoing cases. [Page 356] According to a former Chief of the International Terrorism Analytic Unit, this "gutted" the analytic unit's al-Qa'ida expertise and left it with little capacity to perform strategic analysis.
Concerns about protecting criminal prosecutions also limited the FBI's ability to utilize strategic analytic products. In interviews, some analysts said they frequently were told not to produce written analyses, lest they be included in discovery during criminal prosecutions. FBI analysts were further hindered because of the limitations of the FBI's information technology.
The Bureau has had little success in building a strategic analytic capability, despite numerous attempts before September 11 to do so. For example, in 1996, the FBI hired approximately 50 strategic analysts, many with advanced degrees. Most of those analysts left the Bureau within two years because they were dissatisfied with the role of strategic analysis at the FBI.
CTC analysts also expressed concern that their opinions were no1: given sufficient weight. A CTC manager confirmed that CIA operations officers in the field resented tasks from analysts because they did not like to take direction from the Directorate of Intelligence. Despite the need for increased analytic capability, CTC reportedly refused to accept analytic support from other agencies in at least two instances before September 11. Both FAA and DIA informed the Joint Inquiry that CTC management rebuffed offers of analytic assistance because the agencies wanted in return greater access to CTC intelligence, particularly intelligence about CIA operations.
NSA analysts told Joint Inquiry staff that the CTC viewed them as subordinate, like an "ATM" for signals intelligence. The analysts attempted to accommodate CTC requests for information by focusing on short-term operational requirements, sometimes at the expense of more thorough analysis, even changing reporting formats because CTC did not like NSA analyst comments to be embedded in the text of the reports. Several NSA analysts also stated their belief that the DCI will always side with the CIA's CTC operational personnel over NSA analysts in the event of agency disagreements.
The Joint Inquiry explored the extent to which analysts were inexperienced, undertrained, and, in some cases, unqualified for the responsibilities they were given. At the CTC, analysts were a relatively junior group before September 11 with three years experience on the average, in
contrast to eight years for analysts in the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence. The Director of Terrorism Analysis explained during a closed hearing:
We had some analysts who had been on the terrorism target for some time, but... our biggest concentration was people at about the three to four years of experience, so we had a few senior analysts, a large cadre of very good, very experienced when we hired them, but nevertheless they hadn't had the ten years, fifteen years on the account that you would want. There's a historical reason for that. In the Counterterrorist Center, when it was founded, people were brought in on a rotational basis and worked there for two years, and then they welt back to their home office. So you hadn't built up that skill back in the late eighties and nineties. Starting in about '97 the Counterterrorist Center had a career service; a nurturing expertise-building service. So by 2000, when I arrived in the Center, what you had is the new people who had been hired into that career service who were reaching their own, but still in the beginning part of their careers.
A January 2002 FBI internal study found that 66% of the FBI's 1200 "Intelligence Research Specialists," or analysts, were unqualified. This problem was compounded by the fact that newly assigned analysts received little counterterrorism training. As the Chief of the FBI's National Security Intelligence Section told the Joint Inquiry:
While there was no standardized training regimen, other than a two-week basic analytical course, training was available on an ad hoc basis and guidance was provided by both the unit chiefs of the analytical units and the FBI's Administrative Services Division. The development of a standardized curriculum, linked to job skills, and career advancement was being planned. ... but it was never implemented.
A senior CTC supervisor testified at a Joint Inquiry hearing that CTC did not have enough analysts with sufficient experience to produce sophisticated, in-depth analysis in the quantities needed. In the same hearing, the FBI's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis testified that FBI analysts "had great expertise on investigations, [but] were not in a position to see the big picture [or] connect the dots." As a result, the FBI's [page 358] Counterterrorism Division had great difficulty in producing integrated intelligence assessments that provided early warning of emerging threats. Finally, the Chief of DIA's Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism concluded, "We are probably still in the business of describing potentials more than we are able to really render predictive analysis." That testimony reinforces an observation by a DIA senior official with broad experience in counterterrorism that Intelligence Community analysts largely perform descriptive analysis, and interpretive analysis skills have not been encouraged or built into the workforce.
Former NSA Director William Odom also focused on training in materials he submitted to the Joint inquiry:
[Although] the Intelligence Community's system of education and training is extensive, diverse, specialized, and fragmented...it lacks three key elements. First, nowhere is a common doctrinal understanding of intelligence functions and processes documented and taught to all Intelligence Community management and executive leadership personnel. Second, the teaching of Community-wide resource management has been generally neglected. Third, there is no educational emphasis on senior executive leadership and staff training.
