The Worldwide Threat
2004: Challenges in a Changing Global Context
Testimony of Director of Central Intelligence
George J. Tenet
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
24 February 2004
(as prepared for delivery)
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, Members of the Committee.
Mr. Chairman, last year I described a national security environment
that was significantly more complex than at any time during my tenure
as Director of Central Intelligence. The world I will discuss today
is equally, if not more, complicated and fraught with dangers for United
States interests, but one that also holds great opportunity for positive
I'll begin today on terrorism, with a stark bottom-line:
- The al-Qa`ida leadership structure we charted after September 11
is seriously damagedbut the group remains as committed as ever
to attacking the US homeland.
- But as we continue the battle against al-QA`ida, we must overcome
a movementa global movement infected by al-QA`ida's radical
- In this battle we are moving forward in our knowledge of the enemyhis
plans, capabilities, and intentions.
- And what we've learned continues to validate my deepest concern:
that this enemy remains intent on obtaining, and using, catastrophic
Now let me tell you about the war we've waged against the al-QA`ida
organization and its leadership.
- Military and intelligence operations by the United States and its
allies overseas have degraded the group. Local al-QA`ida cells are
forced to make their own decisions because of disarray in the central
Al-QA`ida depends on leaders who not only direct terrorist attacks
but who carry out the day-to-day tasks that support operations. Over
the past 18 months, we have killed or captured key al-QA`ida leaders
in every significant operational arealogistics, planning, finance,
trainingand have eroded the key pillars of the organization, such
as the leadership in Pakistani urban areas and operational cells in
the al-QA`ida heartland of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The list of al-QA`ida leaders and associates who will never again threaten
the American people includes:
- Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, al-QA`ida's operations chief and the mastermind
of the September 11 attacks.
- Nashiri, the senior operational planner for the Arabian Gulf area.
- Abu Zubayda, a senior logistics officer and plotter.
- Hasan Ghul, a senior facilitator who was sent to case Iraq for an
expanded al-QA`ida presence there.
- Harithi and al-Makki, the most senior plotters in Yemen, who were
involved in the bombing of the USS Cole.
- Hambali, the senior operational planner in Southeast Asia.
We are creating large and growing gaps in the al-QA`ida hierarchy.
And, unquestionably, bringing these key operators to ground disrupted
plots that would otherwise have killed Americans.
Meanwhile, al-QA`ida central continues to lose operational safehavens,
and Bin Ladin has gone deep underground. We are hunting him in some
of the most unfriendly regions on earth. We follow every lead.
Al-QA`ida's finances are also being squeezed. This is due in part
to takedowns of key moneymen in the past year, particularly the Gulf,
Southwest Asia, and even Iraq.
And we are receiving a broad array of help from our coalition partners,
who have been central to our effort against al-QA`ida.
- Since the 12 May bombings, the Saudi government has shown an important
commitment to fighting al-QA`ida in the Kingdom, and Saudi officers
have paid with their lives.
- Elsewhere in the Arab world, we're receiving valuable cooperation
from Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, the UAE, Oman, and many others.
- President Musharraf of Pakistan remains a courageous and indispensable
ally who has become the target of assassins for the help he's given
- Partners in Southeast Asian have been instrumental in the roundup
of key regional associates of al-QA`ida.
- Our European partners worked closely together to unravel and disrupt
a continent-wide network of terrorists planning chemical, biological
and conventional attacks in Europe.
So we have made notable strides. But do not misunderstand me. I am
not suggesting al-QA`ida is defeated. It is not. We are still at war.
This is a learning organization that remains committed to attacking
the United States, its friends and allies.
Successive blows to al-QA`ida's central leadership have transformed
the organization into a loose collection of regional networks that operate
more autonomously. These regional components have demonstrated their
operational prowess in the past year.
- The sites of their attacks span the entire reach of al-QA`idaMorocco,
Kenya, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
- And al-QA`ida seeks to influence the regional networks with operational
training, consultations, and money. Khalid Shaykh Muhammad sent Hambali
$50,000 for operations in Southeast Asia.
You should not take the fact that these attacks occurred
abroad to mean the threat to the US homeland has waned. As al-QA`ida
and associated groups undertook these attacks overseas, detainees consistently
talk about the importance the group still attaches to striking the main
enemy: the United States. Across the operational spectrumair,
maritime, special weaponswe have time and again uncovered plots
that are chilling.
- On aircraft plots alone, we have uncovered new plans to recruit
pilots and to evade new security measures in Southeast Asia, the Middle
East, and Europe.
- Even catastrophic attacks on the scale of 11 September remain within
al-QA`ida's reach. Make no mistake: these plots are hatched abroad,
but they target US soil or that of our allies.
So far, I have been talking only about al-QA`ida. But al-QA`ida is
not the limit of terrorist threat worldwide. Al-QA`ida has infected
others with its ideology, which depicts the United States as Islam's
greatest foe. Mr. Chairman, what I want to say to you
now may be the most important thing I tell you today.
The steady growth of Usama bin Ladin's anti-US sentiment through
the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad dissemination of al-QA`ida's
destructive expertise ensure that a serious threat will remain for the
foreseeable futurewith or without al-QA`ida in the picture.
A decade ago, bin Ladin had a vision of rousing Islamic terrorists
worldwide to attack the United States. He created al-QA`ida to indoctrinate
a worldwide movement in global jihad, with America as the enemyan
enemy to be attacked with every means at hand.
- In the minds of Bin Ladin and his cohorts, September 11 was the
shining moment, their "shot heard round the world," and they
want to capitalize on it.
And so, even as al-QA`ida reels from our blows, other extremist groups
within the movement it influenced have become the next wave of the terrorist
threat. Dozens of such groups exist. Let me offer a few thoughts on
how to understand this challenge.
- One of the most immediate threats is from smaller international
Sunni extremist groups who have benefited from al-QA`ida links. They
include groups as diverse as the al-Zarqawi network, the Ansar al-Islam
in Iraq, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Islamic Movement
- A second level of threat comes from small local groups, with limited
domestic agendas, that work with international terrorist groups
in their own countries. These include the Salifiya Jihadia, a Moroccan
network that carried out the May 2003 Casablanca bombings, and similar
groups throughout Africa and Asia.
