tv Douglas London The Recruiter CSPAN December 5, 2021 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
attacks. >> welcome to the institute event. my name is charles lister and i direct the program on counterterrorism. today's event marks the release of an excellent new book of nonresident colleague a retired decorated 34 year veteran of an intelligence agency and distant service. his experience is the intelligent community leader created effective positions and multiple field assignments as cia chief of station and director of national intelligence representative in the presidency near representative. over the 34 years of service
doug travels and works extensively across the middle east, africa, south and central asia and with the subject matter expert on iran, counterterrorism and weapons of mass destruction. doug's book, the recruiter spying and the lost arcs of american intelligence is a fascinating memoir from someone who spent years as a case officer, recruiting and managing foreign agents before and after 9/11 providing a unique insight. it's an unusual but extremely important into the cia's evolution of what he perceives as a politicization of the intelligence community since 9/11. beyond the critique of politics, negative impacts on intelligence work and strategy is stokes many stories of recruiting foreign agents that revealed so much in the vital importance in today's high-tech world of human intelligence. that was one of my big
takeaways. in terms of formats today's event will be moderated to the wall street journal national security correspondent nancy will engage doug and at times myself and roughly 30 minutes of discussion about the new book as well as the state of intelligence and espionage of security policy particularly since 9/11. depending on what we've covered i may end up posing questions of my own before transitioning over and take questions from you and your audience today. to all of those tuning in today on zoom feel free too post your questions at any time throughout today's event using the chat function and for those life streaming or on youtube you can e-mail your questions to events at mei.edu. nancy will be keeping the questions as a common and will no doubt make the discussion unfold. without further ado let me pass over the nancy thank you for
joining today. >> thank you so much as a pleasure to be here and thank you doug for letting me be a part, i know it's a big day as you launch your book this week. i want to invite her audience to submit your questions. doug and i were talking. one of the reasons he wrote this book was to start a conversation. in that spirit we would love to hear from you and have you engage in the conversation. i really enjoyed reading your book one of the things that really struck me how much and what detail you describe living a secret life. he would sneak out in the middle the night. your different jobs to identify yourself and your working for an agency that discourages you before and during career previewed onset in such a bold fashion by writing this book. i was wondering if you could tell me what it's like to live
openly and identify yourself and what made you come out in the format such a big change but the worldly lead for 34 years. >> thank you for all of us who joined this morning to the program. this is probably the quickest one word description of it. they spend their entire life in an operational form in one form of another. it's not like while you're living overseas and under scrutiny by intelligence services in your targeting folks as you call in sick or call and say i'm not working today i'm doing my kids event at school. it would be surveilled today, doesn't work that way. in order to do your job, everything about your life is considered and delivered pretty normal household aaron, whatever you doing. you spend your entire lifetime doing that and festivities
delivered in the way that it appears normal and spontaneous because you don't want to raise any attention to yourself you will live in the shadows where you can handle agents that are very sensitive and you could develop without anybody becoming wise to it. >> i was never on a social media platform for years maybe when my kids were in high school i would get on facebook to stock them but aside from that i was number after. intimate that was a real change we physically at first what were the consequences. i said to one friend i don't really know if it was the end of the journey or the beginning of a new one because of the departure that it takes. there is something that i thought i had to do for myself,
i still find it odd that my book is referred to as a memoir i only intended to be a conversation. my concern about security and protecting sources between my work and my colleagues i actually set out to write a novel. maybe i can write a novel that tells the story on 9/11 and there was consequences of the united states and the american public by the politicization. >> i thought maybe there was a way i could sterilize it were a ticket with the details i was compromising. it is human operation and it's called human intelligence. that is the dynamic between the people involved in the risks that are taken. their back stories every agent has a back story every agent has dreams and hopes in every case
officer is doing what they can to manipulate the dreams and hopes to get the to contribute to american security and all things to no protection. i saw what transpired over the 20 years of 9/11, the real change in cia, the change in the culture and the change in the mission. not one for the better one in which we find ourselves today as an agency that we lost a lot of grantor adversaries. our adversaries to collect intelligence in cells and activity such as misinformation campaigns from russia particularly, russia, iran and the counter capabilities that did much, much better. we were losing operation. we felt the shift from 9/11 had made us and military organization which gave less value to human intelligence and
their credibility and integrity as a spy service in the service to provide the best acknowledge and ways for decision-makers to make the right choices. instead from fixed to finish which we did. that took us away from investments in operations in traditional espionage. i wanted to get a conversation going and i thought the best way i have expertise it would be unique telling stories in the transition after 9/11 by my engagement with my headquarters colleagues in the shifts thereafter. >> i remember in the book a case officer has to be interested in interesting. it sounds like that drove it. i want to get into the characters later on. i want to talk further about something that you mentioned some of the changes in the
agency and how they were detrimental. a lot of these were sparred by 9/11. one thing if you can reconcile. the u.s. failed to prevent 9/11. there was a system in place it did not stop that when if you can tell me what changes you felt needed to be made that weren't and what changes that you think did more harm than the improvements they were intending. >> probably and having lived through from the 9/11 commissioner. there's a lot of takeaways and is not a perfect document but a reasonable document. one is utilities and transparency. a great deal of detail who what and when the cia had been ringing the alarm bells.
