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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


Location: Washington, DC


I'd like to focus -- I'm a member of both the Intelligence Committee and Arms Services Committee. I'd like to focus my first question on the declassification decision and drill down a little bit there.

Mr. Mowatt-Larssen, I appreciate your service to our Army, to the CIA, now the Department of Energy. I had the great honor of teaching at your alma mater, West Point. And I know -- Dr. Fingar mentioned -- wrote it down here. He said it wasn't a NIC decision. You know, you were privy to this. Whose decision was it to declassify -- well, to not declassify this report?

ROLF MOWATT-LARSSEN: Well, we, as one of the 16 agencies in the intelligence community of course, we participated in the discussion about -- both on the content and then in the consensus on how to handle it. And I would just have to echo Dr. Fingar's comments that we of course supported that decision.

I think the --

REP. MURPHY: Can I just drill down real quick -- of the 16 entities, though, was it someone from the 16 agencies that said we shouldn't declassify -- we should not declassify this, or was it someone above those agencies?

MR. MOWATT-LARSSEN: I'm not privy to the specific details other than the fact that we all participated in the process of both drafting the doc, particularly the Department of Energy with our national laboratories in particular, our primary contributions to the NIA were scientific expertise, as you'd imagine on some levels, and computer modeling, and then of course also as an intelligence entity within the Department of Energy. So I would differ to my colleague, Matt, on any further drilling down on that process of classifying it.

REP. MURPHY: I mean, I'm sure you understand we're a little bit perplexed why we didn't have to classify this document, why it was classified to begin with.

MR. BURROWS: As, again, it's been alluded to, at a National Intelligence Board meeting, all of the 16, which is chaired by the Director of National Intelligence, all of the 16 agencies sit around the table and one of the questions deals with the classification and the release of one to allies. In that session, there was unanimous agreement by all of the agencies to not declassify this report.

REP. MURPHY: It was a unanimous decision to classify it.

MR. BURROWS: To keep it classified, yes.

REP. MURPHY: Okay, I just want to make sure. I want to change over to the armed services side here. If you could elaborate on as far as what you think the most significant impact on U.S. homeland security, specifically as it relates to when you look at global warming, the rising of the water. A lot of our military bases are on the coastline, when you look at San Diego shipbuilding, when you look at the Connecticut, Groton, shipbuilding there as well, but also the other military bases, the Marine Corps, and the Army. Could you elaborate on that effect on homeland security, any implications there?

MR. BURROWS: Okay, we actually identified three areas, broad areas, where the impact would be greatest on U.S. homeland and that was dealing with the drought in the Southwest, then, secondly, the infrastructure along the East Coast, and this would be affected by storm surge. And third was -- dealt with these installations as well as nuclear power plants. And that most of them are located -- I mean, the military installations that we looked at are located along the coast so it's linked with the second.

REP. MURPHY: What recommendations does the panel have that this Congress should be aware of that we should move forward on, when you look at those three areas that you targeted?

MR. BURROWS: Well, as members of the intelligence committee, we don't make policy recommendations. I mean, we tell you what we think based upon the climate science and also what the, you know, the data tells us about possible threats. We don't actually recommend particular steps to be taken.

REP. MURPHY: So, in your professional judgment, you can't give us an idea on what we could do to mitigate potential damages of global warming?

MR. BURROWS: No. I mean, first place, we wouldn't be. That's not our job. But in the -- also, in the second place, as we've talked about here, we didn't actually look at mitigating strategies in any depth.


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