These far-flung groups increasingly set the agenda, and are redefining
the threat we face. They are not all creatures of Bin Ladin,
and so their fate is not tied to his. They have autonomous leadership,
they pick their own targets, they plan their own attacks.
Beyond these groups are the so-called "foreign jihadists"individuals
ready to fight anywhere they believe Muslim lands are under attack by
what they see as "infidel invaders." They draw on broad support networks,
have wide appeal, and enjoy a growing sense of support from Muslims
are not necessarily supporters of terrorism. The foreign jihadists
see Iraq as a golden opportunity.
Let me repeat: for the growing number of jihadists interested in attacking
the United States, a spectacular attack on the US Homeland is the "brass
ring" that many strive forwith or without encouragement by al-QA`ida's
To detect and ultimately defeat these forces, we will continually need
to watch hotspots, present or potential battlegrounds, places where
these terrorist networks converge. Iraq is of course one major locus
of concern. Southeast Asia is another. But so are the backyards of
our closest allies. Even Western Europe is an area where terrorists
recruit, train, and target.
- To get the global job done, foreign governments will need to improve
bilateral and multilateral, and even inter-service cooperation, and
strengthen domestic counterterrorist legislation and security practices.
Mr. Chairman, I have consistently warned this committee of al-QA`ida's
interest in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
Acquiring these remains a "religious obligation" in Bin Ladin's eyes,
and al-QA`ida and more than two dozen other terrorist groups are pursuing
- We particularly see a heightened risk of poison attacks. Contemplated
delivery methods to date have been simple but this may change as non-Al-Qa`ida
groups share information on more sophisticated methods and tactics.
Over the last year, we've also seen an increase in the threat of more
sophisticated CBRN. For this reason we take very seriously the threat
of a CBRN attack.
- Extremists have widely disseminated assembly instructions for an
improvised chemical weapon using common materials that could cause
a large numbers of casualties in a crowded, enclosed area.
- Although gaps in our understanding remain, we see al-QA`ida's program
to produce anthrax as one of the most immediate terrorist CBRN threats
we are likely to face.
- Al-QA`ida continues to pursue its strategic goal of obtaining a
nuclear capability. It remains interested in dirty bombs. Terrorist
documents contain accurate views of how such weapons would be used.
I've focused, and rightly so, on al-QA`ida and related groups. But
other terrorist organizations also threaten US interests. Palestinian
terrorist groups in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza remain a formidable
threat and continue to use terrorism to undermine prospects for peace.
- Last year Palestinian terrorist groups conducted more than 600 attacks,
killing about 200 Israelis and foreigners, including Americans.
Lebanese Hizballah cooperates with these groups and appears
to be increasing its support. It is also working with Iran and surrogate
groups in Iraq and would likely react to an attack against it, Syria,
or Iran with attacks against US and Israeli targets worldwide.
Iran and Syria continue to support terrorist groups, and their links
into Iraq have become problematic to our efforts there.
Although Islamic extremists comprise the most pressing threat to US
interests, we cannot ignore nominally leftist groups in Latin America
and Europe. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC and
the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second largest leftist
insurgent group have shown a willingness to attack US targets. So has
the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Fronta Turkish group
that has killed two US citizens and targeted US interests in Turkey.
Finally, cyber vulnerabilities are another of our concerns, with not
only terrorists but foreign governments, hackers, crime groups, and
industrial spies attempting to obtain information from our computer
Mr. Chairman, we are making significant strides against the insurgency
and terrorism, but former regime elements and foreign jihadists continue
to pose a serious threat to Iraq's new institutions and to our own forces.
- At the same time, sovereignty will be returned to an interim Iraqi
government by 1 July, although the structure and mechanism for determining
this remain unresolved.
- The emerging Iraqi leadership will face many pressing issues, among
them organizing national elections, integrating the Sunni minority
into the political mainstream, managing Kurdish autonomy in a federal
structure, and the determining the role of Islam in the Iraqi state.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chairman, the important work of the Iraqi Survey Group
and the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction continues. We must
explore every avenue in our quest to understand Iraq's programs out
of concern for the possibility that materials, weapons, or expertise
might fall into the hands of insurgents, foreign states, or terrorists.
As you know, I'll talk about this at length next week.
Despite progress in Iraq, the overall security picture continues to
concern me. Saddam is in prison, and the Coalition has killed or apprehended
all but 10 of his 54 key cronies. And Iraqis are taking an increasing
role in their own defense, with many now serving in the various new
police, military, and security forces.
- But the violence continues. The daily average number of attacks
on US and Coalition military forces has dropped from its November
peak but is similar to that of August.
- And many other insurgent and terrorist attacks undermine stability
by striking at, and seeking to intimidate, those Iraqis willing to
work with the Coalition.
The insurgency we face in Iraq comprises multiple groups with different
motivations but with the same goal: driving the US and our Coalition
partners from Iraq. Saddam's capture was a psychological blow that
took some of the less-committed Ba'thists out of the fight, but a hard
core of former regime elementsBa'th Party officials, military,
intelligence, and security officersare still organizing and carrying
- Intelligence has given us a good understanding of the insurgency
at the local level, and this information is behind the host of successful
raids you've read about in the papers.
US military and Intelligence Community efforts to round up former regime
figures have disrupted some insurgent plans to carry out additional
anti-Coalition attacks. But we know these Ba'thist cells are intentionally
decentralized to avoid easy penetration and to prevent the roll-up of
whole networks. Arms, funding, and military experience remain readily
Mr. Chairman, the situation as I've described itboth our victories
and our challengesindicates we have damaged, but not yet defeated,
The security situation is further complicated by the involvement of
terroristsincluding Ansar al-Islam (AI) and al-Zarqawiand
foreign jihadists coming to Iraq to wage jihad. Their goal is clear.
They intend to inspire an Islamic extremist insurgency that would threaten
Coalition forces and put a halt to the long-term process of building
democratic institutions and governance in Iraq. They hope for a Taliban-like
enclave in Iraq's Sunni heartland that could be a jihadist safehaven.
