Pompeo Tries to Defend CIA Tactics at CSIS

4월 13일 미국 전략연구소(소장, Dr. John J. Hamre)는 현 미국 정보부 국장인 Mike Pompeo 씨를 초대해서 국가 안보와 국제 안보에 대해 듣는 시간을 가졌다. Pompeo국장은 인사에서, 트럼프 행정부에서 자신이 CIA 국장이 된 지 100일 되었는데 모든 것들을 다 이해했으며, 알고 있다고 말했다.

“그는 젊은 한 사람의 CIA 요원이었던 Philip Agee 에 대해 먼저 입을 열었다. 필립은 밝고 교육을 잘 받은 명랑한 청년으로 정보직원으로 일을 하다가 갑자기 그만 두고 정보직원들로서 해서는 안 될 일을 했다. 예를 들면 정보직원이 된후,  절대 발설하면 안된다는 선서를 하는데 그는 발설을 했고, 기관 직원을 통해 “미국 외교관 명단과 대사관 직원 사본을 받기를 원한다. 익명으로 주기를 바란다” 라고 말했다.

“필립은 1973년 ConterSpy 라는 잡지사의 창립 멤버중의 하나였습니다. 이 잡지는 1973년 CIA 비밀요원 해외 파견을 요구했습니다. 그리고 1974년 9월호에서 Richard Welch 씨가 그리스의 아테네 본부 국장임을 알고 그의 집 주소와 전화번호등을 잡지에 공개했다. 1975년 12월 크리스 마스 파티를 마치고 집으로 귀가하던 Welch 국장은 자기집 앞에서 차 게이트의 문을 열려고 차를 세우고 게이트의 문을 따는 순간 아테네에 상주하는 테러리스트의 공격을 받아 그 자리에서 사망했습니다.  그는 그때 가장 높은 직책까지 올라간 CIA 정보국 직원이었습니다.

Welch 씨는 알링톤 국립묘지에 안장이 되었습니다. 그의 가족과 동료들은 그를 항상 기억하면서 그의 죽음을 기립니다. 필립은 그 후에도 유명인들을 묘사하고 결국 특별한 손님이 되어 쿠바에서 지내게 됩니다. 그는 자신이 무엇을 한 것인지에 대해 두 번 생각하지 않았습니다. 꼭 지켜야 할 국가비밀을 지키지 않고 국민을 배신했습니다.사실 우리 요원들은 직업을 가질때 비밀을 죽을때까지 지킨다는 선서를 하거든요.

오늘날 필립과 같은 사람들이 많이 존재하고 있습니다. 그들은 미국의 정보기관을 위험에 빠뜨리고, 세계의 안전을 해치며, 그 일에 종사하고 있는 사람들의 생명을 위태롭게 합니다. …Julian Assange(WikeLeaks )와 같은 사람도, Edward Snowden도, 미국인들을 안전하게 지키는 것에 큰 장애물이 된셈이지요.  우리가 정보를 수집하는 것은 미국인들의 안전과 세계인들의 안전과 질서를 위함인데 그것이 어려워 진것입니다.

우리가 할 수 있는 것들이 있습니다. 첫째, 오늘날, 아산지와 같은 자를 통털어 부르는 Transparency activists 들의 무지를 동반한 이상주의자적인 행동의 결과가 악마적이라는 것을 전 세계에 알게 하는 것입니다. 둘째, 우리가 살고 있는 이곳에서 해야 합니다. 우리 주위를 더 철저하게 보안강화하고, 그들보다 더 현명하게 대처해야 합니다. 물론 스노우든 때문에 그 문제에서 자유롭지 못하지만 그래도 더 확실한 방법으로 전환해서 디지털 문제를 해결해야 합니다. 셋째, 더는 아산지를 비롯한 그들이 자유발언을 할 수 없게 해야 합니다. 마지막으로 중요한 것은 정보사회와 우리가 보호하고자하는 시민 사회에서 신뢰를 회복시킬 필요가 있다는 것입니다. 가능하면 우리 정보국과 국민이 더 열린 마음으로 다가가며 신뢰를 회복하는 것이라고 봅니다. 제가 CIA 국장으로서 헌법을 지지하는 것은 당연한 의무입니다.” 라고 말했다.

국제 전략연구소의 수석 고문인 Juan Zarate 씨가 사회자가 되어 Pompeo CIA 국장은  이어 주로 중국, 러시아, 멕시코, 북한, 중동에 대한 전체적인 맥락에서의 미국 안보와 연관된 질의 응답 시간을 가졌다.

먼저 Zarate 고문은,  팜피오 국장님, 왜 WikiLeaks 에 대한 기소를 하셨습니까? 그리고 미국의 이익에 반하는 적극적인 노력과 우리의 적과의 협력을 비국가정보서비스라고 선언하셨습니다. 왜 첫 발언에서 계속적으로 이러한 문제를 부각시킨것입니까? 이 일이 반정보적인 행위로 인해 정보작전을 하는것에 두려움을 느끼신것은 아닙니까? 당신은  러시안들이 WikiLeaks 를 계속 악용하고 있다고 걱정하시는 것입니까? 이란이나 북한이 이 모델을 효과적으로 보고 있다고 걱정하고 계신가요? 왜 이런 문제에 집중하십니까?

