Archive for the ‘director of national intelligence’ Category

Obama Expected to Replace Key National Intelligence Team

November 12, 2008

The nation’s top two intelligence officers expect to be replaced by President-elect Barack Obama early in his administration, according to senior intelligence officials.

A number of influential congressional Democrats oppose keeping Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden in their posts because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance. One Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said there is a “consensus” view on the matter.

From left, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden testified on Capitol Hill in February about the annual threat assessment.

From left, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden testified on Capitol Hill in February about the annual threat assessment. (By Nikki Kahn — The Washington Post)

By Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung
The Washington Post

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Spymaster would allow peek under cloak

March 10, 2008
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The professionally coy American intelligence agencies may be getting ready to show a little ankle.
Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency

A top intelligence official says he wants to pull back the curtain of secrecy to let Americans see more clearly what it is intelligence agencies do, and how they do it.

“We’ve allowed our detractors to frame the national debate and cast us as the villains,” said Donald Kerr, the No. 2 official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“We in the intelligence community are not winning hearts and minds in the U.S. We’re not even trying. That’s what bothers me most.”

It was a wistful call to restore public trust in a community tarnished by its own actions and by allegations of misdeeds that feed on secrecy.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080310/ap_on_go_ot/spies_image_problem;_
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U.S. Intelligence Chief Says Terror Threat Going Up

February 17, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 17, 2008

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said today, “Now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they’ve achieved — Al Qaeda’s achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan — the threat is going up.”

DNI McConnell appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell speaks ... 
 When asked by Mr. Wallace to reflect on recent comments by President Bush, DNI McConnell said, “President Bush is repeating advice that I’m giving him. As you know, I am not a political figure. I am a professional. I’ve been doing this for 40 years.”

President Bush had said following recent Congressional action to limit U.S. intelligence evesdropping “The United States is now more in danger of attack.”

Earlier this week House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “The president’s comments are wrong, divisive and nothing but fear-mongering.”

Senator Ted Kennedy said, “The DNI’s latest comments show yet again the shamelessness of the administration’s tactics.”

McConnell said the terrorists have, “New information, new personalities, new methods of communicating.”

 The DNI said we are in a period of “Increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on. And the key is the — if you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that.”

The congressional action would limit a governments ability to solicit and obtain communications intercepts and information from what are called “private carriers.”  Private carriers are usually telephone companies.

“Ninety-eight percent of it [telephone communications] is owned and operated by the private sector,” said McConnell.  “We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. And the private sector, although willingly helped us in the past, are now saying, ‘You can’t protect me. Why should I help you?'”

About the terror threat McConnell said, “We have not located an Al Qaeda cell inside the United States that is directly associated with Al Qaeda.

“There are other groups that we watch closely, but the attempt on the part of Al Qaeda — they have safe haven,” said the DNI. “They have leadership. They have the middle-grade trainers. And they’re recruiting.”

“They have been successful in recruiting any number, and they’ve trained them in Pakistan and then sent them back to their home country,” he said.

“Often, they will try to recruit in a country that does not require a visa to get inside the United States,” McConnell said. “So you can see these are very sophisticated people, and they’re looking for any means to come back into the United States.”

“Casualties greater than 9/11 — that’s their objective,” said the DNI.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, right, looks ... 
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, right, looks on as President Bush makes a statement regarding the Protect America Act, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell: Al-Qaida near tipping point?

February 7, 2008

By  PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida‘s embrace of violence may be undermining the terrorist group’s support in the Muslim world, the nation’s top intelligence official said Thursday.

Director of National Intelligence  Mike McConnell, left, talks ...
 Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, left, talks to CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.
(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

“The question becomes, are we reaching a tipping point to witness the decline of this radical behavior?” said Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell at a House Intelligence Committee hearing. “We don’t know but we are watching it very closely.”

Most victims of al-Qaida bombings and attacks are Muslims, McConnell said. In Iraq, the violence perpetrated against Iraqis by insurgents associated with al-Qaida pushed local tribes to turn against the group and has led to improved security, he said, adding that the same pattern may take hold elsewhere.

“In the last year….