- AIan Iraqi Kurdish extremist groupis waging a terrorist
campaign against the coalition presence and cooperative Iraqis in
a bid to inspire jihad and create an Islamic state.
- Some extremists go even further. In a recent letter, terrorist
planner Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi outlined his strategy to foster sectarian
civil war in Iraq, aimed at inciting the Shia.
Stopping the foreign extremists from turning Iraq into their most important
jihad yet rests in part on preventing loosely connected extremists from
coalescing into a cohesive terrorist organization.
- We are having some successthe Coalition has arrested key jihadist
leaders and facilitators in Iraq, including top leaders from Ansar
al-Islam, the al-Zarqawi network, and other al-QA`ida affiliates.
- The October detention of AI's deputy leader set back the group's
ambition to establish itself as an umbrella organization for jihadists
And we're also concerned that foreign jihadists and former regime elements
might coalesce. This would link local knowledge and military training
with jihadist fervor and lethal tactics. At this point, we've seen
a few signs of such cooperation at the tactical or local level.
Ultimately, the Iraqi people themselves must provide the fundamental
solutions. As you well know, the insurgents are incessantly and violently
targeting Iraqi police and security forces precisely because they fear
the prospect of Iraqis securing their own interests. Success depends
on broadening the role of the local security forces.
- This goes well beyond greater numbers. It means continuing work
already under wayfixing equipment shortages, providing training,
ensuring adequate payto build a force of increasing quality
and confidence that will have the support of the Iraqi people.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of greater security for Iraqis
particularly as we turn to the momentous political events slated for
- The real test will begin soon after the transfer of sovereignty,
when we'll see the extent to which the new Iraqi leaders embody concepts
such as pluralism, compromise, and rule of law.
Iraqi Arabsand many Iraqi Kurdspossess a strong Iraqi
identity, forged over a tumultuous 80 year history and especially during
the nearly decade-long war with Iran. Unfortunately, Saddam's divide
and rule policy and his favored treatment of the Sunni minority aggravated
tensions to the point where the key to governance in Iraq today is managing
these competing sectional interests.
Here's a readout on where these groups stand:
- The majority SHIA look forward to the end of Sunni control, which
began with the British creation of Iraq. The Shia community nevertheless
has internal tensions, between the moderate majority and a radical
minority that wants a Shia-dominated theocracy.
- The KURDS see many opportunities to advance long held goals: retaining
the autonomy they enjoyed over the past twelve years and expanding
their power and territory.
- The minority SUNNI fear Shia and Kurdish ambitions. Such anxieties
help animate Sunni support for the insurgents. The Sunni community
is still at a very early state of establishing political structures
to replace the defeated Ba'th party.
I should qualify what I've just said: no society, and surely not Iraq's
complex tapestry, is so simple as to be captured in three or four categories.
Kurds. Shia. Sunni. In reality, Iraqi society is filled with more
cleavages, and more connections, than a simple typology can suggest.
We seldom hear about the strong tribal alliances that have long existed
between Sunni and Shia, or the religious commonalities between the Sunni
Kurd and Arab communities, or the moderate secularism that spans Iraqi
- We tend to identify, and stress, the tensions that rend communities
apart, but opportunities also exist for these group to work together
for common ends.
The social and political interplay is further complicated by Iran,
especially in the south, where Tehran pursues its own interests and
hopes to maximize its influence among Iraqi Shia after 1 July. Organizations
supported by IranSupreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in
Iraq (SCIRI) and its Badr Organization militiahave gained positions
within the Iraqi police and control media outlets in Basrah that tout
a pro-Iran viewpoint.
- Tehran also runs humanitarian and outreach programs that have probably
enhanced its reputation among Iraqi Shia, but many remain suspicious.
The most immediate political challenge for the Iraqis is to choose
the transitional government that will rule their country while they
write their permanent constitution. The Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah
Muhammad Ali al-Sistani has made this selection process the centerpiece
of his effort to ensure that Iraqis will decide their own future and
choose the first sovereign post-Saddam government.
- Sistani favors direct elections as the way to produce a legitimate,
- Sistani's religious pronouncements show that, above all, he wants
Iraq to be independent of foreign powers. Moreover, his praise of
free elections and his theology reflect, in our reading, a clearcut
opposition to theocracy, Iran-style.
Once the issues involving the selection of an transitional
government are settled, Iraq's permanent constitution will begin to
take shape. Here the Iraqi government and the framers of the constitution
will have to address three urgent concerns: integrating the Sunni minority
into the political mainstream, managing Kurdish autonomy in a federal
structure, and determining the role of Islam in the Iraqi state.
The Sunni. Sunnis are at least a fifth of the population, inhabit
the country's strategic heartland, and comprise a sizable share of Iraq's
professional and middle classes. The Sunni are disaffected as a deposed
ruling minority, but some are beginning to recognize that boycotting
the emerging political process will weaken their community. Their political
isolation may be breaking down in parts of the Sunni triangle, where
some Sunni Arabs have begun to engage the Coalition and assume local
leadership roles. And in the past three months we have also seen the
founding of national-level Sunni umbrella organizations to deal with
the Coalition and the Governing Council on questions like Sunni participation
in choosing the transitional government.
Federalism. The Transitional Administrative Law is just now being
completed, and the way it deals with the relationship between the political
center and Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious communities will frame
the future constitutional debate. To make a federal arrangement stick,
Kurdish and Arab Iraq leaders will need to explain convincingly that
a federal structure benefits all Iraqis and not just the Kurds. And
even so, a host of difficult issuescontrol over oil and security
being perhaps the most significantmay provoke tension between
Kurdish and central Iraqi authorities.
Islam. The current draft of the Transitional Administrative Law makes
Islam Iraq's official creed but protects religious freedom. It also
creates an Iraqi legal system that is a mix of traditions, including
Islamic lawbut as only one legal element among many. This compromise
is already under fire by Sunni Islamists who want Islam to be the sole
source of law.
