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31 March 2005

MARCH 31, 2005

The Intelligence Community welcomes the final report of the "Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction." It is the product of an in-depth, yearlong inquiry into a complex topic vital to all Americans. The men and women who contributed to the report have performed an important service to our country. Chairmen Silberman and Robb, and all the members, and staff of the Commission deserve much credit for the work they have done on behalf of our nation.

The Commission is right to underscore the difficulty of gathering intelligence on the WMD target. These are some of the most closely guarded secrets of foreign groups and governments. The Commission also rightly points to successes and to improvements—operational and analytic—that have been and are being made at the CIA and elsewhere across the Intelligence Community.

We need more robust collection and more rigorous analysis, and I agree wholeheartedly with the Commission’s findings on these issues. These findings, coupled with the Presidential mandate to enhance our HUMINT and analytic capabilities, provide additional momentum as we recruit, train, and deploy officers with substantive expertise, who also speak the languages and know the cultures of the targets critical to America’s security.

We can never become complacent. There is still much to be done as we continue to transform the way the Intelligence Community does its work. If anything, we need to accelerate this transformation. It is one of my highest priorities to join with the new Director of National Intelligence to make the desired changes as quickly as possible, with the least disruption to the mission before us, and to achieve greater integration across the Intelligence Community for the enhancement of American security.

Intelligence is an area in which we can never afford to stand still. From the acquisition of information, and the assessment of intelligence sources, to the questioning of basic analytic assumptions, and the timely sharing of information, the Community can and must do better—and it is determined to do so.

At its core, intelligence is about being objective and unbiased in the collection and presentation of facts. We appreciate constructive criticism. We acknowledge mistakes when we make them, and build on our strengths and talents. There is great richness throughout the Intelligence Community, and we will harness our resources to provide the kind of product our consumers expect and the American people deserve.

No. 305-05

Rumsfeld Statement on Silberman-Robb Commission

           We appreciate the work of the Silberman-Robb Commission and thank the distinguished chairmen and members for their contributions to these important subjects.  Their report represents a serious commitment of time and effort, and their insights will help the government continue to reform and improve U.S. intelligence capabilities for the 21st century.

            I have asked that DoD officials responsible for intelligence activities review the report with care, undertake a systematic review of the commission’s recommendations, and make suggestions to me for improvements.

            Intelligence will continue to be a critical underpinning for U.S. national security capabilities.  As the circumstances in the world continue to evolve, the US intelligence community must have insights into the challenges and continue to strengthen and improve the way intelligence is collected and analyzed.