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tv   QA Amy Zegart Spies Lies and Algorithms  CSPAN  February 7, 2022 6:00am-7:01am EST

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susan: dr. amy zegart, 30 years of writing on the intelligence community. today is the publication date of your book "spies, lies, and algorithms." what are your goals? amy: i had two goals. i want to provide an intelligence 101. the book was aimed at my students at stanford. my students mostly get their education from the entertainment industry. the second goal of the book is to do what i call intelligence 2.0. i look at how emerging technologies like ai are transforming every part of the threat landscape. susan: let me jump to the bottom line. you describe the bottom world -- the world as we live in as one
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that is both dynamic and dangerous. our our intelligence agencies functioning and organize in a way that is appropriate? amy: not yet is the short answer. we are living in a moment of reckoning akin to 9/11, where the intelligence community has to undergo a reimagining to deal with the threats that are driven by new technology. i think about these threats, driven by technologies in terms of five wars they create. more threats that can work across vast differences, more speed, much faster paces, more data that intelligence analysts have to confront, more customers that don't have security clearances that need intelligence, people like voters who need to understand foreign interference, and more competitors. that is probably the most
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challenging, which is that u.s. intelligence agencies do not dominate their collection and analysis of information like they did in the cold war. anyone with an internet connection or cell phone can produce, collect intelligence. those five moore's are really challenging fundamentals of the intelligence committee. susan: lots to unpack. let me start with more data. is the job of the intelligence agencies to make sense of it all with the volume that is coming out, how do they do it? amy: nobody can possibly do it all. as you know, analysts are looking at needles and haystacks , just to give you some idea, some estimates are the amount of data on earth is doubling every 24 months. they need help with machines, machine learning algorithms, ai,
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they need that to augment what humans can do. algorithms can do some things well like pattern recognition, identifying surface to air missile sites. roughly 80 times faster than a human can. human how this can do something machines can, like better understand intentions of adversaries. the urgent need, one of the urgent needs is to harness emerging technologies so that human analysts get the help they need. susan: in addition to ai and quantum computing, you talk about the growth in small commercial satellites. the estimate is over the next 10 years, 8000 will be launched. how does this impact data collection? amy: some estimates are even higher than that. there was an estimate that there would be 100,000 satellites in the next decade or so. what that means is several things.
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one, when you have constellations of satellites, you get faster revisit rates. the satellite can get imagery of the same place many times a day, so you can get a moving picture of events changing on the ground rather than a static snapshot. you can discern a lot more of what is going on in real time. resolutions are getting sharper. through commercial satellites, you can get sharp resolutions where you can detect the type of car from space driving along a road. what that means is people outside the intelligence community can detect, >> going on in the world in ways only superpower spy agencies used to. a most recent example is last summer, when open source, independent researchers discovered chinese nuclear missile silos. that was done not with a spy agency, it was done with people
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not with security clearances using commercial satellite capabilities. susan: where do their continued dominance of the tech giants, companies like facebook, google, fit into the equation? amy: they are both factors of harm, victims of harm, and inventors of new capabilities. when you look at where the top talent in ai is going, two thirds of phd's and computer science focused in ai and the united states last year, two thirds of them went to industry. when we think about the googles of the world, they are capturing a lot of the challenge at the top end. what that means from a national security standpoint is the talent of today is focused on monetizing these capabilities, not looking at 20 or 30 years over the horizon and what is the frontier that the country needs.
