Aaron Stipkovich spoke with Charles E. Allen behind closed doors and curtains on the continuing threat that AQAP poses, as well as the new technologies that are both beneficial and detrimental to citizens, globally.
Charles E. Allen
Charles Allen served as a member of the US intelligence community for five decades. Joining the CIA after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1958, Allen retired from federal service in 2009 as the Chief Intelligence Officer for the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
During a distinguished career, Allen bore witness or participated in some of the most important intelligence analysis in our nation's history ' including events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Yom Kippur War, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, as well as operations against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Furthermore, he has been at the epicenter of many of the intelligence community's structural reforms and played a role in the fielding of new technologies ' include spy satellites and Predator drones.
In August 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Allen, to the dual role of Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security as well as the DHS Chief of Intelligence. Effective November 2007, he was elevated to Under Secretary for the renamed Office of Intelligence and Analysis at DHS, an office he held until January 20, 2009. Prior to his appointment to DHS, Allen served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security in 2005, Mr. Allen served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection ' beginning in June 1998. In this capacity, he was responsible for Intelligence Community collection and requirements management and reported to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI) for Community Management. Mr. Allen also chaired the National Intelligence Collection Board, which ensured that collection was integrated and coordinated across the Intelligence Community.
From 1974-1977, Allen served overseas in an intelligence liaison capacity and from 1977-1980 held management positions in the Directorate of Intelligence. From 1980 to November 1982, he served as a program manager of a major classified project, reporting to DDCI's Carlucci, Inman, and McMahon, respectively.
In December 1982, Mr. Allen was detailed to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, where he held a senior position in strategic mobilization planning. In 1985, Director Casey asked Mr. Allen to return to CIA in the capacity of a National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for Counterterrorism. In February 1986, he also was appointed Chief of Intelligence in CIA's newly established Counterterrorist Center. As NIO for Counterterrorism, he represented the DCI in a number of interagency committees, including the chairing of the Interagency Intelligence committee on Terrorism, and serving as a member of the Interdepartmental Group on Terrorism (IG/T) and the National Security Council's Terrorist Incident Working Group. Following this assignment, Mr. Allen served as the NIO for Warning from 1988 to 1994. In this capacity, he was the principal adviser to the DCI on national-level warning intelligence and chaired the Intelligence Community's Warning Committee.
Mr. Allen was awarded the National Intelligence Medal for Achievement in 1983 by DCI Casey and the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service in 1986 by President Reagan. In 1991, he was presented the CIA Commendation Medal for provision of warning intelligence in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In October 2005, CIA Director Goss awarded Mr. Allen the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA's highest and most coveted award. In addition, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Negroponte awarded Mr. Allen the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in October 2005.
Mr. Allen completed a Bachelor's degree as well as graduate studies from the University of North Carolina. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College.
Statement for the Record
Before the House of Representatives Committee
on Homeland Security
September 6, 2007
Chairman Thompson, Ranking Member King, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the National Applications Office (NAO). National Technical Means (NTM) ' such as overhead imagery from satellites ' have been used for decades, lawfully and appropriately, to support a variety of domestic uses by the US government's scientific, law enforcement and security agencies. The NAO, when operational, will facilitate the use of remote sensing capabilities to support a wide variety of customers, many of whom previously have relied on ad hoc processes to access these intelligence capabilities. The NAO will provide not only a well-ordered, transparent process for its customers but also will ensure that full protection of civil rights, civil liberties and privacy are applied to the use of these remote sensing capabilities.
Once initially operational this fall, the NAO will facilitate the use of NTM for civil applications and homeland security purposes. A third domain, law enforcement, will be a part of the NAO, but will not be operational on October 1 to allow additional time to closely examine any unique aspects of law enforcement requirements in light of privacy and civil liberties. In doing so, it will build on the outstanding work of the Civil Applications Committee, known as the 'CAC,' which was established in 1975 to advance the use of the capabilities of the Intelligence Community for civil, non-defense uses. My staff and I have worked closely with the CAC to ensure that the stand-up of the NAO ' with a broadened mandate to include the homeland security and law enforcement communities ' will still support civil and scientific need for geospatial imagery, at an even more robust level.
Background of the National Applications Office
From its inception, the CAC has helped civil and scientific users understand how NTM can assist their missions and how to gain access to information normally in the hands of the intelligence agencies. With the CAC's assistance, for example, scientists have used historical and current satellite imagery to study issues such as environmental damage, land use management, and for similar purposes of research. The CAC also has used imagery to study glaciers and examine the effects of global climate change.
Similarly, some homeland security and law enforcement users in the past routinely accessed imagery and other technical intelligence directly from the Intelligence Community, especially in response to natural disasters such as hurricanes and forest fires. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for example, used overhead imagery in 2005 to examine areas damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to determine areas most in need of assistance. The DHS US Secret Service has used overhead imagery to identify areas of vulnerability based on topography and to build large maps to support its security planning. DHS and Federal law enforcement agencies have used imagery to identify potential vulnerabilities of facilities used for high-profile events such as the Super Bowl. These are all valid, lawful uses of NTM that enhance our ability to protect our nation ' whether the threats are man-made or naturally occurring. The objective of the NAO is to bring all of these requirements for imagery support under one oversight body, where they are not only prioritized but also reviewed to determine whether requirements are appropriate and lawful. Allow me to state categorically, the NAO will have no relationship or interaction with either the FISA or the Terrorist Surveillance Programs.