팜피오 국장:  물론 그것들이 작을 수도 있습니다. 그리고 제가 계속적으로 아산지를 언급한 것도 사실입니다. 여러분들이 생각한 것보다 이 문제는 훨씬 큽니다. 그리고 사실적으로 말하자면 미국 정부는 우리나라의 사이버 인프라를 위협할 위험이 있는 모든 것들을 보호하기에 충분하지 않았다고 생각합니다. 물론 어려운 목표, 국민- 국가 행위자를 바라보면서 새로운 방식을 가지고 있음을 보았습니다. 물론 미국을 파괴시키기 위한 동기를 가지고 있지요. 저는 가능하면 모든 정보를 수집할 것입니다. 적극적으로 우리 미국 시민을 지키는 일을 할 것입니다. 제 생각은 미국 정보기관과 미국 정부가 모두 책임이 있다고 생각합니다.

Zarate : 비 국가 행위자에 대한 아이디어를 생각해 봅시다. 지금 국장님은 아라비아 반도의 알카에다, 예멘에 있는 알카에다와 관련된 테러단테, 위키릭스등에 대해 이야기 해봅시다. 테러리스트 적응 측면에서 무억을 가장 두려워 하고 있습니까? ISIS 와의 싸움에서 당신은 무엇을 할 수 있다고 말해주실 것인가요?솔직히 말씀 드리자면 다음은 무엇입니까? 우리는 시리아의 수도 롸카를 곧 공격하게 될 것이라는 것을 알고 있습니다. 우리는 유럽에서도 독일에서도, 세인트 피러스버그에서도, 스톡홀름에서도 테러리스트 들의 공격을 봐왔습니다.  테러공격은 어디로 가고 있습니까? 그리고 우리의 전략은 무엇입니까?

팜피오 국장:  테러리스트들의 위협과 공격은 계속 될 것입니다. 내가 이 곳에 있는 한 확언하건대 말이지요. …9/11이 지난 후 15년동안 우리는 테러리스트들을 식별하는 능력을 신장시켜왔습니다. 많은 사건들을 접하면서 그 문제의 근원을 파악할 수 있는 능력을 길러왔지요. 유럽인 동료들도 테러리스트의 다음 행선지가 어디일지에 대해 걱정하고 있어요. 유럽은 더 가깝고 더 쉽게 이동할 수 있잖아요. 그래서 유럽인 동료들도 더 앞서서 그들의 행동을 예의 주시하고 있어요. 그러나 싸움은 여전히 진행되고 있어요.

Zarate : 이 일을 함께 할 동맹국은 있습니까? 시리아 문제뿐만 아니라 ISIS에 함께 대항할 우방은 있는 것입니까? 물론 다시 재건하는데 힘써야 하는데 말이지요. CIA 국장으로서 이러한 비 국가 행위자들을 척결하기 위해 필요한 파트너쉽과 국가가 필요로하는 파트너쉽을 이야기 하는 것입니다. 우리에게 그러한 파트너 쉽이 있습니까?

팜피오 국장:  나는 ISIS에만 집중하지는 않습니다. 물론 그들은 아주 중요합니다. 아주 크지요. 그들은 바그다드에서 Irbil 에 이르기까지 그들의 영역은 아주 광범위합니다. 알카에다 보다 커요. 아프가니스탄에서 일어난 일 아시죠? 아프가니스탄이 ISIS-Khorasan 위협에 대응을 했어요. 우리 모두가 적극적으로 동참해야 합니다. 우리에게 훌륭한 파트너들도 있어요. 사실 이 행정부가 참 잘하고 있어요. 걸프해 주변국가들과 함께 일을 하고 있어요. ISIS, Al-Qaida, Taliban 에 대항해서 싸우고 있어요.

Zarate : 국장님이 되신 후, 처음으로 터키와 걸프만을 다녀오셨습니다. 왜 그곳을 처음 방문하셨습니까?

팜피오 국장: 우리의 중요한 정보기관이 있어요. 그들은 미국을 도와주고 있어요.그래서 감사하다는 말을 하고 싶어서 갔어요. 사실은 그들에게 더 많은 것을 원한다는 것을 알려주고도 싶었지요. 테러리스트를 지원하고 있는 곳들, 테러리스트들을 교육시키고 있는 이슬람사원에 대한 정보를 획득하는데 더 많은 협조와 지원을 말하는 것입니다. 진정한 파트너로서 비록 생각은 다르게 할 지라도 중동 지역에서 테러리즘을 격파할 수 있게 하자는 것이지요. 걸프만 국가들로 부터 물론 대단한 환영과 환대를 받았습니다. 미국과 공동 이익을 위해 함께 노력하고 또 미국을 도울수 있는 그들의 의지를 확인하기도 했습니다.

Zarate : 터키의 발전에 대해 어떻게 생각하십니까? 이번 주말에 대선을 치루잖습니까?

팜피오 국장:예. 그들은 NATO 의 파트너이기 때문에 그들이 어떻게 행동해야 한다는 것을 알게 하였습니다. 다각적인 차원에서의 파트너입니다. 정보 뿐만 아니라 더 광범위한 측면에서 물론 재원도 포함되구요. 항상 생산성이 높은 동맹국은 아니었습니다. 하지만 그들은 우리를 도왔습니다. 아주 많이 도와왔지요.

