Clapper: Intelligence Community Is A "Learning Organization, And We Do Try To Learn Lessons"


Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledges that the intelligence community has made errors in the past and it is a "learning organization" that tries to "learn lessons."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said he appreciated the "extraordinary humility of that statement."

From Thursday's Senate hearing:

SENATOR BLUMENTHAL: Well, there's no question about the disparagement. There's no question about the dismissing and demeaning of the intelligence community entirely unmerited, and would you agree in light of your saying, that you are even more resolute now in your conclusion about Russia involvement in this hacking, that comparing it to the judgment made about weapons of mass destruction in the Iraq situation is totally a red herring, totally wrong?

JAMES CLAPPER: I -- yes, I agree with that. I -- my fingerprints were on that national intelligence estimate, I was in the community then. That was 13 years ago. We have done many, many things to improve our processes, particularly with respect to national intelligence estimates, in order to prevent that from happening again. Whatever else you want to say about the intelligence community, it is a learning organization, and we do try to learn lessons.

It's a very difficult business and getting harder all the time. And there will be mistakes, but what we do try to do, as we did after the NIE from October 2002 and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, was to learn from that, profit and make change. And our posture, with respect -- particularly with respect to very important document, the apex of our product line of national intelligence estimates, there's no -- it's a difference of night and day.

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