19 July 2002
Source: http://intelligence.house.gov/Word/THSReport071702.doc (1.3MB)

[14 pages.]



Counterterrorism Intelligence Capabilities and Performance Prior to 9-11

A Report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader

July 2002




Saxby Chambliss (R-GA),

Jim Gibbons (R-Nv),
Peter Hoekstra (R-MI)
Ray Lahood (R-IL)
Richard M. Burr (R-NC)
Terry Everett (R-AL)

Porter J. Goss (R-FL),
Ex Officio

Majority Staff:

Jay Jakub,
Subcommittee Staff Director

James Lewis,
Professional Staff Member

Krister Holladay,

Diane Roark,
Professional Staff Member

Riley Perdue,
Professional Staff Member

Kevin Schmidt,
Staff Assistant

                             Jane Harman (D-CA),
Ranking Democrat

Gary Condit (D-CA)
Tim Roemer (D-CA)
Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Robert (Bud) Cramer, Jr. (D-AL)

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),
Ex Officio

Minority Staff:

Carolyn Bartholomew,
Professional Staff Member

Beth Larson,
Professional Staff Member

Marcel Lettre,
Professional Staff Member

Wyndee Parker, Counsel,
Professional Staff Member



[Member names above omitted]

July 17, 2002

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Speaker of the House of Representatives
United States Congress
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

In accordance with your instructions, and those of the Democratic Leader, we hereby submit this report of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Subcommittee was established at your direction as a bi-partisan 'working group' in January 2001 with a mandate to make recommendations on how to improve America's counterterrorism and homeland security capabilities. It was later given the responsibility to investigate the intelligence deficiencies that existed on September 11, 2001, and its status changed to that of a subcommittee of the Intelligence Committee.

We subsequently set about evaluating the performance of the three key agencies charged with protecting America from the scourge of terrorism, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This report represents our findings on the gaps in the aforementioned agencies counterterrorism capabilities prior to 9-11, and makes specific recommendations on how those gaps should be addressed. Because of your expressed desire to improve Congressional oversight of counterterrorism and homeland security, we have also included our assessment of the current oversight situation in the House on these issues, and have offered options for streamlining and enhancing the quality of oversight. Additional information on terrorism and homeland security matters has been included to provide you with a useful reference aid.

It has been our honor to serve in this bi-partisan capacity in support of the security of all Americans. We will continue to provide you and Leader Gephardt with our assessments, in various forms, of key issues related to the war on terrorism during the remainder of the 107th Congress and for as long as our work remains useful to you.

Respectfully submitted,

Saxby Chambliss

Jane Harman
Ranking Democrat

A Report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader
from the
Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

July 17, 2002

Executive Summary

The principal objective of this report and the work of the Subcommittee has been to review the counterterrorism capabilities and performance of the Intelligence Community before 9-11 in order to assess intelligence deficiencies and reduce the risks from acts of terrorism in the future.

The terrorist attacks perpetrated on September 11, 2001 constituted a significant strategic surprise for the United States. The failure of the Intelligence Community (IC) to provide adequate forewarning was affected by resource constraints and a series of questionable management decisions related to funding priorities. Prophetically, IC leadership concluded at a high-level offsite on September 11, 1998 that "failure to improve operations management, resource allocation, and other key issues within the [IC], including making substantial and sweeping changes in the way the nation collects, analyzes, and produces intelligence, will likely result in a catastrophic systemic intelligence failure."

The Subcommittee has found that practically every agency of the United States Government (USG) with a counterterrorism mission uses a different definition of terrorism. All USG agencies charged with the counterterrorism mission should agree on a single definition, so that it would be clear what activity constitutes a terrorist act and who should be designated a terrorist. Without a standard definition, terrorism might be treated no differently than other crimes. The Subcommittee supports a standard definition as follows: "Terrorism is the illegitimate, premeditated use ofpolitically motivated violence or the threat of violence by a sub-national group against persons or property with the intent to coerce a government by instilling fear amongst the populace."

The Subcommittee concludes its work for this report by reflecting on three key areas:

Summary Findings and Recommendations Across Agencies


The summary finding regarding CIA is that CIA needs to institutionalize its sharp reorientation toward going on the offensive against terrorism. This report also arrived at the findings and recommendations that follow.


The summary finding regarding FBI is that FBI's main problem going forward is to overcome its information sharing failures. This report also arrived at the findings and recommendations that follow.


The summary finding regarding NSA is that NSA needs to change from a passive gatherer to a proactive hunter - a revolution in how it conducts its work. This report also arrived the findings and recommendations that follow.


The summary finding regarding weapons of mass destruction terrorism is that terrorist interest in CBRN weapons has been strong enough to require that the US address this threat more vigorously than it ever has before. This report arrived at the additional findings an recommendations that follow.

Other Issues

The report also arrived at two findings and recommendations on additional important ssues.

Recommendations for Congressional Activity

In addition to the specific recommendation set forth in the chapter on Congressional oversight, the report concluded that a number of other activities would be usefully undertaken by Congress.

Recommendation: The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence should continue aggressive oversight on a number of issues identified by the Subcommittee, including: ensuring robust unilateral clandestine collection capabilities benefiting counterterrorism collection; improving the core training program and career path for officers in the counterterrorism discipline; enhancing language training capabilities across the IC; continued support to important signals research and target development sites; support to NSA to reform its acquisition process; global coverage capability for clandestine human inlelligence collection and analysis.

Recommendation: HPSCI should continue to work with the Director of Central Intelligence to examine emerging proposals for formulating one or several interagency counterterrorism analytical units.

Recommendation: The Speaker should direct the relevant committees of jurisdiction, including HPSCI, International Relations, Armed Services, and Judiciary to conduct a joint assessment of the effectiveness of the U.S. government's strategy, capabilities, and budgets to combat CBRN terrorism.

Questions for Further Focus in the Future

The Subcommittee views oversight of intelligence-related elements of terrorism and homeland security matters as critical to strengthening U.S. security and will concentrate on these matters in the coming months. This study has looked back. We must also raise questions for the future. The most important of these questions, which will assist in setting the Subcommittee's agenda going forward, are listed below.

1. End State. What will the end-state homeland security archificture need to look like?

2. Intelligence Components. What are the key intelligence-related components necessary in such an architecture? Where they do not yet exist, how must we begin to build them?

3. Security and Other American Ideals. How should we rebalance America's need for security -- and strong intelligence and warning -- with other American ideals, such as economic prosperity and personal liberty.

4. Intelligence Support to All Parties. As the roles of citizens, public, and rivate sectors, and first responders begin to clarify how can the intelligence community be fully responsive to requirements for useful information on the nature of he terrorist threat.

5. Technology Plan. What ought to be the technological components -- especially critical in intelligence collection and analysis i- incorporated into the end-state homeland security architecture?

6. Legal Framework. What ought to be the legal framework guiding the homeland security intelligence collection and analysis missions?

7. Threat Assessment and Weapons of Mass Destruction. How will the homeland security architecture ensure a full, ongoing process for assessing the threat, including conventional tactics of mass destruction as well as CBRN weapons.

8. Additional Threats. Although this report focuses on new capability to rcduce the terrorist threat, it is important that, as priorities and resources shift other threats to our national security continue to receive sufficient understanding, monitoring, and warning.

The subcommittee expects this report to be helpful to the joint inquiry bein conducted by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into the September 11 attacks. Some of the questions posed by this report may be answered in the course of their inquiry. Others will be the focus of the subcommittee's efforts in the weeks ahead as it continues to work to reduce the threat of future terrorist attacks.

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