*** 아래 글은 국제 전략 연구소 고문인 자레이트 씨와 팜피오 국장간에 있었던 질의 응답을 옮겨 놓은 것입니다.

MR. ZARATE: With respect to the Gulf partners, certainly I’ve heard, I know others who have, you know, relationships and contacts in the Gulf, have sort of been thirsting for a resurgence of American leadership and strength in the region. Is that something that you heard in the Gulf when you met with your partners there?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yes. And I would say that I wouldn’t confine it to the Gulf.

One of the things that has surprised me in my new role is how much time I spend with our liaison partners. It consumes a good deal of my day, often. And what they all are demanding is American leadership. It’s not – they’re not looking for the 82nd Airborne, right? They’re not – they’re not looking for us to invest enormous amounts of American treasure. But it is often the case that in a dangerous world America is the only country that can present the leadership that can solve many, many problems, and they are – they are thirsty for that. And I fully expect this administration can deliver that leadership.

MR. ZARATE: Let’s turn to Syria, because in some ways Syria represents a change, perhaps, in the foreign policy of the administration. You may argue differently. But at least the perception of a change, and certainly the perception that the U.S. is willing to enforce red lines in the context of the use of chemical weapons. I’m going to ask you a couple questions here, but I think one interesting question that hasn’t been commented on too much is the speed and rapidity of the – of the assessments that were made. With some much baggage with the intel community around past failures and the need to get the assessments right, how was this done? I mean, take us – take us behind the scenes, if you can, around the intel assessments and how that played into the decision-making of this administration.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Well, so – (chuckles) – let’s see, where to begin? You can – you can imagine that the very first minutes the question was: What happened? To the extent we know what happened, who did it? Can we prove that? How confident are we the scope of nature of what it was they undertook, and under whose authority they took it? I may have missed a question in there, but there were a series of questions that immediately came to the intelligence community.

And in remarkable order, one of the most impressive things about the place that I work is we were able to develop several hypotheses around that, and then to begin to develop fact patterns which either supported or suggested that the hypothesis wasn’t right. And we were in relatively short order able to deliver to our president a high-confidence assessment that, in fact, it was the Syrian regime that had launched chemical strikes against its own people in Idlib.

It took I don’t want to say exactly how long, but we were good, and fast. (Laughter.) Not me, our team. And I don’t mean just the CIA; the entire intelligence community was good and fast, and we challenged ourselves. I can assure you we were challenged by the president and his team. We wanted to make sure that we had it right. And there’s not much like when the president looks at you and says, Pompeo, are you sure, when you know that he’s contemplating an action based upon the analysis that your organization has provided. And we got it right, and I’m proud of the work that the team did to help the president have the opportunity to make a good decision about what he ought to do, again, in the face of this atrocity that took place.

MR. ZARATE: What do you – what do you then make of the Russians’ disputation of those conclusions? Bashar al-Assad just now – you know, in the last 24 hours – calling this a fabrication, the entire event. What do you say in those terms? In part because it’s a – it’s a battle of legitimacy and of proof.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah.

MR. ZARATE: How do you – how do you deal with that?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: So, there are challenges. There are things that we were able to conclude – or use to form the basis of our conclusion that we can’t reveal, so that’s always tricky. But we’ve done our best, and over time I think we can reveal a bit more. Everyone saw the open-source photos, so we – (chuckles) – we had reality on our side, too.

You know, Russia has – I think they’re on their – I can’t remember, it’s their sixth or seventh story now, none of which have an ounce of truth to them. And I would – for anyone who for a moment thinks that this is a credible man, I’ll remind you what he said about the airplane that was shot down, the Malaysian airplane. Go look at his initial quotes. Go look at what he said about the fact that there were no “little green men” in Ukraine, and the fact that he later actually said himself that, in fact, it was his team. And I think to this day he continues to claim that there are no Russians in eastern Ukraine. This is a man for whom veracity doesn’t translate into English.

MR. ZARATE: Do we think the Russians knew about the chemical attack or maybe even were complicit in it?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: So I don’t have much to add. The White House put out a statement. I don’t have much to add to that today.

MR. ZARATE: OK. Maybe one more question on Russia and Syria. Do you think the Russians feel cornered at this point? Are you – are you assessing that the Russians are more likely to lash out? Or is this a moment of opportunity for diplomacy, perhaps, given what’s happened?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Well, as the intelligence provider, we’ve presented the president alternative scenarios for how lots of parties there might respond – the Russians, the Iranians, the Syrians themselves, the Syrian chemical weapons program more particularly, what other options folks might take there in Syria. I don’t know what the Russians will conclude. I’ve had a chance to see a little bit about how the meetings when there in Russia yesterday. I certainly hope it’s the case that the Russians join the rest of the world community in condemning the attacks that took place there. We haven’t seen that yet, but as a CIA director, one has to live in hope.

