Mike Pompeo was sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Company on January 23, 2017
I’m honored to ship my first public remarks as CIA Director at such a distinguished establishment.
Let me begin in the present day by telling you a narrative.
He was a shiny, well-educated younger man. He was described as industrious, clever, and likeable, if inclined towards impulsiveness and impatience.
Sooner or later, he turned disillusioned with intelligence work and indignant at his authorities. He left authorities and determined to dedicate himself to what he considered public advocacy—exposing the intelligence officers and operations he had sworn to maintain secret.
He appealed to Company staff to ship him “leads, tips, suggestions.” He wrote in a extensively circulated bulletin: “We are particularly anxious to receive, anonymously if you desire, copies of US diplomatic lists and US Embassy staff.”
Persconferentie ex-CIA-agent Philip Agee in verband met uitwijzing uit Nederland; Philip Agee .*19 december 1977 By way of Wiki
That man was Philip Agee, one of the founding members of the journal Counterspy, which in its first challenge in 1973 referred to as for the publicity of CIA undercover operatives abroad. In its September 1974 difficulty, Counterspy publicly recognized Richard Welch because the CIA Chief of Station in Athens. Later, Richard’s residence handle and telephone quantity have been outed within the press in Greece.
In December 1975, Richard and his spouse have been returning residence from a Christmas celebration in Athens. When he received out of his automotive to open the gate in entrance of his home, Richard Welch was assassinated by a Greek terrorist cell. On the time of his dying, Richard was the highest-ranking CIA officer killed within the line of obligation.
Richard led a wealthy and honorable life, one that’s celebrated with a star on the Company’s Memorial Wall. He’s buried at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery and stays dearly remembered by his household and colleagues.
In the meantime, Agee propped up his dwindling movie star with an occasional stunt, together with a Playboy interview. He ultimately settled down because the privileged visitor of an authoritarian regime—one that may have put him in entrance of a firing squad with no second thought had he betrayed their secrets and techniques as he betrayed ours.
At the moment, there are nonetheless lots of Philip Agees on the earth, and the hurt they inflict on U.S. establishments and personnel is simply as critical in the present day because it was again then.
They don’t all come from the Intelligence Group, share the identical background, or use exactly the identical techniques as Agee, however they’re definitely his soulmates.
Like him, they select to see themselves in a romantic mild—as heroes above the regulation, saviors of our free and open society. They cling to this fiction, although their disclosures typically inflict irreparable hurt on each people and democratic governments, pleasing despots alongside the best way.
The one factor they don’t share with Agee is the necessity for a writer. All they require now is a brilliant telephone and web entry. In at present’s digital surroundings, they will disseminate stolen US secrets and techniques immediately across the globe to terrorists, dictators, hackers and anybody else in search of to do us hurt.
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Our nation’s first line of protection towards difficult and fast-moving threats like these is the US Intelligence Group. I really feel deeply privileged—and nonetheless a bit amazed—that as CIA Director, I get to be an element of this nice group of males and ladies. I’m the son of a machinist from Orange County, California. I had by no means been east of the Mississippi till school, spending most of my summers engaged on the household farm in Winfield, Kansas.
To be entrusted with main the best intelligence group on the earth is one thing that I nonetheless can’t wrap my head round. And simply as I did at West Level, I really feel that I stand on the shoulders of giants, atop an extended custom of braveness, ingenuity, and dedication.
After I used to be nominated for this submit by President Trump, I talked with almost each dwelling former CIA Director. They spoke of the necessity to name issues as you see them, and of the apolitical nature of the job. Above all, they spoke of their admiration and respect for our workforce. From what I’ve seen to date, they have been spot on of their evaluation.
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I’m immediately surrounded by gifted and dedicated patriots. These are males and ladies who signed up for a life of discretion and influence—for a profession in service to their nation.
These officers have sworn an oath to uphold the Structure. They’ve signed secrecy agreements. They quietly go about their work and attempt to not get too labored up over the headlines, together with the fanciful notion that they spy on their fellow residents by way of microwave ovens. However they don’t seem to be at liberty to face as much as these false narratives and clarify our mission to the American individuals.
Thankfully, I’m. In my first assembly with CIA’s workforce, I promised that I might serve them and the American individuals—each at house and overseas—with the identical ardour and vigor that I displayed as a tank platoon chief within the Military, a enterprise proprietor in Kansas, and a Congressman representing my constituents again residence.
That’s the reason I selected to talk right here as we speak.
As a coverage, we at CIA don’t touch upon the accuracy of purported intelligence paperwork posted on-line. In line with that coverage, I can’t particularly touch upon the authenticity or provenance of current disclosures.
