CIA Director Gina Haspel speaks at Auburn University

December 4, 2019 0 By Kody Olson

Good job
And on behalf of Auburn University President Steven Leath in the Auburn Board of Trustees
I’d like to welcome everyone to this year’s National Security Forum
I’m Ron Burgess and I will serve as the moderator for this event a
Couple of administrative points as we begin today’s forum. I would like to remind everyone
up front please if you have a cell phone Please quiet it and make sure it’s on vibrate.
I would also
Remind everyone that everyone should have received an index card when you arrived
If you have a question, please write it on the card and pass it to the end of the row
Our students will collect those cards throughout the forum
please remember to write your question as concisely and for some of the
Faculty in the room as legibly as possible The director has agreed to answer as many
questions that our time allows, but I will end the forum promptly at o’clock. I
Will remind you at the end But when our event concludes we ask that everyone
remain seated until the podium party has departed Why are we here?
The current world situation we find ourselves today
Facing today is a complex security environment marked by a broad spectrum of dissimilar threats
These include rising regional powers and highly adaptive and resilient
transnational terrorist networks The United States finds itself finds itself
facing a rise in foreign military capabilities threats from cyber actors
aggressive non-state actors and hostile intelligence services
These challenges should be viewed in the broader context of a highly connected and interdependent
strategic environment The challenges are characterized by the emergence
of new political Military and economic centers and affected
by mass communication mass migration and urbanization Our speaker today is uniquely qualified to
address this environment Gina as she is known
Was officially sworn in as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency on May th
She is responsible for the agency’s intelligence collection
analysis covert action
counterintelligence and liaison relationships with foreign services
She is a career intelligence officer having joined the CIA in
she has several tours as a chief of station and held numerous senior leadership positions
including deputy director of the CIA and Has served at every level within the national
clandestine service she has been recognized with the intelligence
Medal of Merit a presidential rank award the Donovan Award
and the George HW Bush award for excellence in counterterrorism
in Other words she has done it all in the intelligence
field and she has done it very well Now
That’s her bio that everyone can read. I made it a point to reach out to some mutual friends
Some she is aware of some she’s not aware of and I always find it interesting of what’s
behind the bio Which I think speaks to the person
She is described by friends and peers of ours in the intelligence community as a quiet professional
She cares deeply about her people She’s thoughtful
She’s resolute And I can’t tell you how much in her position
in Washington DC that last word really means in
terms of the position that she holds She’s committed to an integration for the
intelligence community but understands the requirement for the basics
In other words, she really is a true intelligence professional and represents the intelligence
community with distinction Ladies and gentlemen my pleasure to introduce
to you the director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel
Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here with all of you
I’d like to begin by thanking general Burgess for the warm welcome. I also want to thank
all of you for being here today It’s really encouraging to see so many young
people Taking an interest in our nation’s security
and in the role CIA plays in protecting our country. I
Also want to congratulate Auburn for winning the SEC Tournament?
And making it to the Final Four for the first time and as a Kentuckian and a die-hard Wildcats
fan the Auburn Kentucky game was a little painful
to watch But I have to admit it was a well-deserved
victory for the Tigers and once my team was out
I threw my support to your guys And
Speaking of historic sports rivalries. I thought I’d share a little story with you from early
in my career. I Was overseas on my first assignment in Africa
when I met a Baptist missionary couple let’s call them Jerry and Rosie
Jerry was a proud Auburn alum and since my boss mark happened to be one as well
I’d often overhear stories about Jerry and his love for Auburn sports
One day I learned that Rosie. Jerry’s wife had had quite the scare the night before
Rosie had found Jerry in bed clutching his chest and gasping for air and she thought
he might be having a heart attack a Terrifying prospect when your hundreds of
miles away from the nearest hospital Rosie ran over to Jerry and asked if he was
okay, but Jerry didn’t answer and so she became agitated
Pleading for him to say something At last Jerry bolted up in bed and shouted
touchdown Auburn touchdown Auburn Rosie was taken aback and asked him what was
going on Jerry ripped off his headphones excitedly
and explained that he had been listening to an Auburn football game on Armed Forces Radio
The Tigers had just scored a touchdown on a reverse beating none other than Alabama
dying can wait Jerry shouted we just beat, Alabama
Now that just goes to show that you can find an Auburn football fan anywhere even in the
most remote corners of the globe But in all seriousness, it’s in places like
this where you’ll find CIA officers as well Our men and women put their lives on the line
every day often in the world’s most dangerous locations
They do it to uncover the secrets our nation needs to defend itself and to advance
American interest across the globe Secrets we can’t get any other way
Now I’m sure you’ll understand this morning that I can’t offer any recent espionage tells
from the streets of Moscow or Tehran those are classified
But I can say something about CIA’s unique mission and the spirit of sacrifice
Embodied by our officers day in and day out It’s hard to believe that I’ll be celebrating
my one-year anniversary as director of CIA next month and I can tell
you that it’s been everything I’ve expected and so much more I
May be a year veteran of the agency But it still seems like yesterday when I stepped
across the iconic seal in our headquarters lobby for the first time. I
Still remember the thrill of being sworn in as an officer?