MR. ZARATE: You mentioned Iran. Iran, obviously a player in the Syrian context, but more broadly a concern to the United States. When you were a congressman you talked critically about the JCPOA. During your confirmation hearings, you talked about moving away from the role of being critical and more as an assessor of whether or not Iran was complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. What’s your sense of both that – is Iran complying with the terms of the nuclear deal – and more broadly, how do you see the Iranian threat on a regional or even a global basis?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: I don’t want to say much about their compliance with the agreement. I’d prefer to present that to the president. I’ll let him communicate that. You should know, we’re actively engaged in a lot of work to assist the president, making sure he has an understanding of where the Iranians are complying and where they might not be. We should all be mindful, given what took place in Syria, and go back and read that JCOPA and what it talks about in terms of the declared facilities and undeclared facilities and how much access the IAEA will have to each of those two very distinct groups. And so that might suggest to you whatever level – what level of certainty we could ever hope to present to the commander in chief.

And with respect to the Iranians, they’re on the march. Whether it’s enormous increased capacity to deliver missile systems into Israel from Hezbollah, their increased strength in and around Mosul with the Shia militias, the work that they’ve done to support the Houthis to fire missiles against the Saudis – the list of Iranian transgressions has increased dramatically since the date that the JCPOA was signed.

MR. ZARATE: And do you see the Iranians trying to use non-state proxies as a force of influence?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Certainly, in each of – in each of those places. Yeah, right, the Shia crescent is close to being developed. And that is not in America’s best interest to permit that to happen.

MR. ZARATE: What do we do to push back or to deal with that?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: So I always start with making sure that we understand that we have to have our partners be enormous assets in assisting us in doing that, whether it’s the work that the Emirates can do in certain pockets, the places that Israel can help us, the places that the other Gulf states can provide assistance. Not always simply focused on kinetic assistance. When people think of assistance, they often think of can they put a battalion or two in the field. These are – these are nations with great treasure and great wealth and great capacity to reach into places that America can’t always reach. And we also have other allies, the Europeans, for whom the threat from Iran is great. And I’m confident that they can assist us as well. I would also argue that something like the activity that was undertaken last week in Syria would have to have been noticed by the Iranians.

Zarate :  아주 좋아요. 그럼 좀 더 주위를 기울여야 할 북한 이야기를 해 볼 까요?

팜피오 국장: 지역전략적인 측면에서 사실을 인지하고 또 사려깊은 결정을 해야 하는데 분명 화학무기 협정을 위반하게 누군가 조종을 했다는 사실을 압니다.

Zarate : 국장님, 마라라고에서 중국 지도부와 회의가 있었을 때 그것에 대한 계산을 하지는 않았을까요?

팜피오 국장: 우리는 위협에 대해, 그 대상에 대해 본질적으로 전술적, 전략적인 문제를 운영하여 대항하고 있어요.

Zarate : 북한에 대한 미국의 전략적 인내는 끝났다고 봅니다. 탄도 미사일 개발에 대한 우려, 북한의 김일성 105주년 기념일, 기념일을 기점으로 한 또 다른 핵실험의 잠재력, 북한에 대해 가장 우려하는 것은 무엇입니까? 왜 갑자기 트럼프 행정부에서 있어서 중요한 문제로 대두되었지요?

팜피오 국장: 맞아요. 진전이 있는 것은 사실이죠. 지난 행정부들은 북한 정부의 대미 대륙간 탄도 미사일 문제와 핵 무기의 위협에 대해 협상을 해 왔습니다. 그런데 지금 북한이 정말 좋지 않은 것은 사실입니다. 그럴때 우발적으로 나쁜 결정을 내릴 수도 있다는 생각을 하기 때문에 우리 행정부가 신경을 쓰고 있는 것입니다.

Zarate : 정보 격차란 무엇입니까? 혹시 의도적인 것인가요? 확실히 말하자면, 우리는 분명히 능력이 있다는 것을 압니다. 대통령에게 최고의 정보를 제공하려고 할 때 격차에 대해 우려하는 점은 무엇입니까?

팜피오 국장: 저는 그것에 대해 구체적으로 말하고 싶지 않아요. 난 그 모든 정보에 정보 격차 즉, (intelligence gaps) 을 인용하고 싶어요. 물론 북한 문제도 예외는 아닙니다. 모든 활동에 그것을 적용시킬 것입니다.

Zarate : 이슬라엘은 이란의 핵무기 프로그램에 대해 이야기를 합니다. 협상중이었죠. 그들은 면책권, 이란의 핵무기 가공의 가능성, 그리고 아무것도 할 수 없는 가능성 등에 이야기를 했습니다. 우리는 이러한 것에 대해, 특히 북한에 대해 면책권을 가지고 있는 가요?

팜피오 국장: 우리는 명심해야 합니다. 정보차원에서, 우리는 핵위협뿐만 아니라 우리는 그것이 핵이라는 한 부분에 국한된 것이 아니라는 것이라는 것을 말이죠. 대륙간 미사일이 핵 무기를 장착했다고 합시다. 아주 중요한 국방에 관한 이야기 입니다. 세계에서  주요 도시에 막대한 피해를 준다는 것입니다. 물론 아주 복잡한 일입니다. 그래서 지난 행정부때도 쉽게 다루지 못했던 일입니다. 솔직히 말하면, 트럼프 대통령은 분명히 말했습니다. 이러한 일이 생기는 것을 예방(prevent)하겠다고 말입니다.

