REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR JOHN D. NEGROPONTE

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON, D.C.

11:30 A.M. EST
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2006

"INTELLIGENCE REFORM: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES"

MR. NEGROPONTE:  (Applause.)  I've got to get myself properly provisioned here, so just bear with me for a moment.

            Thank you very, very much, Tom, for that warm introduction.  And he's already disappeared!  (Laughs; laughter.)  I noticed him hesitating a bit during his remarks.  And he told me what I thought was a kind of a good joke about a speechwriter who didn't particularly like one of the people that he had been writing for.  And when the guy was giving the last speech of his life and he went to open his book and he saw one piece of paper and it said on it, "You're on your own."  (Laughs; laughter.) 

            I also want to thank Cas Yost and Frank Hogan for the honor that you are bestowing on me with the Jit Trainor Award.  I'm flattered to think that I have exemplified some of the qualities of dedication and loyalty that Jit Trainor exhibited in service to Georgetown University.  Dedication, loyalty and service certainly are the values that animate Georgetown, which in so many ways influences this capital, and certainly has influenced me.  If I tried to remember all the times that I have visited this campus, whether to teach here, as I did in 1987, or for the colloquiums and the seminars, I couldn't do it.  Georgetown University has been part of my life for a very long time.

            Looking out into this audience, I see friends and colleagues who would say the same thing.  There are people here today who served with me during Vietnam, throughout the Cold War, and then into what we used to call -- for lack of a better term -- the post-Cold War era.  Was it really an era?  Can an era be over so fast?  We were in it when I left the government in the 1990s to work at the McGraw-Hill Companies for four years, but when I came back as United States ambassador to the United Nations in September 2001, it was gone. 

            What has replaced the post-Cold War era?  That's a difficult question to answer because life and history seem to be moving so fast.  We live in a world that is full of conflict, contradictions and accelerating change.  Viewed from the perspective of the director of national intelligence, the most dramatic change of all is the exponential increase in the number of targets we must identify, track and analyze.  Today, in addition to nation states with hostile intentions, we are focusing on terrorist groups, proliferation networks, alienated communities, authoritarian leaders and narcotraffickers. 

            Today I would like to talk about a few of those threats and challenges to our nation -- global terrorism, Iraq's struggle to build its democracy, and nuclear proliferation in the cases of Iran and North Korea -- and then describe what we in the intelligence community are doing in response.  President Bush has characterized the ongoing transformation of our intelligence community as the most dramatic reform since the days of President Truman.  I hope the threats that I detail for you will substantiate why such a major reform effort is not only imperative, but urgent.

            First, the global jihadist threat.  Entrenched grievances such as corruption and injustice, and the slow pace of economic, social and political change in most Muslim-majority nations continue to fuel the global jihadist movement.  Global jihadists seek to overthrow regimes that they regard as apostate and to eliminate Western influence in the Muslim world, although most of their targets and victims are fellow Muslims.

            The movement is diffuse and subsumes three very distinct types of groups and individuals.

            First and foremost, al Qaeda, a weakened but resourceful organization.

            Second, other Sunni jihadist groups, some affiliated with al Qaeda, some not.

            And third, self-generating jihadist networks and cells.

            Working closely with our allies and friends, we have killed or captured most of the leadership behind the 9/11 attacks.  But my colleagues and I still view the global jihadist terrorist movement, which emerged from the Afghan-Soviet conflict in the 1980s but is today inspired and led by al Qaeda, as the pre-eminent threat to our citizens, homeland interests and friends.

            The London and Madrid bombings demonstrated the extent to which European nations in particular are both vulnerable to terrorist attack and could be exploited operationally to facilitate attacks on us.  Unfortunately, al Qaeda will attempt high-impact attacks for as long as its central command structure is functioning and affiliated groups are capable of furthering its interests.  Although an attack using conventional explosives continues to be the most probable scenario, al Qaeda remains interested in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials or weapons.

            Ultimately, more than the acts of global jihadists, the debate between Muslim extremists and moderates will influence the future terrorist environment, the domestic stability of key United States partners and the foreign policies of Muslim governments.