Let me provide background on the decision to establish the NAO. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey commissioned an independent study group in early 2005 to review the current and future role of the CAC and to study whether the Intelligence Community was employing NTM capabilities effectively for homeland security and law enforcement purposes. The study group, led by Mr. Keith Hall, formerly Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, concluded that, unlike civil users, many homeland security and law enforcement agencies lacked a federal advocate for the use of NTM. In addition, the study group determined that many agencies, especially at the state and local level, did not know what remote sensing capabilities the Intelligence Community possessed that might be useful to them or how to request NTM in support of their missions. The study group's bottom line was that there was 'an urgent need for action because opportunities to better protect the nation are being missed.' It recommended unanimously that the DNI establish a new program to employ effectively the Intelligence Community's NTM capabilities not only for civil purposes, but also for homeland security and law enforcement uses as well.
In response to the study group's recommendations, the DNI designated the Secretary of Homeland Security as Executive Agent in late spring 2007 to establish the new program in the form of the NAO. As it becomes initially operational this fall, the NAO will work with the Intelligence Community to improve access to NTM for domestic users in the homeland security and civil applications communities at all levels of government, who, heretofore, have not had a structured process to request such intelligence. DHS, as executive agent, will operate the NAO. A National Applications Executive Committee, co-chaired by the DNI and DHS, will be established to provide senior interagency oversight and guidance. This interagency forum will ensure the NAO adequately serves those government customers who have lawful and appropriate requirements for geospatial intelligence, to include classified satellite imagery and derived products.
Day to Day Activities
On a day-to-day basis, the NAO will work with civil applications, homeland security, and in the future on a case-by-case basis, law enforcement customers, to articulate their requirements, determine how our satellite imagery systems may be able to satisfy them, and submit any validated requests to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) for review, approval and collection tasking. The NAO also will be able to access, through NGA, commercially available imagery to meet many customer needs.
The NAO will be advised and supported by three working groups representing customer domains: civil applications, homeland security, and law enforcement. It should be noted that the law enforcement working group will be stood up over the next year, after closely examining any unique aspects of law enforcement requirements in light of privacy and civil liberties. All three domain working groups will include representatives from the DHS Privacy Office and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties as well as an attorney assigned directly to the NAO.
In addition to its day-to-day business of helping its customers gain access to NTM, the NAO will help customers take advantage of educational opportunities to learn about the Intelligence Community remote sensing capabilities, including their benefits and limitations. The NAO also will serve as an advocate in Intelligence Community discussions about future technology investments that might benefit the civil applications, homeland security, and law enforcement domains.
Privacy and Civil Liberties
Since its inception, we have considered privacy and civil liberties to be at the forefront of the planning for the NAO. The independent study group in 2005 clearly articulated the need to protect privacy and civil liberties as a guiding principle in its findings. In my view, the NAO ' when operational ' will strengthen privacy and civil liberties. The NAO will be subject to direct oversight by privacy and civil liberties offices within both the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In addition, the NAO will have it own legal advisor. At the executive level, the DNI's Civil Liberties Protection Officer and its Office of General Counsel, as well as DHS's Chief Privacy Officer and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer, will serve as advisors to the National Applications Executive Committee, which will provide executive oversight and guidance for the NAO. The President's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will have oversight of the use of NTM for combating terrorism.
In addition, all requests from the NAO for the use of classified satellite imagery will continue to abide by current NGA processes and be vetted by NGA attorneys and policy staff to determine legal appropriateness before collection tasking occurs. This review provides a supplemental level of oversight in addition to the strong protections already embedded in the NAO. In this way, both DHS and NGA will ensure adherence to applicable law and regulation, and intelligence oversight rules. DHS and NGA are bound by intelligence oversight rules, explained in Executive Order 12333, that protect the privacy and civil liberties of US persons. Further, DHS and NGA are required to report any violations of law or other questionable activities to the Intelligence Oversight Board of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board including violations of E.O. 12333. Finally, both DHS and NGA are subject to oversight by the House and Senate intelligence committees.
I assure you and the American people that the appropriate use of these NTM capabilities will make the nation safer while maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. The NAO will continue long-standing practices of employing these capabilities with full regard and protection for the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. The rules for lawful and appropriate use of such capabilities have not changed.
Under all conditions, and especially in our increasingly uncertain homeland security environment in which we face a sustained and heightened threat, it is essential that our government use all its capabilities to assure the safety and well-being of its citizens. The NAO brings a critical and sensitive national capability to bear. It does so with full respect for the law and the rights our citizens cherish. I request your support for this vital national program.