Securing Tomorrow with David Ignatius: James Clapper Interview

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius discuss the latest global and domestic threats to U.S. national security. This is the third program in a series featuring Ignatius in conversation with leaders in national security, intelligence and defense about what’s at stake for the world.
_________CLAPPER: Thank you, Fred. Thank you very much. _________IGNATIUS: So thank you very much to Rick Hunt and to Fred Ryan, my boss. Welcome to cocktails with the Director of National Intelligence. I apologize to... _________CLAPPER: You are cutting into my martini hour. _________IGNATIUS: Well, I know that but it will go quickly and there is help on the other side. But we are very pleased to have Director Clapper here. Just to expand on what Fred Ryan said in introducing Director Clapper, he is a rare person in our government. He has been an intelligence officer for 50 years. He has served -- has run an intelligence agency, he has directed intelligence in the Defense Department, and now as DNI he is basically the nation's top intelligence officer. I have had a chance over the last few years to come visit Director Clapper and talk with him on the record and ask them questions, and he has been, as you know if you read some of my articles, direct, blunt, sometimes undiplomatic. But he either gives an honest answer or he says, I just can't talk about that. So it's really a pleasure to have you here. _________CLAPPER: Thanks for doing this. _________IGNATIUS: There are a lot of issues, obviously, that are in the news. I want to start off with some newsworthy subjects. There is a report that has been moving this afternoon on CNN that says that this dreadful attack on the U.N. aid convoy to the west of Aleppo on Monday may have been the result of a Russian airstrike or other Russian attack. And Barbara Starz (ph) is saying that's the preliminary conclusion of U.S. officials as they study this. I just want to ask you, Director Clapper, as a starter whether there is anything you can share about this, or just in general how you are looking at this kind of issue in this very complex fog of war battlefield. _________CLAPPER: Well, I think your last few phrases there kind of characterize the challenge we have, is, you know, a classical situation. There is always a fog of war, a classical combat situation, which this is not. A serious, unbelievably complex one. And to be specific and directly respond to your question, I have not myself gotten into the specifics of whatever evidence we may or may not have about who is responsible. That's being worked as we speak, but I can't speak to it here right now. _________IGNATIUS: So the other issue obviously that's in the news and on our minds... _________CLAPPER: Per your introduction. _________IGNATIUS: Huh? Exactly. Is the terrorist attacks on New York City area by Ahmed Khan Rahami. And I think we are all looking at that and asking a couple of questions. And the first one I'd put to you is whether there is any evidence that you have found of connections that he had to terror networks, direction or inspiration, anything like that that would connect him more broadly to ISIS or any other group. _________CLAPPER: Again, this is obviously a very fast breaking situation. The FBI is all over this. It is under active investigation. I spoke with senior FBI officer just before I came down here and I think there is probably more to come. But again, I can't say one way or the other. I don't think we found definitive evidence of any connection yet. There's a lot of evidence to look at, but I can't point to an external direction at this point. _________IGNATIUS: One thing that's surfaced today is the possibility that Rahami's father might have notified law enforcement, and then in turn notified the FBI that he was concerned about his son. I want to ask whether that report is a credible one. And more generally, ask about this question of getting Muslim communities, other communities from which extremists might come, to talk about people in those communities that are concerning them. _________CLAPPER: Well, a couple of issues here this brings up. And regrettably, you know, this will not be the last such instance in this country. It's regrettable, but I think that's the situation we're in. And we will undoubtedly to when this is over with, as we always do, a critique, lessons learned and that sort of thing. And the pattern I've noticed in the six years I've been in this job when we have had previous cases like this, Boston Marathon case in point, that it has been decided after the fact that, well, we should of been more invasive. "We," I'm speaking broadly, ICE and the law enforcement community. So this pendulum swings back and forth. This is an issue that I think is something -- requires some discussion and debate in this country. This line that we are supposed to thread between keeping the nation safe and secure and not invading anyone's privacy or civil liberties, and that is something we agonize over a lot, and I'm sure we're going to have a reprise of that discussion after all the information on this is in. _________IGNATIUS: And when people ask you, as... _________CLAPPER: And by the way, one more thing. I do regularly engage with Muslim community leadership and I personally, I learn a lot when I listen to them because a lot of phraseology that we use in the intelligence community and law enforcement community has great sensitivity on their part. And it is a dilemma for them, and most of them are loyal, patriotic Americans, and this is a bad time for them. They are under siege