            The global jihadists are adding urgency to a debate within Islam over how religion should shape government.  Growing internal demands for reform in many Muslim countries are also stimulating this debate.  In general, it appears that Muslims are becoming more aware of their Islamic identity, leading to growing political activism, but increased political activism does not necessarily signal a trend towards radicalization.

            Most Muslims reject the extremist message and violent agendas of the global jihadists.  Indeed, as people of all backgrounds endorse democratic principles of freedom, equality and the rule of law, they will be able to couple these principles with their religious beliefs, whatever they may be, to build better futures for their communities.  In the Islamic world, increased freedoms will serve as a counterweight to a jihadist movement that only promises more authoritarianism, isolation and economic stagnation.

            The threat from extremism and anti-Western militancy is especially acute in Iraq.  This is a difficult struggle.  In looking at the year ahead, I'd like to offer a balance sheet approach.  Let me begin with some of the challenges that pro-democracy Iraqis face before turning to encouraging developments.

            First, the challenges.  Iraqi Sunni-Arab disaffection is the primary enabler of the insurgency and is likely to remain high in 2006.  In addition, the most extreme Sunni jihadists, such as those fighting with Zarqawi, will continue to attack Iraqis and coalition forces regardless of positive political developments.

            Iraqi security forces require better command and control to improve their effectiveness.

            Although Kurds and Shi'a were accommodating to the underrepresented Sunnis in 2005, their desire to protect core interests such as regional autonomy and de-Ba'athification could make further compromise more difficult.

            And lastly, prospects for economic development in 2006 are constrained by the unstable security situation, insufficient commitment to economic reform on the part of the government, and corruption.

            But there are important encouraging developments in Iraq as well.

            The insurgents have failed to consolidate any gains from their attacks.  To the contrary, they have not been able to establish any lasting territorial control.  They were unable to disrupt either of the two national elections held last year or the constitutional referendum.  They have not developed a political strategy to attract popular support beyond their Sunni Arab base.  And they have not shown the ability to coordinate nationwide operations.

            In addition, Iraqi security forces are taking on more demanding missions, making incremental progress towards operational independence, and becoming more capable of providing the stability Iraqis deserve and the economy needs in order to grow.  Despite obvious efforts by Zarqawi's organization to use attacks on Shi'a civilians to bait them into attacking their Sunni countrymen, the vast majority of Shi'a have shown restraint.  And perhaps most importantly, large-scale Sunni participation in the last election has provided a first step towards diminishing Sunni support for the insurgency.

            After global jihadist terrorism, the ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction constitutes the second major threat to the safety of our nation, our deployed troops and our allies.  We are most concerned about the threat and destabilizing effect of nuclear proliferation, but we are also concerned about the threat from biological or chemical agents, which could have psychological and possibly political effects far greater than their actual magnitude.

            The time when a few states had monopolies over weapons of mass destruction is fading.  Technologies, often dual-use, move freely in our globalized economy, as do the scientific personnel who design them.  It is more difficult for us to track efforts to acquire those widely available parts and production technologies; yet the potential danger of weapons of mass destruction proliferation are so grave that we must do everything possible to discover and disrupt it.

            With respect to Iran's nuclear program, our concerns are shared by many nations, by the International Atomic Energy Agency and, of course, Iran's neighbors.  These concerns have increased since last summer because President Ahmadinejad has made numerous unacceptable statements since his last -- since his election.  Hard-liners have regained control of all the major branches and institutions of government, and the government has become more effective at repressing the nascent chutes of personal freedom that had emerged earlier in the decade.

            Iran conducted a clandestine uranium enrichment program for nearly two decades in violation of its International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement, and despite its claims to the contrary, we assess that Iran seeks nuclear weapons.  While Tehran probably does not yet have a nuclear weapon and probably has not yet produced or acquired the necessary fissile material, the danger that it will do so is a reason for immediate concern.  Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, which Tehran views as an integral part of its strategy to deter, and if necessary, retaliate against forces in the region, including United States forces.  The integration of nuclear weapons into Iran's -- Iranian ballistic systems would be destabilizing beyond the Middle East.

