NEWSREAL BLOG: What are you going to discuss?
Porter Goss: I will talk about the Congressional oversight, the new bureaucracy, the DNI, and a debate about who we are and what we are going to do.
Michael Hayden: I am going to talk about Iran, counter terrorism, the similarities and changes between the past two administrations, and the role of espionage in a democratic society.
Peter Brookes: I am going to discuss the threat from North Korea. I will talk about North Korea’s unprovoked attack on the South Korean warship last spring, their nuclear weapons program, the ballistic missile program, and life in North Korea.
Bill Harlow: My business partner and I will discuss the difficulty for the government to keep a secret and if so how they go about doing it.
Andre Le Gallo: I will speak about my book. Its fiction but is based on my career. I was under cover for thirty some odd years. I will talk about my experiences which I reflected on in the book.
NRB: Can you give a few highlights of what you plan to say?
Goss: Are we going to follow policy and pull back where we are all equal and homogeneous and there will be no super powers or are we going to be a place where countries go to get help and salvation as the world’s super power? Those are societal questions that need to be debated now. If you are going to be the world’s super power you need to have a good intelligence organization out there. What is the President’s vision for the US? The real issue that should be debated with constructive results is what should be America’s position in the globe and how do we go about doing it?
Hayden: Take Iran for example. Time is running out and the options are falling off the table as time moves on. There are very tough choices that have to be made if we are not going to accept an Iran with a nuclear capability. The other issue is change: this administration has initiated some changes which have not gone well for them. The president ended the CIA interrogation and detention program. He did not replace it with anything. Since we do not have an interrogation program we really did not get useful intelligence with the Detroit terrorist or Mullah Baradar. This administration has also revealed a lot of his predecessor’s covert action program with regard to interrogation. It makes CIA officers worry and cautious.
Brookes: I will point out that just two years ago the Israelis destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria that was being built by the North Koreans. There is also the concern about the cooperation between North Korea and Iran on nuclear weapons and missiles. In fact, the Iranian Shahab missile is essentially a North Korean No Dong missile. I have actually been to North Korea so I have some insights about the country. It is definitely a Stalinist country, one of the last Communist states left in the world today. The big question is whether they are really willing to talk about their nuclear program or just using it as leverage to get the goodies to ensure survival of the Kim regime-it’s top priority.
Harlow: Are there too many secrets out there? If the government was more judicious about what they declare secret they would be able to make a good case that what remains should stay classified and not leaked.
Le Gallo: I will point out that as station chief and a clandestine officer it was not a 9 to 5 job. You had to live it every minute of the day and night. When I was in Israel we worked together on joint operations against terrorism. We were trying to keep people from getting killed. We were very focused on the trade craft and what was happening on the ground. I will discuss the job and how a foreign national can be recruited. I will also touch on my experiences. For example when I was in Iran the embassy was overrun twice, in February of 1979 and November of 1979. Continue reading …