The Joint Inquiry was also told that all-source counterterrorism analysis suffered because analysts not located at CTC had limited access to "raw material" in FBI counterterrorism investigations, including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act information, unpublished NSA information and CIA operations cables. The Special Assistant for Intelligence at DIA testified about the extent of these problems:
In my opinion, one of the most prolonged and troubling trends in the Intelligence Community is the degree to which analysts, while being expected to incorporate all sources of information into their assessments, have been systematically separated from the raw material of their trade. ...At least for a few highly complex high stakes issues, such as terrorism, where information by its nature is fragmentary, ambiguous and episodic, we need to find ways to emphatically put the "all" back in the discipline of all-source analysis.
At the FBI, information access continues to be frustrated by serious technology shortfalls. The Bureau's Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Analysis told the Joint Inquiry:
There were a variety of problems in sharing information, not only with other agencies, but within the Bureau itself. This was and is largely attributable to inadequate information technology. In a nutshell, because the Bureau lacks effective data mining capabilities and analytical tools, it has often been unable to retrieve key information and analyze it in a timely manner -and a lot probably has slipped through the cracks as a result.
Following the attack on the USS Cole, DIA recognized the need for better information sharing and initiated the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center. The DIA Special Assistant for Intelligence testified:
...a specific aspect of the concept of operations was its provisions for a highly-protected merged data base containing a  U.S. intelligence on terrorism, regardless of sensitivity, sourcing or collection methods. This was a Director of DIA initiative to overcome the evident vulnerabilities posed by insufficient intelligence sharing within the U.S. Intelligence Community. Although Intelligence Community principals endorsed the idea at the time and since, it has so far not been implemented. ...Legacy rules, policies, interpretation of regulations, and agency cultures continue to impede information and data sharing. As a result, we cannot bring our full analytical power to bear on the terrorist threat, nor can we provide the best possible support to military planners, operators, decision makers or to other consumers of intelligence. ... ogress is being made and there are positive developments under way. But so far remedies remain insufficient to the magnitude of the problem.
Witnesses also described a lack of collaboration among analysts within the Intelligence Community. Terrorist-related intelligence often consists of small fragments of seemingly disparate information. Information that may seem unimportant to one agency may be critical to another. Capitalizing on the analytical strengths of each intelligence agency to understand the terrorist target from different angles should be paramount. Unfortunately, there was no mechanism in place to enable inter-agency collaboration. A former CTC Director of Terrorism Analysis described the problem:
I think the only way to overcome the various cultures of the various agencies is to force the interaction. ..where you're putting people together and getting the understanding. You do find out there are real concerns. People aren't trying to be jerks on purpose. They have problems and you start finding out about those and learning how to work with those.
Although it was established with the intention that it would be the Intelligence Community's hub for counterterrorism activities, some suggested that CTC's operational focus significantly overshadowed collaborative strategic analysis. In interviews, NSA analysts, for example, said that CTC viewed them as subordinate, despite the value of their products. Constructive CTC feedback on their reports was rare. A positive step was taken in early 2001 when NSA and CTC analysts began holding bi-weekly video teleconferences, but these were suspended following September 11 due to workload demands.
DIA analysts reported that their efforts are not fully appreciated by CIA. According to a senior DIA official, a lack of trust on the part of collectors and all-source analysts underlay the failure of the CIA to share information with the rest of the Intelligence Community concerning the January 2000 Malaysia meeting that involved at least two of the September 11 hijackers.
Another component of collaboration is understanding the culture and information requirements of other intelligence agencies. NSA regularly sends liaison personnel to other intelligence agencies to help NSA customers better understand its products. Currently there are [ ] NSA analysts assigned to CTC; before September 11, there were [ ]. There also are [ ] NSA analysts at the FBI; before September 11, there were [ ]. These analysts often do double duty as NSA liaison and by working on projects for the offices to which they are assigned.