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one of the concerns i have is this brain drain of talent from the academy into industry is directing our research towards commercialization and not innovation over the long-term. susan: all of us are familiar with the threats of nonstate actors and terrorist possibilities they pose for the united states, but you also focus on four countries as presenting the most serious national security challenges. i wanted to drill down on those. first is china, you quality the most serious counterintelligence threat to the united states. talk about china's capabilities as we know them, and what you understand of its goals. amy: just to take a step back, the big four as i call them, china, russia, iran and north korea have four things in common. i will start with china. they are very sophisticated cyber actors. we know that china has stolen
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troves of intellectual property from the united states. they are really sophisticated in cyberspace. all four of these countries are also aggressive towards their neighbors. we look at china and taiwan, the south china sea. really concerned about aggression of our partner, taiwan. china is a nuclear power, modernizing its nuclear arsenal. that is of concern. the fourth aspect that is very concerning about china is its intention, and it's very clear, to disrupt the international order led by the united states. whether it is how we think about rules of the free and open internet, how we think about the law of the sea, and so china is a revisionist power. you put all of those things together, cyber capability, nuclear capability, territorial
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aggression, disrupting the international order, we have a serious challenge on our hands. susan: you write china aims to be the world leader in artificial intelligence, an area of specialty for you. but with the impact of that be? -- what with the impact of that be? amy: one of the things it differentiates emerging technology from nuclear technology is it is inherently dual used. ai has incredible promise in everything from medical breakthroughs to changing the nature of work. but, ai is also -- has great capability for autonomous weapons and military use. every major technology today, almost every major technology today has both widespread commercial application and military use. when we think about what the competition is between the u.s. and china, it's an economic
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competition, political and military competition, ideological competition. if china wins the ai race, it will have an edge in the economic arena, political arena, and military arena, which is what separates the cold war from our competition with china now. in the cold war, the soviet union was not an economic superpower. susan: staying with china, you talked about how china social media in a disruptive fashion in the wake of covid to try and change the origin story, and put the blame on the united states. can you describe that example a little bit more? amy: china has been engaging in what they call wolf warrior diplomacy. spewing this information online. the russians do this better than the chinese do, but china is catching up when it comes to using the internet to basically
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spread propaganda and lies about where of it came from. we know covid originated in china, there is a debate about how it originated, but the chinese narrative is covid was created by the u.s. military. the challenge with the internet is false information can go viral, even when many people know it is false. it's hard to stop the spread of disinformation. china is working hard to manipulate the information environment outside of china, and also to control the information inside the country with incredible censorship of its on internet, and more money it spends on internal security than defense. susan: moving to the second, talk about misinformation capabilities. amy: we know russia was an early adopter of modern cyber
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information warfare. russians, the russian government has been engaged in what they call active measures or information warfare long before the internet came to be so widely used. the one element of russia's election interference in 2016 that really caught intelligence agencies by surprise was russia's use of social media. the intelligence community, many leaders have talked about this publicly, the icy missed russia's use of facebook, the internet trolls in st. petersburg masquerading as americans, sewing division and our democracy. the greatest example of this was facebook groups created by russians, one called heard of texas, the other united muslims. each had several hundred thousand followers of actual americans believing they were following a real facebook
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account when in fact it was engineered by the kremlin. these two kremlin-backed facebook groups staged protests on the same day, on the same street, outside the same mosque in houston. we ended up having real americans protesting against each other, sewing division, polarizing our country, all engineered via facebook from the kremlin. susan: you also describe russia as being experts at hacking for-profit. amy: russia is very good at all sorts of things in cyberspace. when we look at ransomware for example, which many are concerned about, there has been a dramatic increase in ransomware. many of the most sophisticated ransomware operations are coming out of russia as well. by the way, ukraine is a test bed for many of these kinds of cyber operations. years ago, russian hackers shut off the power in ukraine.
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russia has experimented with all sorts of cyber attacks in ukraine. we see a lot of engineering being deployed, ransomware against you any insights as well. staying in ukraine, that is one of the vulnerabilities of cyberspace, the good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods are all connected. it ended up getting into the wild, into the world. shutting down shipping, shutting down hospitals. causing billions of dollars of damage worldwide. susan: i was sent to email a couple of days ago from a nonprofit earning of the increased threat of russian hacking because of the situation on the ukrainian border. how does the united states intelligence community paid private companies in preventing
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or being aware of these kinds of attacks? amy: it is such a great question. the answer is it is evolving. one of the things we have seen in the biden administration is an increase in the capabilities and organization of the u.s. government to work more closely with the private sector. what we are seeing now, if you look at twitter, public service announcements from intelligence agencies, from the department of homeland security, sometimes from the national security agency, morning companies -- morning companies. the biden administration has made it clear of the need to work closely with companies before something happens, and after something happens. there have been public reports about work with microsoft to patch vulnerabilities much more quickly.
