Judgc William Webster Thursday,ovember IW9
(ifurge Edwards: Ladies andeem io keep tnlrodueing myself, and I'll only doouple more times during this conference. I'm George Edwards, the Director of the Center for Presidential Studies here at the Bush School On behalf of the Bush School. I'd like to welcome you to the Conference on US Intelligence and the End of the Cold War which is co-sponsored by the Center tor Presidential Studies, and theiiler for the Study of Inlclligence. We're delighted that you could not only attend this conference but also share this special evening with us. Most of you are from out of town, and wc understand that it sometimesit of work to get iohould tell you lhat when wc sought President Bush's Ubrary. we did produce maps showing thaias the center ofthe known universe. We also understand thai nol everyone agrees with lhat poinl. At any rate, io welcome you properly to. it is my pleasure to introduce the Provost of. Dr. Ron Douglas, [applause]
Ron Douglas: Thank you very much, George. Good evening, and welcome to.now you have heard by now, thisather tragic day at. Many people have spenl most ofthe day rescuing students and comforting families and fricmls. And wc recognized that at the minute we had before thai, and much of that goes
on, and. as you know, we are jus!emorial service.ant to wish you and thankwelcome you here and thank you lor being here. President Bowen, as you might guess, was at the memorial service and regrets not being able to be here tonight. I'd like lo. however, welcome you and thank you very much lor inviting us, my wife Bunny and myself. We're glad to be able to join you here. We're very pleased and excited to be hosting Ihe Conference that has brought so many of you tonderstand your Conference topic is "US Intelligence and the End of the Coldnittle bit ofthe exhibition hy that name. But, in many ways, the end ofthe Cold War was not an end.eginning. Ands part of litis new beginning. Today, we count among our student body moretudents from former Soviet republics and Soviet Bloc nations. More thanf these students hail from Russia, itself. These are students who would not have been able to come hereecade ago. They come here to study engineering and the sciences. They study economics. They study agriculture. And when ihey have completed their education, they will return home to help build new nations. Together we areew world, one that many dared not dream possibleew years ago. To those of you who arc here this evening who helped bring about Ihis new world through your service to ouray. "Thankhe world owesebt of gratitude for the seeds you helped to sow, and wc atill help to cultivate the crop of hope that now giows. thanks to you.hank you for being here,ope you willonderful Conference, [applause]
GE: Thank you very much-ave ItM announcements before we introduce our speaker for this evening. We had anticipated that President Bush would be here. And President Bush is, right now, upstairs meeting with families from the memoriale will nol be here this evening, but you will see him tomorrow. And. of course, he's speaking a) lunch, so he sends his rcgrelsass them on to you.ave one announcement for those who are speakers in our Conference. There arc many representatives ofthe national press here, and we're very pleased la have then MKod AMI Conference. Every session, except for this evening, is open to the press and, undouhtedly. there will be many requests lo interview you. If you're wilting to be interviewed, please let Bill Harlow and Tom Cnspcll know. And they- are right here and they will raise iheir hands so you can identify them easily. And we have asked the press U) let Bill and Tom to serve as clearinghouses for interviews, but it's inevitable that some of you will be contacted directly, and, naturally, you will respond as you wish. Wehink, excellent facilities available to accommodate interviews, and Bill and Tom are happy to expedite this process. It's now my pleasure lo introduce Lloyd Salvetti. who is Director of CIA's Center for Ihe Study of Intelligence. He's also had senior posts in the Operations Directorate of CIA. and also served in the National Security Council. And he will introduce our speaker. Lloyd? [applause]
Lloyd Salvetti: Well, good evening, and welcome on behalf of CIA to this Conference, Wc join wilh (heamily in mourning the loss of life of the several students at ihe bonfire site.errible tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, their friends, and ihe entireI community. The Director
