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DoD News Briefing: Captain Michael Doubleday, DATSD(PA)

Presenters: Captain Michael Doubleday, DATSD(PA)
November 02, 1995 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, November 2, 1995, 1:30 P.M.

Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon. Before we get started and I take your questions, I just want to welcome several groups of students. I understand that we have fourteen from George Washington University as guests today who have been brought to us by the Navy. And that group is majoring in political science and international affairs and they're showing some interest in how we deal with the media and public affairs here. And I hope that during your studies, you also get a chance to visit other agencies and see how they do this also.

And I understand that there are students also from the Midwest who are here to visit today. Welcome.

I have one announcement in anticipation of some questions and that is that we expect the C-17/Non-Developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA) decision to be announced tomorrow during a 5 p.m. press conference here in the Pentagon studio.

And with that, I would be happy to try and answer your questions.

Q: Participants?

A: Don't let me misspeak on that. So, I won't forecast exactly whose going to be here. But, I would anticipate that Dr. Kaminski would be amongst those present.

Q: Has he actually signed a decision memorandum yet?

A: No, he has not signed the decision memorandum.

Q: Will he sign that today?

A: To my knowledge, he will not sign it today.

Q: The decision is done?

A: The decision is pending.

Q: [Laughter] When will the Congressional delegations be notified?

A: They will be -- I'll tell you. Let's hold off until Dr. Kaminski visits us tomorrow and he can handle all of those questions.

Q: New subject.

A: Sure.

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about this panel that's being convened to look into whether billions of dollars were misspent because of tainted CIA intelligence?

A: Well, first of all, I'm sure that everyone realizes that this is a very serious matter and so, Dr. White--the Deputy Secretary--has asked for a review of exactly what occurred, what affects the various documents that came into the building had on decisions regarding not only acquisition, but also policy decisions and operational decisions. And that process is going on.

But, I don't want to give you the impression that this just started because, certainly, in the process that the CIA went through, they have been working very closely with people here in this building to get some assessment of impact. And so, we're going to be building on that look that the CIA has already undertaken.

Q: But, is it going to be a panel? What exactly is it?

A: Well, it is -- I don't want to give you the impression that this is a formal group that meets daily or even weekly. It is simply an assessment of the impact of these documents that were, I think the term is, control documents. That is to say that they were the source of the documents was from agents who were essentially double-agents.

 

Q: And are you looking into specific programs?

A: Well, we're looking at, as I say, the full impact of what these documents may have been; and at this point, I can't forecast for you exactly what programs might have been affected. Yes?

Q: Captain Doubleday, how much concern does this cause the Department realizing that some of the information given to them may have been misleading and caused a lot of unnecessary action?

A: Well, of course, this is an issue that causes us a lot of consternation and great concern. But, the focus now is going to be on the assessment, not only from the standpoint of what effect these reports may have had in the decision process, but probably, equally if not more important, on what we can do in the future to prevent this kind of thing from occurring. And I think that will be a very large part of what Dr. White will be looking for from this review.

Q: Is there a possibility that ongoing programs could be canceled because of this review?

A: I can't say at this point.

Q: Have any programs been identified that are being looked at as some of the programs that might possibly have been --

A: I think it's premature to talk about individual programs. But certainly, there have been not only acquisition programs but also, as I say, policy issues and operational issues that are going to have be looked at in connection with decisions that were made over the last four or five years.

Q: What do you mean by policy issues and operational issues?

A: Well, as I say, --

Q: Are you talking about troops that didn't need to happen or are we talking about --

A: Well again, I think it's too early to forecast exactly what this review may determine. But, I think you can safely say that these reports could have impacted in some way upon not only acquisition, but policy, and as I say, operation.

The other thing that I think is worth noting is that... People should realize that decision-makers normally do not--normally and perhaps never-- base a decision solely on a single report, a single piece of paper. And most decision-makers formulate their decisions based on inputs from a variety of sources. In some cases, they may be actually hundreds, if not thousands, of inputs since some of the decisions that they make are actually reviewed over a period of a year.

So, what we are attempting to do here is to get a handle on the full impact of these reports and to try and come to grips with what effect they may have had. But again, I think it's very important to point out that we're also going to be looking forward to make sure that what we can do in the future will benefit from this terrible situation.