right now. Have to be mindful of that as well. _________IGNATIUS: Since you raise this sense in the Muslim community of being under siege, I need to ask you, there is out there in the political campaign some polarizing rhetoric about Muslims, and it is sometimes argued that that makes the job of our intelligence, law enforcement, FBI officers harder because it may close precisely the doors that we need to have open. This is strictly from an intelligence standpoint, not a political question. Is that true? Does that tend to close up... _________CLAPPER: I think in general some of this heated rhetoric is not helpful, either in this country, and I have been doing some traveling overseas lately, and it is striking to me how people overseas hang on every word that is uttered in the course of this rather hyper-heated campaign. There are many countries around the world that at least my interlocutors, my intelligence colleagues, who are very, very concerned about it. So does that help? Probably not. It doesn't -- it doesn't encourage freedom of dialogue, at least that we have. I worry about it inhibiting that, and the concerns that people have about commitments that we have made overseas and that sort of thing. _________IGNATIUS: So you mentioned earlier that there's a difficult trade-off here. If the country wants to be more secure at a time of lone wolf attacks, a lot of these things that are very hard to track, our intelligence, law enforcement agencies would have to be more intrusive. If people ask you as Director of National Intelligence whether you think that would be wise, what would your answer be? _________CLAPPER: To be more intrusive? _________IGNATIUS: Yes. _________CLAPPER: Well, I think we have to be very careful about that. We -- I say "we" collectively -- the IC are very sensitive about infringing on civil liberties and privacy, so -- and you know, we could clamp down very hard on this country, in this country I suppose, if we wanted to. I just don't think there's the political will, the societal will to want to live like that. So there is a compromise that we have to strike. A couple of years ago I spoke -- I meant it only half jokingly -- about, you know, the expectations for intelligence, that we were to, you know, collect and analyze timely, accurate and relevant and anticipatory intelligence and do it in such a way there is no risk, do it in such a way we don't make anybody mad, don't do it in such a way that it is discovered, no foreign government will get upset with us, and do it in such a way that there is not even jeopardy to anyone's civil liberties or privacy, ours or anyone else's. We call that immaculate collection. (LAUGHTER) _________IGNATIUS: So you're not confident that you're going to be... _________CLAPPER: And it was taken humorously, but it does illustrate, I think, the dilemma, the challenge that we have, and ours too. I care about my civil liberties and privacy just like anyone else, as does everyone else in the intelligence community. And we are mindful of that. _________IGNATIUS: Let me ask you about a series of issues that are going to confront the next president, whoever he or she is, and they are issues that I'm sure you in your waning days. And I should ask, how many? _________CLAPPER: It's 122. _________IGNATIUS: I happen to know that Director Clapper keeps on his desk a clock and it also counts off the number of hours? _________CLAPPER: Minutes and seconds. I don't have that with me right now, but yes. _________IGNATIUS: So you will be asked by the next president-elect about an issue that has caused deep concern, which is the appearance of attempts to interfere in our political process from outside. It has been widely reported that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are conducting an investigation of Russian hacking, not simply the collection of information by Russians but the dissemination of that information, the weaponization of it, if you will, for direct action purposes to destabilize. I'd ask you to speak about that problem and help all of us get a sense of what we know, how we should think about it, what the dangers are, and what we should do about it. _________CLAPPER: Well, first of all, there is actually a long history of Russians trying to interfere with and influence elections, going back to the '60s in the heyday of the Cold War, so there have been several documented cases of previous elections that it would appear that they were trying to somehow influence the election. _________IGNATIUS: In the U.S.? _________CLAPPER: In the U.S., the United States. And of course there is a history there of -- there is a tradition in Russia of interfering with the elections, their own and others'. So it shouldn't come as a big shock to people. I think it's more dramatic maybe because now they have the cyber tools that they can bring to bear in the same effort. This is still going on, but I will say that it's probably not real, real clear whether there is influence in terms of outcome. What I worry about more, frankly, is just sowing seeds of doubt, where doubt is cast on the whole process. So what are we doing about it? Well, apart from what you talked about, certainly DHS, Secretary Jeh Johnson has been very active with state election officials, offering, you know, our services and best practices and that sort of thing to secure, where appropriate, particularly if there is any dependence on the Internet in the course of the conduct of an election in voter registration, databases or the actual conduct of the election. We have a strength here in that we don't have a centralized electoral system. It's very