I don't want to allow the important security and political stories
to crowd out others we should also be telling, including the often neglected
one about Iraq's sizable economic potential. It's true that rebuilding
will go on for yearsthe Saddam regime left in its wake a devastated,
antiquated, underfunded infrastructure. But reconstruction progress
and Iraq's own considerable assetsits natural resources and its
educated populaceshould enable the Iraqis to see important improvement
in 2004 in their infrastructure and their quality of life.
- Over the next few years, they'll open more hospitals and build more
roads than anyone born under Saddam has witnessed.
The recovery of Iraqi oil production will help. Production is on track
to approach 3.0 million barrels per day by the end of this year. Iraq
hasn't produced this much oil since before the 1991 Gulf war. By next
year, revenues from oil exports should cover the cost of basic government
operations and contribute several billion dollars toward reconstruction.
It is essential, however, that the Iraq-Turkey pipeline be reopened
and oil facilities be well protected from insurgent sabotage.
Much more needs to be done. Key public services such as water, sewage,
and transportation will have difficulty reaching prewar levels by July
and won't meet the higher target of total Iraqi demand.
- Electric power capacity approaches prewar levels but still falls
short of peak demand. Looting and sabotage may make supplies unreliable.
- Finally, unemployment and underemployment, which afflicts about
a half of the workforce, will remain a key problem and a potential
breeding ground for popular discontent.
Mr. Chairman, I'll turn now to worldwide trends in proliferation.
This picture is changing before our eyeschanging at a rate I have
not seen since the end of the Cold War. Some of it is good newsI'll
talk about the Libya and AQ Khan breakthroughs, for exampleand
some of it is disturbing. Some of it shows our years of work paying
off, and some of it shows the work ahead is harder.
We are watching countries of proliferation concern choose different
paths as they calculate the risks versus gains of pursuing WMD.
- Libya is taking steps toward strategic disarmament.
- North Korea is trying to leverage its nuclear program into at least
a bargaining chip and also international legitimacy and influence.
- And Iran is exposing some programs while trying to preserve others.
I'll start with LIBYA, which appears to be moving toward strategic
disarmament. For years Qadhafi had been chafing under international
pariah status. In March 2003, he made a strategic decision and reached
out through British intelligence with an offer to abandon his pursuit
That launched nine months of delicate negotiations where we moved the
Libyans from a stated willingness to renounce WMD to an explicit
and public commitment to expose and dismantle their WMD programs.
The leverage was intelligence. Our picture of Libya's WMD programs
allowed CIA officers and their British colleagues to press the Libyans
on the right questions, to expose inconsistencies, and to convince them
that holding back was counterproductive. We repeatedly surprised them
with the depth of our knowledge.
- For example, US and British intelligence officers secretly traveled
to Libya and asked to inspect Libya's ballistic missile programs.
Libyan officials at first failed to declare key facilities, but our
intelligence convinced them to disclose several dozen facilities,
including their deployed Scud B sites and their secret North Korean-assisted
Scud C production line.
- When we were tipped to the imminent shipment of centrifuge parts
to Libya in October, we arranged to have the cargo seized, showing
the Libyans that we had penetrated their most sensitive procurement
By the end of the December visit, the Libyans:
- Admitted having a nuclear weapons program and having bought uranium
hexafluoride feed material for gas centrifuge enrichment.
- Admitted having nuclear weapon design documents.
- Acknowledged having made about 25 tons of sulfur mustard CW agent,
aerial bombs for the mustard, and small amounts of nerve agent.
- Provided access to their deployed Scud B forces and revealed details
of indigenous missile design work and of cooperation with North Korea
on the 800-km range Scuds Cs.
From the very outset of negotiations, Qadhafi requested the participation
of international organizations to help certify Libyan compliance. Tripoli
has agreed to inspections by the IAEA and the Organization for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and to abide by the range limitations of
the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). We have briefed information
on Tripoli's programs to various international monitoring organizations.
IAEA and OPCW officials have already followed up with visits to Libya.
Some discrepancies remain, but we will continue to collect additional
information and closely monitor Libya's adherence to the commitments
it has made.
In contrast to Libya, NORTH KOREA is trying to leverage its
nuclear programs into international legitimacy and bargaining power,
announcing its withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty and openly
proclaiming that it has a nuclear deterrent.
Since December 2002, Pyongyang has announced its withdrawal
from the Nonproliferation Treaty and expelled IAEA inspectors. Last
year Pyongyang claimed to have finished reprocessing the 8,000 fuel
rods that had been sealed by US and North Korean technicians and stored
under IAEA monitoring since 1994.
- The Intelligence Community judged in the mid-1990s that North Korea
had produced one, possibly two, nuclear weapons. The 8000 rods the
North claims to have processed into plutonium metal would provide
enough plutonium for several more.
We also believe Pyongyang is pursuing a production-scale uranium enrichment
program based on technology provided by AQ Khan, which would give North
Korea an alternative route to nuclear weapons.
Of course, we are concerned about more than just North Korea's nuclear
program. North Korea has longstanding CW and BW capabilities and is
enhancing its BW potential as it builds its legitimate biotechnology
infrastructure. Pyongyang is sending individuals abroad and is seeking
dual-use expertise and technology.
North Korea also continues to advance its missile programs. North
Korea is nearly self-sufficient in ballistic missiles, and has continued
procurement of raw materials and components for its extensive ballistic
missile programs from various foreign sources. The North also has demonstrated
a willingness to sell complete systems and components that have enabled
other states to acquire longer-range capabilities and a basis for domestic
development efforts earlier than would otherwise have been possible.
- North Korea has maintained a unilateral long-range missile launch
moratorium since 1999, but could end that with little or no warning.
The multiple-stage Taepo Dong-2capable of reaching the United
States with a nuclear weapon-sized payloadmay be ready for flight-testing.
IRAN is taking yet a different path, acknowledging work on a
covert nuclear fuel cycle while trying to preserve its WMD options.
I'll start with the good news: Tehran acknowledged more
than a decade of covert nuclear activity and agreed to open itself to
an enhanced inspection regime. Iran for the first time acknowledged
many of its nuclear fuel cycle development activitiesincluding
a large-scale gas centrifuge uranium enrichment effort. Iran claims
its centrifuge program is designed to produce low-enriched uranium,
to support Iran's civil nuclear power program. This is permitted under
the Nonproliferation Treaty, butand here's the downsidethe
same technology can be used to build a military program as well.
