For Immediate Release
5 October 2005
CIA director Porter J. Goss Statement on CIA Office of the Inspector General Report. 'CIA Accountability with Respect to the 9/11 Attacks"
The CIA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has recently concluded a review of “CIA Accountability with Respect to the 9/11 Attacks.” As a member of Congress, I was among those on the Intelligence Committees who asked the CIA to take an internal look at what went wrong before 9/11 and to identify systemic problems that needed to be addressed. My desire was that this report would be used as a tool by the CIA and by the oversight committees to determine how best to reallocate resources and to help guide necessary change and reform.
The OIG developed this report over two years. Their work resulted in a report that points to systemic problems within the Agency that existed during a snapshot in time—September 11, 2001, and the months and years leading up to it.
This report unveiled no mysteries. In the four years since 9/11, much has been done throughout the Intelligence Community to improve and reform the way we do business—especially here at CIA. Of the 20 systemic problems identified by the IG report, all 20 are being addressed through a series of reforms identified by our own workforce, in addition to those mandated by the President. The ongoing improvements at the Agency also have been informed and molded by the conclusions and recommendations of the Congress, 9/11 Commission, and the WMD Commission. The OIG also recommended that I convene a performance accountability board to judge the performances of some CIA officers working against al-Qa’ida prior to 9/11.
Just as with the other IC agencies that conducted similar 9/11 OIG reviews, in no way does this report suggest that any one person or group of people could have prevented 9/11. Of the officers named in this report, about half have retired from the Agency, and those who are still with us are amongst the finest we have.
After great consideration of this report and its conclusions, I will not convene an accountability board to judge the performances of any individual CIA officers. I have talked to each of the named current employees and am familiar with their abilities and dedication to our mission. I remember well the time period prior to 9/11, and it was a time of great challenge for the intelligence community. CIA resources were inadequate, and hiring had been at a historic low. During this time period, certain individuals were asked to “step-up.” These officers were “stars” who had excelled in their areas, so the CIA leadership singled them out to take on some tough assignments. Unfortunately, time and resources were not on their side, despite their best efforts to meet unprecedented challenges.
Risk is a critical part of the intelligence business. Singling out these individuals would send the wrong message to our junior officers about taking risks—whether it be an operation in the field or being assigned to a hot topic at headquarters.
The extraordinary bulk of the report goes to the inner workings of this Agency and our sources and methods. There is never a time to unveil publicly the “who, what, where and when” of how we acquire and analyze intelligence, and that is especially true in a time of war. Nevertheless, the Agency has also received a FOIA request for the report, so that process has necessarily begun.
This is a matter of judgment. If I found need to take performance accountability measures, my respect for this institution would compel me to do so. This Agency is filled with good people who are doing great work for America. I am proud to be associated with them.