people were necessarily paying attention but there was enough intelligence to lead the agency to say something is coming and particularly to strike the homeland. even before the brief throughout the year there was an attack coming in a large scale attack of some sort. the problem it didn't have the transparency with other intelligence agencies there was a lot of status particularly with fbi. the military in some cases and their collection capabilities. i think some of that has to do with the lifestyle which is vital. but sometimes it exceeded the value i think the personalities that play and there were senior officers that made decisions
because they knew something was coming and they wanted to fix it. i think particular the hijackers at the pentagon that should've been watching the day. i think the changes that came out of the 9/11 commission the ones that were best were getting more agency communication, more dialogue and sharing, more transparency among the players. i think that certainly helped now there's almost a default at cia if there is a threat report to make sure everybody knows if there's an american about to get the fbi and homeland threat. all those components, those pieces seem to be working. i think what happened on the negative side. the politics of the time of 9/11
and after iraq and wmd report in the national assessment which the administration views very much justified their action. that was a politicalization of intelligence community that was a two-way street from the white house. the agency is part of that survival. i can't emphasize 20 years later at the cia we were going to be done away with or at a minimum we would be put under fbi or the secretary of defense was never a fan of the cia and he felt slighted and embarrassed that the agency would do things early on in afghanistan and the special operations were not able to do smaller, agile and to flatter management to do a lot more with our authorities. i believe the senior leadership at the time was so driven, then
to find some way to get the white house on the side to protect themselves from threats from other agencies. to do that the agency started transitioning the way i describe the book from a culture being first and foremost an elite spy service in analytics service and independent nonpolitical entities to conduct covid action along the u.s. to do things that are deniable and stay deniable which would be covid as opposed to hidden. it basically found its way by taking care of difficult situations and one was being able to chase al-qaeda and pakistan. in other words all the detainees coming off the battlefield who were to be combated but not necessarily those prosecuted under u.s. law in transition even worse to the program.
many of these things came from the very top or in some cases like the interrogation program were outsourced to contractors, psychologists in the air force that came up with the parameters of the program. by doing so there was a cultural shift with a sense of inclusion which i thought for my day early on in the agency. there was a unique sense of inclusion and ability to speak truth to power they do not refer to officers by rank or chief or by first name. but that allowed for people with appointive views. when you talk about life-and-death as this is the case. you need to be exhausted. you need to be sure you're protected and you're also protecting herself.
that's the point no one could say the radical transformation from the agency that only seem to replicate and broaden as we begin to prioritize genetic activity which the allowed for a rapid advancement of those who are part of the process. those were focused in the paramilitary and the ones that continue to advance and influence agency policy. we start to invest in intelligence and much of our analysis to support combat operation. those were the changes for the negative as opposed the good which is greater transparency. the most fundamental problem that i see the agency has faced since 9/11 is a lack of counsel. to look at itself. i'm not talking about sharing with the public abroad details
when operation goes wrong or downhill. it's doing internally where in amazing and fortunate they can protect themselves. agents would be lost, 2009 or several of my colleagues were killed by terrible tradecraft in a very talented targeted analyst, not an operations officer making operation decisions was put in charge of all of this. no one suffered consequences from the w mid. nor 9/11 but more so about events. the number of casualties as an agency and perhaps in some cases the operations which were not unique and not complementary but we did because we wanted to and get the resources. those are the issues of the agencies have threatened.