- The difference between producing low-enriched uranium and weapons-capable
high-enriched uranium is only a matter of time and intent, not technology.
It would be a significant challenge for intelligence to confidently
assess whether that red line had been crossed.
Finally, Iran's missile program is both a regional threat
and a proliferation concern. Iran's ballistic missile inventory is
among the largest in the Middle Eastand includes the 1300-km range Shahab-3
MRBM as well as a few hundred SRBMs. Iran has announced production
of the Shahab-3 and publicly acknowledged development of follow-on versions.
During 2003, Iran continued R&D on its longer-range ballistic missile
programs, and publicly reiterated its intention to develop space launch
vehicles (SLVs)and SLVs contain most of the key building blocks
for an ICBM. Iran could begin flight-testing these systems in the mid-
to latter-part of the decade.
- Iran also appears willing to supply missile-related technology to
countries of concern and publicly advertises its artillery rockets
and related technologies, including guidance instruments and missile
Let me turn now to a different aspect of the evolving WMD threat.
I want to focus on how countries and groups are increasingly trying
to get the materials they need for WMD. I'll focus on two important
- The roll-up of AQ Khan and his network, one of the most significant
counter-proliferation successes in years and one in which intelligence
led the way.
- The difficulty of uncovering both proliferators masquerading as
legitimate businessmen and possible BW or CW plants appearing to be
legitimate "dual-use" facilities.
As I pointed out last year, Mr. Chairman, WMD technologies are no longer
the sole province of nation-states. They might also come about as a
result of business decisions made by private entrepreneurs and firms.
As you now know, those comments were my way of referring to AQ Khan
without mentioning his name in open session. Until recently, Khan,
popularly known as the "father of the Pakistani bomb," was the most
dangerous WMD entrepreneur. For 25 years Khan directed Pakistan's uranium
enrichment program. He built an international network of suppliers
to support uranium enrichment efforts in Pakistan that also supported
similar efforts in other countries.
- Khan and his network had been unique in being able to offer one-stop
shopping for enrichment technology and weapons design information.
With such assistance, a potentially wide range of countries could
leapfrog the slow, incremental stages of other nuclear weapons development
The actions taken against Khan's networklike the example of Libya
I laid out earlierwere largely the result of intelligence.
- Intelligence discovered, pieced together, tracked, and penetrated
Khan's worldwide hidden network.
But every public success we enjoy can be used by people like Khan to
adjust, adapt, and evade. Proliferators hiding among legitimate businesses,
and countries hiding their WMD programs inside legitimate dual-use industries,
combine to make private entrepreneurs dealing in lethal goods one of
our most difficult intelligence challenges.
In support of these WMD programs, new procurement strategies continue
to hamper our ability to assess and warn on covert WMD programs. Acquisitions
for such programs aren't the work of secret criminal networks that skirt
international law. They're done by businessmen, in the open, in what
seems to be legal trade in high-technology.
The dual-use challenge is especially applicable to countries hiding
biological and chemical warfare programs. With dual-use technology
and civilian industrial infrastructure, countries can develop BW and
CW capabilities. Biotechnology is especially dual-edged: Medical programs
and technology could easily support a weapons program, because nearly
every technology required for biological weapons also has a legitimate
Now I'll turn to a brief run-down of some significant missile
programs apart from those I've already discussed.
China continues an aggressive missile modernization program that will
improve its ability to conduct a wide range of military options against
Taiwan supported by both cruise and ballistic missiles. Expected technical
improvements will give Beijing a more accurate and lethal missile force.
China is also moving on with its first generation of mobile strategic
- Although Beijing has taken steps to improve ballistic missile related
export controls, Chinese firms continue to be a leading source of
relevant technology and continue to work with other countries on ballistic
South Asian ballistic missile development continues apace. Both India
and Pakistan are pressing ahead with development and testing of longer-range
ballistic missiles and are inducting additional SRBMs into missile units.
Both countries are testing missiles that will enable them to deliver
nuclear warheads to greater distances.
Last year Syria continued to seek help from abroad to establish
a solid-propellant rocket motor development and production capability.
Syria's liquid-propellant ballistic missile program continued to depend
on essential foreign equipment and assistance, primarily from North
Korean entities. Syria is developing longer-range missile programs,
such as a Scud D and possibly other variants, with assistance from North
Korea and Iran.
Many countries remain interested in developing or acquiring
land-attack cruise missiles, which are almost always significantly more
accurate than ballistic missiles and complicate missile defense systems.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are also of growing concern.
To conclude my comments on proliferation, I'll briefly run through
some WMD programs I have not yet discussed, beginning with Syria.
Syria is an NPT signatory with full-scope IAEA safeguards and has a
nuclear research center at Dayr Al Hajar. Russia and Syria have continued
their long-standing agreements on cooperation regarding nuclear energy,
although specific assistance has not yet materialized. Broader access
to foreign expertise provides opportunities to expand its indigenous
capabilities and we are closely monitoring Syrian nuclear intentions.
Meanwhile, Damascus has an active CW development and testing
program that relies on foreign suppliers for key controlled chemicals
suitable for producing CW.
Finally, we remain alert to the vulnerability of Russian WMD materials
and technology to theft or diversion. We are also concerned by the
continued eagerness of Russia's cash-strapped defense, biotechnology,
chemical, aerospace, and nuclear industries to raise funds via exports
and transferswhich makes Russian expertise an attractive target
for countries and groups seeking WMD and missile-related assistance.
I'm going to comment now on three countries we obviously pay a great
deal of attention to: North Korea, China, and Russia.
The NORTH KOREAN regime continues to threaten a range of US,
regional, and global security interests. As I've noted earlier, Pyongyang
is pursuing its nuclear weapons program and nuclear-capable delivery
systems. It continues to build its missile forces, which can now reach
all of South Korea and Japan, and to develop longer-range missiles that
could threaten the United States.
The North also exports complete ballistic missiles and production capabilities,
along with related components and expertise. It continues to export
narcotics and other contraband across the globe.