            Like Iran, North Korea threatens international security and is located in a historically volatile region.  Unlike Iran, North Korea claims to have nuclear weapons already, a claim that we assess is probably true.  Pyongyang sees nuclear weapons as the best way to deter superior United States and South Korean forces, to ensure regime security as a lever for economic gain and as a source of prestige.  Accordingly, the North remains a major challenge to the global nonproliferation regimes.  We do not know the conditions under which the North would be willing to fully relinquish its nuclear weapons and its weapons programs, nor do we see signs of organized opposition to the regime among North Korea's political or military elite.

            Each of the three challenges I have discussed today is affected by the accelerating change and transnational dynamics that are the hallmarks of the 21st century.  Jihadist terrorism, the struggle between freedom and extremism, and WMD proliferation are all subject to the powerful force of globalization, which moves people, goods, ideas, weapons, technologies, solutions and problems in a nonstop torrent across borders and boundaries.  As a direct result, collecting, analyzing and acting on solid intelligence have become increasingly difficult.

            To meet these new challenges, we need to work hand in hand with other responsible nations, but we also have a lot of work to do at home.  The powerful critiques of congressional committees, the 9/11 commission and the WMD commission, framed by statute in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and taken to heart by the dedicated professionals of our intelligence community, have gotten us moving in the right direction.

            In the last nine months, we have begun reshaping the cultures of United States national intelligence and begun the arduous process of deeply integrating our considerable resources.

            With respect to global terrorism, we have strengthened the National Counterterrorism Center, given it new mandates and authorities, and put it in a central role to ensure that terrorism-related information is properly coordinated and moved on to those who need it to ensure our safety.

            The transnational threat of terror means that our diplomats, our combatant commanders, our governors and our police chiefs all have a legitimate and compelling claim on the most accurate, comprehensive, timely intelligence that the 16 agencies of the intelligence community can produce.

            Beyond the National Counterterrorism Center, we have worked with the Department of Justice and the FBI to help create and fund and integrate the FBI's new National Security Branch into our overall counterterrorism effort.  And we have also cooperated with the Department of Homeland Security in strengthening their Office of Intelligence and Analysis, led by Mr. Charlie Allen, the most experienced intelligence professional in the United States government.

            In terms of Iraq, we have an effort under way that integrates stateside capabilities with our presence on the ground in that country.  This is a complex undertaking that requires close cooperation with our commanders in support of coalition efforts.

            One particular threat to our troops, Improvised Explosive Devices, is a substantial concern, as it accounts for approximately one-half of American casualties.  We are highly focused on it.  But as with combating terrorism, not all of our intelligence effort is directed at tactical challenges.  Intelligence has an important role to play in offering broader strategic assessments that shed light on political, economic, social and cultural factors.

            A key to success for the Iraqi people, for example, will be bringing all of these factors -- that is to say political, economic, social and cultural -- together under a constitutional democracy that is led by an effective national government respectful of Iraq's regional, ethnic and sectarian diversity.

            With respect to weapons of mass destruction proliferation, last summer the president accepted the Silberman-Robb Commission's recommendation that we create a National Counterproliferation Center.  We have done that.  Ken Brill, a former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, has put together a highly qualified staff to carry out the National Counterproliferation Center's role as the strategic coordinator of our government's counterproliferation analysis.

            In addition, we have named mission managers for Iran and North Korea.  These new posts are occupied by senior intelligence professionals whose job is to make the decisions and take the actions that I myself would take if I could spend all my time working on a single issue or a single country.

            In important ways, our mission mangers for Iran and North Korea represent the theme that I use most often with regard to intelligence community reform, integration.  Intelligence is a complex business wherein multiple significant factors, information streams and functions must be brought together into timely, accurate and objective analysis responsive to our customers' needs, and that customer set is extensive.

            By itself, no single step we take in reforming and integrating the United States intelligence community will necessarily enable us to pinpoint the activation of a terrorist plot or identify a ship carrying WMD-related material or interpret developments in new democracies under siege.  But the combined steps we take together do enable the United States intelligence community to assure the American people that we are better prepared than we were in September 2001.  That's the fundamental metric and mandate legislated both by Congress and by history to which we must respond.

            Again, I am gratified by your presence and your interest, and I'm indebted to Georgetown University for bestowing the Jit Trainor Award on me.