However the false narratives that more and more outline our public discourse can’t be ignored. There are fictions on the market that demean and distort the work and achievements of CIA and of the broader Intelligence Group. And within the absence of a vocal rebuttal, these voices—ones that proclaim treason to be public advocacy—achieve a gravity they don’t deserve.
It’s time to name these voices out. The lads and ladies of CIA deserve an actual protection. And the American individuals deserve a transparent rationalization of what their Central Intelligence Company does on their behalf.
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First and foremost, we’re an intelligence group that engages in overseas espionage. We steal secrets and techniques from overseas adversaries, hostile entities, and terrorist organizations. We analyze this intelligence in order that our authorities can higher perceive the adversaries we face in a difficult and harmful world.
And we make no apologies for doing so. It’s arduous stuff and we go at it onerous.
As a result of in terms of abroad threats, CIA is aggressive in our pursuit of the knowledge we have to assist safeguard our nation. We make the most of the entire toolkit at our disposal, absolutely using the authorities and capabilities that Congress, the courts, and the Government Department have deemed lawful and applicable, and in step with our American beliefs.
We do this stuff as a result of it’s our job. It’s what we signed as much as do. And if we didn’t, we’d have a troublesome time justifying our price range to the American taxpayer.
One of the few heartening issues to return out of the disclosures debate is the belief that a lot of America does perceive the essential position we play. Because the CEO of a safety analysis agency lately famous, CIA seems to be doing “exactly what we pay them to do—exploit specific targets with limited attacks to support our national interests.”
Our mission is straightforward in idea but troublesome in follow. We work to offer the perfect info attainable to the President and his administration in order that they will advance our nationwide pursuits and shield our nation.
It’s a mission that CIA has carried out for years, quietly and successfully. Our accomplishments usually stay categorized, however a couple of particular ones are recognized to the world.
For instance, CIA has been an important participant within the international marketing campaign towards nuclear proliferation. We’ve helped unravel the nuclear smuggling community utilized by A.Q. Khan, assisted in exposing a covert nuclear facility in Syria, and gathered intelligence—with the assistance of our liaison companions—that persuaded Libya to desert its nuclear program.
CIA has additionally been on the leading edge of unimaginable technological innovation all through our historical past. We led efforts to develop the U-2 plane and orbiting satellites—endeavors that allowed us to surveil actions in rival states that have been in any other case closed to us.
We’ve pushed again the boundaries of the attainable in ways in which have benefitted each the safety and welfare of the American public. For instance, once we wanted long-lasting energy sources for sure operational missions, within the 1960s our scientists helped to develop the lithium-ion battery—know-how that finally has powered pacemakers and cell telephones alike. Extra lately, CIA funding in a know-how enterprise in 2003 led to the event of what we all know at present as Google Earth.
My first few months on the job have solely reaffirmed for me that this progressive spirit could be very a lot alive and nicely at CIA.
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So I’d now wish to clarify what CIA doesn’t do. We’re a overseas intelligence company. We concentrate on amassing details about overseas governments, overseas terrorist organizations, and the like—not People. A quantity of particular guidelines maintain us centered on that mission and shield the privateness of our fellow People. To take only one necessary instance, CIA is legally prohibited from spying on individuals via digital surveillance in america. We’re not tapping anybody’s telephone in Wichita.
I do know there’ll all the time be skeptics. We have to construct belief with them. However I additionally know firsthand, from what I noticed as a member of a Congressional oversight committee and from what I see now as Director, that CIA takes its authorized restrictions and obligations with the utmost seriousness. We’ve stringent laws, an engaged and strong Workplace of the Basic Counsel, and an empowered and unbiased Workplace of Inspector Basic to ensure of that.
Furthermore, regardless of what you see on the silver display, we don’t pursue covert motion on a whim with out approval or accountability. There’s a complete course of that begins with the President and consists of many ranges of authorized and coverage evaluation and reexamination. Let me guarantee you: In terms of covert motion, there’s oversight and accountability each step of the best way.
I inherited an Company that has an actual appreciation for the regulation and for the Structure. Regardless of fictional depictions meant to promote books or box-office tickets, we aren’t an untethered or rogue company. So sure, whereas we have now some really superior capabilities at our disposal, our officers don’t function in areas or towards targets which might be rightfully and legally off-limits to us.
At our core, we’re a corporation dedicated to uncovering the reality and getting it proper. We dedicate ourselves to perfecting our tradecraft. We work exhausting to take care of really international protection, working in austere, far-flung areas that demand each expeditionary capabilities and spirit. We spend hours upon hours accumulating info, and poring over studies and knowledge. We experiment and innovate so we will dominate our adversaries in each the bodily and cyber realms.