Moreover, the forward-deployed posture of North Korea's armed forces
remains a near-term threat to South Korea and to the 37,000 US troops
stationed there. Recall that early last year as tensions over the nuclear
program were building, Pyongyang intercepted a US reconnaissance aircraft
in international airspace.
Kim Chong-il continues to exert a tight grip on North Korea as supreme
leader. The regime's militarized, Soviet-style command economy is failing
to meet the population's food and economic needs. Indeed, the economy
has faltered to the point that Kim has permitted some new economic initiatives,
including more latitude for farmers' markets, but these changes are
a far cry from the systemic economic reform needed to revitalize the
economy. The accumulated effect of years of deprivation and repression
places significant stresses on North Korean society.
- The Kim regime rules largely through fear, intimidation, and indoctrination,
using the country's large and pervasive security apparatus, its system
of camps for political prisoners, and its unrelenting propaganda to
Mr. Chairman, CHINA continues to emerge as a great power and
expand its profile in regional and international politicsbut Beijing
has cooperated with Washington on some key strategic issues.
- The Chinese have cooperated in the war on terrorism and have been
willing to host and facilitate multilateral dialogue on the North
Korean nuclear problemin contrast to Beijing's more detached
approach to that problem a decade ago.
Beijing is making progress in asserting its influence in East Asia.
Its activist diplomacy in the neighborhood is paying off, fueled in
large part by China's robust economy. China's growth continues to outpace
all others in the region, and its imports of goods from other East Asian
countries are soaring. As a result, Beijing is better positioned to
sell its neighbors on the idea that what is good for the Chinese economy
is good for Asia.
- That said, China's neighbors still harbor suspicions about Beijing's
long-term intentions. They generally favor a sustained US military
presence in the region as insurance against potential Chinese aggression.
Our greatest concern remains China's military buildup, which continues
to accelerate. Last year, Beijing reached new benchmarks in its production
or acquisition from Russia of missiles, submarines, other naval combatants,
and advanced fighter aircraft. China also is downsizing and restructuring
its military forces with an eye toward enhancing its capabilities for
the modern battlefield. All of these steps will over time make China
a formidable challenger if Beijing perceived that its interests were
being thwarted in the region.
- We are closely monitoring the situation across the Taiwan Strait
in the period surrounding Taiwan's presidential election next month.
Chinese leadership politicsespecially the incomplete leadership
transitionwill influence how Beijing deals with the Taiwan issue
this year and beyond. President and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao
still shares power with his predecessor in those positions, Jiang Zemin,
who retains the powerful chairmanship of the Party's Central Military
In RUSSIA, the trend I highlighted last yearPresident
Putin's re-centralization of power in the Kremlinhas become more
pronounced, especially over the past several months. We see this in
the recent Duma elections and the lopsided United Russia party victory
engineered by the Kremlin and in the Kremlin's domination of the Russian
Putin has nevertheless recorded some notable achievements. His economic
recordeven discounting the continuing strength of high world oil
pricesis impressive, both in terms of GDP growth and progress
on market reforms. He has brought a sense of stability to the Russian
political scene after years of chaos, and he restored Russians' pride
in their country's place in the world.
That said, Putin now dominates the Duma, and the strong showing of
nationalist parties plus the shutout of liberal parties may bolster
trends toward limits on civil society, state interference in big business,
and greater assertiveness in the former Soviet Union. And the Kremlin's
recent efforts to strengthen the state's role in the oil sector could
discourage investors and hamper energy cooperation with the West.
He shows no signs of softening his tough stance on Russia's
war in Chechnya. Russian counterinsurgency operations have had some
success. Putin's prime innovation is the process of turning more authority
over to the Chechen under the new government of Akhmad Kadyrov, and
empowering his security forces to lead the counter-insurgency.
- Although this strategy may succeed in lowering Russia's profile
in Chechnya, it is unlikely to lead to resolution.
Moscow has already become more assertive in its approach
to the neighboring states of the former Soviet Union, such as Georgia,
Ukraine, and Moldova. Russian companiesprimarily for commercial
motives, but in line with the Kremlin's agendaare increasing their
stakes in neighboring countries, particularly in the energy sector.
The Kremlin's increasing assertiveness is partly grounded in a growing
confidence in its military capabilities. Although still a fraction
of their former capabilities, Russian military forces are beginning
to rebound from the 1990s nadir. Training rates are upincluding
some high-profile exercisesalong with defense spending.
Even so, we see Moscow's aims as limited. Russia is using primarily
economic incentives and levers of "soft" power, like shared history
and culture, to rebuild lost power and influence. And Putin has a stake
in relative stability on Russia's bordersnot least to maintain
positive relations with the US and Europeans.
Russian relations with the US continue to contain elements of both
cooperation and competition. On balance, they remain more cooperative
than not, but the coming year will present serious challenges. For
example, Russia remains supportive of US deployments in Central Asia
for Afghanistanbut is also wary of US presence in what Russia
considers to be its own back yard.
Let me turn now to AFGHANISTAN, where the Afghan people are
on their way to having their first legitimate, democratically elected
government in more than a generation.
The ratification of a new constitution at the Constitutional Loya Jirga
in January is a significant milepost. It provides the legal framework
and legitimacy for several initiatives, including elections, scheduled
for later this year.
- Within the next 12 months, the country could have, for the first
time, a freely elected President and National Assembly that are broadly
representative, multi-ethnic, and able to begin providing security
and services at some level.
Even if the date of elections slipsthe Bonn Agreement requires
a June datethe central government is extending its writ and legitimate
political processes are developing nationwide through other means.
Regional "warlords" are disruptive but disunitedand appear to
realize the Bonn process and elections are the only way to avoid relapsing
into civil war.
- Defense Minister Fahim Khan is cooperating with President Karzai
and seems able to keep his large body of Panjshiri supporters in line
in favor of Bonn and stability.
Meanwhile, the infusion of $2 billion in international aid has propelled
Afghan economic performance. The IMF estimates GDP grewfrom an
admittedly low baseby 29 percent last year. The completion of
the Kabul to Kandahar road in December was a success, but the international
community will need to ensure that funds are channeled toward projects
that make the most impact and are balanced among the regions and ethnic
- Building a National Army is another long-term international challenge.