            As I mentioned at the outset, many former and present colleagues are here today, so I would also to thank them personally for their friendship and their support over the years.

            Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

            CASMIR YOST:  Thank you, Ambassador Negroponte, for a very thoughtful and comprehensive statement.

            We're now going to have a period of questions, and I would ask that if you have a question, please line up at the microphone.  I should tell you that we have a particular bias in this hall, which is that we love to see students asking questions, but we will not, of course, forbid other guests from getting to the microphone.

            But we look forward to your questions.

            Please.

            Q     Since our lives have been impacted by the ire felt toward us by Muslim nations or individuals in Muslim nations, will you discuss the root cause of the enmity so many of these people feel toward the United States?

            Thank you.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Well, I'm not sure that I'm the most expert person to address that question.  I think one of the points I was trying to make in my prepared remarks was that while there is enmity towards the West in general and towards the United States in particular, there's also a struggle going on within the world of Islam itself, and that, in some respects, may even be the more fundamental struggle that is taking place.  But as far as the roots of enmity towards us is concerned, I think that would be a very long and almost an entirely different subject to explore.

            But I would respond to you as someone who has served in nine posts -- diplomatic postings abroad, including four ambassadorships, plus being our representative at the United Nations.  I also have found in my own personal experience of more than 40 years in government that there is a great deal of goodwill towards the United States, its government and its people.  So that when one talks about enmity which might exist in one place or another, this is quite a complex question, and I don't believe that it overshadows the fundamental goodwill that exists towards our country in this world.

            Q     Thank you, Mr. Negroponte.  I am a retired CIA intelligence analyst, so I am particularly curious to find out what sort of safeguards, if any, have you introduced to protect the integrity of the intelligence process and product from being bastardized and prostituted by policymakers to promote a predetermined policy, as was the case with the disinformation campaign that George W. Bush and his henchmen launched to lie this country into its present disastrous war of aggression in Iraq?  Thank you.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  (Pause.)  (Laughter.)  What are you gonna do?  (Laughs.)  (Laughter.)

            First of all, the answer is, a lot.  I mean, among the lessons learned from -- I think some of the lessons learned from 9/11 started being applied almost right away in terms of connecting the dots.  With respect to the WMD issue, I think that a lot has been done in terms of -- let's just list some of the steps.  Encouraging alternative analysis.  Making sure that the president's daily brief incorporates analyses from a variety of agencies.  We've enlisted and engaged, for example, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research a lot more in pieces that are prepared for the president's brief. 

            Red cell analyses, where you look at alternative interpretations to some particular conventional wisdom.  Let's say the conventional wisdom on a particular subject is X, and everybody starts getting maybe too comfortable with that analysis.  We say to ourself, well, let's just take that proposition and see if we can get a group of smart analysts to try to prove the reverse.

            So I think we've now got an official in the -- within our Directorate of National Intelligence with responsibility to serve as an analytic ombudsman, and as a deputy for analytic integrity; happens to be a professor from this university.  And I hired as my deputy for analysis Dr. Thomas Finger, who was the director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department.  And as you may recall, they were the ones who took the dissenting view to the National Intelligence Estimate in 2002 on Iraq.

            So I honestly believe that we've done a lot to assure the integrity of our product.  We won't rest on our laurels.  We'll continue to strive to improve in that area.  But I think we've done a lot.

            Q     Ambassador Negroponte, I have two quick questions.  First off, I'd like to thank you for advocating, during your tenure at the U.N., the fair treatment of Israel in that body.

            My first question is what, if any, interest has your office taken in congressional hearings this week on whistleblowers in the intelligence community?  Those hearings have addressed the need to protect whistleblowers against retaliatory action such as the revocation of clearances.  And I'd like to hear that steps are being contemplated by your office in this regard.

            And the second question is, there are certain procedural impediments that are facing analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center.  And let me give you two examples.  For example, FBI analysts cannot locate a member of their -- a CIA counterpart.  There is no connectivity between the two branches.  For example, if an analyst wanted to look up their counterpart in an office -- in a particular office, they have to go through their boss; there's no direct connectivity. 