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susan: staying with ukraine for just a moment, how is it an example of the ways in which the intelligence community is able to use open source information to assess the situation? amy: one of the most interesting examples of open source comes from when russia invaded ukraine the last time in 2014. it turns out, the best information about russian troop movements did not come from secrets, it came from selfies. russian soldiers took pictures of themselves with ukrainian highway signs in the background that were time stamped, ten-day posted those pictures on social media for their family and friends for everyone to see. this has been going on for some time now. you can see lots of satellite
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imagery about russian troop movements in ukraine now. open source has come of age in terms of revealing a lot of what is going on outside clandestine intelligence capabilities. susan: we have two more of the major actors of concern. the next one is iran. amy: iran was an early cyber bad actor. they turned 30,000 saudi arabian computers into bricks with a virus it simply years ago. again, as i mentioned, iran aspires to have nuclear capabilities, has sophisticated cyber capabilities, has territorial aggression, and seeks to disrupt the international order, most pointedly with its nuclear weapons program. iran has been a concern for 30 years, this is nothing new, but there capabilities are sophisticated. susan: we have seen the united states working with israelis to
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disrupt their intentions. can you talk about the counterattacks? amy: i think you see there is a lot of activity in cyberspace with respect to the israelis and iran. what has been publicly reported, the worm that the u.s. and israel reportedly collaborated on to destroy iranian centrifuges. it looks like something out of mission impossible. very sophisticated malware. orders of magnitude, more sophisticated than most malware you see. we're are seeing short of war, a lot more activity in the gray zone. a lot more activity that is covert, done through cyberspace. trying to impede iran's quest for the bomb, which would obviously be destabilizing for the region and israel, but the world.
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a lot more collaboration in cyberspace. susan: your description of north korea. one thing that caught my attention as they have been aggressive in cryptocurrency, to help finance their nuclear ambitions. people thinking about investing in cryptocurrency would be interested in your description. amy: north korea loves to steal things. they do not have much of an economy at all, it's one of the poorest countries on earth. why folks are so concerned about north korea's willingness to sell its nuclear technology and capabilities. it should not come as a surprise that north korea is interested in active and successful at stealing and using cryptocurrency. one of the downsides of having a currency that is anonymous is it is a great way for bad guys to do bad things and try to get
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away with it. north korea poses a number of challenges for the united states, and i think in cyber what is striking about the north korean threat is it is asymmetric. north korea is one of the least digitally connected countries in the world. there were than 10% of its people even have a cell phone. when north korea wages a cyberattack on other countries like the united states, the sony pictures hack that happen several years ago, if we respond in kind in cyberspace, not much happens. when north korea's internet went down shortly after the sony hack, nothing really happened because north korea literally had 28 websites in the country. advanced industrial economies, capitalist democratic come -- countries like the united states are far more vulnerable in cyberspace them countries like north korea.
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that is new. until now, in the physical world, countries that are the most powerful where the most secure. in cyberspace, we are powerful and vulnerable. susan: how useful has open-source source information been in assessing the success of north korea's nuclear ambitions? amy: open source has been surprisingly successful at identifying what north rea is doing, and that should come as a surprise because north korea is very secretive, it's hard to understand what is going on. with satellite capabilities, open-source detectives like my colleagues at stanford university have identified the locations of tests, identified capabilities of north korea, identified various aspects of its missile program. it may come as a surprise how much has been made available
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through very clever detective work. susan: as you said, one of the goals in writing the book was to give students and readers a primer on how we are structured currently. you call it the intelligence community, the current structure grew out of 9/11 reforms. one of the most significant was to create the office of the director of national intelligence, coordinating role amongst agencies. you describe in the book out interagency lobbying water down this role. what did we end up with? amy: we ended up with a coordinator that lacked two major levers of power that coordinators really need. control over budgets and people. when that law was created in 2004, there was a deliberate effort to water down the powers of the director of national intelligence. it was a replay of the creation
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of the cia back in 1940 seven, where existing intelligence agencies did not want any agency calling itself central with control over their budgets, their people, mission. we see the same political dynamics at work after 9/11 where existing agencies, there are now 18 of them, did not want to see that much control to another organization. that said, the dni has done a very good job over time at making the most of the authorities that office has. it has overall been an improvement, but there is a long way to go with the coordination. as i tell my students, imagine trying to decide what movie to see when there only to review, that seems easy, now imagine their 18 of you and you have to coordinate. coordination is harder when you
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have more agencies. susan: to all 18 reports throughout the dni? amy: that is an excellent question. yes and no. the fbi is in the department of justice, so it has a reporting relationship there. several intelligence agencies are within the department of defense, so they depart -- report to the secretary of defense. who is your boss depends on the context, it depends on the issues that you are dealing with. theoretically, the dni is in charge of all of the intelligence community. but, there is more responsibility than there is authority. susan: how does the national security council fit in? amy: the national security council fits in because the national security council serves at the pleasure of the president.