First, I just came from a panel earlier today talking about the tension between the White House and the intelligence community, and where that’s going. You’ve obviously been a very important bridge and a leader, obviously, at the CIA, but a trusted member of the White House team in the early days of the administration. How do you describe where the relationship is between the White House and the intelligence community?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: It’s fantastic. (Laughter.) No, don’t laugh; I mean that. I can only give you my observations. This morning at 10:30, I was in the Oval Office presenting the president his daily brief. I do it nearly every day. When I’m out of town, my deputy is there. The team’s there. The vice president, there almost every day, too, when he’s in-country. They are voracious consumers of the product we develop. They ask really hard questions. I think that’s the sign of a good relationship. I always remind people that when you stop talking it’s not a good thing. So we get lots of hard questions about the product, and how we developed and how we sourced it, and are we sure. That seems completely appropriate. I literally just left another gathering where there were lots of activities underway, but almost all of them hinged on our capacity to deliver the president the intelligence that he needed. And he asks me all the time, and we do our best to deliver against it.

The relationship is, in my sense, fantastic, the word that I used, because the president also is completely prepared to hear things that run counter to the hypothesis. You should know that happens to me, too. I have a hypothesis about a situation, and my team presents data, and I ask really hard questions before we deliver it. It seems quite natural in the intelligence process that this would happen. And so we see that. And, I don’t know, we deliver to him each day our best analysis of what it is he’s most interested in on that given day and the things that we think he needs to know.

MR. ZARATE: There’s a lot of interest in Washington about how he consumes information, the president that is. Does he like more visual information? Does he like videos? Have you adapted the way he consumes information? Everyone, you know, consumes information in different ways, right?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yes. This issue consumes Washington too. (Laughter.)

MR. ZARATE: Yeah. (Laughs.)

DIRECTOR POMPEO: So I – it won’t surprise anyone that after my nomination I spent a fair amount of time trying to understand how you deliver that product to that various audiences. It’s not just the president. Certainly he’s our first customer, but we deliver information to the Department of Defense every day, their most senior leaders, and to H.R. McMaster and his team. So it a broad audience that is reading the product that comes off the press each morning at 3:30 and is delivered throughout the day as well.

And so what we have – so my reading made very clear to me that every individual, including every president, has consumed their information in different ways. They’ve taken it different times, for different durations, with less or more consistency than other presidents. You know, I guess I’d just say this: So we deliver the president his product each day. He consumes it. There have been days when I thought we were there, ready to give the brief. I thought there’s no a chance we’re getting in today. It was a very busy day on a subject unrelated to national security. And you know, each day we’re there.

It’s like clockwork. It’s – and it’s important, because sometimes we only need just a few minutes, and sometimes we need a great deal more of the president’s time. And in every case, he has permitted myself and the DNI and all of the intelligence community to have the window we needed to make sure that we were broadly able to help him understand what was – we thought was going to be very important to him.

MR. ZARATE: Right. You mentioned the DNI, the director of national intelligence, Senator Coats. He’s now on board.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Praise the lord.

MR. ZARATE: Yeah, how do you see that relationship? There’s a lot of controversy.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah. I was the second-happiest person when he was confirmed. His acting director was the most happy, I think. (Laughter.) Look, I’ve known – I knew Senator Coats. I think the relationship’s going to be great. We each have plenty to do. Different spaces, different domains. And I am thrilled to have him on board, beginning to help make sure that the broader IC, the dozen-odd intelligence agencies, are delivering a comprehensive product to the president. And not just a CIA product, or an NSA product, or an NRO product, but a comprehensive product that makes sense for the president.

MR. ZARATE: Before we turn to the question, and we hope to get those in a second, we like to end on a positive note. You know –

DIRECTOR POMPEO: That wasn’t positive?

MR. ZARATE: No, that’s – no, that’s super. (Laughter.) No, I mean, thematically. Thematically. That’s super positive and fantastic. No – (laughs) – you know, the CIA obviously, you know, presents information about threats, analysis around terrible events like the chemical attacks. But it also presents potential opportunities. Where do you see potential opportunities, not only for the intelligence community but for U.S. national security moving forward? There’s a lot of threats in the world. We’ve just sort of scratched the surface. Where are some opportunities that you and the team at the agency have looked at and maybe even briefed the president about?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah. I can think of – there’s more than a handful. Two or three that come to mind: Along with General Kelly, we presented the president some options where we think we can do some really good work against the counternarcotics threats in Mexico and in Central America. I think not a lot of resources but a lot of focus can do some real good there. And I think we’re going to head down that path.

There are real opportunities in Africa as well, places where I think, in the same way, that we can – along with our partners – begin to develop a set of relationships. There’s a big counterterrorism threat there, and one that we’ve done a mediocre job at addressing. And I think we can – if we present a more organized solution, we can come up with very, very good outcomes. And then I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful with respect to some of the larger threats that we’ve talked about, with China and Russia we can get to a place where we can find places where we are not constantly in conflict. And I think there’s a handful of those as well.

MR. ZARATE: Let me – let me just take that last threat, on China, because I think it’s worth asking. Do you think there’s hope that the Chinese will exert more influence on the North Koreans to either slow or to suspend their nuclear program?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: I’m counting on it.