Q: Captain Doubleday, you said it's too early to say what specific weapon systems may be affected by this. But, have you been--has the Pentagon been--given specific information, either in the CIA report or from the CIA, regarding specific weapon systems which you are now looking into?

A: I can't say at this point.

Q: And as a follow-up to that, is it possible that the way this mis-information campaign has been presented--or described--has been that the notion was that these double-agents gave exaggerated impressions of Soviet capability so that the United States would overbuild and overspend. Is it possible that it worked the other way? That the double-agents were giving low-balling Soviet capabilities to prevent the United States from making improvements and developments in certain weapon systems?

A: I think it would be premature for me to answer that question at this point because I think we need to get a better handle on--as a result of--this review before I really answer that question. It's a good question. But, I just can't answer it.

Q: A couple of things. If the Pentagon knew--as part of their participation in the damage assessment have been done by the community over the last several months... If the Pentagon knew that there was tainted information, why did they wait so long to form a panel to review this; which is essentially, I guess, what White has done in the last few days?

A: Well, first of all, the Pentagon was involved in the review that was being done by the CIA. But, Dr. Deutch has just finalized the report that he provided to the Congress. And it is, because we now have that final report and, drawing upon the information that was accumulated before that, we have undertaken this kind of in-house review.

Q: So, let me just understand. Did the Pentagon actually not know that they had been subjected to tainted information until the last couple of days?

A: No, the Pentagon knew that they had been subjected earlier this year when the agency contacted various parts of the building here to start this process of assessing.

Q: Do you have a sort of time frame on that?

A: It was early in 1995.

Q: I'm sorry to pursue this. But, that's what I'm not understanding. If you knew early in 1995, regardless of the bureaucratic niceties of the finalizing report, why would --

A: But, I don't think that it was bureaucratic niceties. It was an assessment that was being done by the CIA that, at that point... The scope of the matter was not fully known. And it was not known until the report was completed.

Q: So, they didn't need to really start until this report was --

A: No. As I say, there has been an ongoing effort involving the intelligence agencies and other parts of this building--which was started by the agency early this year. And it was only after the report was completed that we had all of the information at hand. And then we undertook here in this building--within the last week or so--this assessment to see to, as I say, build upon the information that had been accumulated up to date.

Q: A couple of quick other follow-ups. Do you have a specific listing from the CIA as to which specific reports are of concern and which intelligence reports are of concern? Which ones may be tainted? Have they given you a list of what exact pieces of information are of concern?

A: I can't answer that question.

Q: I'm sorry.

A: It's simply because I don't know.

Q: Ok. My very last question is you say you're going to--part of it is to look forward.

A: Right.

Q: Is the Pentagon going to be making recommendations to the intelligence community on what changes it--the Pentagon--wants to see happen?

A: Well, it could be that would occur. But, as I say, I think that Dr. White feels very strongly that you come through one of these times learning something from the experience so that, in the future, you can draw upon the experience to make your processes, procedures, much more effective.

Q: Could you just give one example of what could help the Pentagon to prevent this from happening again?

A: I think we ought to hold off until the assessment is complete, until Dr. White has a chance to take a look at it. Yes?

Q: Do you have a rough timeframe of how far back the review goes in time? Can you give a basic --

A: I can't provide that at this juncture. And I need to let everyone know that, since this is an intelligence issue, that once the review is completed, I'm not certain of the amount of detail that we'll be able to provide to the public regarding the outcome of the review. But, I think that we will be able to provide you whatever we can in terms of unclassified information and then we'll be utilizing the information to refine our procedures in the future. Yes?

 

Q: When is the review suppose to be completed?

A: Well, there isn't a timeline, although Dr. White has said he anticipates we're talking weeks, not months.

Q: Captain Doubleday, given what we've heard and read and what you've told us, what does it say about the adequacy of the Pentagon intelligence bureaucracy and how well it can be depended on?

A: I think the Pentagon's intelligence bureaucracy is certainly not at question here. It has operated very effectively for many, many years.

Q: You did not know... Your own intelligence did not tell you there was a problem with the intelligence you were getting from other intelligence agencies.

A: Joe, this is, of course, an intelligence matter. What I am not in a position to say at this point is whether there were any reports from other intelligence sources which were at variance with those that were provided which are at issue. And that goes back to the point that I made earlier that most decision-makers base their decisions on a variety of inputs and it's going to be very difficult to pinpoint the weight that any one document made in a decision. Yes?

