Sign in to comment!

Special Report

Senate Intelligence Chair Pat Roberts on What's Next for the CIA

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from May 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PORTER GOSS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I would like to report back to you that I believe the agency is on a very even keel, sailing well. I honestly believe that we have improved dramatically your goals for our nation's intelligence capabilities, which are, in fact, the things that I think are keeping us very safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ANGLE, GUEST HOST: The surprise resignation of CIA Director Porter Goss leaves not just a vacancy in Langley, but many unanswered questions. Among them, who will be named to succeed him, as well as the future of the CIA and its role in the war on terror?

Joining us with his insights the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts.

Senator Roberts, good to see you, sir.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS, R-KAN.: Thank you, Jim. Thank you for having me.

ANGLE: Let me ask you first, this came up fairly suddenly, at least in the public view. I understand there had been some discussions for a while. What do you think went into this decision?

ROBERTS: I think it was a mutual decision on the part of Porter and the president. And Porter's been on duty now for two years. And he has done some very good things at the CIA. And I think, for one reason or another, both he and the president decided that perhaps his resignation at this time would be a favorable thing. And so I think that's what happened.

ANGLE: I want to take something off the table. There was some rather irresponsible rumors floating around today and voiced in some quarters — without mentioning what they are — are you convinced this resignation has nothing to do with any sort of wrongdoing.

ROBERTS: Absolutely. The Porter Goss I know is about as far as removed from anything like that than any, I guess, individual that I have known in the Congress and in public service.

ANGLE: Now, let me ask you, he came in a difficult time for the agency. He had been under fire for both the war in Iraq and WMD intelligence as well as what happened before 9/11. There were a lot of challenges when he arrived there. He tackled many of them. How far along did he get?

ROBERTS: I thought he did a good job. And you are right; he came in during a period of transition. Remember we had the 9/11 Commission. Remember that our committee, the Senate Committee on Intelligence, just had finished the WMD study showing an intelligence failure on the part of the CIA and the intelligence community. — a worldwide intelligence failure.

And so we had — and then we had the WMD recommendations. That's the commission that was appointed by the president. So here had you a laundry list of 85 reforms. You had a whole laundry list of what the Congress had recommended during intelligence reform.

And we said "here, Porter, it's your job and your plate is full. He did about the best he could under the circumstances. I think when you inherit a vast bureaucracy they resist change and I think that happened. There was pushback, but better human intelligence, more CIA officers out in the field.

We used to have 100,000 — 100,000 personnel in the CIA in the Clinton administration it went down to 75. They are getting built back up and better information sharing.

So I think we have now, as a result of Porter Goss and him insisting on it, better analysis, better information access among the 16 agencies that comprise the community.

And then, as I have indicated before, he tried to push the officers out in the field so they really worked much more closely with the military.

ANGLE: Now, there were some members of the intelligence committees on the Hill today who were suggesting that a lot of people have left the CIA because they weren't happy with the way things were going under Porter Goss and have gone elsewhere. What's your sense of that?

ROBERTS: Oh, I think any time that you have change, that you are going to have that. And I think the person that comes in and takes over the CIA, has to understand the mission of the agency, the culture of the agency, any intelligence agency.

I think the classic case is the Congress in terms of resisting change. And so the trick or I guess the mission is to make those changes without making an enemy of the bureaucracy that you are trying to change.

I don't think there is any question you had some John Wayne types and 007 types and people that tried to do it that way.

But we have a different situation. We have a director of national intelligence. Porter was not in charge of the whole community as, say, George Tenet was. So I think there was some resistance to change.

ANGLE: Let me ask you about that because he came in a time of change. And suddenly you have this new bureaucracy on top of the CIA. The director of the CIA, many people may not appreciate, used to be also the director of Central Intelligence.

ROBERTS: That's correct.

ANGLE: The director of National Intelligence was created above the CIA and sort of taking over the entire intelligence community. The word around town today was that there was some head butting between director of National Intelligence Negroponte and CIA director Porter Goss.

ROBERTS: Well, I just think it's an attempt to say to Porter — and Porter probably told the president I have been here two years, we have made some changes. He would be the first one to say we have more changes to make. And that, that situation, you have Ambassador Negroponte, who works out of his way to get along with all of the other agencies.

It's going to take some time, Jim. But I think we made real progress under Porter.

ANGLE: Let's talk briefly about potential replacements. One name being branded about is Michael Hayden, who's former head of the NSA. Now the deputy director of national intelligence. How would his nomination be greeted on the Hill?

ROBERTS: General Hayden is known as a person who knows intelligence forwards and backwards. He has given, I don't know how many briefings, to Congress and committees.

Now that we have expanded some of those briefings to the Armed Services Committee, he is well known on Capitol Hill. He has a good background in intelligence.

ANGLE: Managed a very large agency?

ROBERTS: Yes, that's correct. So he is a viable candidate. Others are as well.

Whoever the president nominates, we are looking forward to working with the president. Our committee will have say in that. The president will propose and nominate. We have to confirm. I know a lot of members on the committee will have tough questions that are before us.

The key is to go ahead and get that confirmation done because we are still in the midst of a war.

ANGLE: Now, just a few second left. Though he is an active military officer, is he not from the Pentagon? How would the CIA regard a military officer from the Pentagon? About 10 seconds left?

ROBERTS: Well, 10 seconds, he could retire that would take care of that. But there might be some feeling about that because historically that's a civilian.

ANGLE: OK, great. Senator Roberts, thanks very much for coming in. We appreciate it.

ROBERTS: It's my pleasure, Jim, thank you.

ANGLE: Thank you.

Watch "Special Report With Brit Hume" weeknights at 6 p.m. EST.

Content and Programming Copyright 2006 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com ), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.