decentralized among the states and local officials, and that actually works our advantage to be really a real monumental undertaking to try to affect the election nationally. But again, I think probably the more likely -- and I am just surmising here -- the more likely objective to would be to try to just sow seeds of doubt about the efficacy and viability and the sanctity -- if I could use that word -- of the whole system. _________IGNATIUS: You mentioned that there had been past instances where Russia -- in this case I assume the Soviet Union -- had tried to interfere in our election process. I probably should know what those are but I don't. What comes to mind in terms of the past history of this? _________CLAPPER: Well, where they have fed money to opposition candidates, or tried to feed disinformation. Again, the way it was done during the Cold War, which of course preceded what we now know as the cyber era. And of course the record is replete with cases of influencing elections in East Europe and that sort of thing by, by today's standards, more primitive methods. They have a history of that. _________IGNATIUS: So to turn to the question of what we should do about this, what the United States should do about it, there is an official DOD cyber strategy that talks about deterrence. But as you look at that set of options -- response, denial, resilience are the three words that are used in the strategy -- it's hard to know exactly how they would help us now in establishing the rules of this game. _________CLAPPER: Right. _________IGNATIUS: So I want to ask you to think with us, Director Clapper, about ways that we could send a message. Some people in the government have argued we really need a high level message from somebody -- you, the president -- just to say publicly this is basically what we know and it's not acceptable. Is that a good idea, do you think? _________CLAPPER: Well, certainly it's a good idea, and of course we're getting into the policy realm now. I don't do policy. I'm just down in the engine room shoveling intelligence coal. People on the bridge do that. _________IGNATIUS: Yeah, yeah. _________CLAPPER: But I think in the context of how do you generate deterrence, and deterrence has both a substance and a psychology about it. And if you think about the deterrence in a nuclear sense, which works. And because there are physical things you can see, you know. Mushroom clouds twice, 1945, haven't been used since. And you can see, feel, measure, engage bombers, subs, that sort of thing. Very difficult in the cyber domain because you can't render it physically. So there is, I think, the challenge, despite our issues of policies and strategies, of how do you actually generate both substance and psychology of deterrence. Nuclear deterrence principally focused on nation-states, and nation-states are easier to deter then non-nation state groups or individuals, which is what we are confronted with here. And the other thing is deterrence is hard in the absence of international norms. At some point in order to make the rule of law, and I think a part of that deterrence work in the cyber domain, there's going to have to be an international understanding of what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. Then you will be able to be in a much better position to generate deterrence. But deterrence in the absence of that I think is very hard to do unilaterally. _________IGNATIUS: In the real world that we all grew up in, you know, on the playground, whatever, one rule we learn is that if somebody bumps you hard, you had probably better bump him back or you are going to get picked on. Does that kind of trial and error process of establishing how people are going to behave, does that apply in this intelligence world or cyber world? _________CLAPPER: It could if you think that the way to respond to a cyber affront or a cyber assault is by cyber means. What we have actually done is to react in other ways. So again, this is why deterrence is hard to conjure up when in fact the exchange may be in a completely different mode. So cyber attack of some sort, a sanction of some sort. That's why it's very hard to develop deterrence and why we need to develop what I would call a body of law for where we developed -- have an experiential base for what works and what doesn't. I think we -- unfortunately, we are going to have to endure more breaches and this sort of thing, hacks, et cetera, before we reach that point. And there also has to be, I think, some international recognition and acknowledgment of -- there has been some work done at the U.N., very preliminary on trying to develop cyber norms. But I think before they are actually recognized and, importantly, adhered to, we are a ways away from that. _________IGNATIUS: Officials in the Obama administration, political officials have pointed to China as an example of successful messaging action that has the effect of changing behavior. And they argue that after our threat of sanction and our naming some Chinese PLA actors, that enumeration of four rules at the summit with Xi Jinping last September, that Chinese behavior has changed. And I want to ask you, as our top intelligence officer, is that true? Do you see a change in Chinese behavior? _________CLAPPER: Well, there has been a decrease, and we hear this from industry as well, that -- based on what has been detected now. Of course, the question -- we always have to be the skeptics in the crowd in intel -- so is this because they have actually reduced their exfiltration, or they just have gotten more secure? Frankly, not enough time has elapsed, and I think