MR. ZARATE: OK. All right.

I’m ready for the questions. Thank you. And while I’m doing this, let me – let me also not only thank CSIS, but let me thank the Transnational Threat Project, led by the late Arnaud de Borchgrave. Alexandra de Borchgrave is with us in the front seat. Judge Webster is the chair of the steering committee, now run ably and expertly by Tom Sanderson. For those who don’t know TNT, they do remarkable work. I was fortunate enough to be part of a three-year study with Tom and his team on the arc of instability, looking at the evolution of militancy. They do great work. So I just wanted to thank you, Tom, for hosting.

All right. I have to ask this one, I guess. Russia. As the investigations proceed, this person’s curious, what are the big outstanding questions for you? What would you like to know that you don’t? And is there any actual evidence that Russia continues to try to interfere or to use active measures to interfere in the U.S. democratic process?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Well, I don’t have any comment on the investigations. They’ll run their course. We’ll do our duty and provide those who ask and have a right to see it, we’ll give them the information that they need so that they can conduct their investigations. I think that’s the agency’s appropriate role.

But with the threat of Russian active measures, yes, it – (chuckles) – it will continue, and I would use as proof of that the fact it’s been going on for decades. This is not a new problem.

I was in – I was in Europe this weekend, and they’re very worried about it in their own elections. They’re seen it. It’s not that they’re worried it’s not imaginary. It’s real. And it’s going to take an enormous amount of creativity. It is, frankly – it is, frankly, with respect to these active measures, it is harder in a democracy, right? There are some tricky – important and tricky issues in a democracy to push back against these information wars, the set of active measures. But we’ve got to redouble our efforts to do so. We have to preserve the American democracy against this threat – this threat of misinformation and propaganda and the like that poses a real risk to our democratic values.

MR. ZARATE: And a lot of our allies are worried about that.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: They’re all very worried about it.

MR. ZARATE: All right. Let me – I’ve got two here that relate to, you know, sort of bureaucratic questions, but they’re important ones.

One relates to whether or not there’s a plan to restructure the intelligence community, as reports indicated that the White House had hoped to do.

Related to that, let me ask this. Director Brennan had launched a large reorganization of the CIA. Some thought that it took the operational focus away from the agency. The question here is, do you plan to stand by the reorganization or revert back to the more traditional model?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah, I’m not going to comment on the second one. I’d certainly tell my workforce before I tell all of you, as much as I dearly love you. (Laughter.)

But I’ll comment this way with respect to the transition that took place at the agency over the past couple years. I did this twice when I ran small businesses. I did things that you would call a modernization or reorganization. In neither case did we nail it. In neither case did we get it right the first time. And so we took a look at it, tweaked it, made it better. In neither of those cases did we get it right the second time, either.

Look, these are continuing processes. When you’re operating in an agile space, organizational structure changes to meet the evolving set of threats. And I certainly intend to make sure that the agency gets to the right place so that we can meet those threats.

And with respect to the review of the structure of the DNI, there’s been no policy decision made yet. I have been – and I don’t have to hide it, because I wrote about this in some of your newspapers – I have often stated that I believe that now, 10 years plus on from the creation of this structure, it’s worthy of a review, given how the threats have evolved. And so I would welcome that kind of review to make sure we have it right, that we’re not back to where we were or that we’ve not gone to a place that doesn’t deliver the intelligence the president needs. A once-a-decade scrub of the structure of the intelligence community might seem to me, at least, like a useful undertaking. That’s just me. We’ll see. I don’t – not foreshadowing what the administration may or may not do.

MR. ZARATE: Yeah.

This is a related question, but it is about the CIA directly. In the changing global threat environment, what will the agency prioritize in attracting the next generation of CIA intelligence professionals? Is it diversity, expanding the size of the CIA, et cetera?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: One more time? Is the question about what kind of people or what –

MR. ZARATE: What kind of – what’s the next generation of CIA pros? Recruitment, are you looking for diversity? What are you looking for?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: No, I’m looking for some brave young men and women who want to go do really cool stuff. (Laughter.)

In that sense, Juan, it’s – this agency has a fabulous history, remarkable people. And those are the kinds of people that we’re looking for: smart people, agile people, people who are willing to sacrifice an enormous amount of their lives to go do really hard things on behalf of the American people. And we’ll find them and take them from wherever we – wherever we can. We need to make sure we have the languages so that we can make sure we understand what others are doing and come from a cultural context.

And by the way, those languages include machine language so – right? – so that we have the capacity to do some of the things that I suggested in my remarks, that is, we have to be cutting-edge with respect to our technology as well. But the core skillset is willingness to work really hard, to be really smart and to be an enormous patriot.

MR. ZARATE: I’m going to take the prerogative. I’m going to ask a follow-on question to this. And it relates to your – to your remarks. Is there – is there a role for non-state actors to play a bigger role in advancing U.S. interests? We often talk about the negative side of the ledger. Obviously, your remarks touched on it. We talk about terrorists. We talk about hackers. But there’s also ethical hackers. There are also those that are trying to promote U.S. values and interests, NGOs and others. What’s your view of the role of non-state actors in a positive way? And the reason I ask it is because that question about what are you looking for, both internal, it’s a – there’s an external question to that as well.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah, yeah. You know, I haven’t given much thought to that in the cyber realm and the hacking realm. I haven’t given it much thought. It is the case today already that we have great partners all around the world who are non-state actors, who are helping America do good things in places all around the world, and we deeply appreciate that assistance.