of (crural Inlelligencc. George Tenet, extends his personal coruk>lcnces and prayers lo alt the victims and their families and friends. Me had intended to kick off this Conference hy sharing wilh you his views on the role of intelligence at the end of the Cold War. He very much regrets lhal he has to delay his arrival al College Station until tomorrow morning, becauseamily obligation lhat requires his presence elsewhere tonight. He intends to be fully involved in the Conference on Friday and Saturday, and will make remarks at tomorrow's lunch along with President Bush. Our speaker tonight is Judge William Webster, theDirector of Central Intelligence. Judge Websterong record of distinguished public service, beginning with stints in the US Navy in World War II and the Korean War. He came to CIA after having served nine years as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His leadership of (TA and the Intelligence Community was noted for. among many accomplishments, developing cross-discipline operational and analytical centers, such as the Crime and Narcotics Center, and strengthening relations between the Congress and die Inlelligencc Community, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Judge William Webster, [applause)
Judge Webster: Thank you very-much. Lloyd. Provost Douglas. Ladies and gentlemen. Friends and colleagues.leasure to be with you tonight, and to fill in for George Tenet usmould like toew brief comments, along with Lloyd and George and the others who have noted tonight Ihe circumsianccs in the events of today. We do gather tonight in the midstrail tragedy here at. and although many ofthe Conference participants have only just arrived at College Station, we. too. share the feeling of shock and sorrow that pervades this campus. All of us have
been deeply moved hy the spirit of solidarity and compassion that everyone is showing in thishe students, the faculty, the University leadership, the rescue personnel, the townspeople, and the authorities. And we're all most grateful to all those at the University who have worked so long and hard for many months to put this Conference together, and. under these tragic circumstances, we will do everything lhat we can do ensure thai we do not add lo Iheir enormous burdens. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the students who have died or who have been injured in Ihis terrible accident. Whenever wonderful young lives are lost, werecious piece of ouriilurc lhat all of us here tonight have sought to make more free and more secure for our country and the world.
Well, this Conference has as its subject "US Intelligence and Ihe End ofthe Coldneake more lhan scholarly interest in, because the twohat have been identified for special emphasis as the end. happen to coincide -fall within--my term as Director of Central Intelligence. I'm sure that George Tenet woulduch broader and more interesting perspective. When he called mc to tell me that he was not going to be able lo make it for dinner tonight and would like me to lake hissked him if he was Millhoughtouldeard and pass as George Tenet, hut George says he's not wearing that beard anymore, and it's just asemember goingighly classified trip to China toward the end of my tenure, and ihey requestedear darkeard,ustache.aid, "I'll do almost anything else, buto you have to take me as you find mc,ope lhal some of my views will coincide with so many of you who worked wilh mc during those mcmoiahlc years as the Cold War cameonclusion. The CIA's Center
for the Study of Intelligence and the Bush School of Government for Presidential Studies haveeally tern lie job in organizing this event It was their inspired idea to bring those who presided over our national security and intelligence communities in the final phase of the Cold War together with the scholars who can tell us what wc were really thinking and doing, or what we should have been thinking and doing. Each of us has arrived at the Conference with unique experiences and strong opinions, and that will make tor interesting discussions. The Conference will be even morehink, and enlightening if we also come lo it wilh open minds. One of the reasons lhat this Conference is so valuable is that it allows us all. especially the intelligence officers and policy makers who intensely lived those fateful years, to view events, judgments and decisions wilh greater objectiv ity and clarity. There is one thing, however,ee exactly the same wayid ten yearsook with great pride on the men and women of IJS intelligence, who serve this country with enormous intellectual integrity, skill, and danng.ill always be grateful to Presidents Reagan and Bush for the privilege of working with such lalenled and dedicated professionals, such as Dick Ken and Bob Gales, at my side, and with other wonderful intelligence officers throughout the Community, many of whom are here tonighthould mention that we are very pleased to have with us an important icon of our profession, who was in this struggle from the early days, ami who hasreat friend and neighbor and mentor to me, Dick Helms, [applause)