Q: Turning again on the issue of what programs you may or may not be looking at. There was a senior defense official quoted in one of the reports out yesterday saying that the review encompasses a range of weapons from missile warheads to nuclear submarines, high performance fighter aircraft purchased late in the Cold War. Is that too specific at this point?

A: Well, first of all, I wouldn't take issue with any of that. I think that the review is going to be comprehensive enough that it would look at the full range of acquisition over the past few years. And it's very likely that some of those weapons areas could have been affected by the reports. Yes, Barbara?

Q: Since you learned of Ames months ago, and--who knows--there could be other cases out there. Does the Pentagon proactively made any changes in its own procedures (inaudible) to avoid these problems happening again in any case. Have you made any changes yet or not?

A: I can't answer that question. And the reason I can't is, one, I don't have any direct knowledge and other--beyond that--it's an intelligence issue that I would not be in a position to discuss.

Q: Captain, aren't you facing a potential political problem? You said that you may be very limited in what you could tell us what the results are. Yet we're going to have this concern hanging out there that weapons decisions and billions of dollars of public money may have been spent based on poor justification. And then, you're going to have the natural tendency of the services involved to say, "Whatever weapon is involved, well, we have ample justification regardless of this one tainted report for this particular weapon". So, they'll go ahead with it. But, there will be this feeling in the public that the whole thing has just been swept under the rug. How are you going to address that?

A: Well, let's address that once we get to that point. I think again, we're going to have to go through the process and see where we end up and then we'll deal with it.

Q: Won't this be a sort of a mission impossible--this sort of panel review to try to track all this backwards? Because frequently, a lot of double-agents provide very good information and they put inside that some bad elements. So, how are you going to go back and sift through all this? This sounds like the mission impossible.

A: Well, it will no doubt be a very tedious process. But there are very good people working on this issue and they will give it the emphasis that it requires. And again, we will come up with an assessment of the three areas that I outlined--plus, I think that the ability of the Pentagon to refine its procedures in the future may be enhanced by this process that the review is going to provide to us. And hopefully, we'll be able to come up with something that will work better in the future.

Q: Will the Pentagon seek any assistance from Russia now that the Cold War is over in terms of solving some of these problems?

A: I have nothing for you on that. [Laughter]

Q If the DIA has been working with the CIA on reviewing these cases--these files--for some time now. Clearly, there's been some assessment of how deep these problems are on Capitol Hill. They've been described in somewhat catastrophic terms. Any assessment, any description of how serious a problem this may be around here?

A: Well, we're not at this point ready to give a full assessment of it other than to say that this is certainly an issue of great concern and consternation to us and it's one that we're going to be looking at very closely in the weeks ahead.

Q: Are the results of this going to be more process changes in--say in like the Seawolf was purchased based on bad information or the F-22 was developed...

A: I can't say at this point.

Q: Who's on the panel?

A: Well, it's a group that is being headed by Lieutenant General [Kenneth] Minihan [Director, DIA]. Beyond that, he is drawing upon any individuals that he feels could contribute. And I'm sure Dr. White will be consulting not only with the general, but with anybody else who, in the building and in any of the agencies that we do business with, who could help us understand this issue better.

Q: Will the inquiry include going back to Bush Administration officials and question them on it? Because obviously, part of this thing has to do with determining motivation for decisions that were made in the past Administration.

A: It is conceivable that individuals who previously served in the building would be interviewed. But, I really can't predict for you numbers, names, anything like that.

Q: A quick question about the panel again. Do you know how many members are on it?

A: No, because I think what you're dealing with here is not a formalized group of people of a specific number. It, again, is going to draw upon anybody who can contribute.

Q: So, it's better to describe it as an inquiry rather than a panel?

A: Yes.

Q: Is it CIA procedures that need to be changed or Pentagon procedures that need to be changed?

A: Well, Dr. Deutch has already outlined a procedure that he intends to change over at CIA which includes a kind of a consumer review. And certainly, we have a great deal of confidence in that initiative on his part. Because we feel that it will be very helpful in the future.

Q: Obviously, you don't feel it solves the problem...

A: Excuse me?

Q: Obviously, you don't feel that totally...

A: We can't say. I think that, once the issue has been reviewed by Dr. White, we'll be in a better position to judge whether that is what we're looking for, whether there's something here within the building that we need to do also.

Press: Thank you.