I’d say this too. I had a question. I think it was a week or 10 days ago I was asked – it was about something some world leader had said that was just clearly false, and I was asked, well, what are you doing to disprove that. And this was a journalist who asked me the question. And I said, well, tell me what you’re doing to disprove that, right? I mean, you’re the fact-finders. This is – this is a central theme that we hear from journalists all across the world, is they are truth-tellers extraordinaire. So I’m hopeful that we will get some of the truth-telling from these people, who will go out and do their own independent fact analysis about what all of us say, whether it’s our own government, where they spend a lot of time – and appropriately so – but others around the world who are saying things that are just patently false. And the global media sometimes turns to others to debunk them, when in fact they have a great capacity to do so.

MR. ZARATE: Yeah. Fantastic.

Let me ask this one, because I know it’s near and dear to your heart, and to mine too. What, if any, effort will be made to collect more HUMINT on money laundering and terrorist financing? What’s the CIA’s role?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: I may just let you answer that one.

MR. ZARATE: No, sir.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah. (Laughter.) Yeah, so always more to do. Along with our partners at Treasury and other places too, chasing the money flows has proven important, and will continue to prove important. There’s always a cyber element to this. There’s always a banking element to this. But very often, there’s also a human intelligence collection piece of it as well, that is, you have to go touch something or be some place so that you can get to that electronic solution. And it’s critical that we get that right, we get this piece of it right so that we can track those terror money flows around the world as well, and then as a result of that, make good decisions – good decisions about networks, good decisions about sanctions and all of the other tools that the president has in his kit bag.

MR. ZARATE: Let me combine a couple more of these questions. The first has to do with the ideology of radical Islam, or violent Islamic extremism. So the first question is, is there a clear strategy for dismantling the ideas of radical Islam. That’s the question. A related one is, what can the CIA do to mitigate recruitment of Americans online to commit terrorist acts?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: I don’t have much to say about the first one. It’s certainly important, but frankly, not at the center of the mission of the agency that I run.

With respect to the second part of that, the recruitment online, enormous amount of resources are being brought to bear. I remember now almost three years ago, almost four years ago, December 2013, there was a man in Wichita, Kansas, who tried to blow up our airport. He got very close. And through the great work of a number of elements of our intelligence community, he was foiled literally at the airport gate. It was very, very well-done. He had been recruited online. It was an aircraft worker who one might not think terrorist, bought a gun online, had found Inspire magazine inspiring, and had made an endeavor to blow up – put a truck with a bomb between gates six and seven at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport – the place that I took off from each and every Monday morning.

We have a lot of work to do to make sure that we’re ahead of the game. It’s far too complex a question for today, but this – the signals intelligence that we collect gets harder as encryption improves – that is, it makes our collection challenges more difficult than they were the day before encryption took place – and we all have an obligation to make sure that we don’t lose access to those foreign terrorists and the information that they’re communicating.

MR. ZARATE: Let me ask you a question about sort of the future of intelligence, as well as technology. I’ve got two here. One that asks: What’s your plan to innovate and adapt to future threats, especially as technology changes society faster than governance, policy or law can adapt? And a related question is, given your statements today that the CIA needs to be as clever and as innovative as the enemies we face, what is your commitment to using the best science available, specifically the 25 years of complexity science, to create the adaptive culture and keen foresight you need?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: That’s a great question, although I know less about complexity of science than I probably ought to. It is hard, by the way, I’ll concede this, in a government institution to stay cutting edge. There was nothing like my time as a small-businessman. When you failed, boy, you knew it pretty fast. Somebody stops buying your product right away, and it is difficult. The agency stood up under my predecessor a directorate dedicated to digital innovation. It’s called the Directorate of Digital Innovation. And our efforts are not only to find and hire talented people who can keep us at the cutting edge, keep us out in front of our adversaries, but also to work with technologies that have been developed in other places, make sure that we are the beneficiaries of the enormous work that goes into other people developing good technology.

We have to stay at the forefront. Our enemies are. The Chinese spend a lot of money on this. The Iranians spend a fair amount of money on this as well. Our adversaries are investing in technology. And we have to make sure that we continue to do so as well.

MR. ZARATE: Do you think a lot of this has to do with the pressures on the intelligence community, the CIA, to be more predictive? That you’ve got to come up with predictive technologies and analysis to feed the policy beast?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: We do. And the agency has spent, and I have reinforced lots of efforts in that very vein, right? There’s some really good math. There’s some really interesting work that’s being done in the sciences to give us better capacity to do that. And what’s a challenge is to make that applicable in the tactical and strategic – tactical and operational environments that we often work. These aren’t things that are set piece and one has years to do. We often have hours and days to develop solutions. And if we haven’t done that homework before, the chance of us being able to deliver that technological solution is pretty low.