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 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080207/ap_on_go_
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mNgJAHDn8VW9Zkres0NUE

Al Qaeda Threat to Pakistan’s Survival

February 7, 2008

By  Sridhar Krishnaswami
India Abroad
February 6, 2008

Al Qaeda and Taliban elements which have moved beyond Pakistan’s tribal areas are threatening the country’s survival, a top United States intelligence official has said in an unusually strong warning, asserting that only the army had the ‘strength’ to check the menace.

“I think the most significant thing in the recent situation is the threat has moved into Pakistan proper to threaten the very existence of the (state). Pakistan has now recognised that this is an existential threat to their very survival,” director of national intelligence Admiral Michael McConnell said.

He said the Pakistani leadership was taking steps to be more aggressive in getting control of the situation, with regard to not only Al Qaeda, but also the militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

His comments came after senior law makers, cutting across party lines, expressed serious concern at the terror threat coming out of Pakistan, especially in the FATA of the north.

“The militancy emanating from the tribal areas has grown so strong that it has spread to the settled areas of Pakistan, in the North-West Frontier province, but also reaching into the heart of Pakistan’s cities, including Islamabad. The most egregious example of this, of course, is Benazir Bhutto,” remarked senior Republican Senator Orin Hatch.

“At what point do you believe it would be better to pronounce the current Pakistani government a complete failure in advancing security for us or even their own people? And what Pakistani institutions could successfully stand against these threats?”  he asked McConnell.

“The only institution that has the strength to do what you just described is the Pakistani army,” the official said. He, however, added that the force was not adequately trained to carry out anti-insurgency operations.

“So that discussion is taking place in Pakistan now. And there will be changes in time to be more aggressive in addressing this threat,” McConnell said.

He said it was a ‘very critical time’ for the Pakistan government as the country was going through a transition to democracy. “It is a key point in Pakistani history. For the first time in their history, their legislature finished a term, and the elections are happening later this month on the 18th”.

“I’ve spoken to my counterparts in Pakistan and General Kayani, who’s chief of the army staff. I think they would agree in broad outline with your analysis,” said Gen Michael Hayden, head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani speaks at the ... 
Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani speaks at the test-firing of a medium-range Shaheen-1 (Haft-IV) ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in Pakistan January 25, 2008. Kayani dismissed on Friday fears that the country’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic militants as the military test fired a nuclear-capable missile.
REUTERS/Stringer (PAKISTAN)

Pakistani military operations in FATA have had ‘limited effect’ on Al Qaeda, the head of the Defence Intelligence Agency Gen Michael Maples said.

“However, Pakistan recognises the threat and realises the need to develop more effective counterinsurgency capabilities to complement their conventional military,” he added.

Reiterating the state department’s view that the US was not getting enough information on top militant leadership, Admiral McConnell said, “If we had the locating information, particularly of the leadership, we would be able to carry out actions to neutralise the leadership. So that specific information we seek. We do not have it”.

In his opening statement, Senator John Rockefeller pointed out the fact that after six and a half years since September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains at large.

“That is a source of embarrassment and concern to all of you,” he said. “Al Qaeda has used this border safe haven to reconstitute itself and launch offensive operations that threaten to undo the stability of Afghanistan and undermine, if not overthrow, the Pakistan government,” Rockefeller remarked.

Another Democrat Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana asked the intelligence community if it would strike the balance between the United States getting involved and the risk of ‘destabilising an already fairly tenuous regime’ in Pakistan.

“How do we strike that balance? And when do we conclude that, if the Pakistanis simply can’t do it by themselves, that we have to do more and essentially say, ‘Look, if you can’t do it, we’re going to have to do more, and we’re going to do what we need to do here, because we can’t afford to have a repetition of the Afghan situation’? Bayh asked.

“I think there’s more commonality of view between us and our partners that this is a threat to both of us. In the tribal area, Pakistanis were concerned about it, but the threat emanating from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas was more a threat outside of Pakistan than it was to Pakistan, per se,” Gen Hayden of the CIA said.

Maples said Al Qaeda has expanded its support to the Afghan insurgency and presents an increased threat to Pakistan, while it continues to plan, support and direct transnational attacks. It has extended its operational reach through partnerships with compatible regional terrorist groups, including a continued effort to expand into Africa.

“Al Qaeda maintains its desire to possess weapons of mass destruction,” Maples said.