Raising my hand and reciting the oath to protect our country and our Constitution
Tell these young children tell them who you torture, you know their name, they’re still
in Guantanamo Bay I’ll continue
When I first came to CIA as a young recruit in the Directorate of
Operations at the tail end of the Cold War I was eager to learn the nuanced art of espionage
evading surveillance putting down dead drops recruiting agents or bumping unsuspecting
individuals on foreign sidewalks Now a lot has changed since I first arrived
at CIA but our mission remains as relevant and important
as ever and This is what makes our officers excited to
come to work each morning including me CIA doesn’t do easy the hard jobs come to
us Our officers whether at our headquarters or
in the foreign field carry out those jobs with courage ingenuity
And daring do and I could not be more proud of them
Over the past year our leadership team has taken steps to improve
CIA’s ability to tackle the many challenges we face and
Our efforts are beginning to pay off For starters, we’ve devoted more time money
and creativity to our effort against some of our nation’s toughest adversaries
our Russia and Iran investment has been strengthened after years of falling behind our
justifiably heavy emphasis on counterterrorism in the wake of /
Groups like Isis and al Qaeda remains squarely in our sights
But we’re honing our focus and resources on nation state rivals
Additionally, we’re applying cutting-edge technologies and tradecraft to allow us to
react more quickly to global developments Like targeting a terrorist organization wherever
it arises and before it spreads We’re making great strides with our foreign
partners those ties are stronger than ever and
Let me tell you our intelligence allies around the world can really open doors and get things
done on behalf of our country. I frequently meet with my foreign counterparts
either in Washington or over there and they’re generally very
Interesting characters for whom I have great regard and even fondness
There’s one counterpart who’s especially fun Very James Bond
like he worked his way up through his service has great spy stories and is most definitely
Someone you want on your side and
When you have partnerships this close and personal you have colleagues who go out of
their way to share with CIA their really good stuff their best intelligence
and our country is tangibly benefiting from these relationships
We’re also sending more of our people to the field not only case officers but analysts
technical experts and others It all comes down to this if you have a bigger
footprint overseas, you can get more done where it really counts
along with that bigger foreign presence We’re placing a renewed emphasis on foreign
language expertise and training we want our men and women to be closely attuned
to the cultures in which they operate and to speak the local language and
That aligns well with our push to strengthen diversity and inclusion at CIA
Our mission demands that we draw deeply from our nation’s rich and diverse talent pool
We just had our best Recruiting year in a decade and we’ll do whatever
it takes to make the agency and employer of choice for all Americans
Finally no foreign challenge has had a more direct and devastating impact on American
families and communities than the flow of opioids and other drugs into
our country a scourge that has killed more Americans than
any terrorist group ever has and that’s why we’re taking concrete steps to
increase our Contribution to the president’s whole-of-government
approach in tackling this epidemic. I Recently had the opportunity to meet with
some of our officers who are on the front lines of this effort
And I’m proud of the work. They’re doing to stop the problem closer to the source
CIA is stronger than I’ve ever seen it and I wish I could say more about what our officers
do worldwide Day in and day out on behalf of all Americans
but for their protection and frankly for yours I wont
What I can tell you is that our officers take on jobs that tests their mental and physical
strength to the fullest. I Just returned from a visit to a war zone where
I met with CIA men and women who on a one-year deployment
work seven days a week often going days without sleep
These officers were so hard working and so motivated by the mission in this dangerous
location. I Could not have been more impressed with them
Their missions are long and arduous and the operational tempo can be grueling
Our nation is asking them to do more every day and they sacrifice a great deal to keep
our country safe At the same time they are not just intelligence
officers They also are devoted fathers and mothers
loving spouses and partners Their families sometimes endure long stretches
without knowing where their loved ones are the dangers
they might face or the risk they must take and
at times our achievements come at a terrible cost in
The past few months alone. Some very brave officers have been seriously wounded battling
terrorists in a remote corner of South Asia Since / agency men and women have died in
the line of duty Before I close I’d like to share the story
of one of those heroes someone with a very special connection to Auburn
Nearly years ago now we had an officer who was on assignment in Afghanistan
he had deployed there in the fall of as part of our government’s immediate response
to the terrorist attacks of September th His name was Johnny Michael Spann, and he
was an Auburn Tiger class of Mike was born and raised in Winfield Alabama
a natural athlete he played wide receiver and
running back for the Winfield High Pirates as
A child he dreamed of becoming a soldier his bedroom walls were covered with Marine recruitment
posters he joined the Marines as a student at Auburn
where he graduated with a degree in criminal justice and
During his military service. He rose to the rank of captain
Mike came to us at CIA as a paramilitary officer after eight years of military service
in His application to CIA. He used the words
action responsibility and leadership to describe
himself and He embodied these traits when he deployed
to the arid plateaus of Afghanistan in the fall of
on November th of that year Mike was in an ancient
Afghan fortress where Taliban prisoners were being held in questioned
These captives had supposedly Capitulated but their pledge of surrender
was a ruse Mike was interviewing a group of them when
hundreds of prisoners suddenly revolted Immediately before he was attacked and killed
in the uprising. Mike was able to warn an agency colleague of the imminent danger
allowing that officer to get to safety After hearing of Mike’s death former director
of CIA George Tenet said the following He led one of our teams into Afghanistan
There he tracked the authors and allies of terror
there while fighting for the future of the American people he fought to bring a better
future to the Afghan people and It was there one evening that he said he would
gladly risk his life if he could help make the world a safer place
For his wife and children Mike was the first American to die in the
line of duty in Afghanistan He demonstrated the highest standards of duty
and sacrifice at the forefront of our fight against terrorism in
his short time in Afghanistan Mike’s actions played a pivotal role in our
battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda in the region
His story is a poignant reminder of the unwavering commitment of all our men and women serving
on the frontlines For me as for our entire agency family the
hundred and twenty-nine stars on CIA’s Memorial wall are more than just symbols
they are solemn reminders of friends and colleagues who answered their nation’s call and
Who willingly risk their lives to protect us all?
It’s a privilege to join you in honoring one of our greatest heroes Auburn’s own Johnny
Michael Spann And I hope his story gives you a sense of
just how critical our officers are to the strength and security of our country
Mike CIA colleagues carry on his work and his legacy in the most dangerous parts of
the globe and photographs of Mike hang in CIA stations around
the world as I look back on my first year as director.
I am more in awe of the men and women at CIA than ever before and
I know that Auburn graduates also know a thing or two about serving our country
Having made invaluable contributions over the years by signing up for the tough jobs
as war fighters we at CIA could not be more grateful for your
school’s distinguished history of service to our nation and
As you carry on that great tradition. I hope to see many of you again as
Partners in the honorable and essential work of keeping America safe and free. Thank you
all very much There you go
So we’re going to start the question and answer period but Gina with your indulgence before
we start So I have participated in numerous events
like this I consider myself an intelligence professional
like yourself I’ve had Instance like we just observed
I Say at the stage of my life. I’m not surprised
by anything else anymore, but What he referred to and
Don’t think she needs to respond We’re a nation
of law of civil liberties and your intelligence professionals
do a hard job every day a Couple of books have referred to me as the
father of Guantanamo Bay Since he mentioned it specifically because
I was the intelligence professional that stood up the interrogation
at Guantanamo when the first detainee showed up on January of
out of the sandbox as we call it We did the best we could with the guidance
that we were given With the resources that we were given to protect
the United States of America And I firmly believe that the people that
were involved in that in continuing in that business
Do the best they can every day? To follow the law to follow the guidance that
they’ve been given in support of the security of this nation
Well, I defend and I will defend his right to make the statement that he made
Because we are a free country There’s a time and a place for that discussion.
And that was not the time or the place in my professional and personal opinion
If you want to ask a question Wait your time with everyone and you can answer
your question. Thank you And you can be excused, thank you
Gina welcome to Auburn University Today
So Gina What do you consider to be the most
significant challenge facing the United States intelligence community today and
specifically for your Central Intelligence Agency, I
Think Of course, there are many challenges in terms
of what’s happening around the world Whether its terrorist groups or nation-state
rivalries The drug epidemic that we talked about cyber
threats So we face a wide array of different threats
but I think maybe one of the most unique challenges we face at this point in history is the rate
of technological change and We’re endeavouring at CIA and I think in the
other US intelligence agencies to stay abreast of those changes
and To maintain our cutting edge and so it’s one
of the reasons I like to visit universities where we have important partnerships
and can learn about some of the technologies that
Universities are making progress against You know, so
as we say in Washington, DC there’s the cycle and the cycle for those
that don’t follow from January to May is when Leaders in the intelligence community whether
it be yourself the Director of National Intelligence Others
We call it the worldwide threat testimony a piece and so as I’ve reviewed that over
the past couple of years You know different leaders will talk about
that the greatest threat to the United States or some
Nation-state actors whether it be you know, China Russia that sort of thing talk about
cyber They talk about non-state actors. They talk
about terror threats What in your opinion is is the greatest threat
facing our country today? Well III think all of those different Intel
agency heads are quite right and they’re usually speaking from the particular
Domain that they cover so the head of NSA will talk about cyber threats
and CIA may talk about nation-state rivalries
But all of those things are true and as intelligence Professionals you and I know that we’re always
asked to define it in terms of the threat facing the United States
but as I thought about coming here today, one of the things I wanted to make clear,
of course, we do face those threats, but I don’t believe those threats are existential
for the United States. They’re serious and we have to work against them
but our intelligence agencies our military personnel our law enforcement colleagues are
all working very professionally and as you noted
/ to deal with these threats and I have such fundamental confidence in the American system
And then the American people that I sometimes worry about the emphasis on the word threat
fair so
Today you find yourself out and I really do applaud
You being out and willing to engage Because of all our intelligence agencies
Honestly, it’s it’s hardest for CIA And and and I understand that but you’re out
here in public or you’re out talking as the director
What would you say to the American people that talks more about the of your people?
And what they do each and every day and the other professionals in the intelligence community
that helps them understand us. I Think CIA is a is a bit unique in that
so many of our officers their affiliation with CIA
Isn’t in and of itself a secret and that was certainly an adjustment for me after being
an undercover officer For more than years to come out into the public
spotlight, but I am very proud to represent the men and women at CIA
CIA is in the business of collecting secrets. And so
It’s very sacred to us that we protect the foreign nationals who?
Provide those secrets to help our countries Security and we have to protect our own people
who take risk and collecting those secrets So we try and be and we do understand the
need for transparency We try and be as open as we can but to protect
the secrets that we must protect So, you know one of the things I did not say
in your introduction because I think it goes without saying
But you know for the folks that don’t know you you are the first female director of the
Central Intelligence Agency And I know
The strides that we have made in the intelligence community in terms of promoting the best and
the brightest But what would you say to young women out
there? about
leadership in your agency and what it is women ought to
be aspiring to Well, I think
At this at this point in history It is a great time to be a woman at the agency
Intelligence community at the moment at CIA setting aside my own position
The head of operations is a woman the head of analysis is a woman the head of Science
and Technology as a woman you might sense a conspiracy here, but
our general counsel is a woman the head of diversity and inclusion is a woman and
I think really the significance of me being in this position as a woman is only
Significant in that it sends a signal to the young women
Entering duty at CIA or the other other intelligence agencies that their prospects
Are strong and are rich And that they they have role models and they
can aspire to rise to the most senior leadership Positions at the agency or in the other intelligence
agencies So
Gina where you sit having sat in those types of positions, you
know there the reporting that comes in all the time that you see
how do you handle how do you cope because Very rarely. Do you read good news?
Coming across your desk in terms of what it is that you’re out there gathering. So is
there a way that you go about handling? all of that on a daily basis
It is rarely good good news now that you mention it
But I think for those of us in the intelligence business we thrive on that. We love the excitement
of tracking events Around the world. We’re interested in foreign
cultures. We’ve lived in those countries and so it’s really exciting and interesting
to us for anyone who’s considering a career at CIA or in
Any of the other intelligence agencies? I think I can guarantee. You’ll never be bored
there I like this question only cuz I think it will
help you kind of explain to some folks that that may not
understand the the purpose on the CIA side, but the question has to do with
Looking at homegrown terrorism in terms of the threat so domestic
Terrorism the question points to domestic right wing. I hate. I don’t want to characterize
but we have homegrown terrorism How does what is CIA’s role in?
domestic terrorism
CIA’s focus is is more on the foreign terrorist groups
Of course The FBI has the primary responsibility
for domestic terrorism but we’re not engaged in collection activities
like that in the United States, but I think all of the intelligence
agencies and there are agencies in the US intelligence community are
obviously very dedicated to sharing information to make sure that that
Nothing is overlooked but we do CIA does play a role in tracking?
Lone wolf style attacks or Attacks that may be inspired by foreign terrorist
ideology such as Isis That may inspire someone in the United States
to carry out an attack So Gina you entered the CIA in
That’s a little after my time with going into this community, but if you go from
Well, so I’m a dinosaur But but coming forward from that time as you
look at our profession What what strikes you as you now sit as the
director on how our profession has changed? over that time I
Think the thing that strikes me the most is how it hasn’t changed I
think the professionals who come through the door and I frequently
swear in new classes on Monday mornings in our lobby in front of our
Memorial wall, and I look out at these, you know
Very young and bright faces and people with really impressive impeccable credentials
but it very much reminds me of when we entered on duty and
People who are excited to be there who came because of the mission
Who want to be part of something greater than themselves?
And they just look so eager to roll up their sleeves and get to work. And so they seem
to be much smarter in terms of
Technology mastery and social media than you and me
But other than that, I think they’re very much like we were coming through the door
Yes keen and I joked a little bit beforehand Neither one of us have a Facebook page
We don’t Twitter. We don’t LinkedIn. We you know, that’s just not something we we do but
in the you know Just to talk a moment about transparency.
See of course CIA does have a twitter account
There are some people still around at the agency who really don’t know what that is
But and are against it in principle. I’m sure but
Our Office of Public Affairs is getting ready to launch our Instagram account. So oh
It’s a brave new world So so when you think back
You were talking about your days at University of Kentucky, and then you went to Louisville.
So Did you ever think?
You would enter this intelligent profession. Is that what you were thinking about at the
time? I? can’t say I was thinking about it when I was
an undergraduate in, Kentucky because in those days
CIA didn’t didn’t recruit on college campuses. It was a different time
Than it is today, where were on many college campuses
recruiting But it was it was a little bit later
when I Had a had a job working with
Special Forces US Army Special Forces where I first heard about the agency
so it was a couple years after college and I was immediately intrigued when I heard the
word CIA and I did I read a couple books that I got from
the library about the CIA and then incredibly this could never happen today
and this will date me but I wrote a letter to the CIA on my manual college typewriter
and I mailed it to CIA with my resume and I address
so I just put CIA Washington DC and Here I am
That’s a good story So, you know so one of the questions
We always seem to get as intelligent professionals. And so I’ll ask you now
Because I have my own joke to this as I told you last night. So what keeps you up at night?
Helps you not go to sleep well interesting, it’s not all those threats
because as I said I always have confidence that America will
prevail against the threats but I do have on any given night
I have a number of officers in harm’s way So I do sort of dread and sleep lightly listening
for the phone call. That’s going to be bad news about someone being
Very seriously wounded or or worse and when I come in each morning when I log onto my
computer The first note in my email queue is an overnight
summary From some dangerous places around the globe
and I look at that very quickly to make sure that no one has been harmed
And I think as I remember from reading a little
bit about you your undergraduate work was Foreign languages and journalism. Yes
so I Found that on the internet, but I’m an intelligent
professional I do not collect on Friendly’s But I did read that about her but what what
would you tell college students out? There are their disciplines that we’re looking
for more than others
That would help contribute to a career in the United States intelligence community
I think the great thing about considering a job in the intelligence community is that
we have every discipline in the world We have foreign language instructors we have
case officers we have Analysts, we have engineers. We have cyber
experts. We have data scientists We have finance officers logistics officers
So really I think the intelligence community and the agency as a microcosm of that can
offer A very rich and rewarding career across a
wide range of disciplines I don’t think there’s we have librarians.
We have everything doctors
Even lawyers even lawyers lots of lawyers Lots of lawyers
Yes, we do So
/ occurred And it was the cathartic event for this country
but it brought about Some change in this country, especially in
our profession How do you see that United States intelligence
community Since the passage of the intelligence reform
terrorism Prevention Act of Well there have been some very important changes
And of course our structure leading up to / was really one meant to deal with the challenges
of the Cold War and that meant
Information was not widely shared. It was compartment and bigoted we say in protected
and there were very
Thick lines between for example FBI and CIA
domestic and overseas and I think some of the lessons that were
incorporated in that legislation is we had to break down some of those Cold War stove
pipes and We had to look at the terrorist threat more
holistically and we had to be able to work across agency
lines across domestic and International and of course it’s a global
world. The threats are global and so we the biggest change that came about
was the move to share more aggressively
Across agency lines and that has helped us all in good stead and people still work at
that but people take it very seriously and I think the intelligence community in
the United States is more integrated more cohesive and
more focused on common goals than it ever has been
fair So you’re coming up on a year
as You look back
You were in the agency for a long time, but is there anything that?
Has surprised you that you say I? Really hadn’t thought about that with all
the other positions But now that I’m in the number-one position
that is kind of hits you and resonated with you
well, as you say as a year veteran of the agency, I
Know the agency very well I know our mission and I know our workforce
and they know me So it’s been an easy transition from that
standpoint The change from being undercover to coming
out into the open was a bit of an adjustment but
other than that I I don’t think there have been that many
surprises what has been a blessing and a joy and I’m very fortunate in that my deputy is
also a -plus year veteran of the
analytic side of CIA and that allowed us to come in and
roll up our sleeves and get to work on day one and what we’re concentrating on at the
agency today is a couple of years ago under my predecessor
we we got away from the Cold War structure that we had had since
and we went to a matrix organization and
I think that’s more appropriate for the complex world that we live in and the complex issues
we work and so what we’re working on and my deputy Vaughn
Bishop has really done a lot of good work on this is
trying to integrate across the agency and
to collaborate in a way across disciplines to
Make us as powerful as we can be to go up against some of these tough challenges that
we talked about Ron so continuing that so again at the year, so
as you as you look back then Is there
Still something out there that you just haven’t
been able to get to with your workforce that you want to get to but you
know because of the you know Day-to-day everything going on and it never
stops. Is there still something that you Visionary that you want to get to that you
haven’t been able to get to quite yet. I Think the most important thing we’re working
on is Increasing our investment into what we call
the hard targets, but for example, Russia and Iran
because of what happened on / a lot of our resources our money and our people
were dedicated to the terrorism fight and We have made great strides in that struggle
and we don’t take our eye off that ball But we are increasing our resources against
threats that come from malign actors like Iran and and Russia and
We still have a lot of work to do on that front, but we’re making good progress
on a kind of Lighter note, I would say that one of the
things that many folks at the CIA workforce asked me to do something
about was our Cafeteria service, but I got that done last
month. So It’s all downhill from here. We swapped it.
We have a new food soup food service provider Too much information. That was the same problem
at DIA that y’all were the Cadillac compared That I had it. Do you know we serve overseas
all over the world? So we have pretty high standards. Yeah
Yeah, I can look at mark and see that yeah Hey
It’s fair to say we discussed your being the first female director
And you talked about some of the the changes and where things are now with the with the
CIA But as we look across our community
while we have made great strides There are some that would say it’s still a
a male, you know dominated but what is there specific advice you would give to
young women about how to You know move in that field to you know
move themselves and long in the intelligence community
Well, certainly I should make it clear that as I came up through the ranks. I had wonderful
Sponsors we call it and mentors along the way one of whom is sitting here today with
us an Auburn alum But I think my advice to young women at CIA
would be exactly the same that I would give young men coming through the door
and that is work hard
And the other piece of advice I like to give young officers is raise your hand for the
tough jobs don’t be
Don’t stand on the sidelines How would you say
We were joking. So we’re talking about Instagram Twitter and all that how has social media
changed the nature of our business? For intelligence professionals
well, it’s really in some ways been revolutionary because of course terrorist and
Russian intelligence for example are big users of social media
either to plot terrorist attacks or to Influence events around the world. So we have
to be engaged in of In terms of the foreign environment not the
domestic, but we have to be monitoring Those
medium to Look for threats and to make sure that we
understand how
Terrorist groups for example are using social media to propagate their ideology and that’s
something that everybody in All the intelligence communities around the
world are struggling with that how to work against that messaging. It’s a very powerful
messaging medium So this morning, you know, we mentioned, you
know, Russia China you mentioned Iran What would you say about North Korea?
Well, of course as you know general Burgess North Korea has been a problem that many
Administrations have struggled with and at CIA. It’s our job to monitor
Regimes that have secret weapons programs or who are engaged in proliferation
But I am very proud that we’ve been able to support
this administration’s effort to engage the North
Koreans in a dialogue and that’s not to downplay the
difficulty of that or the obstacles and challenges associated with it
but after years of failure, I do think that President Trump has shown a lot of wisdom
and reaching out his hand to the North Korean leader and
and to suggest to them that there might be a different future for the North Korean people
and At CIA we have incredible
expertise on North Korea and we’re working very hard to support the president the national
security team and secretary Pompeo as they try and
establish a regular and positive dialogue with the North
Koreans to try and and help them get to a different place and
build a different future for the North Korea people
You know, can you help People understand so we do we have a a large
intelligence apparatus in the United States I think the unclassified number or when I
left the unclassified net worth at we used was somewhere
We say would say around a hundred thousand not counting the people in military uniform,
but if I call it the three-piece suit work force
they’re doing their job each and every day, but
The intelligence community doesn’t decide what it’s gonna focus on and what its gonna
go out and do we Contribute to that but but our work is guided
by By others, could you help us understand that
process a little bit and how we go about doing our work?
There is a formal process that sets the requirements that the intelligence communities
Work against and of course, you played a big role in building that machinery
And when it’s true that the intelligence professionals play a very big role in informing that process
But I think over the years we’ve become become pretty sophisticated
in how our government sets up those requirements and and
make sure that that investment large investment a hundred thousand people and a big budget
that it’s responsive to the needs of the policy makers
When I was reading yeah to the group your bio it talked about, you know foreign relationships
As I say intelligence is a team sport And could you help?