not enough experience has elapsed to actually make that call. The other thing is, what we actually agreed to, or what they agreed to is not to use what they exfiltrate for economic gain. Well, that turns out to be a hard bar -- a high bar from an evidentiary standpoint to make that relationship. So I think there's some room for cautious optimism because there has been overall a decline in -- at least in what we have detected; I have to caveat that -- so we'll have to see. _________IGNATIUS: Let me turn to another issue that I'm sure is going to be high in the inbox of the next president, and that's North Korea. And North Korea's abilities soon, based on the reporting that we have in the public media, its ability soon to have a nuclear warhead that it can put on top of a missile that has sufficient range to strike targets in Japan, conceivably even U.S. territory. Not the U.S. mainland until they get a submarine launched missile, but U.S. territory in the Pacific. I want to ask you about the intelligence sponsors side of this question. Not the policy issue but what you can tell us as you look at the evidence about North Korean intentions. Is a leader of North Korea is volatile, as much of a risk taker as he seems, or is that for public consumption and you see a different picture? _________CLAPPER: Well, first of all, we have long assessed that the North Koreans have a capability to tip a nuclear weapon in a warhead on a missile, and they fielded what's called KN-O8, which is judged to be in the ICBM range, which would include at least Alaska, Hawaii, and perhaps part of the West Coast. A lot of factors. Now having said that, neither the North Koreans nor we know if these were actually work because they have never actually tested a full missile system with an RB and all that. But in our business we kind of have to assume the worst. Based on my brief exposure to North Korea when I went there in November 2014, it's interesting to sit and try to talk to them in Pyongyang because from their vantage, they are under siege big-time. Everywhere they look are enemies. Even their erstwhile brother, China, probably is frustrated and mystified by the North Koreans as we are. For them, this is their ticket to survival. They go to school on Gadhafi and that sort of thing. They are deathly afraid of our capabilities. If it came up once, it came up five or six times about B-52s. They don't like B-52s. So to them this is all about face, about their ticket to survival. I think even Kim Jong-un realizes that if he would actually launch one, that that would be the end of North Korea. So for them it's more of a psychological thing. Rather than -- the likelihood of them actually using them, well, can't predict, I can't read his mind, although some people expect we can, but I just don't think that's logical. _________IGNATIUS: Just a slightly different way to ask this is whether Kim Jong-un can be deterred, if he's a rational actor. _________CLAPPER: He can be, I believe, and has been. One of the great vulnerabilities of North Korea, which I don't think we exploit as much as we might, is information. They are deathly afraid of information and they are fighting a losing battle trying to keep outside information from coming in to their people. And that to me is a great vulnerability. Their reaction to leaflets that are dropped over North Korea by nongovernmental groups, their reaction to loudspeakers along the DMZ, and they actually turn them on, I think says a lot about what they are really concerned about and where they are most vulnerable. _________IGNATIUS: I want to ask you briefly about China. So many questions, but I will just focus on one, Director, and that's the South China Sea and Chinese behavior after this very strong arbitration ruling in The Hague in the case involving the Philippines. Initially the Chinese seemed to be fairly cautious. They didn't announce an air defense identification zone, as you and some people had feared. They seem to have stepped up their activity in the East China Sea, which is where the Japanese claim islands. But there have been reports of the last couple of weeks that the Chinese may be active again in trying to reclaim the area we call the Scarborough shoal near the Philippines, which would be a very worrying sign that they are resuming the very activity that the arbitration panel had said was contrary to international law. So I want to ask you, how does that evidence look to you? And how do you generally see the South China Sea... _________CLAPPER: Well, the Chinese have embarked on a very ambitious reclamation campaign in the South China Sea of direct military facilities, runways, hangars, and other military equipment that, you know, stakes -- in their mind stakes out their claim. By the way, it always makes you wonder why there isn't more of an outcry from the environmentalists because of the tremendous damage they are doing to the environment in the South China Sea by virtue of these reclamation projects. The tribunal I think really did take the Chinese aback. I don't think they expected it to be as far-reaching as it was and is a pretty thorough rebuttal of the Chinese assertions about the line dash line (ph) and their exorbitant claims. So the crucial thing to me, quite frankly, and I'm getting out of my lane here a little bit, but I think is to the extent that there is consensus among ASEAN countries, and to the extent that they are willing to speak in a single voice, to push back, I think, would be to have great impact on the Chinese. The Chinese have talked themselves into believing that this is a legitimate claim on their part. That's