And positive—we additionally admit to creating errors. In reality, as a result of CIA is accountable to the free and open society we assist defend, the occasions through which we now have did not stay as much as the excessive requirements our fellow residents anticipate of us have been catalogued through the years, even by our personal authorities. These errors are public, to an extent that I doubt some other nation might ever match. However it’s all the time our intention—and obligation—to get it proper.
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And that’s one of the various explanation why we at CIA discover the celebration of entities like WikiLeaks to be each perplexing and deeply troubling. As a result of whereas we do our greatest to quietly gather info on those that pose very actual threats to our nation, people similar to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden search to make use of that info to make a reputation for themselves. So long as they make a splash, they care nothing concerning the lives they put in danger or the injury they trigger to nationwide safety.
WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has inspired its followers to seek out jobs at CIA with a view to acquire intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of particular secret info. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the USA, whereas looking for help from anti-democratic nations and organizations.
It’s time to name out WikiLeaks for what it truly is – a non-state hostile intelligence service typically abetted by state actors like Russia. In January of this yr, our Intelligence Group decided that Russian army intelligence—the GRU—had used WikiLeaks to launch knowledge of US victims that the GRU had obtained via cyber operations towards the Democratic Nationwide Committee. And the report additionally discovered that Russia’s main propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
Now, for these of you who learn the editorial web page of the Washington Submit—and I’ve a sense that many of you on this room do—yesterday you’d have seen a bit of sophistry penned by Mr. Assange. You’d have learn a convoluted mass of phrases whereby Assange in contrast himself to Thomas Jefferson, Dwight Eisenhower, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning work of respectable information organizations such because the New York Occasions and the Washington Publish. One can solely think about the absurd comparisons that the unique draft contained.
Assange claims to harbor an awesome admiration for each America and the thought of America. However I guarantee you that this man is aware of nothing of America and our beliefs. He is aware of nothing of our third President, whose clarion name for all times, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness proceed to encourage us and the world. And he is aware of nothing of our 34th President, a hero from my very personal Kansas, who helped to liberate Europe from fascists and guided America via the early years of the Chilly Warfare.
No, I’m fairly assured that had Assange been round within the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have discovered himself on the mistaken aspect of historical past.
We all know this as a result of Assange and his ilk make widespread trigger with dictators right now. Sure, they struggle unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions within the language of liberty and privateness; in actuality, nevertheless, they champion nothing however their very own superstar. Their foreign money is clickbait; their ethical compass, nonexistent. Their mission: private self-aggrandizement by means of the destruction of Western values.
They don’t care concerning the causes and individuals they declare to characterize. In the event that they did, they might focus as an alternative on the autocratic regimes on this world that really suppress free speech and dissent. As an alternative, they select to take advantage of the reliable secrets and techniques of democratic governments—which has, thus far, confirmed to be a a lot safer strategy than scary a tyrant.
Clearly, these people will not be particularly burdened by conscience. We all know this, for instance, as a result of Assange has been greater than cavalier in disclosing the private info of scores of harmless residents across the globe. We all know this as a result of the injury they’ve accomplished to the safety and security of the free world is tangible. And the examples are quite a few.
When Snowden absconded to the snug clutches of Russian intelligence, his treachery immediately harmed a variety of US intelligence and army operations. Regardless of what he claims, he’s no whistleblower. True whistleblowers use the well-established and discreet processes in place to voice grievances; they don’t put American lives in danger.
Actually, a colleague of ours at NSA just lately defined that greater than a thousand overseas targets—individuals, teams, organizations—greater than a thousand of them modified or tried to vary how they communicated consequently of the Snowden disclosures. That quantity is staggering.
And the underside line is that it turned more durable for us within the Intelligence Group to maintain People protected. It turned more durable to watch the communications of terrorist organizations which are bent on bringing bloodshed to our shores. Snowden’s disclosures helped these teams discover methods to cover themselves within the crowded digital forest.
Even in these instances the place we have been capable of regain our potential to gather, the injury was already achieved. We work in a enterprise with budgetary and time constraints. The trouble to earn again entry that we beforehand possessed meant that we had much less time to search for new threats.
As for Assange, his actions have attracted a faithful following amongst some of our most decided enemies. Following a current WikiLeaks disclosure, an al Qa’ida within the Arabian Peninsula member posted a remark on-line thanking WikiLeaks for offering a way to battle America in a method that AQAP had not beforehand envisioned.