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it's a policy oriented body. i think one of the things my students and many people don't realize is intelligence is not designed to make policy, intelligence is an input to policy. intelligence is not supposed to have a dog in the fight. the nse is where policy and intelligence come together, but officials should not be in the position of making policy, and if they are, the intelligence they provide becomes suspect because it could be seen as biased. susan: how much information and how makes it to the president? amy: it depends on the issue and president, and it depends on the day. there is the daily brief, whether presidents actually read it depends on the president. presidents also get information through oral briefings and increasingly today, through their phones, through all sorts
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of other social media accounts. there is a lot of competition for attention and information that the president receives. in the world of twitter, for example, the president can get real-time events on twitter that may move much faster than what the intelligence community can do. i will share a personal anecdote. a few years ago i went to strategic command. i went in the underground bunker that is the ground central for dealing with how we would respond if you were under attack. i asked, do you have twitter in the battle deck underground? they said actually, we do. on the giant screens underground, there is a twitter feed right alongside the classified intelligence. that is a powerful reminder that
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the information world is different today than it was 20 years ago. the intelligence community is competing not only in terms of content, but speed. susan: when a private citizen like you comes into a secured space, how much are you allowed to see? amy: i am not allowed to see anything if i am not cleared. as i say in the book, sometimes you can feel like a criminal when you walk into a secured facility, sometimes the light/. -- lights. . it'for good reaso -- lights flash. i am not allowed to see anything unless i'm cleared. i have a clearance that allows me to see some things, but it is context specific. susan: some of the major agencies, the cia wants significant evolution, a
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blurring of the lines between the military and the cia, perhaps best symbolized when david petraeus became cia director and leon panetta moved to be defense secretary. would you talk about the significance of that blurring of the lines between the military and cia, but it means for how the organization functions, and for our security? amy: after 9/11, one of the improvements in intelligence was much tighter integration between the cia and military. type coordination about counterterrorism targeting for example. drone strikes are sometimes carried out by the military, sometimes by the central intelligence agency, sometimes by the two of them together. there have some -- have been real benefits, but there is a real downside to that integration as well. as i talk about in the book, there is an opportunity cost.
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cia canst do everything. the cia's primary mission is always been preventing strategic surprised. by that, i mean preventing another pearl harbor or not 11, a major attack or development that catches the nation by surprise. the agency's primary mission is not supporting war fighters. one of the costs of this tight integration between the caa -- caa is looking at threats before they materialize. as i write in the book, the military and caa seem like they do the same kinds of things, but that is bad. the military is trained to be hunters. cia officers are trained to be gatherers. the military is trained to use violence, the cia is trained to
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use information. in a world where we can't tell those missions apart, it's a world where the cia is not spending enough time on its primary mission, and that i think is one of the legacies of 20 years of fighting the global war on terror. we have got better, but the downside is the world has changed. susan: how has the fbi's responsibility changed post 9/11? amy: the fbi theoretically had a counterterrorism mission before 9/11, it just did not do that very well. one of the things i found his eyes spent five years looking at why the cia and fbi failed to prevent 9/11. one of the incredible documents i found was in 1998, three years before 9/11, the fbi published a
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strategic plan. that plan saw the threat landscape very clearly. it said terrorism is a top priority and we need to transform ourselves and become a domestic intelligence agency. it was an incredible document. that document failed over the next three years to get the changes it laid out. i interviewed a number of people inside the bureau, and they were heartbroken over the failure to do what it knew it needed to do. after 9/11, it became clear the fbi had failed. i will give you a statistic. the fbi declared terrorism its number one priority, yet on 9/11, only 6% of fbi personnel were working on counterterrorism issues. that has gotten better since 9/11. analysis has gotten better since 9/11, but it is still not a