Historicallyecade is an instant But now is not too soon lo begin systematically discussing and recording for posterity what happened ten years ago. and why. Shortly alter ihe fall ofthe Berlin Wall, our Chief of Station gaveiece ofthe
Wallase that was inscribed with ehc" By1 was the year that my youngest daughter was bom.9 was the year her daughter was bom. My daughter's generation lived for all those years under the cloud symbolized by Ihe Berlin Wall, and now my ten-year-old granddaughter has grown upotally new world. And I'm glad that the record of her granddad and others' efforts and those of his colleagues as the Cold War was ending, will be available to her and others when she is old enough to have an interest, and. perhaps, learn from it. along with others who will have responsibility tor serving and being good citizens in this country. I've always seen itlessing,urden, for US intelligence to be an integral pari of America's democratic system, accountable for our actions and flic quality of our work to Ihe elected leaders, and. ultimately, to the American people. An important part of accountability is providing declassified information lo fill the gaps in the historical record. The publicight to know* what the Intelligence Cornmunity did during the Cold War, and how well we performed. It was fascinating for me to reacquaint myself with the documents that were declassified for thisnow thai you have all enjoyed reading them and have been reminded of the limes in which they came out and Ihe circumstances. Many of ihese materials, particularly those dealing wilh military strategic issues, contain data once considered among the most sensitive held by the Intelligencenderstand that many more Cold War-era documents have been, or will be. made available through Ihe National Archives and Records Administration. Never before has the Intelligence Community voluntarily released Cold War records of such recent vintage, and no otherIS institution or foreign intelligence community- has produced anything comparable. Ours is. indeed, the most open intelligence system in the world. Wc know that there are
many things about which wc cannot be open, but we are discharging our responsibility to the public where information can be used to inform them and to guide future actions.
I know how difficult it is toroject of this kind. Declassificationainstaking, time- and labor-intensive process, and there will be many who will give arguments about why something should be released when it cannot, in fact, be released in order to protect sources and methods and our national security. But, before its release, every word must be reviewed and re-reviewed by experts throughout the Intelligence Community, to ensure that nothing precious is compromised. The entire effort requires exceptional judgment,erious commitment to as much openness as the protection of sources and methods and sensitive foreign relationships will permit.rowsed through theas struck anew by how rapidly and profoundly the East-West strategic struggle changed, and the dynamics of it. Admiral Stansficld Turner, wholassmate of mine at Amherst before the War. was in office at CIA as DCIame to Washington with the FBI. He used to give these wonderful talks withoutingle crib note,sked him how he did it He said, "It's nolorkpeech andive it for six months, andeviseittle,ive it for six moren many ways, this was the kind of world we were inook officeur Soviet experts were listening and looking for telling little hiccups in the Soviet Union that might signal important change, suchtand-up. breakout offensive on the European continent. By thead left office on Laborhe Richter scale had gone off the charts. Just the month before, the hardliners had attempted to overthrow Gorbachev, destroy peresiroika, and derail US-Soviet relations. Gorbachev survived the coup, but soon fell victim to the very forces of reform that he had unleashed.
By December, the Communist Party, Gorbachev, and the USSR were history. Glacial change had become upheaval. Attempts at reform had unleashed revolutionary change. One overriding threat had dissolved into many competing ones. Dangers of strength had been replaced by dangers of weakness. Central controls had disintegrated. An entire empire had collapsed, pulled asunder by resurgenl nationalism. Certainty had turned into uncertainly. Most important of all. totalitarian oppression had given wayurst of democratic freedom.
