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Thursday, October 18, 2007

John Hamre to chair Defense Policy Board

Good news from the Pentagon:

DoD News Briefing with Press Secretary Morrell from the Pentagon

In addition today, Secretary Gates named John Hamre to chair the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. Dr. Hamre, who served as deputy secretary of Defense under President Clinton, is now president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Secretary Gates has also named the following new members to the board: former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace -- retired General Peter Pace; former Defense Secretary William Perry; former Undersecretary of Defense Peter Rodman; former Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph; and former Deputy National Security Adviser J.D. Crouch. They, along with 18 returning members, will provide the secretary with independent, informed advice on major matters of defense policy. The board will focus primarily on long-range -- or pardon me, long-term enduring issues central to the department's strategic planning.

Hamre was one of the early supporters of LIWA and Curt Weldon's NOAH, later implemented at TTIC and now NCTC:

Mr. Speaker, this was in 1997. I briefed John Hamre. Dr. John Hamre was then the Deputy Secretary of Defense. I said, John, you have got to go down to Fort Belvoir and see this facility; it is amazing. He went down twice. He called me back and he said, Curt, it is amazing what they are doing there. This profiling worked, and they could do it because unofficially some other secret lines were running through Fort Belvoir that the Army could unofficially access. So it really was an official process.

He said, But you know, Curt, I cannot get to where you want to go because the CIA and the FBI will not cooperate and neither will the other agencies. He said, So I have a suggestion for you. Why do you not host a meeting in your office? I will come and you invite my counterparts at the FBI and the CIA....

We did not have that capability before September 11. That is why I stood up on September 11, at 12 p.m. in the afternoon and said, "Today our government failed the American people." Because, Mr. Speaker, we knew what we should have done. We knew what we could have done. And we did not do it.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that if we would have implemented the NOAH, which John Hamre offered to pay for with DOD dollars, back when we first recommended it, I am convinced we could have stopped or known about and prevented September 11 from ever happening.