HEARING OF THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE, INFORMATION SHARING, AND TERRORISM RISK ASSESSMENT: BUILDING THE INFORMATION ANALYSIS CAPABILITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. King. [Presiding.] All right, Mr. Thompson.
General Hughes, let me thank you for your service, and I certainly wish you well after March 15.
In a way, I will be following up on Congressman Thompson's question, or maybe expanding it a bit. Obviously, information analysis is a work in progress. You have described it that way yourself.
How has the passage of the Intelligence Reform Act impacted on that, either positively or adversely? Do you feel that the
sharing is working the way it should? Is it better than it was before? Do you feel constricted? Again, how does it impact on the Department of Homeland Security?
Lieutenant General Hughes. The first part of the answer is it is a lot better than it was.
Mr. King. Because of the legislation being passed, or just because of the evolving of time?
Lieutenant General Hughes. To be very frank, sir, I have not personally seen or observed any change since the act was
passed that could be attributed directly to the act. Any of the changes that have occurred were ongoing prior to the act being
passed. The act is going to take some time to reach fruition, to have impact.
I think it is a very good act. I fully support it. I think the advent of a Director of national Intelligence is an important piece of that act and will cause the sharing function, the interoperability and commonality among the information systems to occur so that sharing can be better facilitated, and numerous other functions that we all think are laudatory. That will happen. It is ongoing, and much of it was ongoing before the act was passed. That is just a fact.
Over time, since September 11, I have seen a marked improvement. Indeed, in the past year, as I stated in my written testimony, there has been a distinct qualitative and quantitative improvement in the information that is being shared in the intelligence community. By the way, parenthetically, in what can be distinguished from the intelligence community, is the law enforcement community, which as we all know is the nexus that makes Americans nervous, but it is a nexus that has to occur in the battle against terrorism and the battle against destabilizing forces inside our culture. So that is working. We have a much better information relationship than we ever did with the FBI. Actually, it is improving right along. Every few days, we make some kind of improvement.
Is it perfect? Is it everything we could wish for? No. But the improvement is so dramatic that I am loath to criticize it in any way. I am happy to characterize it as something that we ought to keep going.
Mr. King. I have to ask you, is there anyone that you are willing to criticize? Are there any elements within the intelligence community, the law enforcement agencies, who you feel are not cooperating with the spirit of the post-9/11 world that we live in?
Lieutenant General Hughes. I am not willing to criticize them.
Mr. King. Could you question them? Could you enlighten us as to perhaps areas we should be looking at, where there is not full cooperation being given?
Lieutenant General Hughes. I think you ought to do what you are doing now, which is continuing to press the entire intelligence community and the culture to the degree they possibly can to have broad and full information sharing. Just continue the pressure. It is working. I, for one, ascribe that success not to the practitioners of intelligence, but to you, the Congress. You have brought pressure to bear, and I thank you for it.
Mr. King. If we were in closed session, could you direct us as to where we should apply more pressure, you know, in one place rather than another?
Lieutenant General Hughes. No. I do not think so. I think I have given you an honest answer today.
Mr. King. Okay. Also in your opening statement when you mentioned the fact that you would be leaving on March 15, you sort of enticed us with a statement that if we have any questions to ask you about suggestions that you might want to make, we should ask them.
Let me ask you: Do you have any suggestions as to the future, regarding the department or regarding your specific position?
Lieutenant General Hughes. I hope we can continue this work, strengthen it. We need the support of Congress and obviously we need the support of this committee and the subcommittees of the committee that are named after the work of securing the homeland. You need to be first for effectiveness, change, progress in the future here on the Hill. You also need to be our advocate to some degree.
I certainly make a plea for that to continue. My view is that we did not have the same kind of supporting mechanism in Congress when we first started out at the so-called ``legacy'' or older agencies and departments did have. We are slowly building that. I see the permanence of this committee finally recognized, I think a year late at least, as a manifestation of that. I cannot see how you could view it any differently.
Mr. King. Thank you, General.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT