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Patrick M. Hughes 9/11 commission statement

Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for Information Analysis,Patrick M. Hughes', remarks, as prepared for delivery to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

Good morning Chairman Kean, Vice-Chairman Hamilton, and distinguished Members of the Commission. Senator Kerrey, it is a pleasure to see you again. I am privileged to appear before you today to discuss the role of the Office of Information Analysis (IA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as IA's role in the Intelligence Community (IC).

On September 11, 2001, our nation was forever transformed. In an instant, we came face to face with a known enemy… on American soil… and a changed condition threatening to our way of life. Images of devastating loss and destruction were seared into our national consciousness, images that we - I - will never forget. I was present at the Pentagon minutes after the plane struck and I saw once again something I have become all too familiar with over the years… the violent outcome of a terrorist attack against unwarned unprotected people. The anguish and fear of the moment was written on the faces of many of my colleagues who never dreamed that their place of work in a bastion of Democracy would be struck. Our co-workers, soldiers all, lay in the wreckage. The damage was done.

However, on that day, something far greater than fear and something much stronger than despair took root. An unshakeable faith in our fellow citizens, in our ideals, in our nation and an unwavering determination to protect and preserve what we stand for as a country emerged from the destruction, to guide our efforts in the fight against terrorism and the quest to preserve liberty. I am at my place of work at the Department of Homeland Security because of that motivating set of beliefs.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was envisioned, formed, and is now in operation. Standing up the Department, the largest reorganization of government in fifty years, has been a great undertaking. Many employees of DHS have assumed new responsibilities, and all have put in long hours to ensure that while our strategies may change to meet the terrorist threat, our course as a nation will remain constant. President Bush and Congress, in establishing the Department, enabled us to unify our resources into one team, to ready ourselves against our enemy, and to ensure the highest level of protection for our country and the citizens we serve.

I became a direct part of this Department's effort when I became the Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis (IA), part of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (IAIP), on 17 November 2003. Through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, IAIP is charged with "integrating relevant information, intelligence analyses, and vulnerability assessments (whether such information, analyses, or assessments are provided or produced by the Department or others) to identify protective priorities and support protective measures by the Department, by other executive agencies, by State and local government personnel, agencies, and authorities, by the private sector, and by other entities."

The philosophical underpinning of IA as an integral part of IAIP and DHS is to provide the connectivity, the integration, the communication, the coordination, the collaboration, and the professional intelligence work necessary to accomplish the missions of, and the products and capability necessary for the customers and the leadership of DHS. Simply put, we perform the intelligence work of the Department of Homeland Security. I am privileged to lead that effort.

IAIP is moving forward with our DHS and 1C partners in carrying out our statutory responsibilities, which include:

• Providing the full range of intelligence support to senior DHS leadership and component organizations, as well as exchanging information with state and local and private sector respondents.

• Mapping terrorist threats to the homeland against assessed vulnerabilities to drive our efforts to protect against terrorist attacks.

• Conducting independent analysis and assessments of terrorist threats, including competitive analysis, tailored analysis, and "red teaming."

• Assessing the vulnerabilities of key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States.

• Coordinating the intelligence-related activities of DHS' component entities, and ensuring that the information they collect is processed into usable information and shared with US policymakers, with other federal departments and agencies, as well as with state, local, and private sector entities.

• Merging the relevant analyses and vulnerability assessments to identify priorities for protective and support measures by the Department, other government agencies, and the private sector.

• Partnering with the Intelligence Community, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), law enforcement agencies, state and local partners, and the private sector, as well as DHS components to manage the collection and processing of information involving threats to the Homeland into usable, comprehensive, and actionable information.

• Disseminating time sensitive warnings, alerts and advisories to federal, state, local, and tribal governments and private sector infrastructure owners and operators.

It is our mandate to independently analyze, coordinate, and disseminate the entire spectrum of threat information affecting the homeland... that makes IA unique among its Intelligence Community partners. The analysts within Information Analysis are talented individuals who draw on intelligence from other components within DHS, from our fellow Intelligence Community members, especially TTIC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other Federal, State/local/tribal/major city and private sector intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security entities. The comprehensive threat picture produced out of that combined effort is coordinated with the vulnerability assessment & consequence predictions, as identified by the Infrastructure Protection side of the IAIP Directorate, and is used to inform the leadership of the Department and to form the basis for critical infrastructure protection and emergency response.

The Office of Information Analysis is also unique in its ability to communicate timely and valuable threat products to State, local, tribal and major city officials, federal sector specific agencies and the private sector as appropriate. The relationship the entire Department of Homeland Security has with these groups results in the IAIP Directorate being able to manage information requirements effectively from the various authorities, governments, and private sector entities that are vital to protecting the homeland. DHS, and IA specifically, will continue to work in close communication with appropriate authorities, as well as with other organizations from which we receive inputs, to maintain the effective relationships that have been established.

IA is the heart of the intelligence effort at DHS. It is responsible for accessing and analyzing the entire array of intelligence relating to threats against the homeland, and making that information useful to responders. State, local, and tribal authorities, and the private sector. IA provides the full range of intelligence support to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, other DHS leadership, the Under Secretary for IAIP, and all other DHS components. Additionally, IA ensures that the best intelligence information informs the administration of the Homeland Security Advisory System.

Central to the success of the DHS intelligence mission is the close working relationship among DHS components, the Office of Information Analysis ("IA") and the Office of Infrastructure Protection ("IP"), the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), the Integrated Operations Staff of DHS, the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security, and all of the major subordinate elements of DHS, notably the United States Secret Service and the United States Coast Guard, to ensure that threat information and situational awareness are correlated with critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and protective programs and with interdiction and preclusion. Together, the IAIP structure provides real time assessment of threat information and critical infrastructure to support the Department of Homeland Security's overall mission.

We are working hard to put a system in place to coordinate and integrate the intelligence and information necessary to protect our people and our critical infrastructure. However, we have much work yet to do, and we are doing it. We have made tremendous progress and the dedication and devotion to duty of those who do the work of intelligence at DHS is unparalleled.

We are meeting threats to the homeland with determination and dedication to lead this nation to a higher level of protection every single day. The sheer depth and breadth of our country and the magnitude of our cultural dynamic means that terrorists can threaten the lives of our citizens at any time, in any number of ways. There are no guarantees, but I firmly believe the American people are more secure and better prepared than before September 11th 2001, directly because of the Department of Homeland Security.

Not every position is filled, not every capability we need is present, but we are working hard to acquire the capabilities we need. We are on the right path. We will achieve our goals.

A brief note about the threat: It is real. Terrorists are obviously at work around the world, and when they succeed it seems our best efforts in intelligence, security, defense, and protective measures have somehow failed, despite the many successes we have against terrorists. We continue to receive substantial information concerning terrorist intent to strike us again in our homeland. As we approach the period of our national political process and the many associated events, it is my view that we are entering a period of significant risk, perceived by those who would strike us as an opportunity to tear our societal and cultural fabric. We cannot relax, we cannot falter, we cannot live in fear. Instead, we who do the work of intelligence and law enforcement must persevere and provide insight and knowledge to those who lead and decide.

We have accomplished much in IA since our inception and we are on course with our partners and colleagues to continue to achieve. We are fully connected to the U.S. Intelligence Community and well informed. We are integrated into the workings of the domestic security structure. We are integrated with law enforcement. We have working analysts poring over the arcane and esoteric detail of intelligence and law enforcement reporting to discover the hidden patterns and concealed threads of terrorist activity and the manifestation of other threats to America from crime with national security implications and from other disasters and threatening conditions that come our way. We have a sense of purpose and we have embarked on what has likely never been done before with regard to information fusion: to understand fully the threat and the conditions extant in the "new normal" context of our homeland that we see now and in the future. The 9/11 attacks, the December 2003 - February 2004 period of heightened concern, the recent attack in Madrid and potential but largely interdicted attacks elsewhere, and the fact of anthrax and other attacks here in the United States, combine to form this 'new normal" condition of constant possibility that we cannot ignore.

At the same time we are - I am - most mindful of the need to protect the Constitutional liberties of our citizens and to preserve and defend our Constitution and our way of life. In the end, we are -1 am - focused on defeating the terrorists before they can strike. That is why we exist.

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-Chairman, and Members of the Commission, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.