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first rate analytic organization, because special agents have priority in the agency. analysts cannot lead and fbi office. which means analysts are always second-class citizens. analysis is always going to get shortchanged. susan: does the fbi have the kinds of recruiting problems you referenced? amy: i don't know the details about who the fbi is recruiting and how, but if you are an aspiring analyst and want to work at a place that values what you do, it is hard to make the case that the best part of the intelligence community to employ you is the fbi. there is a joke in the fbi, i think jokes are revealing about organizational culture. there is a joke that there were only two types of people in the bureau, special agents and
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furniture. susan: i do not want to spend time on all 18, but can you speak about the mission of the nsa. amy: nsa is an interesting intelligence agency. the acronym used to stand for no such agency, because it was so secretive no one would talk about it. nsa was created in 1952. it has several missions. primary is code making an code breaking. penetrating encrypted communications of foreigners abroad and protecting our own information here in the united states. the nsa conducts signals intelligence, intercepting foreign intelligence like emails and telephone calls. i emphasize the word foreign. the national security agency
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trains its collection abroad. after 9/11 there was a lot of concern that the nsa was listening to our phone calls with grandma. that was not the case. the controversial section 215 program about metadata, very controversial, but the nsa was not listening to the content of those phone calls. i think that is an important distinction. susan: we have a clip from 2013. a specific exchange you referenced between a democrat of oregon and james clapper about nsa spying. let's listen. [video clip] >> last summer he was asked about the nsa surveillance of
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americans. he replied, "the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is completely false. " does the nsa collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of americans? >> no, sir. >> it does not? >> not wittingly. there are cases where they could inadvertently collect, but not wittingly. susan: that exchange blew up. can you tell me why? amy: it blew up because technically the answer director klapper gave was wrong. the nsa did have records of millions of americans, but the records were phone records. not the content of your calls, but the number you called and the time you called and the duration of the call.
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that was incredibly important. that moment. the senator believed director klapper lied to him. he could not reveal the classified program, highly classified program. he was in a conundrum. how was he supposed to answer the question in an unclassified open hearing in a truthful way? taking a step back, the broader problem with the nsa and these collection programs with they kept them too secret. michael hayden has written about this as a political mistake. after 9/11, the nsa should have been more forthcoming about what it needed to do and the authorities it thought it should use to close the collection seems we know were problematic before 9/11. had the nsa been more forthcoming, congress and the
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american people would have given it much more support. that clip fed into the narrative that the nsa in particular was deceptive and lying to the american people. that hurt the trust in the u.s. intelligence community. susan: we have a quote from harry truman. this is from the truman collection. [video clip] >> i set up the original central intelligence agency that were then in the government for the benefit of the present. -- the president.
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i had all of the intelligence supports, some were just duplicates, summer arranged -- some were arranged. he can then veto whatever was necessary. susan: you write that the intelligence community has undergone a number of reorganizations, and the organizations have followed three general patterns. halting development, fragmentation, democratic tensions. can you speak to the first 20 years of the cia operations, and bread went from harry truman's description of a central agency to what happened next? amy: i love that audio of harry truman talking about how he envisioned the cia. what really stands out is he viewed it as a collection and coordination outfit. that quickly changed. the cia, under president truman,
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once the cia was created, there was vague statutory language authorizing the agency to perform that the president may direct. the president used the tool that he had, which started out with covert election support in the italian elections to prevent a communist victory there. what we know about the cia is it quickly ballooned into an organization that collected its own intelligence through human sources and engaged in covert actions. its ability to do that is change
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pretty significantly over time. much more oversight today than there was in the 1940's when truman was experimenting with these capabilities. susan: a major organizational change happened with the church committee and united states congress ushering in the next phase of u.s. intelligence. in that process, you write about congressional oversight. this being c-span, i would like to hear more about your views of how well congressional oversight works. amy: i would say two things. number one, after the 1970's, oversight works better than before the 1970's. before the church committee, oversight was a couple of hours a year, a few members of congress not wanting to ask questions and not wanting to hear the answers. i am not exaggerating. i call it a period of underside.
