Thursday the nation’s intelligence chiefs appeared before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Below is the line-up of those testifying. As of February 12 only the DNI’s testimony is linked on the Committee’s website (and below). I cannot — yet — find other prepared testimony.
Media and partisan attention has, as usual, focused less on the substance of the prepared remarks and much more on two spontaneous comments by Messrs. Clapper and Panetta.
Given the dramatic events unfolding in Egypt it was inevitable — and really entirely reasonable — that the live testimony would focus mostly on making sense of the immediate crisis. This opportunity might have been embraced as an opportunity for intellectual humility and honest examination of the innate limitations of intelligence analysis and operations. But humility does not often make an appearance inside the beltway; nor on rare appearance is humility usually rewarded, quite the contrary.
Click immediately above for full prepared testimony. Answering a question about the Muslim Brotherhood, he characterized it as, “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” See more from ABC News and The Telegraph.
Leon E. Panetta, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
The CIA Director offered committee members, “I got the same information you did, that there is a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening.” When a few hours later the Egyptian President decided to spend one more night in office, Panetta’s statement and judgment became a target. See a thoughtful take by Jena McGregor in the Washington Post.
Michael E. Leiter, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
I cannot find the February 10 testimony to the Intelligence Committee, but you can read the February 9 testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee: Understanding the Homeland Threat Landscape.
Lieutenant General Ronald L. Burgess, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense
Robert S. Mueller, III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Back in September Director Mueller testified to the House Homeland Security Committee on Nine Years after 9/11 Confronting the Terrorist Threat to the United States.
Caryn A. Wagner, Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security
In late September 2010 Ms. Wagner testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment.
Thomas A. Ferguson, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Department of Defense
Philip S. Goldberg, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
If any HLSWatch readers find the missing prepared testimony — or especially good coverage of the hearing — please provide a link in the comments. By “good coverage” I mean attention to the threat analysis, not just supposed gaffes in answering questions. With thanks to Librarian Stephanie (see comments) you can also access video coverage of the live hearing from CSPAN.
Retrospectively, over the last year and more the best sustained intelligence and analysis on Egypt has probably been forthcoming from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and especially its Bipartisan Working Group on Egypt. Carnegie products on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood — developed prior to the current crisis — are available from the Carnegie Guide to Egypt’s Election. More current analysis is available from the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Program.