            And the second example is that the FBI analysts aren't pushed raw intelligence, you have to go into a database and pull the intelligence out of the database using search terms, as opposed to other branches of the intelligence community, such as INR --

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Are you in the intelligence community?

            Q     Yes, sir.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Oh, okay.

            Q     -- where the intelligence is actually pushed to you --

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  It sounds like you know an awful lot.  I was just -- (laughter; laughs) --

            Q     A little bit.  So the FBI actually spent $120 million to try to get a system up that pushes raw intelligence to the analysts. 

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Right.

            Q     And the FBI still does not have such a system.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Okay.

            Q     I'd like to know that you're aware of some of these challenges that are facing --

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Yeah, I certainly am.  But you -- there are a lot of questions in there.

            But let me first of all, on the question of whistleblowers, there's whistleblowing and there's whistleblowing.  And there are procedures under the statute for people going to the inspector general of their agency and raising through an established procedure problems or issues that one might identify within one agency.  And I think we're all in favor of those rights and obligations being both protected and carried out, so I don't think we have any problem with appropriate whistleblowing.

            But there are some things that are defined as whistleblowing that are tantamount to or are outright unauthorized, improper and possibly illegal leaking of classified national security information to the press, and that's not proper and not appropriate.  And if somebody commits those kinds of offenses, they deserve to be punished for that.

            So I think it's important that that distinction be made.

            With respect to connectivity of -- of officials or analysts of different agencies, I think one of the major thrusts of our reform effort is to assure better integration of our intelligence, starting with the military and foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence.  We've got to create a seamless transition between those bodies of intelligence so that we can effectively pursue our targets.

            And as far as -- I mean, part of it is a human problem, but part of it is -- and a cultural problem, which we're trying to break down.  And I think the National Counterterrorism Center is actually a step in the right direction in that regard because it locates people from the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and others.

            And then the other part is a technological problem of enhancing the connectivity between all of these agencies, and we're working hard on that as well.  And I think you're going to see progress in the months and years ahead on that.  We've just appointed a chief information officer, a Senate-appointed position, in the directorate of national intelligence, Major General Dale Meyerrose, who used to have the same job at NORTHCOM as chief of information there.  I expect important things -- important results from his efforts.

            I'd mention one example of an improvement, I think, to better integration of the intelligence community is a new system that we call ARC, an Analytic Resources Catalog, where we have embarked on a project to try to catalog all analysts in different categories of endeavor throughout the community so that ultimately what you ought to be able to find is if you want to know who in the community is analyzing the subject of Iraq, you should be able to call up the database of all analysts on the subject of Iraq, no matter what agency they are in.  So this is the kind of connectivity we're trying to encourage.

            Q     Thank you.

            Q     Ambassador, good afternoon.

            First of all, I'm honored to be here and congratulations on your Jit Trainor Award.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Thank you.

            Q     I'm here as a parent.  My son is a student here at the School of Foreign Service.

            My question is, based on your experience in Mexico -- as we know, there is a very strong possibility that Mr. Lopez Obrador just might become the next president of Mexico.  And how do you see that affecting our relationship, as tense it is, between U.S. and Mexico right now?

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Well, I'll tell you one thing I learned as being ambassador, spending more than four years in Mexico -- one comments on politics in Mexico with great care.  (Laughter.)  That was the first lesson I learned.

            Secondly, you're right.  There's going to be a very important election in that country this coming July.  And there are candidates from the three major parties.  There may be others, I'm not aware.  And we're going to have to see what the outcome is.

            My own view -- this is my own judgment -- is if you look at the history of U.S.-Mexico relations over the past 60 or 70 years, that whatever the ideological or political persuasion of the Mexican incumbent, there has been a tendency to place priority on the bilateral relationship over other considerations, so that -- it's hard to look back at a period where relations between the United States and Mexico have actually been bad.  Usually -- and if you look at the range of activities that take place between the two countries, whether its border affairs, investment, North American Free Trade Agreement, the fact that there's so many hundred million border crossings a year and so forth, I would expect that no matter which candidate gets elected you'll see many, if not most, of all of those activities continue forward.

            Q     Thank you.