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after news reports of intelligence abuses and excesses, we have the church committee, one of its signature recommendations with the creation of permanent oversight committees in the house and senate. better than it was before. oversight has always been problematic and always been weak. the matter who is in power, no matter which president is in office. the reasons have to do with incentives and institutions. this being c-span, i am sure your audience will appreciate the wonky path i'm going to go down. briefly put, members of congress do not oversee the intelligence community very well, typically, because voters do not reward them for it. there are more powdered milk experts in congress today than intelligence experts or people who have worked in an intelligence agency. members of congress have to learn the intelligence business
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on the job, and that takes time. nobody votes for their members of congress based on the nitty-gritty aspects of how well they oversee the u.s. intelligence community. any amount of time a member of congress to boast intelligence -- devotes to intelligence is usually not reported by voters. congress has also developed institutional mechanisms that prevent members of congress from getting better at oversight. today, there are term limits for members serving on the house intelligence committee. originally they were designed -- wanted to have a bit of distance. what that has done over time is impede the development of expertise. just when a member of the house committee has learned the acronyms of the 18 agencies, they are required to leave the committee and take another
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committee assignment instead. the house has tied its own hands. susan: you also describe that the power of the purse, otherwise budgeting, is separated from oversight. is that a structural change you would recommend addressing? amy: it is. john wanted to address it. many have argued that this bifurcation between authorizer's and people on the committees and appropriators, people that approve the budgets, that division is hurting the intelligence community. as one former official told me, it is like the two parent theory. if mom says no, you go to dad. it's if relative experts in the
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committee say we should not have this program, it's easy to circumvent them and go right to the appropriators. this bifurcated system of authorizer's and appropriators is problematic. susan: in the eyes of congress, another issue you write about is the asymmetric information between the president and executive branch. how has congress tried to address that situation? amy: bureaucracy in the executive branch always have more information than members of congress, but in intelligence, it's really extreme because of classification. there is an old joke that the cia director in the 1980's would not tell you your coat was on fire unless you asked him. that is always a problem in intelligence. what the committees have tried to do overtime is bolstered
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their staff, develop trusted working relationships, but that is always a challenge when you're talking about the intelligence community. the intelligence agencies always have more information than overseers in charge of making sure they are effective. that underscores the need for having folks come in the door with greater expertise and rewarding them for taking the time to hone that expertise, which voters do not do. susan: you argue the american public needs a better understanding of the function of the -- and the ensuing years since 9/11, there have been a number of intelligence failures and controversies that have shaken public confidence. the cia use of black size. we talked about the nsa monitoring data. how do you reconcile these
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public confidence issues with the functioning of intelligence agencies? amy: secret agencies operating in a democracy have to have the trust of the people. they can't do their job if the american people don't believe in them, at least if they are trying their best and objective, agencies are going to fail. it's a hard business. if they are 100% right, they're not asking hard enough questions. it's important for people to understand trust in the agency does not mean trust they will always get it right. we have a hard enough time predicting who is going to win the super bowl, now imagine -- that's an important distinction. it's really important that the american people understand what these agencies do and have a reservoir of trust about what they do. that trust comes from being more
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forthcoming on the side of the intelligence community about who they are, what they do, what their mission is, when they fail be reflective. it's not to reveal everything because we need classification to protect national security, but it is about being more forthcoming so they can garner the trust of the american people. susan: one other thing that happened during the trump administration is the seeming pillows asian of the national security -- political nation -- chiefs turning into pundits and commenting on the situation. what has that done for trust in the agencies? amy: i understand why formers felt so strongly they wanted to come forward and defend the agencies they devoted their lives to serving, and they serve every president. i am concerned there is a growing view that intelligence is just politics.
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president trump really exasperated that view, that intelligence was like the marketing department, trying to sell things to the american people and the world. trying to market something that may or may not be true. that hurts intelligence. intelligence has to be seen and is rightly seen as a political, objective, nonpartisan, serving whoever is occupying the oval office. when president trump little side intelligence -- politicized intelligence, when he criticized intelligence in a personal way, when he denigrated intelligence, cherry picked intelligence, when he revealed extremely valuable classified intelligence casually in a way that really hurt our allied relations, those are very damaging actions.
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some of which became very personal and very political. overall, that can hurt the trust in the apolitical mission of the community. susan: how do you think agencies recover from this? amy: by getting back to bassist -- basics. we have seen a real focus on getting back to basics, doing the mission they are supposed to do, staying out of those political fights as they should do. i think they have done a tremendous job. susan: we have about nine minutes left. you have given us some history, outlined the current organization and evolving threats to national security. i want to spend the last few minutes talking about going forward. first of all, in terms of public perception of what the intelligence function is in society, you talk about how both policymakers and the public are overly influenced by hollywood
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depictions. how does that challenge the effectiveness of the organization? amy: i started off writing this book because i did a survey of students in class, almost on a lark, asking what they thought about u.s. intelligence agencies and how much they watched entertainment. i found statistically significant correlations between those who said they are frequently always watching spy-themed entertainment and a whole host of views about counterterrorism tactics. what i learned, and that thread, is a-themed entertainment had become adult education. why should we hear about this? i found two things. one, public opinion is absolutely influenced by entertainment, and that has created fertile ground for myth and conspiracy theories to grow. in hollywood, and on television,
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torture always works. that is what we saw on 24. spy agencies are running rogue with no oversight whatsoever, and they have high-tech gizmos they can watch our every move. they see someone walking out of the bus terminal and zero in on that person, than they can send in the assets to get that person. those three myths, torture always works, intelligence agencies have incredible capabilities to watch your every move, and they are running rogue, they are not true. the more the public believes that, the less they actually support and understand what the intelligence community is doing. there is a public opinion component to this problem. i have done poles that reveal there are strong correlations between entertainment viewing and use of intelligence. there is a second part of this problem, which as we all watch spy themed entertainment.
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spy themed entertainment has influenced policy as well. in terms of what interrogation techniques to use at guantanamo bay. it has affected questions that the senate intelligence committee asked a nominee and a confirmation hearing in 2009. it's affected how supreme court justices said they would rule about various intelligence programs or situations based on television brought lines -- plot lines which are not realistic.
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i beat up on my own discipline and field in the book as well. i found there are more courses, i have looked at the top journals in political science and found a published nearly 3000 articles on topics in only five of those 3000 articles were related to intelligence. my field has not done a very good job at devoting a lot of attention. one of the big ones for academics is data. you have to have data to write books and articles and academics. there is a lot of data, it is
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all publicly available. if you are an academic that wants to understand the intelligence community, you do not even have a phone directory. you can look at the budget. you have to file freedom of information act requests. there are barriers, and that is a reason we don't see more work. susan: you are calling upon agencies themselves to be more transparent. amy: i think it would help everybody. it behooves the intelligence community to have outsiders analyzing what they do and analyzing what reforms can improve their performance. it helps educate the next generation of americans about this community and what it does. that helps educate the american people about what they do. i am not saying give over the family jewels, i understand the need to classify a great deal.
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but a lot more can be put in the public domain. it would help both our understanding of intelligence -- susan: effective national reporting on the work of intelligence agencies. what are you seeing when you look at how much, and the quality of reporting that is done? amy: by the media? susan: yes. amy: what we have seen israel heroic efforts. i'm always amazed at what the press is able to uncover about the intelligence community. when the press is reporting about things that are secret and the community believes there would be threats to national security by revealing secrets. we have seen over the past 20 or 30 years, that is worked out among the mainstream press. over time, we have seen the benefits of that reporting. first amendment rights are
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really important. i commend the rest for doing what they are doing. at one point in writing one of my books, i had to hire a first amendment lawyer because i was so concerned about my ability to publish what i believed was important, and i am grateful that i had one. i think the press is doing a heroic job, and it's part of our system. susan: finally, two minutes left. you argue that we need a 19th intelligence agency. what would it look like? amy: we have talked about how coordination is so hard when you have so many agencies, why a 19th agency? i think open source intelligence is the name of the game in the future of intelligence. secrets still matter, but nowhere near like they used to. all of this data, faster and better is going to secure
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advantage. secret agencies will always favor secrets. for open source intelligence to get the resources it needs, it has to have its own agency. an open source intelligence agency is also better positioned to harness emerging technologies, to explore and examine how best to analyze open source intelligence. so we can experiment more in the unclassified world. an open source agency can harness emerging talent. this is not just about technology, it is about people. we need to have agencies attracting the best and brightest engineers, not just the best and brightest mandarin speakers and country experts. for all of those reasons, an open source intelligence agency would be a vital intelligence reform. susan: while ensuring civil liberties? amy: there have to be guardrails
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about what our intelligence agencies collect and how they collect it. that is challenging, but i also know the nsa knows a lot less about me than google does. the oversight about what he can do in gathering american citizens than tech companies do today. susan: there is lots more in the book, but our time is done. the book is "spies, lies, and algorithms." thanks for spending an hour with me. amy: thanks so much, susan. ♪ >> all q&a programs are available on our website or as a podcast on our c-spa
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with jennifer nuzzo. join the conversation with your phone calls, texts, facebook comments and tweets, next on -- next on washington journal. ♪ host: good morning. it is monday, february 7, 2022. mike pence -- mike pence stepped back into the political spotlight. on friday evening, he rebuked former president trump for claims the vice president had the authority on january 6, 2021, to overturn the 2020 election results. tensions escalating with trump in the discussion. a question for republican viewers only. we want to know what you think about mike pence and what role do


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