>> i'm eager to talk to you about some of the areas of the world that you operated. but before we do what i saw in your book, for the tension case officer manifesting in the case officer found himself or herself between two worlds. the bureaucracy and the challenges of the agency and the very world that they were operating trying to find agents to work with them. i thought couple people that you describe an action process to say no real names are used in the agency as you described in the book very thoroughly and you argued in some cases things didn't look so good for the agencies. one of them not just because of his interest in out to me. his love of family. the couple people who are stuck
in this world you happen to find in the most air tissue subways. i want to know if you could talk about that how his case pre-tell me if i'm reading it correctly. he found himself in between the two worlds. if you could talk about them as much as you feel comfortable and how that case ended because of the conflict between what the agency wanted and what you on the ground wanted to continue to have the intelligence come forward. >> the individual who i turned over to another officer. >> carol. >> that was him. >> the job of the case officer is managing risk and problem solving. the agency and looking at my resume. how do i explain to a private sector employer what we do for 325 years. the challenges of managing risk as a case officer in the culture
change in social change at the agency in terms of how they manage risk is whether intentions grew most over the years. ideally there is always a risk calculus in a risk versus game what's in her interest in what we can control and what we can't control. as i talked about in the book the transformation of the agency of 9/11 was a risk calculation geared towards politics. how would this look on the homepage of a newspaper would embarrass the president as opposed the risk to secure intelligence work into the agents in the collector that somebody could get hurt, killed or what have you. mohammed's case. he was interesting in counterterrorism. >> how did you come across that. >> i had a break-in at my house and i was in a country in a very
difficult area going to research and see and people label as the civil war was a dangerous environment but we still had some of our houses to keep officers like myself away from our official platform to make it harder for the local service to keep an eye and go out and conducted with agencies. it was a big house and people were desperate because there are hard times in this country so it was a great time to have and to investigate the perpetrators and their concern was for americans to be killed and that would make them weak to their own countrymen in the united states government from which they were trying to push away the intrusion and what's going on can i help they had their. thankfully i thought what a
great opportunity. here was a target i was trying to be, restrained by folks to give us an idea of what their strengths and capabilities were and what the intelligence was on terrorist because that's what we needed to do to protect ourselves. what could the local maintain an operable to maintain. i found myself going to the police station and presented myself as naïve and is to america with very concern and oh my gosh coming after me i don't want to speak to one of the investigators to find out and be reassured in mohammed who is one of the investigators andy reassured me that it was fine but he was from the country he was not a city kid i didn't speak any english, he wasn't
terribly well educated and he was a thug, his job was fighting terrorist and making them go away and preventing others from joining the cost. he was thrilled. i suggested earlier i thank you for all of this but maybe you can do at my home and take a look and see what the vulnerability he was more than happy to do that. and moving it towards a discrete way because i don't want anybody in my industry to know about this.
to a local intelligence service, people forget wherever we are were also worried about the russian and the chinese and the north koreans and were very interested in what were doing. we are going to hand them over to another officer. harold was very much a corporate guy and he would be a great description but he was more like what does the folks want and whether they want to hear and cause some problems. harold was at his tradecraft but he was a gift with the ability to engage in people across all
cultural changes in divides charter was business and people could ignore suburban privilege. mohammed turned them over and treated as a man specifically for a culture that was a big deal. here he was a man of his own world. here was a suburban privilege american. one day harold shows up at my house and the combination. you should never be feeling in
public. another problem harold was very heavily african. >> it was mohammed who showed up? >> yes. >> even showed up at my house. getting mohammed settled down, folks of the country are very animated. i'm from new york too so i'm always using my hands. the problem was making comments about harold and all these terrible things. a lot of his hand he tries to say will trying to find a way to deal with this. he incentivized him into a lot more money at mohammed harold
thought he was at default and he had done nothing wrong and he was one delivery and mohammed disappeared. he's going to go away. a year or so later we find out the communications that he had mohammed was shot in a firefight chasing down a terrorist he is badly shot out for many months and through that he was disabled he needed no longer work. mohammed and i had a record transition in his life. even at the end mohammed was very thankful for the talks that we had.
