Changing of the guard.
Speaking before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee before stepping down as head of the CIA, Woolsey said the CIA has, over the years, saved American companies billions of dollars worth of contracts that were almost stolen by corrupt foreign competitors.
According to Woolsey, one of the CIA's roles is to learn when a foreign business is either spying on an American company or attempting, through bribery, to obtain contracts that American businesses are trying to win honestly.
"This does not mean we are conducting economic espionage - we are not in the business of spying for private firms," Woolsey said. "But it does mean that we bring these corrupt foreign practices to the attention of the White House and the state and commerce departments, who then seek redress - often successfully."
Woolsey also outlined for the senators today's security threats and explained why the CIA is important in the post-Cold War world.
Facing questions from senators about the need for the CIA after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Woolsey said the world is much less predictable today than at any other time since World War II.
With rogue nations sponsoring terrorism, trafficking in illegal drugs, and attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction, the CIA is playing a vital role in keeping the president and Congress aware of potential trouble spots around the globe, Woolsey said.
"The cards that history has dealt us today are not those of a single clear threat," Woolsey said. "A world power with global interests must be as fully informed as is humanly possible."
Woolsey sparred briefly with Senator Arlen Specter, (R-PA), the committee's chairman, over the chances that the agency could be infiltrated by another spy like Aldrich Ames.
Woolsey said the CIA has implemented several changes that "reduce the likelihood" of another Ames case. But he cautioned that no director of intelligence could guarantee that no such infiltration would occur.
Specter acknowledged that an absolute guarantee "may be unrealistic," but he added: "I think the American people and Congress are entitled to more assurances than you've just given." The committee traditionally asks the CIA director to testify before it at the opening of the new congressional session.
During the hearing, Committee Vice Chairman Robert J. Kerrey (D-NE) said the CIA must prioritize the many threats that exist so that taxpayers' money can be spent effectively. He called for more public debate about intelligence so that the country can reach a consensus on where the agency should be headed.
Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) pointed out that several government agencies have their own intelligence operations. He questioned why the CIA is necessary at a time when resources are scarce and much information can be obtained by watching CNN or reading a newspaper.
Woolsey acknowledged that the media provides a tremendous amount of information, but he said the CIA is needed to find out what is happening behind the scenes.
He likened the information broadcast on the nightly news to watching a baseball game on TV. The CIA, he said, provides information and analysis that goes much deeper than just the game.
"What we really do is the scouting reports," Woolsey said. "We try to get into the other team's training camp."
Those other "teams" include countries like Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
The picture in Iran, he said, is troublesome. While massive foreign debt, rising inflation, and increased unemployment have hurt Iran's military expansion, he noted, the Islamic nation is still trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. The program is still in its early stages, Woolsey said, but he predicted that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon by the early part of the twenty-first century.
Intelligence reports indicate that North Korea has frozen its nuclear weapons program as called for in the agreement it signed with the United States last October. Nevertheless, Woolsey added, the North Korean government has shown no interest in stopping military spending, making its 947,000-man army the fourth largest in the world.
Along with Woolsey, the committee also heard briefly from Lieutenant General James R. Clapper, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Toby T. Gati, the assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research.
President Clinton has since announced that General Michael Carns is his nominee to be the next CIA director. Carns served formerly as director of operations for the Rapid Deployment Task Force, deputy commander-in-chief of the United States Pacific Command, and vice chief of staff of the Air Force. He has an MBA from Harvard.
Subsequent to that announcement, however, General Carns has decided to withdraw his name from consideration. In response, on March 11 President Clinton nominated Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch as the next director of Central Intelligence. Clinton noted in nominating Deutch that he has played a lead role in reviewing the country's nuclear force posture and has overseen the modernization of the United States weapons systems. Deutch was an assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton and provost at MIT before entering public service in the Carter and Bush administrations.
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|Author:||Kirch, John F.|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1995|
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