why it's important, I think, that the U.S. continue what we have been doing, which is to reaffirm freedom of navigation, both maritime and air. _________IGNATIUS: So I want to turn now, as any discussion of intelligence, foreign policy inevitably does, to the Middle East. I thought I might start by remembering a conversation that you and I had after the ISIS/ISIL breakout, when they initially took Mosul. We had a conversation in which you said on the record that you thought the United States had underestimated the will, the fighting will of this adversary and overestimated the will of our allies in the Iraqi security forces. It was a wonderful moment, I thought for speaking basically truth to power, just saying it the way it was. I want to ask you, two years later do you see any significant sign of change on either side? The United States and its allies have been going hard at the Islamic State, pounding it. What sign do you see, if any that their will may begin to be affected by that? We put a lot of effort in training, work. I visited a number of the training bases in Iraq, to try and create a stronger Iraqi security force. So how is that going? So each side of that compared to where we were two years ago. How would you estimate things? _________CLAPPER: Well, we are in a better place. By "we," specifically the Iraqi security forces, with our train, advise and assist mission. And so they made headway and there has been a very significant reduction in territory that is held by ISIL. The territory is shrinking. We've taken literally thousands -- coalition has thousands of fighters on the battlefield and that is starting to show in the form of stress for ISIL. We're seeing desertion rates go up. They are having to move forces around from place to place more. Attrition is affecting them. Their revenue streams are not what they were. The foreign fighter flow has declined, for lots of reasons. So that all is great except that what I think this will do is if ISIL is anything else, it's resilient and adaptable, and so it will revert -- it can revert to its roots, what it was as AQI, al-Qaeda in Iraq, in the early 2000 period, and it will revert to that. So conversely, I think there has been improvement in the Iraqi security forces, although they still have many endemic systemic problems in terms of morale, leadership, attrition, logistics, command control, et cetera But if you look at the map, it's better. I might add, David, that this issue of will to fight has always been a challenge for us in intelligence to gauge. It's a very subjective thing. My war in Southeast Asia and did a couple of tours there, that was always an issue there, how to gauge the will to fight of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. And we have gained a lot of hard-won experience here on how to try to raise and train a military while it is under attack. That is sort of the common theme of Vietnam, with Afghanistan and with Iraq. I was chief Air Force intelligence during Desert Storm, and we didn't do a very good job then. We way overestimated the Iraqis' will to fight. That's why the war ended so quickly. _________IGNATIUS: So just to close this question out, what the country would want to ask its top intelligence officer, and I have a chance to ask you, is whether the U.S. strategy for dealing with ISIS is working. _________CLAPPER: Well, it is working in the sense of those things that, if I can use the word, are metric-able. Territory held is reduced. Number of fighters reduced. We've taken a lot of their key leadership off the battlefield. We are reducing their sources of revenue. Foreign fighter flow has reduced, so I think there has been great progress made there. What has been more of a challenge for us, frankly, is the ideology and the appeal to people around the world. And they are very sophisticated, very slick at the use of social media, whether it's for proselytizing, recruiting, or command-and-control. That's been more problematic. _________IGNATIUS: To look more broadly at the Middle East, as you and I did in another conversation more recently, I was asking for your judgment about whether through this strategy in dealing with ISIS and other aspects of policy we are going to see a -- turn the corner with these problems of instability. And you basically said no, that we shouldn't expect that. And the words you used were, we can't fix this. Meaning, you know, it is not in our power to reorder this. _________CLAPPER: I always liked Tom Friedman's line. He writes for the New York Times. You will know who he is. _________IGNATIUS: I don't know, I'm not sure. He's a columnist? (LAUGHTER) _________CLAPPER: Too important to ignore and too expensive to fix. A one-liner bumper sticker. That's why we are going to be in, I think, in this business as we are now of suppressing these extremist movements, whether it's al-Qaeda or ISIL or something else is spawned. So we in the intelligence business and the military are going to be in the business of suppressing these groups for some time to come. When you think about it, by the time you get to where we are involved, it's probably too late. Because until the fundamental issues that give rise to these movements, you know, economies that are strained, ungoverned areas, places awash with weapons, large population bulge of frustrated young males, et cetera. So until those conditions are addressed, people in my business, my profession and the military are going to be doing this suppression for some time to come. _________IGNATIUS: So when we think about this, we should think about this in generational terms and not look for an end-state