MR. ZARATE: Let me – let me take the two questions here that take us back to your remarks. One has to do with the First Amendment. It says, you spoke about the need to limit the lateral movement Assange has by misusing our First Amendment rights. Can you expand on how you plan to accomplish that? And then the second question, which is a bit more tactical but you refer to it in your remarks, are you reviewing insider threat detection efforts in response to the WikiLeaks Vault 7 release?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: We are constantly reviewing insider threat work, and need to. If there’s one thing that doesn’t evolve, it’s the threat from insiders inside intelligence organizations. There’s a long history, dating back to Mesopotamia. So this is – this is a constant challenge and something we have to be ever-vigilant about.

What was the first part? The first part was about –

MR. ZARATE: The first part was about the First Amendment.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah, First Amendment freedoms. What I was speaking to there was, as – was a little less constitutional law and a lot more of a philosophical understanding. Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an embassy in London. He’s not a U.S. citizen. So I wasn’t speaking to our Constitution.

What I was speaking to is an understanding that these are not reporters don’t good work to try to keep you – the American government honest. These are people who are actively recruiting agents to steal American secrets with the sole intent of destroying the American way of life. That is fundamentally different than a First Amendment activity, as I understand them, and I think as most Americans understand them. So that’s what I was really getting to.

We’ve had administrations before that have been squeamish about going after these folks under some concept of this right-to-publish. No one has the right to actively engage in the threat of secrets from America with the intent to do harm to it.

MR. ZARATE: And just remind the audience here, a Harvard-trained lawyer, which you take great pride in.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah. (Laughs.) It was a long time ago.

MR. ZARATE: Yeah. (Laughter.) Here are a couple of questions that you may not want to answer, but they’ve been posed.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Those are the best kind.

MR. ZARATE: Yeah. Do you think Assad was emboldened to use chemical weapons after the Trump administration said his future was up to the Syrian people?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: So you’re asking me to get in Assad’s head. And that’s a place I simply refuse to go. (Laughter.)

Yeah. I think it’s enough to say this. We know what took place. We know that it was an atrocity. And President Trump chose to make a decision in response to that.

MR. ZARATE: What should our policy toward Putin’s Russia be?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah, I’ll leave that – I’ll leave that to somebody else too. It’s one of the great things about being an intelligence guy is that I can leave to others some of the challenging questions about the details around policy. I’ll let Secretary Tillerson and the president and the team present U.S. policy on Russia –

MR. ZARATE: Yeah.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: – in 30 seconds or less.

MR. ZARATE: Yes. (Laughs.) This is a question about the State Department. Again, you may not want to answer this. But this is important, I think, for the intelligence community. The State Department is a member of the IC, of course. What impact, if any, will the proposed reduction in the State Department budget and personnel presence have on the ability of your agency to carry out its mission?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah, we work closely with State Department nearly every place that we operate. And it’s important that they have the resources to do that. With respect to the budget fights, I’m someone who came from the policy world who always thought that government could do better with even a little bit less money. I still firmly believe that, not only at the State Department, but in my agency too. We all ought to be ever mindful that we’re delivering value against the dollars that we are extracting from the American people.

And so I think what we ought to do, rather than spend a lot of time thinking about the exact number of dollars, we ought to talk about the mission set that we have, the resources that are required to execute that in a way that is deeply excellent, and then match the resources to fit it. And I’m confident that the State Department will end up with those resources as well.

MR. ZARATE: This is a related question, but it’s about elections. There’s a lot of important elections coming up. We talked a little bit about Turkey. We’ve got elections in France and Germany. We’ve got elections in Iran as well. We’ve got a transfer of power in South Korea. How does the agency analyze elections and these political movements? And what – is there anything that concerns you about trends in terms of political movements or these elections?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: You know, we perform intelligence on those elections in the same way that we do with respect to everything else. We try to help the president understand what the election looks like and what it tells you about the direction, the policy direction, that a particular country might take, right. It’s – that’s the important thing. It’s not necessarily the who but the what that follows from those elections.

So our intelligence is very, very focused on trying to help deliver to the president what could be disjunctive changes in a country, right. If you have a big change in leadership in France or upcoming – I hesitate to call it an election, but this thing that stands for an election in Iran – you want to make sure you deliver to the president what the future might look like. And we do our best to deliver that to him.

MR. ZARATE: Let me close maybe with one last question for you. Has there been anything that’s surprised you as CIA director, something big or small that’s been surprising or something you didn’t expect as the CIA director?

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Yeah, a whole lot of people show up. (Laughter.)

You know, the thing that – so I was on the Oversight Committee, so I had a sense of the people and the culture at the Central Intelligence Agency. So I had a feel for that already. But as a member of Congress, you spend some fraction of your time on that work and then you have other things that occupy your life as well.

And as I’ve been doing this now full-time for some weeks, what constantly amazes me is the scope and scale of the work that we undertake, the enormous breadth and the capacity to deliver really well-grounded, very contextual, often highly nuanced answers to policymakers in a very, very short time. It takes a whole lot of resources to do that. There is no other organization in the world that can pull that off. And that is special and unique, and while perhaps not surprising, something I have enjoyed and that America benefits from greatly.

MR. ZARATE: Great. Mr. Director, thank you for your time.

DIRECTOR POMPEO: Thank you.

 

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