            Q     Ambassador Negroponte, again, thank you on behalf of everyone here and congratulations on the Jit Trainor Award.  I am a -- I think I'm your first student -- second-year grad student at the School of Foreign Service, and I'm not in the intelligence community, so I'm going to ask a broader question.

            Could you try to explain what you or the Office of the DNI -- what kind of criteria you use in the decision to create the mission managers as well as the centers in the effort to integrate the intelligence community?  In other words, I know it's not as simplistic as looking at the threat matrix and making the top two centers the next two major mission managers to integrate the information, but why -- what criteria might you use to develop a mission manager for China?  At what point do you decide one of these mission managers should be built-out into a center?

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Of course the centers are pretty much bricks and mortar, aren't they.  They National Counterterrorism Center is an institution with several hundred people in it.  We have a National Counterintelligence Center which has got about 50 or so people.  And the National Counterproliferation Center also has 60, 70 people in it.  I did not -- and those -- those were pretty much suggested to us by the Robb-Silberman report.

            I thought it would be a mistake to try to create too many of either these centers or the mission managers.  I didn't think it was in our interest to proliferate these institutions, nor -- because, among other things, I think it would run the danger of sort of cannibalizing too much of the intelligence community.  If you start dipping in throughout the community to create these centers, at what point do you -- do you lose critical mass in these various agencies?  So one has to be careful about it.  One has to do it with issues that are really of -- on the first order of importance.

            And with respect to the mission managers for Iran and North Korea, they have very small core staff -- 5, 6, 7 people -- and then the rest of the notion of the center there is virtual.  And that becomes, of course, easier and easier to do with the assistance of modern technology.

            So we decided to keep it very, very limited, and focused it principally, if you will, on the two main threats; that is to say terrorism and counterproliferation.

            Thank you.

            MR. YOST:  We're going to take these three questions, and then that'll be it.  Thank you.

            Q     Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.  Good afternoon.  I don't work in the intelligence community, but I am currently underemployed.  (Laughter.)  I'd like to propose two things for your consideration.

            One, you talked strategically you're trying not to respond simply to tactical problems.  I would argue that we're still in the post-Cold War world in one sense.  When I was a student here, we talked about non-state actors, and the groups that you identified as the greatest danger to the United States largely would be characterized as non-state actors back in the '70s and '80s:  narcoterrorists, terrorists of various sorts.  Even if they have the backing of a state, they're largely non-state actors.

            During the Cold War, if a Russian client or an American client or an allied state attacked the other side, there would be grave global repercussions.  And there were tight reins on these groups at that time; they operated in very small areas and didn't touch the larger powers.  In the post-Cold War era, there's only one power, so there's that lack of check and balance.  And the one thing we didn't have in strategically important locations in the Cold War were failed states like Afghanistan or potentially like Iraq could be if we were to prematurely pull out.

            So in the post-Cold War world --

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  I think you're about to ask me a very difficult question.  (Laughter.)

            Q     -- how does the intelligence community, possibly in collaboration with other intelligence agencies abroad, attempt to recreate an environment which we have an operational intelligence?  Remember in the Bond movies when Russia or the United States was threatened, the two sides could cooperate.  How do we cooperate in an intelligence sense with our allies abroad?

            And while I'm out in left field, let me say one thing quickly.  (Laughter.)

            MR. YOST:  Very quickly.

            Q     Yes, very quickly.  I understand we're under time constraints.

            One of the problems, it seems, that the -- the intelligence agencies have faced in this was, going back to the 9/11 report, is that there is a ton of raw data coming in, classified and unclassified data, that needs to be sifted through and gone through.  There's a project known as the (Study ?) Project --

            MR. YOST:  We need a question, please.

            Q     Yes.  Well, just the first one, then.  How do we respond to the need to manage and control what's going on within the globe in a way that was managed by the two great powers prior to 1989?

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Yeah.  Well, of course, you're asking really much more of a foreign policy question than an intelligence question.  But I  guess what I would say, thinking back to my own diplomatic experience and working at the United Nations -- and you mentioned the word "failed states" -- it seems to me that we haven't found a substitute in the international community for the nation state.  And I think stability and prosperity in this world still depends very much on a system of healthy, viable and, preferably, democratically and market-oriented network of states around the world. 

