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Type of Event: Interview
Date: November 24, 2003
Special AccessIssues:
Preparedby: AlexisAlbion
Team Number: Three (Counterterrorism Policy)
Location: CIA HQs
Participants Commission: Alexis Albion, Dan Byman, LloydSalvetti, Kevin
ScheidNon-Commissional (CIA) --------
(C) CIA hasbeen working the counterterrorism (CT) issue for manyyears, even
before the creation of the Counterterrorist Center (CTC) in 1986,1
The Agencyknew about Usamabin Ladin (UBL) for along
time, but thought of him not somuch asaproblem but assomeone tokeep an eye
on. Onlywhen UBL went toSudan didCIA begin toworryabouit him. In Hughes'
opinion, CIA alwaystook. UBL seriously, but it wasnot clear tohim that the USG
wasasconcerneduntil after the August 1998 East Africaembassy bombings. He
recalledfirst hearing about 'Al Qaedal in the early1990s.
(U) Despite CIA'sawarenessofUBL, Hughespointedout that the Agencystill had
tooperate under certain caveats.'Notably, there were limitatiOnsregarding
(C) At the beginning of the 1980s1,both at home and abroad.
This figure rose lendof the first Bush adMinistration dropped!
1999,1I,DUring the Clinton years,j
took a20-30% cut. Eight'yearsof post-ColdWar .downsizing resulted
in inadequate resourcesboth in term'of funding andr;ersonriel, ; acondition that
CIA wasonlyjust corning put of by


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(C)"Budget-cutting alsoaffected prioritization, diverting fundsfrom lesscritical to
more critical areasthough) that CIA isalwaysbeing pulledaway
from yesterday'sproblemstowardstomorrow'sproblems. Befor0 1998,
Afghanistan did'not t rn un on anyone'starget list, mostlyhecalke there ere so 1
many'other prioritks
I The
Jeremiahjeport, which'reviewedthe Agency'sfailure todetect nuclear testing in
Pakistan, directedmuch criticism towardthe CIA andthe Intelligence Community
(IC) in general,'
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There wasnot much encouragernexit tomove resources awayfrom
hese hirer priorityissues tosomewhere like Afghanistan, thought
hadalwaysdirected,some resourcestowardAfghanistan, just in case.
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landhadtodofar less
"salami slicing." Thiswasaresult ofl 'focuson more of the main issuesas
well asbetter resource management.
Resource Management

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Since the late 1970s, 'veryfocusedon radical Iranian fundamentalists
andHezbollah, andnot Al Qaeda, as the organizationsmost dangeroustoU.S.
interests;' 1prior tothe 9-11attacks, the bombing of the
marine ,barracksin Beirut wasthe most lethal terrorist attack on the U.S. Those
whofollowedMiddle Eastern issueswere concernedabout the veteransfrom the
Soviet-Afghan war whowere known tobe receiving paramilitarytraining and,
importantly, were involvedin transnational networking.t aving
conversationsabout thisphenomenon in the mid-. 1,990s. It wasonlywith the August
1998 East African embassybombings, however; that Al Qaedacame tooccupythe
forefront) lin terms of both"the will and means to confront the USG.
kidnot obtain all the resources he wanted
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Saudi Arabia
Saudi support for Islamic radicalism
oesnot see deliberate encouragement for Islamic radicalism on the
part of the Saudis!
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!that although Saudisgive moneyanddonot alwaysknow where it
isgoing, there isone level of the population "whoare just doing the right thing",
andthink theyare helping refugeesandso on. It is amuch smaller number whoare
activelytrying tosupport an Islamic war." that clearly there are
wealthyindividualswhohave given large sumsof moneyanddidnot ask enough
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that the Saudi leadership hasbeen roundlycriticizedbya
number of other Arabstates(such asJordan) for itssponsorship of Wahabism, and
that these complaintsgoback in time long before the OPM/SANG attack in 1995.
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\ \ \CIA- NSA

. .
. . thatIack Downing ancl . Rich Taylor "did a brave thing' '
. .
fin attempt to try to integrate
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more people on both sides (CIA and NSA) and at both the senior and working level.
\\ Currently] .,., la step awayfrom this practice:I
., !while what is needed is more

gration, not less.

\The 'Teasan for thisl I iS\a function Ofboth changing personalities and
the restruCturing.ofthe NSA toward inore , of a defense purpose. The DOD views all
the ICorganizations as combat supportorgartizationSI 'pulling them
'back td.,beleSs a part of the IC and more part of force protection.
. . . . .
. .
This is especially true,,since,.9/11 and the war inAraqj Ithat everyone
now want ' ', 'satellite coverage or going into
combat. But choices need to be made about resources and 'targets.' There is
increasing presSurel

lover Iraq and Afghanistanand there is

a tension in the system as to how to allocate those resources, because there are not
enough satellites to\go roundto cover everyone's competing needs. According to
t seems that the combat commanders are winning out. Global coverage
has become less important than' overage over a combat area.
. .
. . ,
The NSA now has a large CT component.] 'trying to build better bridges
. .
at the Working level between the NSA and CTC.
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I . Ithat NSA Director Rich and the NSA in general tended to be very
responsive to CIA taskingsl lat the NSA they would talk
about conersatiOns and taskings from DC1 Tenet and others: "they took it very
seriously."' 'did not recall much about the DCI's December 1998
'declaration of war' memo or whether meetings had been held in response.
that we need to reduce
redundancies (stovepipes)

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Historically, the FBI has not hadthat manyLegats in the Middle East andhad
tendedtobe regional in their assignments. For example, before the Khobar Towers
attack the regional Legat wasin Rome.
Recommendations and Comments
The CIA is chronically understaffed.

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along with the DO andCIA in general, isconstantlysurging andsuffersfrom
exhaustion. Because there are never enough people andofficersnever have
enough time between assignments, the DO onlydoestraining "asan after-
thought." Andit isa5 to7 year processto'grow' new officers.
Since 9-11, personnel have been taken off of oldproblems(which are
normallyhigh priority) andbeing put ontonew projectsbut the old
problems have not gone away. "Nobodyever takesanything off myplate,"
adding that CIA hasnever been verygoodat saying noto
policymakers (andpolicymakers are apt tochange their minds). As aresult,
understaffing andchronic fatigue are endemic throughout the CIA. By
contrast, the militaryisalwaysadequatelystaffed,(

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the CIA asawhole needs tobe plussedup. Currently,
the demandsfor intelligence have increased/
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He saidthat the CIA isasunderstaffednow asit hasever been.
2. The budget process is in appropriate to current needs. Given the CT mission,
the Agencyneedstobe able toplan several yearsin advance. One year
budgets, continuing resolutions, supplementals, andnot getting moneyuntil
part waythrough the year is"an awful system," which preventsthe Agency
from being able toshift focustonew problemson short notice.
noted, however, that thisisnot just an Agencyissue but afunction of t e
(unwieldy) wayin which the USG works.
3. The CIA needs both area divisions and centers. Areadivisionsark necessary
for obviousreasons. But centersprovide analytic depth andglobal overview.
The CIA needstohave both.
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