Conversely, no CIA analyst and only one FBI analyst works in NSA's Counterterrorism Product Line. The lack of Intelligence Community representation at NSA reportedly prevents collaboration and insight into how customers use NSA products. Over a year ago, for example, a CIA analyst agreed to an assignment at NSA. While there, she was able to scour unpublished NSA transcripts for lead information, such as [ ], of utility to CTC operations. She left after four months without a replacement, despite CTC's increasing need for leads. While the CIA analyst was at NSA, she had access to the CIA computer network, which is not otherwise available to NSA analysts. The CIA detailee conducted searches of CIA operational cables to determine how NSA products were being used by CTC and to check lead information relevant to NSA. These NSA analysts found the information very useful. When the detailee left, the CIA computer access left as well. A senior NSA analyst said that, if her office had daily access to CIA [ ] cable traffic, its productivity could increase dramatically with immediate insight into [ ] requirements and lead information. Currently, the responsibility for reviewing CTC [ ] cables for lead information falls to overworked NSA analysts assigned to CTC who usually conduct these searches "when they have the time."
[Witnesses emphasized for the Joint Inquiry the critical importance of language skills in counterterrorism analysis. The linguistic expertise needed to identify, analyze, and disseminate intelligence relating to the al-Qa'ida threat includes an understanding of colloquial expression in [ ] "terrorist languages" and dialects. [
]. The majority of Intelligence Community language employees, however, do not have the skills necessary to understand terrorist communications.
[According to NSA's Deputy Director for Analysis and Reporting, "[a]nalyzing, processing, translating, and reporting al-Qa'ida related  communications requires the highest levels of language and target knowledge expertise that exists." Communicants speak all major Arabic dialects, making analysis linguistically and conceptually challenging. Evaluating these communications requires considerable subject-matter expertise in Islam in general and Islamic extremist thought in particular to ensure accurate interpretation. Very few NSA Arabic language analysts have done any graduate work in Islamic Studies, [ ]. The targeted person lives in and understands life in a thoroughly Islamic milieu that is reflected in that person's communications].
[The level of language expertise needed to work on the counterterrorist threat is very high. Subject-matter knowledge is necessary in explosives, chemistry, technical communications, [ ], paramilitary operations, weaponry and tactics. Moreover, speakers of Arabic [page 362] and other languages used by al-Qa'ida are in demand: Arabic linguists are also sought for such important issues [-] as other regional and terrorist intelligence targets].
The pool of qualified persons from which the Intelligence Community can draw to meet this challenge is very small and includes persons with military experience, university students, and those with native background or extensive experience in particular countries. Very few U.S. college graduates have more than a limited capability in Arabic. According to the 2002 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System statistics, American colleges granted only six degrees in Arabic in the survey year, 183 in Chinese, and 339 in Russian. U.S. colleges or universities offer degrees in languages that are critical in countering the terrorist threat, such as Dari, Pashto, Punjabi, Persian- Farsi, Hindi, Urdu, Turkmen, Tadjik, Tagalog, Somali, Kurdish, Chechen, or Uzbek.
In sum, the Joint Inquiry was told that the quality of Intelligence Community counterterrorism analysis affected not only its strategy and operations, but also the ability of U.S. Government policymakers to understand threats and make informed decisions. Several current and former policymakers provided testimony underlining the importance of intelligence analysis. For example, Mr. Clarke, former National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, explained:
The FBI did not provide analysis. The FBI, as far as I could tell, didn't have an analytical shop. They never provided analysis to us, even when we asked for it, and I don't think that throughout that ten-year period we really had an analytical capability of what was going on in this country.
Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger implied in his testimony that the U.S. Government has often relied too heavily on analytic expertise within its own ranks:
I think we live in a world, Congressman, in which expertise increasingly does not exist in the government. It's a very complicated world. And the five people who know Afghanistan the best or Sierra Leone the best are probably located either in academia, think tanks or in companies, not to devalue the people of the government. So we have to find a way in my judgment to integrate the expertise that exists on the outside with the information that exists on the inside.
The Joint Inquiry interviewed and took testimony from many leading experts on the Intelligence Community. The experts touched on a wide array of topics, but much of the discussion revolved around four issues: setting priorities, strategy against international terrorism, reform of the Intelligence Community, and counterterrorism within the United States. Included in the record are, for example, the testimony and statements of several seasoned observers: Lee Hamilton, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Judge William Webster, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, General William Odom, former Director of the National Security Agency; Frederick Hitz, former CIA Inspector General; former Senator Warren Rudman, co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century; and former Governor James Gilmore, chairman of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Former Congressman Hamilton placed "first" on his list of reforms setting "clear priorities for the Intelligence Community." Because demand for intelligence by policymakers has become "insatiable," the Congressman argued, the Intelligence Community has become "demand driven" and "there are simply too many intelligence targets, products, and consumers." Since the end of the Cold War, there has not been a "clear set of priorities" within the Intelligence Community and, consequently, there has not been an ordered allocation of resources.