Pakistan Is Threatened, Intelligence Chief Says

February 6, 2008

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 6, 2008; Page A03
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Radical elements are now a threat to the survival of Pakistan, prompting Pakistani military leaders to recognize that more aggressive efforts are needed to get the elements under control, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said yesterday in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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“In the last year, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths were greater than the past six years combined,” McConnell said in an unusually strong warning about Pakistan’s political problems. “What’s happened is Pakistan has now recognized that this is an existential threat to their very survival.”
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Pakistani leaders, he said, are “starting a process to be more aggressive in getting control of the situation.” The elements include al-Qaeda and Taliban members who for years were nurtured by Pakistani military and intelligence officials, prompting U.S. lawmakers and others to question the sincerity of the government’s effort.
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502979.html

Al Qaeda seen planning another attack on U.S.

February 6, 2008

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times 
February 6, 2008

Senior al Qaeda leaders have diverted operatives from Iraq across the globe and are increasing preparations to strike the United States, senior intelligence officials told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday. They said the terrorists had plans to attack the White House as recently as 2006.
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“Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S. — the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack in the homeland,” said Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, which oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.
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Intelligence officials also said they used a controversial interrogation tactic known as “waterboarding”….

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 http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080206/NATION/604494540/1001

Related:
Pakistan: Militants declare cease-fire

SecDef Gates, Admiral Mullen Testify Before SASC

U.S. sees Russia, China, OPEC financial threat

February 5, 2008
By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States should be worried that Russia, China and OPEC oil-producing countries could use their growing financial clout to advance political goals, the top U.S. spy chief told Congress on Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testifies ... 
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testifies before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington February 1, 2007. Concerns about a weaker U.S. dollar could tempt more oil-producing countries to delink their currency pegs from the dollar or ask to be paid in other currencies, McConnell said on Tuesday.
(Jim Young/Reuters)

U.S. National Director of Intelligence Michael McConnell voiced the concern to Congress in an annual assessment of potential threats, in which economic matters joined terrorism, nuclear proliferation and computer-network vulnerabilities as top security issues.McConnell told the Senate Intelligence Committee in prepared testimony that the global threat of terrorism remained, but that al Qaeda had suffered setbacks and its international reputation was diminishing.

Among other top worries, Iran….Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080205/
pl_nm/security_usa_threats_dc_1
   

China’s Missiles

January 4, 2008

By Bill Gertz
“Inside the Ring”
The Washington Times
January 4, 2008

The Pentagon’s latest estimate of Chinese missile deployment opposite Taiwan is that there are now more than 1,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan.
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“China has deployed roughly 1,000 mobile CSS-6 and CSS-7 short-range ballistic missiles to garrisons opposite Taiwan,” said one knowledgeable defense official.
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The official declined to comment on a Tuesday speech by Chen Shui-bian, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), who stated that Taiwanese military intelligence now counts 1,328 Chinese missiles deployed within range of Taiwan, an increase of more than 300 from earlier estimates.
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The China missile buildup has drawn no criticism from the Bush administration, which appears to have shifted its policy away from supporting Taiwan to backing communist-ruled mainland China.
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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month echoed Beijing in calling Taiwan’s plan for a vote on United Nations membership as “provocative.” By contrast, Miss Rice and other administration officials have said nothing about the missile buildup, which the Pentagon says is designed for a massive “decapitation” strike against Taiwan in any future conflict.
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Defense officials said the policy tilt toward Beijing is due to the growing power of pro-China and anti-Taiwan policy and intelligence officials located at key posts within the National Security Council staff, the State Department, Treasury Department and within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Read all of “Inside the Ring”:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080104/NATION04/410150204/1008

U.S. Spymaster: Russia, China “Going After” U.S.

September 18, 2007

By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – China and Russia are spying on the United States nearly as much as they did during the Cold War, according to the top U.S. intelligence official.

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, says in testimony prepared for a Tuesday congressional hearing that a law passed last month expanding the U.S. government’s eavesdropping power is needed to protect not just against terrorists but also against more traditional potential adversaries, such as those two Cold War foes.

“China and Russia’s foreign intelligence services are among the most aggressive in collecting against ….

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on_go_ca_st_pe/spying_on_us_8