Brennan: My CIA background has prepared me to lead agency
Confirmation hearing resumes for CIA director nominee
- Duration 12:21
- Date Feb 7, 2013
Confirmation hearing resumes for CIA director nominee
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The clock counting Mike statistic stick around for a second it looks like they are able to start the person again let's listen.
My admiration my close friend and colleague Mike Burrell who has twice guided the CIA as acting director with a steady hand integrity and exceptional skill.
If confirmed it would be -- distinct privilege for me to work side by side with Michael my friend and the epitome of -- until as a professional in the months and years ahead.
It also would be a tremendous privilege to serve with the Director of National Intelligence Jim clapper.
Who has mentored literally legions of intelligence professionals ever since his service in Vietnam.
As the president's principal intelligence advisor and the head of -- tells -- community gym is a person of longstanding and deep experience and integrity.
He and I share identical views on the role of intelligence and the importance of giving current and future generations of intelligence professionals the support they need.
And that -- so richly deserve.
There will be the greatest honor of my professional life to lead the women and men of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The agency where I started my career nearly 33 years ago and where -- -- for a quarter century.
A 24 year old fresh out of back to school.
I arrived at Langley in August 1980 as -- GS nine career trainee.
Determined to do my part national security as one of this nation's intelligence officers.
When I join the CIA in August 1980 world offense -- settled.
Our embassy in Tehran have been overrun the year before and 52 Americans were still being held hostage by a radical new government in Iran.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was less than -- year old in the next decade -- witness the slow but steady crumbling of the Soviet Union.
Nuclear proliferation and the spread of weapons of mass destruction were constant concern.
And US officials were hard at work around the globe trying to prevent regional tensions and animosities from turning into full scale wars.
The United States was about to face an upsurge in terrorist attacks that would claim hundreds of American -- in Lebanon.
Including a 49 year old CIA officer named -- -- Who was killed during a brief visit to our embassy in Beirut and who at the time was my boss at CIA.
During my 25 your career CIA I watched up close and even participated in history being made in far off corners of the world.
As CIA fulfilled its critical intelligence rolls.
Collecting intelligence uncovering secrets identifying threats partnering with foreign intelligence and security services.
Analyzing opaque and complicated developments abroad.
Carrying out Covert action and attempting to forecast events yet to happen.
All in an effort to protect our people and to strengthen America's national security.
And throughout my career I had the great fortune to experience firsthand as well as to witness what it means to be a CIA officer.
Such as an analyst who has the daunting task and tremendous responsibility to take incomplete and frequently contradictory information.
And advised the senior most policy makers of our government about foreign political military and economic developments.
Or an operations officer.
Whose job is it it is to find attain those elusive secrets the provide advance warning of strategic surprise political turbulence.
Terrorist plots impending violence cyber attacks and persistent threats such as nuclear chemical and biological weapons proliferation.
Or -- technical expert who seeks new and creative ways to find nuggets of intelligence in tremendous volumes of data.
Provide secure and even still -- intelligence collection and communication systems and held to the -- latest technological threats torn nation.
Or support officer or manager with the responsibility to ensure that the core missions of the agency.
Collecting intelligence providing all source analysis and when directed by the president conducting Covert action.
Are carried out with the requisite skill speed agility and proficiency.
From the Middle East to the central caucuses from sub saharan Africa to central and South America and the vast expanses of Asia to the great cities of Europe.
And all countries and regions in between CIA officers were there sometimes in force and sometimes virtually standing alone.
And for those 25 years it was a great honor for me to be a CIA officer.
As I knew that the agency's contributions to this country's security or as invaluable as they were innumerable.
Following my retirement from CIA in 2005.
I had the good fortune to experience other professional opportunities.
For three years I served as president and Chief Executive Officer of a private sector company.
Where I learned firsthand some very important lessons about fiduciary responsibility.
And sound business practices.
And for the past four years I've had the privilege to serve as the president's principal policy advisor of homeland security and counterterrorism.
In that role I have had the opportunity to work daily with some of the finest Americans I have ever met.
And the intelligence military Homeland Security law enforcement and diplomatic communities who have dedicated their lives to the safety and security of their fellow Americans.
It is because of the work of those Americans.
Serving domestically and especially those serving in dangerous places abroad.
That we are able to experience the freedom -- security to the hallmarks of our nation.
I believe my CIA background in my other professional experiences have prepared me well for the challenge of leading the world's -- -- intelligence agency.
At this moment in history.
Which is as dynamic inconsequential.
As any in recent decades and will continue to be in the years ahead.
Simply stated the need for accurate intelligence impressions analysis from CIA has never been greater than -- is in 2013.
Within it will be in the coming years.
Historic political economic and social -- nations.
Continue to sweep through the Middle East and North Africa.
With major implications for interest Israel's security are our partners and the prospects for peace and stability throughout the region.