never really had much to say. indeed is very possible that mohammed would've quit because why take a risk for someone who is not seeing me what i am and not appreciating what i'm contributing toward your country and mine. you have to be in a world where you're the best friend if you would in a new judgment. i think as we transition as an agency to not create a more diverse load of case officers who reflected the differences in our country and differences throughout the world in an attitude where human intelligence is less and less of a priority as refocused on operation command. i think it was unfortunately carol who rose up in the agency. influence where we would invest and influence how much human
intelligence which i believe is more possible than ever. >> one thing people might be find surprising tab details cannot people you're trying to convince to work with you and you and the grieving them and beating people who you are empathetic and you find yourself empathetic towards even though al-qaeda operatives. for example he speaks perfect english and in a dangerous position with you and willing to take the risk because he doesn't want to be late home to his wife pretty universal problem. and he wants to do the right thing and is fighting himself getting more and more into the al-qaeda network and getting better and better intelligence he doesn't know how to extricate himself in a way. driven by his love of family and the reason to do something like work with the agency to provide
intelligence and all the interactions that he has and even your family has as part of the effort to recruit agents who can provide the united states of key intelligence. i was struck by human stories in the interchange of personalities and polar opposite end of interest. before i handed over a wooden talk to you, i'm a news person one cravat, afghanistan. we've been talking a lot about in this country in the recently ten months we had testimony yesterday. given what we talked about in terms of the evolution of the agency. the way the u.s. intelligence in the way the information is shared throughout the united states government. all the agencies have become like the military then perhaps it should wait is the success or failures of afghanistan and the
depths of the taliban in the state we find ourselves in in afghanistan. >> is for charles or for me. >> unfortunately listening to the testimony and general milley for some time now . . . much more critical about what was going on in afghanistan, much more critical about the stability of the government, whether it was karzai or undergone knee, the cohesiveness of the national military forces, the police and the army, and that's one of the benefits i
think of being an organization that's not supposed to be a policy maker though we have lost our way of times going too far down that road. were not criticizing our own work, not criticizing our own or more particularly. with their to inform decision-makers in his what we see what's going on, here's the projections at our concerns. the military, i'll give a shout out for his book on afghanistan papers, does paint a picture with the military was, paint a much more rosy picture. i thought myself. i could regular conferences with the military regular briefings with general offices where success was just around the corner. we are doing so much that if the shoe last year but they were invested, responsible, the ones on the ground training the national army reinforcing the image that they wanted that they're having success. a lot about metrics, combatants killed that sort of thing, missions carried out in operations but that doesn't tell a story about how you're going to transform a country which
unfortunately was the u.s. policy after going to afghanistan to root out terrorism, this route future operations which we did a look at what we went there for and what we accomplished in the first year to then trying to take an american model and posing on a country which is absolute not ready for that and maybe never should had to suffer that. our model not theirs. so by imposing a model and we were critiquing the military particularly the state department, the white house would have to say yes, we are making progress where we kept signing the bells throughout and i would send our briefers when i was chief of that team to centcom, to the pentagon, to jsoc and say we are losing the war and this is why we need to find another way to deal with afghanistan or at least another way to do with the taliban. but it was always how can we fight better, where can we throw the money? i don't think american
policymakers wanted to hear it. they wanted to believe they were going to be successful. they had the military telling them they're going to be successful. one point i made to my military counterparts the cia had its own corporate training program of security units also from intelligence service. we were dealing on a fair scale with military operations. i i criticized that because of where it is sort of skewed our path but we did it and we did it well. all the years there was never one green on blue incident that cia ever suffered in afghanistan. none of the afghan troops we have trained fired upon us or took any action against us. unfortunately the military suffered a great number of those attacks. the reason was the model was use it was much more culturally and historically sensitive model to what fits there, what's going to be more workable. the military is fantastic at what to do.