But whal role did US intelligence play in all this, and did we see it coming? To answer the question, some of it was anticipated very early. For instance, the prediction in the: "The Iron Curtain will lift and the captive nations ofthe East willartnited Europe. Even Russian, purged of its desire to bully and subdue its neighbors, willemberighly respected and valued member. When Europe is truly unified, it will flourish and Communism will be shown for what it is. not the wave of the future at all,ead ideology outruel past which has been employed by cynical masters to control commonhose predictions were made by Wild Bill Donovan, the father of modem American imelligence. And Bill Donovan is still ahead of eventsew of these forecasts. Forecasts are difficult for
Ihose of us in theknow what the facts indicate is happening, is
happening, trying lo predicl what will happen and, more particularly, when it will happen.
is far more difficult. Perhaps that is why Dick Helms'rememhered for
saying thai "the Central Intelligence Agency isor profitn allhink our analyses do stand up wellindsight. What. then, do the documents tell us. and, more importantly, what difference did they make? Time
doesn't permit me to comment,ave to make one comment on how the analysts got the information upon which to make their estimates. And it would be wrong for me not to recognize those gallant men and women who served in the field, collecting human intelligence throughout the world, und those who worked upon our imagery from products from satellites in the sky to make it possible to provide the information upon which our analysts made important ami significant judgments. We owe themebt of gratitude.
Hut tonight we're talking aboutt me begin by stalinghink the evidence refutes the commonharge that regrettably has already made its way into some history books, that US intelligence failed lo apprise policymakers of the Soviet Union's grave economic problems, that we counseled that Moscow would continue indefinitely to wage the Cold War. and the arms nice. 'Ihe Estimates also refute the allegations lhat US intelligence failed lo anticipate ihc collapse of the Soviet power in Eastern and Central Europe, and then in Ihc USSR, itself Wc didn't just call it right, we called it as we sawope ihosc of you who have been looking at the enormous weight of evidence in those materials available for this Conference, and what Ihey reflect in the even more enormous weight of unclassified material, as Doug MacEachin pointed out. thai have always been available, always available to Ihe public and the press and others with respect to where our thinking was taking us. The Estimates should also allay any suspicions that the Intelligence Community politicized intelligence, or catered to what it perceived as the White House view or the policy of the day. In some cases, you will see open debate, competing hypotheses, and even strong dissents regislercd in the same hslinule. Some Generals didn't like lhat. Others in Congress complained that there
wasn't enough of it. But Estimates sometimes contained tacts and projections that were not always welcome hy senior policymakers. And that is the job of intelligence. To tell it like it is. as wc see it. and let the chips fall. Case in point. By earlyCIA was warning policymakers of the deepening crisis in the Soviet Union, and the growing likelihood ol an implosion ofthe old order. Pcrestroika meant calastroika for the Soviet system. In other words, Gorbachev's reforms were creating the opposite of their intended result. Some policymakers complained wc were overly pessimistic, alarmist even. Bob Gates, al lhat time Deputy lo Brent Scowcroft, took the message seriously. With Presidenl Bush's direct approval, heOP SECRET, high-level, contingency planning group to prepare lor Ihe possibilityoviet collapse and its potentially bloody consequences, lhat group was chaired by NSC Soviet Affairs Director.ice. Despite their gloom and doom, as Bob Gale* said ofthe Estimates, these reports convinced the Bush Administration to move quickly to seal as many advantageous agreements as possible with the Gorbachev government.
It's clear thut our Eslimalesital role in defining IS defense and national security issues. The series on Soviel Forces and Capabilities for Strategic Nuclear Conflict, which may be the most important scries of all. helped several American Presidenis lo keep our defenses strong and confidently conclude amis control agreements with Moscow. Ten years ago.ommencement address here at. President Bush stated lhat despite the improved prospects for US-Soviet relations, the United States would adhere to Ihe principle of deterrence and mutual assured destruction as the basis of our defense policy. That decision was based, in part,ational Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that despite political changes and economic
pressures, the Soviet Union was continuing to build new missiles and modernizing its strategic arsenal in spite of Gorbachev's peaceful rhetoric. At the same time, however, our Estimates wereifferent picture with respect to Soviet conventional forces. There we noted that, as Gorbachev had promised, he was withdrawing troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and reducing, Soviet general purpose forces. In the summeruring the second Bush-Gorbachev summit, the Soviet leader took me by both shoulders, looked me in the eyewinkle, and said, "Watch everything we do andot ofaid, "You can count onnd that is just what we were doing. Already by Septembere had assessedoviet invasion of Western Europe, launched with little or no warning, was noealistic threat, and outlined the implications of the withdrawal of the massive Soviet military machine aimed at NATO. Secure in that knowledge, that information, the US was able to withdraw troo)>s, annor and materiel from Western Europe and redeploy them to the Persian Gulf for DESERT STORM.ecall,roops and equipment were taken out because of the Estimates that told us where wc were and that we could do it safely.