So far, almost 6,000 Afghan soldiers have been trained by US, British,
and French trainers. It will take years to reach the goal of a 70,000-strong
ethnically-balanced forcebut with continued Coalition and international
community support and assistance over the next two years, Afghanistan
need not become either a "security welfare state," or, again, a breeding
ground for terrorists and extremism.
Last year's most worrisome events were the continued attacks by the
Afghan Transitional Authority's enemiesparticularly the Taliban,
along with al-QA`ida and followers of Afghan extremist Hikmatyarwho
want to disrupt routine life and the reconstruction effort in the south
and east. This is still a problem, because none of these groups has
abandoned the ultimate goal of derailing the process by which legitimate
democratic government and the rule of law will be established in Afghanistan.
I don't want to overstate the Taliban's strength. It is far from having
sufficient political and military might to challenge the Karzai Government.
It is, however, still able to interfere with the political, economic,
and social reconstruction of the country by fomenting insecurity and
thereby undermining public confidence in Kabul.
- Like other extremists bent on restoring the terrorist-sponsored
state that existed before the liberation of Afghanistan, Taliban remnants
remain intent on using any available means to undermine President
Karzai and his government, to drive international aid organizations
and their workers from the areas that most need them, and to attack
US and Coalition forces.
- For this reason the security situation in the south and east is
still tenuous and Kabul will need considerable assistance over at
least the next year or two to stabilize the security environment there.
In IRAN, Mr. Chairman, I'll begin with a sobering bottom line:
- With the victory of hardliners in elections last weekend, governmental
led reform received a serious blow. Greater repression is a likely
- With the waning of top-down reform efforts, reformers will probably
turn to the grass rootsworking with NGOs and labor groupsto
rebuild popular support and keep the flame alive.
- The strengthening of authoritarian rule will make breaking out of
old foreign policy patterns more difficult at a time when Tehran faces
a new geopolitical landscape in the Middle East.
The concerns I voiced last year are unabated. The recent defeats will
have further alienated a youthful population anxious for change. Abroad,
Tehran faces an altered regional landscape in the destruction of radical
anti-Western regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and growing international
concern about nuclear proliferation.
- And, as has so often happened in Iran's history, Iran's leaders
appear likely to respond to these challenges in rigid and unimaginative
The current setback is the latest in a series of contests in which
authoritarian rule has prevailed over reformist challengers. The reformistsPresident
Khatami in particularare in no small part to blame. Their refusal
to back bold promises with equally bold actions exhausted their initially
enthusiastic popular support.
When the new Majles convenes in June, the Iranian government will be
even more firmly controlled by the forces of authoritarianism. In the
recent election, clerical authorities disqualified more than 2500 candidates,
mostly reformists, and returned control of the legislature to hardliners.
The new Majles will focus on economic reform, with little or no attention
to political liberalization.
- And with the Majles securely behind the hardliners, we expect to
see many of the outlets for political dissent shut down by the clerical
- The prospect of internal violence remains. Hardliners may now resort
to new heavy-handedness that produces public outrage and protest.
At least eight people were killed and 30 injured in elected-related
violence last weekend.
Although greater repression is likely to be the most immediate consequence,
this will only further deepen the discontent with clerical rule, which
is now discredited and publicly criticized as never before. In the
past year several unprecedented open letters, including one signed by
nearly half the parliament, were published calling for an end to the
clergy's absolute rule.
- Iran's recent history is studded with incidents of serious civil
unrest that erupted in response to the arrogance of local officialsevents
like the 1999 student riots that broke out when security forces attacked
- Even so, the Iranian public does not appear eager to take a challenge
to the streetsin Tehran, apathy is the prevailing mood,
and regime intimidation has cowed the populace. This mix keeps
the regime secure for now.
The uncertainty surrounding Iran's internal politics comes as Tehran
adjusts to the regional changes of a post-Saddam Iraq. Because Khamenei
and his allies have kept close rein on foreign policy, we do not expect
the defeat of the reformists to lead to a sudden change in Iranian policy.
Tehran will continue to use multiple avenuesincluding media influence,
humanitarian and reconstruction aid, diplomatic maneuvering, and clandestine
activityto advance its interests and counter US influence in Iraq.
- We judge that Iran wants an Iraqi government that does not threaten
Tehran, is not a US puppet, can maintain the country's territorial
integrity, and has a strong Shia representation.
- These interests have led Tehran to recognize the Iraqi Governing
Council and work with other nascent Iraqi political, economic, and
In INDONESIA, the world's most populous Muslim country, authorities
have arrested more than 100 Jemaah Islamiya (JI) suspects linked to
the terrorist attacks in Bali in October 2002 and the Jakarta Marriott
Hotel last year. However, coming presidential and legislative elections
appear to have blunted the government's efforts to root out JI.
Megawati remains the presidential frontrunner, but continuing criticism
of her leadership and the growing prospect that her party will lose
seats in the legislative election increase the likelihood of a wide-open
race. The secular-nationalist Golkarthe former ruling party of
Soeharto, now riding a wave of public nostalgia for his bygone eracould
overtake Megawati's party to win the plurality of legislature seats.
Most local polls suggest that the Islamic parties are unlikely to improve
their percentage of the vote.
Vocal religious extremists, however, are challenging Indonesia's dominant
moderate Muslim groups. A growing number of Indonesian Muslims now advocate
the adoption of Islamic law, and dozens of provincial and district governments
around the archipelago are taking advantage of the devolution of authority
since 1998 to begin enforcing elements of Islamic civil law and customs.
Let me turn briefly to SOUTH ASIA. When I commented on the
situation there last year, I warned that, despite a lessening of tensions
between India and Pakistan, we remained concerned a dramatic provocation
might spark another crisis.
This year I'm pleased to note that the normalization of relations between
India and Pakistan has made steady progress. Building on Prime Minister
Vajpayee's April 2003 "hand of friendship" initiative, the
leaders in New Delhi and Islamabad have begun to lay a promising foundation
for resolving their differences through peaceful dialogue.