they're excellent at fighting, technically proficient but they are not trained to understand and sort of see what are the realities on the ground we need to adapt our blueprint to because they have one blueprint works great for us and a lot of the developed countries. doesn't work great for everywhere but they kept sticking with it despite what we were saying. the downfall of afghanistan wasn't in 11 days. the cia had been talking about it for years and years. in my time in the trump administration when i advised the biden campaign on counterterrorism this was set of conditions where god he wasn't talking to anyone, wasn't dispensing in the barges, was in delegating authority, troops are not being paid, the taliban was negotiating in good faith. they were looking for military solution and we losing bases which were fighting our insight into his country. we said days to weeks under such circumstances. they didn't want to hear that. a dismissal of the conditions we spoke about as a possible scenario. not about what the facts were on
the ground. it was perspective. >> what i do describing is all the pieces of the puzzle but the bureaucracy and the way information is shared and treated it as such that you can't put those pieces together. in a way that works. sometimes people think a bureaucracy is kind of boring but what you're saying is the very structure with which intelligence however good is treated is as important as the collection of intelligence itself is what i'm hearing you say. >> we saw that in 9/11. we saw that in the embellishmen embellishment, in the cherry picking and spending of intelligence for iraq wmd and we've seen in afghanistan. >> i could ask you questions all day long but i know charles has all sorts of questions and i should tell you i've seen some of the queries from our listeners and they're really thoughtful some looking forward to getting to them but in the meantime i'll handed over to charles. >> brilliant, thank you so much. i'll be quick because it will be good to get to the q&a. i have one double parted
question. which tax on a little bit to the afghanistan situation. one of the aspects or the consequences from afghanistan withdrawal and the chaos and instability and the consequences of the taliban taking over perhaps hasn't been sufficiently acknowledged is the potential impact on the intelligence communities ability to continue to portray the united states as a reliable actor that sticks with its partners that is a public rug from under their feet against the first part of my question is, is or something to that? as someone who spent so long recruiting people is america's willingness and ability no questions asked to stand by its recruits and its agents ever something that comes up in those discussions? as part of that but to broaden it, something we talked about
before off-line is human intelligence importance in counterterrorism more importantly for troll in getting to the deeper root causes that allow terrorism to exist in the first place. i was wondering linking that to the afghanistan question maps just to broaden the importance of humans to that. very long-term generational challenge where in in terms of ct so i realize those are the questions perhaps we could get started on them at least or give us some of your ideas. >> i think and they use a chapter on use of to talk about this. agent zapata like us. it'll have to like the united states government. they have to trust us. believe me as you point out how easy do think he was to go into a recruitment pitch with terrorists after the enhanced interrogation problems came up, torture of detainees. why the cia and then trying to convince someone it was in the best interest for their own good
for the countries ideological interest to work with cia and the united states against their family essentially because so many terrorist groups are brought in by family connections or tribal connections. that's not easy, for trying to be able to make the transition. i i remember one agent is recruiting, not long after the election, gore v. bush where it was decided by the supreme court and he was the senior security official from basically an authoritarian state telling me i used to think the united states was the most democratic country in the world but now i think it's probably india, and that was from a country that really didn't like india. you've got to find a way to have that intimate relationship between case officer and agent where the agent understands he or she is working for the united states government, has to go beyond friendship. it has to be institutionalized and you have to carve out that
niche with the agent believes they can trust us that were going to honor our commitments -- our commitments regardless of our policies may be. it's great when they align, particularly when we had great historian cases of russians and chinese over the years volunteering to us because they want to do something against their own system so they were hoping to align with u.s. policy. that's not always the case. we don't always have that luxury. the second part of your question, actually where there's a disconnect disconnect between policy and intelligence. policy has been so focused on what is our easiest most efficient way to combat terrorism and the answer has been kinetic options has been forced unfortunately with intelligence community and the 9/11 report speaks to it in a rather eloquent way say, these things happen out of conditions. there are issues driving folks,
and i think i the concern today over domestic terrorism where i see some of the same conditions. i see this use of victimization, of xenophobia, appear to promote hatred because terrorism occurs, and charles your quite expert on this, when does it take up violence can dehumanize those that attack when it no longer see them as people, as human beings. i'm fearful of that happening here with white supremacists and the alt-right at alternative right and such like that and all these right-wing militias coming up with your doing just that to fellow americans, even fellow americans of the same ethnic group perhaps. intelligence has constantly said here's why these people took up or here's their power base and here's their technique to develop their group to leverage hatred, to leverage victimization, to leverage fear, leverage the rope despots they claim the united states are supporting an enabling and
