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Public Statements

Joint Hearing of the Intelligence Community Management Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming - National Security Implications of Global Climate Change

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Just to follow the line of questioning from this morning for just a moment longer, let me ask Dr. Fingar, why you chose the IPCC judgments and I gather this was not just a randomly selected essay that somebody tossed off the top of their head and that you, as I recall from reading the assessment, you actually subjected it to some analysis about how conservative it was or how far out it was.

DR. FINGAR: I invite Matt to answer that.

REP. HOLT: All right.

MR. BURROWS: We selected the IPCC fourth assessment as well as other -- We selected the IPCC fourth assessment report as well as other peer-reviewed scientific material because first, it was -- IPCC report was peer reviewed and accepted by the U.S. government. So it was, in our minds, the consensus document by which to use as a base then for analyzing the security implications of climate change.

REP. HOLT: Thank you. The other question I'd like to pursue and I'm sure there won't be time to exhaust it but it's something that Dr. Fingar, you and I have discussed before.

It's the implications for the way we do and collect intelligence, collect and analyze intelligence in the United States. For 50 years, partly because of the Cold War mentality and for various other reasons, our intelligence, both the budget, the directives, and the way the analysts think has been oriented toward political and military issues. It's all been -- you know, in shorthand we might say we've been practicing criminology, trying to get inside the political dynamics in the world.

You said you had to use a different methodology in putting this together. I wonder if we shouldn't be using that different methodology more often, in more other areas, because by focusing on the politico-military dynamics we can sometimes miss things that are, perhaps, of even greater import.

DR. FINGAR: I absolutely agree with you on two dimensions; maybe more, but two specifically. One is thinking about our national interest, our national security, in ways that are broader than they were in the past. And certainly, the range of questions that are posed to the intelligence community now come from a much wider spectrum of U.S. government agencies, and the old way of doing things is inadequate to new problems. The other is the reaching out for information that is not inherently sensitive or classified because we stalled it, because we used very sophisticated methods to achieve it. Engaging with experts, inside and outside of the United States government, inside and outside of the United States, has become -- is an increasingly important and now soon-to-be mandated by DNI McConnell as a part of what is expected of all analysts in the community.

REP. HOLT: So I gather part of this different methodology that you recommend means a better use, more integrated use, of open-source information.

DR. FINGER: Absolutely.

REP. HOLT: You're alluding to the fact that in the intelligence community, there is this belief -- a fallacious belief, I must say -- that hard-won information -- in other words, information gained surreptitiously or through expensive national technical means -- is somehow better information than you might get. It's certainly harder won, but it's not necessarily better than what you can get from open sources.

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