In addition, Former Congressman Hamilton noted that generally "responsibility [has been] on the consumer of the intelligence in both the Legislative and the Executive branches to set forward in some orderly manner the priorities," and he called on the National Security Council to provide guidelines for "long-term strategic planning." The two most important priorities, he urged, should be "combating and preventing terrorism" and "preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
Senator Rudman brought to the Joint Inquiry's attention a 1996 recommendation of the Aspin/Brown Commission on Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community, "a distinguished group of Americans who spent a lot of time looking in advance of 9/11 at precisely the things that [the Joint Inquiry is] looking at post-9/11." Under the heading, "The Need for a Coordinated Response to Global Crime," the Aspin/Brown Commission recommended that, in responding to terrorism and other transnational criminal dangers to the American people, the U.S. Government may have to develop "strategies which employ diplomatic, economic, military, or intelligence measures. ..instead of, or in collaboration with, law enforcement response." This made it essential "that there be overall direction and coordination of U.S. response to global crime." Senator Rudman reflected, "I will tell you that nobody evidently read it."
Congressman Hamilton stated the broad case for reorganizing the Intelligence Community, which he described as now a "loose confederation" with redundant efforts, imbalances between collection and analysis, and coordination problems:
The very phrase 'Intelligence Community' is intriguing. It demonstrates how decentralized and fragmented our intelligence capabilities are. ...New intelligence priorities demand a reorganization of the Intelligence Community. ... [W]e really are in a new era, and we must think anew.
Joint Inquiry witnesses expressed a range of views on two interrelated questions about the organization of the Intelligence Community:
--whether Community leadership should be vested in a new, cabinet-level Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with Community-wide responsibilities beyond those now vested in the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), particularly with regard to budget planning and execution; and [page 365]
--whether the "double-hatting," by which the DCI is also the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, should be ended so that the DNI becomes the President's principal intelligence advisor with authority to lead the Community, while a separate Director oversees the CIA.
Congressman Hamilton testified that:
[w]e need a single cabinet-level official who is fully in charge of the Intelligence Community, a Director of National Intelligence or DNI." To fulfill that role, the DNI "must be in frequent and candid contact with the President[,] have his full confidence...have control over much, if not most of, the Intelligence Community budget, and the power to manage key appointments. [Presently, the DCI] does not have this control, and thus [the DCI] lacks authority.
Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger also stated:
...[S]trengthening the DCI's authority to plan, program and budget for intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination will permit much more effective integration of our intelligence priorities and efforts, including better concentration on counterterrorism.
A DNI with authority over management and particularly budget, Congressman Hamilton concluded, is important for "responsibility and accountability":
The person who controls the budget controls the operation. And if you don't have budget authority, you are dramatically undercut in your ability to manage the operation. That's why the bureaucrats fight so hard over budget. Budget is power.
General Odom expressed a limited difference on the extent of the proposed Director of National Intelligence's budget authority: "I think Congressman Hamilton wants more executive budget authority than I do, but otherwise I think we overlap enormously." The General would give the DNI the planning power necessary to take "an overall comprehensive look" at the intelligence budget and assess whether intelligence agencies are adequately funded. He would not give the DNI budget "execution" or "spending" power, which would require that Congress [page 366] rewrite regulations governing Department of Defense spending because NSA, a principal member of the Intelligence Community, is a component of the Department of Defense.
Several experts called for separate heads of the Intelligence Community and the CIA. Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger "encourage[d] the Committees to consider proposals to separate the DCI and CIA Director positions, so the DCI can focus primarily on Community issues and not just CIA concerns." Congressman Hamilton was even more definite: to avoid a "natural bias" toward the CIA, the head of the CIA should not also be the DNI: "You cannot be head of the Intelligence Community and head of the CIA at the same time. There's a conflict there. And I want someone over all that. ..." General William Odom, former Director of the National Security Agency; added: "The DCI becomes trapped if he's also directing an agency, and therefore he doesn't look at the Community as a whole as much as he could."
Judge Webster disagreed with separate appointments and roles for the head of the Community and the CIA and argued instead for keeping the DCI "double-hatted," but strengthening the DCI role.
[M]ore emphasis [should be put] on finally addressing the lack of real authority that the DCI has over the Intelligence Community. He does not write the report cards on the agency heads. He does not even pick the agency heads. He has nominal authority over the budget. ...