that's how they get people in and that's how the transfer them to the point of hate. policy makers find a way deal with that, it's a lot harder to change hearts and minds. it's a lot harder to look at we give lip service to a holistic policy which uses soft power, economic power, automatic power but when you get the best military in the world and you see here's combatants on the battlefield we will just keep going after them, the ripple effects of that are you are decentralizing the threat, creating a bigger bench for more recruits, making them harder to find. they are more dispersed and are doing nothing to counter the thoughts and sentiments that is that people to terrorism in the first place. >> we had a question from jeffrey, i think a good follow-up to the point you make turkey asks in the post january 6th climate in the united states how much harder will process of bringing in new staff
of intelligence before recruiters? does this climate of divisiveness complicated background checks? and is a former case officer g believe the politicization of intelligence as a negative impact on recruiting? >> i think the cia's recent ads have been very focused on trying to improve their brand for just that affect. i teach students, graduate students and such, and asked them and i said no offense to make of which initial reaction when you think it cia, think of its history and its negative. it's critical. these are thoughtful educated folks. imagine folks who have less insight or reading less, journalism and such like that, the cia come one of its problems that needs to overcome his getting out of this stereotypical case officer, this sadly white male suburban privileged individual who may be well educated and may have
traveled on holiday or studies abroad, but does not know how to deal with people like harold from different parts of the world or can deal with adversity or see people for what they are. you spoke very eloquently and nasty about the various agents. a were all people, some of them are not the nicest people and their blood on their hands but they all had families, they let kids, they all cried at rom cons, not all of them but a good number of them. i watched rom cons with some of them some aware of this. but getting out of that. i think part of the problem with background checks has been for us the propensity to scream at people who have foreign contacts, nationalized -- naturalized american citizen, a got in trouble in high school with whatever criminal activity within righted themselves, who made country community college as opposed to a top 100 university. part of the problem, they're going to need to make adjustments because you have to
have an exhaustive screening. you have to find a process but it shouldn't be a process that is culturally biased or politically biased. there's a danger of that. to the point of the question, whether be a politicization of that with the sixth of january, it could be. i'm hoping that professionals do their job, and i found in even to agency where people have talked about the secret group of people trying to resist against either trump or biden. that's not how it really works. a permission focus, focus on the job but they can be subject as we all are to various biases and that's what i hope we need to screen out so we can bring in the right people. >> susan asked the great follow-up, which is how d.c. agency getting closer to a more nonpartisan environment that you described, particularly all the factors you described and in an increasingly politicized and divisive environment?
>> advancement should be a meritocracy and it should beware we are selecting people who contribute and are inclusive the different point of view with thoughts and different backgrounds and perspectives of such like that. i never sends partisanship in the agency really prior even to the trump administration. you just never knew what political party people part of. people would criticize operations are issues for being that's a dumb or they don't really understand what were doing out in the field. i did see an enabling, more partisanship in terms of people projecting more of their views, and hopefully not projecting their views in a way that influenced what we were doing. what was most partisan of all was the nature of the most senior leadership that led us
across republican and democratic, republican and democratic administrations, had we please those in the white house? what can we say or not say? i saw that under the trump administration particularly before reporting on russia understandable pompeo and gina haspel as director in which things were made more difficult to get out in terms of production and analysis. things were censored or there was such a fear of the repercussions on one's career that they would self-censorship. statue of the most direct impact the partisanship and politics. what i saw more probably was the likes of acting dna grinnell and then john ratcliffe when you worked for trump, very different than dan coats a republican for a professional. objective try to protect the intelligent communities objectivity was very much spinning intelligence. want to get it was like iraq wmd all over again. i saw dni making a terrible --
not long before the current government acknowledged that for at the agent levinson was dead, he was gone into fbi unfortunately in a very ill considered mission that analysts have thought of. his effort to beat up on iran at the time was to talk about he's alive, he's in prison. we know it. that was weeks before we acknowledged. he knew he was dead but he was politically self-serving to beat the drums because it served the white house is interest. >> everything you're describing is a trajectory one way. is there a way to put all that back in its box? is a possible? use evidence the director is trying to get? >> i'm actually very heartened by the evidence i see what director burns is doing in terms of personnel choices. from my eliminated -- who's who, who's been appointed, he is maneuvering some of those who need to go out, the vendor for
too long and been part of the problem, who've been part of the circling the wagons and he's used some very innovative process related ways, bureaucratic ways to get them out without having to fire them. at the same time he has used the inability to get better job by those leaving their positions to move some out and his mates and very good appointment i think dave marlowe who is publicly recognize that chief of clandestine service, a colleague and friend, i think very highly of him, a very professional case officer tremendous experience. is going to do the right thing. he wants to bring back the clandestine to be of the clandestine service and promote that in the right way but is also very thoughtful guy when it comes to the workforce is going to just cut off heads but he's going to be fair. there. the appointments of the individuals taking over the task force, i can't acknowledge his name because it under cover, another excellent officer very capable and talented. he will speak truth to power and do the right thing.