Kind of illuminate that a little bit in terms of the importance of our partners and how
all that comes together I’m really glad you asked that question because
I think it’s a bit of a secret The degree to which the American intelligence
agencies I’ll talk about CIA which I know best
works closely with and depends on our allies and it is the part of my job that
next to engaging with our workforce that maybe I enjoy the most
There are some incredible professionals around the world working to defeat terrorism and
to push back against malign actors like Iran
and we are engaged heavily because as you say
No one can do it alone So we really rely on our foreign partners
to to help us with geographic access to share with us their best intelligence and
I’m really proud of the relationships We’ve built I think it would be familiar to
most of you if I pointed out that Our British colleagues are our closest partner
I’ve had the great fortune to work with our British colleagues over many years and it
is a deep Partnership and we tackle problems together
We trust each other and an incredible amount is shared between our two countries
But there are many other partners that wouldn’t necessarily
Be at the at the natural top of the list But people all over the globe who are working
to do the right thing. And with whom we have forged a very productive relationship
That works to the benefit of the national security of the United States
As we look to the future in the intelligence community
Are there skill sets that you see on the horizon that
You know Colleges and universities can can help provide
You know in the numbers that we need as we look toward those technologies, I think
There is we keep a short list of those And we are recruiting
Would encourage and I think there are just pockets of excellence across the country
We don’t emphasize foreign language in this country enough, but we need people with advanced
foreign language proficiency So those are some of the skills that were
we’re looking for. Yeah, I kept trying to get the army to accept
southern Alabamian as a foreign language And I never could get that to resonate
So Gina as you think about that future you
Know I think you said a little earlier you alluded to you know as we watch the world
Some things change, but for the most part there’s there’s a lot of consistency
As we watch some things but but but over your time and as you look forward a little bit
Do you see things that really do that are not?
Evolutionary and change but a revolutionary that that have really kind of surprised you
Well, I think for intelligence services around the world
Maybe the biggest challenge is the the digital environment in which we operate and things
like ubiquitous technology prevent challenges for
secret services that are trying to Stay below the radar. So there are there are
some technological changes that have taken place that mean that
Intelligence services all over the world in order to retain their competitive edge have
to adapt or they won’t survive You know
one of the things I say as an intelligence professional and so not to put you on the
spot just to get a Sense, you know I make a joke. Sometimes when
I speak to people that I’m never gonna write a book
I don’t get out there and talk on new shows
and everybody needs to do it they but as as you look toward our
profession we have secrets and How do you look at this
Opportunity to engage in terms of how transparent do we need to be with the American people
And to have a conversation because again, we are a nation of laws. We are a nation that
We focus on protecting civil liberties, but discussions like this are important. I think
you’re right. It is important and I think You know in the Cold War it was viewed quite
differently But I do think and it’s something that we’re
constantly talking about it the agency and I think more broadly
on the need for more transparency And for example, we have a position at CIA
that we we didn’t have a few years ago a privacy and civil liberties
Officer it was a wonderful officer who’s in that position
but I think we have to protect the nation’s secrets and I think the American
Expect us to do that and there are real consequences that I think sometimes aren’t realized to
unauthorized disclosures where actual Act actually people’s lives are affected and
sometimes Sources lives are affected. So I’m talking
about sources and methods but at the same time
I think the American people need to have trust and confidence in their intelligence services
to know that their intelligence services Follow the law and that they are
Heavily regulated and we have a very active and productive and responsible
congressional oversight of the intelligence agencies and all those pieces are important
and that’s why frankly I do come out and engage with
audiences like this and I particularly like to come to universities where we’re talking
to young people who May be thinking about where they would like
to spend a career after they graduate So Gina as we come to the close of this this
forum And do you have any final comments?
remarks or things you would That we haven’t covered that you would like
to just say Well, I think I would simply say and I think
the story of Johnny Michael span is a great illustration of what connects
Alabama and Auburn University with an agency like CIA and
I Would just encourage the students who are
here today to you’re at a very exciting point in your life
You’re on the cusp of what could be a great adventure and I urge you to think about
What you’re interested in and whether there’s a place for you in the intelligence community
or a CIA? I
Personally am just very privileged to be in this position and to be able to represent
the men and women at CIA who do extraordinary things it’s a remarkable
work force and I want the American people to know that / CIA
is standing the century all over the globe thank you, and I would concur with your comments
on that but Again on behalf of our president our board
of trustees. I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here today
For those students and Actually if there’s some of you older folks
out there that are interested in a career in CIA
Tonight at Langdon Hall six o’clock There will be an opportunity to engage with
with some of the directors folks and you can have a conversation
On the possibility of that so with that we will conclude the forum
And again, I would remind everybody to please if you would hold in place until we depart
the auditorium. Thank you very much.