            So I think the health of nation states around the world is really fundamental to lasting peace and stability.  And I think you're right to mention failed states, as where failed states either exist or threaten to materialize, those are areas that it behooves us to pay a great deal of attention to because they can be the source of no end of difficulty and trouble.

            Q     Thanks for your indulgence.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Thanks.

            Q     Mr. Ambassador, I want to once again thank you for your comments and welcome you back to Georgetown.  Congratulations on your award.

            I can assure you I'm not a disgruntled member of the intelligence community, nor do I have a tirade.  I'm an undergrad with an interest in the intelligence community, so I have two quick questions if you have time for them. 

            One is, for those undergrads and those here who are interested about a possible career in the intelligence community, what suggestions you might have for them.  And if you have time after that, relating to the NSA sort of eavesdropping, the leak of that, how does that truly hurt us, and what do we do from here?

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Well, on the first question, thank you for your interest in the intelligence community, and I think that going to Georgetown you're uniquely situated to avail yourself of the contacts and the information that is so readily available in this town, because you have practitioners who come and teach here and lecture here, and you can access the government quite easily.

            But as far as what advice I would have for you, it's read and learn and absorb as much as you can now, because I believe that if you do pursue a career in intelligence in the future, you will find that those academic efforts were extremely beneficial to you; for example, language and area studies.  I mean, we have a great shortage now of both analytical and operational personnel with analytic-sufficient training in language and area studies.  And after a sort of hollowing-out of our national security personnel in the 1990s, a decline, and then that, combined with the retirement of baby boomers, there's a lot of demand out there for intelligence professionals.  So I think that there's some great opportunities ahead.

            Q     Thank you.

            MR. YOST:  Last question.

            Q     Ambassador Negroponte, I'm a first-year masters candidate at the School of Foreign Service.  And as the last questioner, let me thank you for your words here today and your work on all of our behalf.

            In your last final section of comments, you talked about intelligence reform, and you mentioned a number of new initiatives that have been engineered over the last couple of years.  But you also mentioned the need for cultural shift, which to me implies some change in attitudes, which I find often the most difficult things to change.  I wonder if you could speak a little bit about what the obstacles to cultural shift in the intelligence community have been, and what measures you're taking to address those.

            MR. NEGROPONTE:  Right.  Well, I think the 9/11 commission and the WMD commission and the congressional inquiries into that touched on a number of those things.  But you remember the issue of connecting the dots with respect to 9/11 and the talking about the stovepipes of the community, and how there had not been sufficient communication between them.  So I think one has to -- I mean, integration is a really important word here.  You've go to encourage a culture of integration.

            An example of one way you can do that -- and we're working on this -- which is to make it a requirement for people who aspire to become part of the senior intelligence service to have served at least one assignment in another agency as a precondition of promotion to those higher ranks.  So that would be one example of a cultural challenge that is faced.

            There are others as well, but I think probably the issue of the stovepipes and the willingness to and having an affirmative attitude towards integrating one's work with other elements of the community is probably the single most important feature.

            One other example of it, of course, is the question of, domestically, the crossover between intelligence information and law enforcement information, and the Patriot Act created certain facilities for the FBI cross-sharing intelligence and law enforcement information that was not previously part of their culture.  And the creation of the National Security Branch in the FBI I think is another important example of taking on this cultural challenge of integrating the intelligence function with the law enforcement function so that you're not exclusively focused on one or the other as you try to assess the kind of threats that we might be facing here or elsewhere.

            (To Mr. Yost.)  Okay, Cas, do you want me to stay here?

            MR. YOST:  Yeah.  Let me call on Mr. Hogan to present the Jit Trainor Award for this year.

            FRANK HOGAN:  Ambassador Negroponte, we're delighted to have you here today.  We're honored to present you with the Jit Trainor Award for your wonderful, distinguished service to the United States of America.  (Applause.)

            MR. YOST:  Ladies and gentlemen, if we could have your indulgence for just a couple of minutes and let Ambassador Negroponte make an exit through the door and down the hall, and then we will release you from this room.  But if you can give us just a couple of minutes. 

            Thank you so much for joining us today.  (Applause.)

END.

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