i seen some bright reflections. the problem is 20 years of nurturing one perspective, covert action means you got a lot of folks in charge of an operational transformation who have very little direct experience at those kinds of operations and who had been company people, so to speak, of where are the wins going that will favor me? that doesn't change it overnight. i am gratified by what i see the director doing and by deputy director colin and by dave standford but it won't be that easy. i think what will help the agency is leadership from above, the white house, dni and avril haines. if we are compelled to prioritize and the like great power competition that means the kinetic solutions are going to be the answer. we've got to be smarter. we can be sneakier and believe me the agency that anybody else at mischief at mischief making if they're allowed to do it, if
it's nurtured, smart routes are taken but we have to look at her tradecraft which is been ignored which is why were having our lunch handed to us by all sorts of rivals in the necessary the great powers. >> let's talk about a couple of -- i know were limited on time. gh smith asked how important is intelligence to the chinese? how effective is our intelligence services and that is its relationship to politics and police different from that of the united states? >> there are advantages and disadvantages for us. the ministry of state security, the pla, military intelligence service, are all very well-funded but it's all about loyalty for them. they suffer from the same public station with you to say whether mashes want here and how they want to hear it and they can't be too contrarian. that's an advantage for us. that somewhere where they are weaker. they have focused on external intelligence operations that are more about technology transfer, working ethnic cases come those
who they think are going to be sentimental or sympathetic towards china as opposed to rolling out those personal relationships because they don't have their case officers up until recently with as much of that sort of flexibility to engage on the intimate personal level of which i was speaking that the bringing about a force to the game and what they do and most importantly as a threat to us is there a counter intelligence gained extending good both in terms of technology which is worth it had as a number of times because not because our technology was weak but because our tradecraft was weak, waiver use it use it was weak and allowed for compromises to sort of backdoors or by people exposing us. the chinese are a force to be reckoned with. just their sheer numbers and investment are an overwhelmingly problem. i know for the fbi at home and certainly for the agency abroad and is going to be solved through very smart very well considered operations to penetrate those organizations
which are doable. we have done it before, do it again because that would be the best reflection of what i do really doing, what are the planes and capabilities and were they a threat? we learn that by having agents we recruit on the other side. >> i'm going to get the last question as the moderator to somebody you mentioned earlier, my favorite intelligence correspondent orn strobl of the "wall street journal" asks how is agency in the community a former officials reacted to your book? they came to be self protected to say the least and don't like to talk a human intel operations even when presented anymore sanitize an anonymous version. i'm curious what kind of feedback you gotten about the book, anything about it that surprised you? >> the negative impact, negative reactions are mostly oblique through folks some of my former colleagues have spoken to. their effort and they give them props, us what offices dues undermined my credibility and suggest my motives were sour grapes or disappointed that it
didn't reach the seventh floor suites and such like that while in cells realizing motives of an agent is not always a line with the credibility of their intelligence, their motives could be vindication or telling a story or ideology. those who are criticizing that way are those who benefited from that system, those who advanced and some of whom are very deep in the pockets of saudi arabia, united arab emirates or the beltway and to which a exercise contracts. those of the most supportive our senior officers from the past who saw the change after 9/11 who felt the same disappointment that what happened to the agency and those at my great or lower who have been in the trenches fighting these wars for all these years and seeing our agents dispense or dispensable. i knew that going in that would be the case. my goal was starting a conversation in getting it going but at the end of the day those who read the book will see it's
a love story about human intelligence, a love story about the art form and the lost artform of which i worry in my book is about how much we need the cia. we need the ca at its very best. we know what it can be and what i wanted to be a can. >> i have to tell you i got all sorts of questions and going to try to fit one more in if you will indulge me. the question that i got was from emmanuel -- i'm sorry if i miss pronounce your name, he says thank you for your sharing of knowledge and your experience with us. do you feel the threats against national security increased or decreased center time in service and what is one of the most pressing issues you would like to see resolved sooner rather than later in terms of the future for the united states and its approach towards national security? >> that's a good question and that should be the most important question, what are the threats to the united states and what are we doing about it? the threats have evolved, that's the problem as threats always do. the threats and counterterrorism