- Both countries have since made further progress in restoring diplomatic,
economic, transportation, and communications links andmost importantlyboth
sides have agreed to proceed with a "composite" dialogue
on a range of bilateral issues that include Kashmir.
Further progress will hinge largely on the extent to which each side
judges that the other is sincere about improving India-Pakistan relations.
For example, India is watching carefully to see whether the level of
militant infiltration across the Line of Control (LOC) increases this
spring after the snows melt in the mountain passes.
In this hemisphere, President Uribe of COLOMBIA is making
great strides militarily and economically. Colombia's military
is making steady progress against the illegal armed groups, particularly
around Bogotá; last year the Army decimated several FARC military units.
In the last two months, Colombian officials have apprehended the two
most senior FARC leaders ever captured.
- Foreign and domestic investors are taking note: last year, 
the growth rate of 3.5 percent was the highest in 5 years.
But some of Uribe's hardest work awaits him. The military has successfully
cleared much of the insurgent-held territory, but the next stage of
Uribe's "clear-and-hold" strategy is securing the gains thus far. That
entails building the state presenceschools, police stations, medical
clinics, roads, bridges, and social infrastructurewhere it has
scarcely existed before.
Finally, we should bear in mind that Uribe's opponents will adjust
their strategies, as well. The FARC may increasingly seek to target
US persons and interests in Colombia, particularly if key leaders
are killed, captured, or extradited to the United States.
- Drug gangs are also adapting, relocating coca cultivation
and production areas and attacking aerial eradication missions. All
of this translates into more money and more resources for traffickers,
insurgents, and paramilitary forces.
And in HAITI, the situation is, of course, extremely fluid at
this moment. What continues to concern us is the possibility that the
increasing violence will lead to a humanitarian disaster or mass migration.
Forces opposed to the government control key cities in northern Haiti
and they have identified Port-au-Prince as their next target. Those
forces include armed gangs, former Haitian Army officers, and members
of irregular forces who allegedly killed Aristide supporters during
- Future battles could be bloody, as the armed opposition is arrayed
against pro-government irregular forces equally disposed to violence.
Moreover, food, fuel, and medical supplies already have been disrupted
in parts of Haiti because of the fighting, making living conditions
even worse for Haiti's many poor.
- The government is looking for international help to restore order.
Improving security will require the difficult tasks of disarming both
pro- and anti-government irregulars and augmenting and retraining
a national security force.
In SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, progress in continuing peace processes
requires further careful Western cultivation and African regional cooperation.
- In Liberia, UN peacekeepers and the transitional government face
a daunting challenge to rein in armed factions, including remnants
of Charles Taylor's militias.
- Sudan's chances for lasting peace are its best in decades, with
more advances possible in the short term, given outside guarantees
- A fragile peace process in Burundi and struggling transitional
government in Congo (Kinshasa) have the potential to end conflicts
that so far have claimed a combined total of over 3 million lives.
- Tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea over their disputed border
is jeopardizing the peace accord brokered by US officials in 2000.
THE OTHER TRANSNATIONAL ISSUES
Let me conclude my comments this morning by briefly considering some
important transnational concerns that touch on the war against terrorism.
We're used to thinking of that fight as a sustained worldwide effort
to get the perpetrators and would-be perpetrator off the street.
This is an important preoccupation, and we will never lose sight
But places that combine desperate social and economic circumstances
with a failure of government to police its own territory can often provide
nurturing environments for terrorist groups, and for insurgents and
criminals. The failure of governments to control their own territory
creates potential power vacuums that open opportunities for those who
- We count approximately 50 countries that have such "stateless zones."
In half of these, terrorist groups are thriving. Al-QA`ida and extremists
like the Taliban, operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area,
are well known examples.
As the war on terrorism progresses, terrorists will be driven from
their safe havens to seek new hideouts where they can undertake training,
planning, and staging without interference from government authorities.
The prime candidates for new "no man's lands" are remote, rugged regions
where central governments have no consistent reach and where socioeconomic
problems are rife.
Many factors play into the struggle to eradicate stateless zones and
dry up the wellsprings of disaffection.
- Population trends. More than half of the Middle East's population
is under the age of 22. "Youth bulges," or excessive numbers of unemployed
young people, are historical markers for increased risk of political
violence and recruitment into radical causes. The disproportionate
rise of young age cohorts will be particularly pronounced in Iraq,
followed by Syria, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
- Infectious disease. The HIV/AIDS pandemic remains a global humanitarian
crisis that also endangers social and political stability. Although
Africa currently has the greatest number of HIV/AIDS casesmore
than 29 million infectedthe disease is spreading rapidly. Last
year, I warned about rising infection rates in Russia, China, India,
and the Caribbean. But the virus is also gaining a foothold in the
Middle East and North Africa, where governments may be lulled into
overconfidence by the protective effects of social and cultural conservatism.
- Humanitarian need. Need will again outpace international pledges
for assistance. Sub-Saharan Africa and such conflict-ravaged places
like Chechnya, Tajikistan, and the Palestinian Occupied Territories
will compete for aid against assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Only 40 percent of UN funding requirements for 2003 had been met for
the five most needy countries in Africa.
- Food insecurity. More than 840 million people are undernourished
worldwide, a number that had fallen in the first half of the 1990s
but in now on the increase. USDA estimates the food aid needed to
meet annual recommended minimum nutrition levels at almost 18 million
metric tons, far above the recent average of 11 million tons donated
And I'll take this opportunity to remind you, Mr. Chairman, of the
continued threat the global narcotics industry poses to the United States.
- As evident by the doubling of the Afghan opium crop in 2003, the
narcotics industry is capable of moving quickly to take advantage
of opportunities presented by the absence of effective government
- Although the linkages between the drug trade and terrorism are generally
limited on a global basis, trafficking organizations in Afghanistan
and Colombia pose significant threats to stability in these countries
and constitute an important source of funding for terrorist activity
by local groups.
- This combination of flexibility and ability to undermine effective
governmental institutions means that dealing with the narcotics challenge
requires a truly global response.
And that, Mr. Chairman, concludes my formal remarks. I welcome any
questions or comments you and the members may have for me.