We remain at war with al-Qaeda and its associated forces.
Which despite the substantial problems progress we have made against them.
Still seek to carry out deadly strikes against our homeland in our citizens and against our friends and allies.
US computer networks and databases are under daily cyber attack by nation states.
-- national criminal organizations.
Sub national groups and individual hackers.
And regimes in -- -- and Pyongyang remained bent on pursuing nuclear weapons and Intercontinental ballistic missile delivery systems.
Rather than fulfilling their international obligations or even meeting the basic needs of their people.
Yes the CIA's mission is as important to our nation's security today and that as at any time in our nation's history.
And carrying out their mission the men and women of the CIA are frequently asked to undertake challenging.
Perilous and yes controversial actions on behalf the American people.
The CIA is not immune from the -- from scrutiny of these efforts and I welcome a discussion of CIA's past and current activities.
If I am confirmed one of my highest priorities would be the committee's lengthy report on the CIA's former rendition detention and interrogation program.
That involved now banned interrogation techniques.
I have read the findings executive summary of the 6000 page report which raises a number of very serious issues.
Given the gravity and importance of the subject I would look forward to further dialogue with members of the committee on the report and its findings if I am confirmed.
In addition some of our government's current counterterrorism policies and operations.
Have sparked widespread debate domestically internationally and in this room.
I have publicly acknowledge that a fight against al-Qaeda and associated forces has sometimes involved the use of lethal force.
Outside the hot battlefield in Afghanistan.
Accordingly it is understandable that there is great interest in the legal basis.
As well as the -- -- criteria process -- procedures approvals and reviews of such actions.
I have strongly promoted such public discussion with the congress and with the American people.
As I believe that our system of government and our commitment to transparency.
Demands nothing less.
As the elected representatives of the American people and as members of this committee.
You have the obligation to oversee the activities of the CIA.
And the other elements of the intelligence community.
To ensure that they are being carried out effectively lawfully successfully and without regard to partisanship.
If confirmed I would endeavor to keep this committee fully and currently informed not only because it is required by law.
But because you can -- perform your oversight function nor support the mission of CIA if you are kept in the dark.
And I know that irrespective of the fullness of that dialogue there will be occasions when we disagree.
Just as you disagree among your cells at times on aspects of past current and future activities of the CIA.
Such disagreement is healthy and is a necessary part of our democratic process.
But such disagreement should never prevent us from carrying out our national security and intelligence responsibilities.
As a failure to do so could have devastating consequences for the safety and security of all Americans.
During my courtesy calls with many of -- I also heard repeated references to a trust deficit that has at times existed between this committee and the CIA.
If I am confirmed a trust deficit between the committee in the CA would be wholly unacceptable to me.
And I would make it my goal on day one of my ten year and every day -- -- -- to strengthen the trust between us.
I have a reputation for speaking my mind and at times doing so in a rather direct manner which some attribute to my New Jersey roots.
I like to think that my candor and bluntness will reassure you that you'll get straight answers from me maybe not always the ones you like.
But you'll get answers and they will reflect my honest views that's the commitment and makes you.
I like to finish by saying a few words about the importance of taking care of the women and men who serve in the CIA.
Because of the secrecy that intelligence work requires.
Few Americans will ever know the extraordinary sacrifices that these professionals and their families make every day.
Many of them risked their lives and at times have given their lives to keep us safe.
If confirmed I would make it my mission in partnership with the congress.
To ensure that the men and women -- the training trade craft linguistic skills technical tools guidance supervision.
And leadership they need to do their jobs.
They also need assurance that we will do all we can to protect our nation's secrets and prevent prevent leaks of classified information.
Damage -- national security sometimes bravely putting the CIA employees at risk and making their -- much more difficult.
The men and women of the CIA our national treasure.
And I'll consider it one of my most -- responsibilities.
To take care them.
Just as others took care of me when I first arrived at Langley as a young trainee in 1980.
Chairman vice chairman and members of the committee as you well know when he arrived at CA headquarters in Langley.
And into the main lobby you really see the marble memorial wall.
On -- -- stars each one representing a member of the CI family who has who gave his or her life in the service of this nation.
Today there are 103 stars -- that wall.
To me and everyone in the CIA they are not simply stars.
Nor they are they only visible remembrances of dearly departed colleagues and friends.
The stars for presents heroic and unsung patriots.
Americans who live their lives loving this country and who died protecting it.
That memorial wall -- something very special sneak into every other American who has proudly served -- the agency.
I want all C -- employees always be proud of the organization to which they belong.
And -- proud of all of its activities and if given the honor to serve as the 21 director of the CIA.
I would take it as a sacred obligation to do everything in my ability to make sure this Central Intelligence Agency is the absolute best intelligence service -- can be.
And one that makes all Americans proud.
Thank you very much and look for to taking questions.