evolved over the years from one large simply organize directed al-qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan to all these different affiliates of al-qaeda, the islamic state. i think we as a country have a tendency to overreact and it's a terrible thing to say because how can you overreact to the tragedy that was 9/11? tragic as it was terrorism is not an existential threat. terrorism is going to make us suffer and her day-to-day life and it would be emotional and the idea that something could happen to my children. always it's going to quit americans but it must be considered imbalanced so that the preacher who spoke at the cathedral after 9/11 said let's not become the evil that we are fighting. we have to be patient and thoughtful. i think today's threats are concerned to me because they are as much in general as external. i am deeply concerned about the
threats to democracy and deeply concerned about domestic terrorism and that concern we are in some ways restrain politically, democratically to take the action that we need to do with us that's because somebody's going to be mad and there's a lot of politics in play. i think the threats of great power competition is genuine and a series as it's always been but they got a lot smarter and have been able to believe us in ways short of war that we've had no answers for which a lobby answers are in intelligence or a covert way and not just building better planes and better missiles and such like that. there's a lot of thoughtful people out there and i'm hopeful the white house and those with whom it partners in congress will make the right thoughtful decision. we have to see of things play out and i think the intel community knows what it needs to do. i hope they're enabled to do that because there's risk for them as well. as as a risk to speaking trutho power, risk, you can't please all the people and some people
of great political connections and alliances and they can make life difficult for those who want to take the more bold and courageous move. i having a bit more transparency in a right way and having a bit more accountability in the best possible way to secure public support will be a useful step in that direction. >> i don't know if remember but we started this conversation by saying you wanted this book to spur a conversation to i can tell you from the questions we had gotten and the last hour it is successfully done that and as you note this book, and read as a love story, all the people you met and you've enjoyed for the past 34 years and i appreciate you sharing those experiences with us. also want to thank the middle east institute for hosting us on allowing me to be a a moderat. it's been an interesting conversation. i learned a lot from it. thanks to you charles and most of all thank you, doug, for letting us go on this journey with you in an unclassified setting if you will for the past 34 years.
it's been illuminating and appreciate your sharing your experience. >> thank you nancy. thank you, charles. thanks to everybody who tune in and watch today. i want people to be talking about this. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, doug. have a good day everyone. >> begins bringing the best in nonfiction books on booktv. on "in depth" author and historian victor davis hanson will be our guest. join our two hour conversation as he talks about his books and thoughts on war, politics and citizenship in the united states. then on "after words" former georgia republican congressman doug collins reflects on eventually up to the impeachment of former president donald trump in his book the clock and the calendar. watch booktv of you begin and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online
anytime at booktv.org. >> here's a look at some publishing industry news. former trump administration defense secretary mark esper is suing the defense department for withholding portions of his forthcoming memoir that it claims are important to telling his story. he said foreign nearly six months i follow the process on that my unclassified manuscript arbitrarily redacted without being told why. pentagon chief spokesman responded come with all such reduced the department takes seriously its obligation to post national security with an authors narratives desire. in other news viking books has now still publish a biography about george floyd the "washington post" reporters robert samuels in may. according to the publisher the book will quote review how systemic racism shaped george
floyd's life and legacy from his family roots in the tobacco fields of north carolina to ongoing inequality in housing, education, healthcare, criminal justice. a copy of new chronicles of rebecca was anonymously given back to the garden valley district library, outside of boys i don't get the book was checked out in 1910 and was to incur fines two weeks after it was due is now being displayed in the library's history room and will remain out of circulation. booktv will continue to bring in new programs and publishing news and you can also watch all of our past programs anytime at booktv.org. >> hello and welcome to look sandwiched in. we are in new haven free public library in new haven, connecticut. my name is isaac and we are