that is like the endings of most wars that we have fought. This just ain't like that. If I understand. _________CLAPPER: This is -- the ease of looking at the daily line of contact, the four line of troops kind of thing that you used to in a conventional set-piece, it's not like that. This is a very amorphous thing. It's a global challenge. That's why engaging with partners is so important. Now I will say at least from an intelligence perspective I don't know of a time in my experience where we have -- we share more with friends and allies who are similarly confronted with the same threat. That has a way of bonding people. And I expect that will continue as well. _________IGNATIUS: There is a younger generation of leaders that's beginning to emerge in the Sunni world, the deputy Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia is 30 years old. There's a young emir in Qatar. There are other younger leaders who are beginning to surface after so many decades that I remember of basically frozen leadership. Do you think that could make a difference, as you do your assessments of the region? _________CLAPPER: I do. There's a lot of controversy about Mohammad bin Salman, but I think he is, -- you know, has a vision for the future of Saudi Arabia, and I think he is committed to reforming its economy so it is not so dependent on one source of revenue. I think he has in mind a lot of other reforms he would like to make in Saudi. He's an example of this younger generation, not without controversy, and there is controversy about him certainly Saudi Arabia. But last time I met with him, I was genuinely impressed with his vision and his commitment too. _________IGNATIUS: If anyone in the audience doesn't know who Director Clapper is talking about, this is Mohammad bin Salman, the deputy Crown Prince, this 30-year-old. So we invited people to submit questions online. There is still time to do it. The hashtag is securingtomorrow. And I just want to turn to one or two of these, Mr. Director, and ask you. Here's an interesting question. It's one I have puzzled about over the years. The question is -- I'll just read it out. Why doesn't the U.S. and its allies use their intelligence to do more to expose corruption around the world? It's a good question because corruption has increasingly kind of strangling both governance and in some instances the ability to trade freely. Why don't we do more about that? _________CLAPPER: Well, first, I think we look at that as individual country issue. It's getting into others' internal business and their own sovereignty. There are ways to do this kind of sub rosa, rather than making a public display of it in hopes that the country in question -- if that's what it is -- will take that on itself. But the other thing is, frankly, you know, to the extent to which corruption or crime is -- poses a national security threat to this country, I think that has a lot of influence on how much time and attention and resources we pay to this, as opposed to all the other requirements that are levied on us. _________IGNATIUS: There's an interesting question here that raises another issue, and I will add to the question. The Twitter version says, given the intelligence community's reliance on private sector technology and the tech community's suspicion of the U.S. government post-Snowden, what can you and other intelligence community leaders do to repair that relationship? And then I've got to ask you, because it's now a public issue that is getting a lot of debate, what your own view is about pardoning Edward Snowden. _________CLAPPER: Well, first, we do need to repair the relationship with industry and we are working on that, and there are actually many commercial concerns are still wanting to work with the government. And so that's the case where, time wounds all heals (sic). Over time it will get better. And I think the dialogue that I have had with industry, I think there is still -- there is generally support for, you know, the safety and security of the country and those elements of the government that tried to do that. As far as Edward Snowden is concerned, you know, I can understand what he did if it were limited to so-called -- if what he exposed was on the so-called domestic surveillance side. I use airports intentionally. But he exposed so much else that had absolutely nothing to do with domestic surveillance where he damaged our capability against foreign threats. He has taken away capabilities that were used to protect our troops in Afghanistan. So the question has never been posed to me officially, but if it were, I don't think I could concur in offering him a pardon. _________IGNATIUS: What about if you were asked as the Director of National Intelligence about some sort of negotiated plea agreement. Not a pardon but an agreement in which Snowden undertook to tell us more about what he knows about what he may have taken that we might not know about, that's not on your inventory, about contacts he may have had over the last couple of years in Moscow. Does that sort of negotiated settlement of this through our legal system, does that make sense to you? _________CLAPPER: No. _________IGNATIUS: And why not? _________CLAPPER: I just don't think that that -- first of all, the damage he has done, which we are dealing with, ages off over time. It's like all previous spies have done damage to us. Over time it ages off, we recover. Technology changes, especially at the rate of change today. So the more time that goes on is actually in my mind less and less incentive for any kind of a negotiated agreement. So at least as far as the intelligence community is concerned, we are not in that camp. The question, by the way, is ultimately that won't be a determination that we would make. That's up to the Department of Justice. _________IGNATIUS: Understood. But I'm sure you would be asked for a recommendation. _________CLAPPER: (Inaudible) _________IGNATIUS: You touched on this question earlier in our conversation, but it's been asked in it interesting way, so I will throw this one at you. Russia spends millions of rubles on misinformation campaigns online and on TV in the U.S. and Europe. I mean, if you look at Russian TV, you do see an account of what's going on in the world that is at variance from what's on U.S. networks or U.S. wire services. So the questioner asked, is this effort working? Are they getting their money's worth? _________CLAPPER: Well, you have to ask them. But I will tell you, that is a big feature, a big aspect of their approach. And whenever I travel, and particularly in Europe, I always like to surf the TV channels and turn on RT (ph), and it is pretty slick stuff. The angle, the perspective that they try to take to paint the United States always in a bad light and Russia always in a good light, and they are very aggressive about that. And they tailor these information operations, these campaigns, particularly in Europe. And they are seeking to drive wedges between and among European nations and between Europe and us. And I worry sometimes that we are not keeping pace. _________IGNATIUS: I'm going to turn back to my own question list. We have only five minutes remaining. I know that we were hoping to do this for another hour, but it's not possible. (LAUGHTER) So I want to ask you, in your remaining 122 days and however many minutes, what you worry about in terms of the future, in the intelligence community, the system that you are going to hand onto your successor, whoever that person is. In particular I'm going to ask about areas where you had concern about weakness, things that you think aren't working where they need to, threats that we may not see that bother you. _________CLAPPER: So what we try to do in the intelligence community, and certainly I have in the last six years, is make investments in those capabilities that give us the greatest agility and the greatest adaptability. There's no way to predict all of the potential threats that we face. If you contemplate the onrush of technology, as it always has in our history, has double-edged swords. So artificial intelligence, well, some people are very concerned about that if it is abused. But it also is a tremendous tool for us. Genetic research and genetic manipulation, which has all kinds of ethical, moral considerations. And Russians and Chinese are doing research in this area. The next great leap in how we compete, which has huge implications for cryptology. So all of these challenges that we will face always -- as we always have -- as I look back on my 50-plus years in the intelligence business, the one constant -- so lots of change, and we are better today. We have the capability, we have many more accesses. We can move data around much quicker than when I first came in this business. My first tour in Vietnam, you know, automation intelligence was acetate, grease pencil and two corporals. (LAUGHTER) And we are a far cry from that. So with all the change, the one constant I will tell you, and this may sound altruistic but I really believe it, is the quality of the people, that for whatever reason we continue to be able to attract to service in the intelligence community. That is a constant, and it is going to stand us in good stead in the future. _________IGNATIUS: And why, to focus on that, why would a smart young person put up with all the intrusion and control, all the limitations that go along with getting your security clearances and being in the IC? Do you worry about that? Do you worry that people are just going to say, to heck with that? _________CLAPPER: I have an unusual experience that I have a grandchild in the business, so there's about a 52, 53 year age difference. He works at the CIA. We have a lot of interesting discussions about that very thing. The millennial generation and what appeals to them and what doesn't, and what he finds frustrating. What I find with him, and I think he is representative of young people today that are in the intelligence community, is they are very interested and they are patriotic, they are dedicated. They are not, however, as committed to an institution as I was when I was his age, 22, when I was first commissioned in the Air Force. That's a big difference. And we in the intelligence community need to be sensitive to that. And we need to be able to promote mobility for our young people, so they are able to move around not only within the intelligence community but move out, leave the government, go to industry, and come back to us. We need to build our systems in such a way that will accommodate that. _________IGNATIUS: So with that, that's a wonderful way, I think, to end our conversation. I want to offer my personal thanks to Director Clapper for taking time at the end of a long day to do this. The name of this series is Securing Tomorrow. There are a lot of ways we are going to secure tomorrow, but one of the most important obviously is to have good intelligence agencies that operate within the law and have good oversight, and experienced people running them. So we all want to thank you very much for coming and sharing this time with us. _________CLAPPER: Thank you. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE) END
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