A final point on getting it right. On the eve of the failed coup ofonth before my scheduled departure as DCI, the President's Daily Intelligence Brief, die PDB, warned the White House that an attempt against Gorbachev was highly likely. Ol" course, after the coup, therelurry of press stories about an alleged intelligence failure. After the coup attempt, many, on both sides of the US-Soviet relationship, thought that it would be wise to retreatrc-Malta wait-and-see posture. Above all, do nothing that would change or disturb the situation. Instead, President Bush.
certain that the Soviet Union no longerirect threat to NATO,umbcr of important new arms control proposals and took unilateral steps to convince Moscow of our peaceful intentions. These initiatives, which were basederies of intelligence assessments, were aimed al convincing the Soviets to shrink their strategic nuclear arsenal to the lowest possible level, and eliminate tactical nuclear weapons thatorst case scenario, might end up in dangerous hands. Inelieveareful examination of these newly-released documents, snows that US intelligence contributed key information and insights that helped American policymakers bring the most protracted ami most dangerous conflict ofh Century,eaceful end. Again, we cannot always know precisely when and fix the precise date. Dick Kerr was able to do thatours before Iraq invaded Kuwait, but, in general, the important thing is to sec it coming in sufficient time to do something about it.hink, that's what your review of these assessments and our discussions during the next few days will bear out.
Of course, some of the most interesting things we can explore at this Conference arc what the documents don't reveal, what they can't tell us, but what Ihe policymakers and professionals who live through this traumatic period can, and who, hopefully, those who arc here, will do so.aslways reminded my analysts that policymakers can read intelligence estimates. They can tear them up, they can ignore Ihem, they can do anything they want with them except change them. That is the essence of integrity. Did our estimates tell decision makers anything new? An>1hing they couldn't get from other sources? And all of the decision makers had otherecall die many sources in the Gulf War that told them that no Arab country would ever invade another Arab country. Beyond the intelligence we provided, and. hopefully, we
reached our decision makers in lime to be helpful, what other factors were driving policymakers' thinking and actions? How did our intelligence judgments measure up to coiilanporaneous assessments from outside the Intelligence Community? What important facts or trends did we miss or insufficiently consider? What can we learn from this Conference that will help maximize the effectiveness of US intelligence in the future? And I, and I'm sure, all of you, look forward to spirited discussions on these
A very few closing thoughts My good friend, the late Sir William Stephenson, better known as the man called INTREPID, told me that when anyone asked him what was the most important attributeood intelligence ofliccr, his answer was always.e once wrote, "Among the increasingly intricate arsenals across the world, intelligence is an essential weapon, perhaps the most important, but it is being secret, the most dangerous. As in all enterprises, the character nnd wisdom of those to whom it is entrusted will be decisive. In the integrity of that guardianship lies the hope of tree people to endure and prevail. During the bleak. Cold War decades, hope did endure, and freedom, at last,elieve tlut the integrity of the facts and assessments in these iliKuments which wc will study together, and the personal integrity of the men and women who produced them.riticalhat remarkable outcome,m proud to have served with you in thai effort Thank you. |applausc]
GE: Thank you very much, Judge Webster, for getting us off to such an excellent beginning to our conference. We wish you good evening. Transportation awaits you.
UNCI ASSlr III)Original document.