AQAP represents one of probably the most critical terrorist threats to our nation and the world. It’s a group that’s devoted not solely to bringing down civilian passenger planes, however our approach of life as properly. That Assange is the darling of terrorists is nothing brief of reprehensible.
Have little question that the disclosures in recent times prompted hurt—nice hurt—to our nation’s safety, and they’ll proceed to take action over the long run. They threaten the belief we’ve developed with our overseas companions when belief is an important foreign money amongst allies. They danger damaging morale for the great officers of the Intelligence Group who take the excessive street day-after-day. And I can’t stress sufficient how these disclosures have severely hindered our capacity to maintain all People protected.
No, Julian Assange and his variety are usually not the slightest bit occupied with enhancing civil liberties or enhancing private freedom. They’ve pretended that America’s First Modification freedoms defend them from justice. They could have believed that, however they’re improper.
Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of worth. He depends on the soiled work of others to make himself well-known. He’s a fraud—a coward hiding behind a display.
And in Kansas, we all know one thing about false Wizards.
However I’m not the one one who is aware of what Assange actually is. Even those that typically profit from Assange’s leaks have referred to as him out for his overblown statements. The Intercept, which up to now has gleefully reported on unauthorized disclosures, accused WikiLeaks in late March of “stretching the facts” in its feedback about CIA. In the identical article, the Intercept added that the paperwork have been “not worth the concern WikiLeaks generated by its public comments.”
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So we face an important query: What can we do about this? What can and ought to CIA, america, and our allies do concerning the unprecedented problem posed by these hostile non-state intelligence businesses?
Whereas there isn’t any fast repair—no foolproof remedy—there are steps that we will take to undercut the hazard. First, it’s excessive time we referred to as out those that grant a platform to those leakers and so-called transparency activists. We all know the hazard that Assange and his not-so-merry band of brothers pose to democracies all over the world. Ignorance or misplaced idealism is not a suitable excuse for lionizing these demons.
Second, there are steps that we’ve got to take at house—actually, this can be a course of we’ve already began. We’ve acquired to strengthen our personal methods; we’ve obtained to enhance inner mechanisms that assist us in our counterintelligence mission. All of us within the Intelligence Group had a wake-up name after Snowden’s treachery. Sadly, the menace has not abated.
I can’t go into nice element, however the steps we take can’t be static. Our strategy to safety needs to be always evolving. We must be as intelligent and progressive because the enemies we face. They gained’t relent, and neither will we.
We will by no means really remove the menace however we will mitigate and handle it. This depends on agility and on dynamic “defense in depth.” It is dependent upon a elementary change in how we handle digital issues, understanding that greatest practices need to evolve in actual time. It’s a long-term challenge however the strides we have now taken—notably the speedy and tireless response of our Directorate of Digital Innovation—give us grounds for optimism.
Third, we have now to acknowledge that we will not permit Assange and his colleagues the latitude to make use of free speech values towards us. To provide them the area to crush us with misappropriated secrets and techniques is a perversion of what our nice Structure stands for. It ends now.
And eventually—and maybe most significantly—we have to deepen the belief between the Intelligence Group and the residents we attempt to guard.
At CIA, I can guarantee you that we’re dedicated to incomes that belief day by day. We all know we will by no means take it without any consideration. We should proceed to be as open as attainable with the American individuals in order that our society can attain knowledgeable judgments on putting the right stability between particular person privateness and nationwide safety.
As CIA Director, it’s my sworn obligation to uphold the Structure and defend nationwide safety. And as someone who practiced regulation, constructed companies, and ran for public workplace to characterize my neighbors and fellow residents, I absolutely perceive why no one ought to should blindly place their belief in authorities.
Granted, the intelligence area can by no means be as clear as different elements of authorities. Secrecy is important to us as a result of we now have hardworking officers and overseas brokers in hurt’s method, doing harmful work on behalf of our nation.
However even when we will’t share every part with the individuals, we will share it with the President they elected and with the overseers they despatched to Congress. Having served on the committee myself, I’m a CIA Director who absolutely understands the crucial of oversight. Doing proper by the American individuals is as necessary to me as finishing up our Company’s mission. And I’ll maintain our officers to the identical commonplace.
However keep in mind, these officers grew up loving this nation and the beliefs it represents. They’re People identical to you, dedicated to their jobs, making an attempt to do their greatest.
The lads and ladies I work with at Langley are patriots, and I’m honored to steer them. They’ve my belief. They’ve my religion. And so long as I’m fortunate sufficient to have the most effective job on the planet, I promise you that CIA can be tireless in our mission to maintain our nation protected and, sure, to get it proper.
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