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Cofer Black QUOTES / QUOTATIONS
Al Qaeda is not the organization now that it was before. It is under stress organizationally. Its leadership spends more time trying to figure out how to keep from getting caught than they do trying to launch operations.
Quotation of Cofer Black
All the indications that we had were clearly pointing at the Saudi Arabia Peninsula, Saudi Arabia to a less extent, Israel and Europe.
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As an American, I'm all for what works.
Quotation of Cofer Black
As long as there are people who are not happy with their lot in life, as long as the United States is perceived to somehow be the cause of this unhappiness, there will be terrorism.
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At the same time we were pursuing Osama bin Laden, we were also working to develop intelligence on his chief lieutenants to conduct operations against them.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Because terrorism is a global problem, we needed to build a global coalition to work with us to fight the threat. We set out to engage with every liaison service worldwide that was willing to work with us.
Quotation of Cofer Black
By the summer of 2001, we were seeing an increased amount of so-called chatter alluding to a massive terrorist strike.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Disruption efforts and detentions were corroborating our concerns about a coming attack. None of this, unfortunately, specified method, time or place.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Everybody wants to know who they work for.
Quotation of Cofer Black
First we had to penetrate the threat. To do this, we needed to penetrate both the al Qaeda safe haven in Afghanistan and the organization itself.
Quotation of Cofer Black
From my perspective, we tend to be a group of pretty paranoid people who don't get to sleep much.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Going back to the '90s, doing the terrorist target, the only way we ever got more money was we would spent ahead of the curve and run out.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I am here to tell the American people what we did, what we tried to do, and where we fell short in order to help this commission and the nation understand what happened and encourage the kind of discussion that will help us avoid a similar tragedy in the future.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I do not want to engage in an exercise that reflects an unproductive exchange.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I have no cultural problem whatsoever.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I kind of failed my people, despite doing everything I could. We didn't have enough people to do the job. And we didn't have enough money by magnitudes.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I only do terrorism. That's more than enough for me.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I told them that the chatter was still at a high level. I didn't have any further information but I expected that at any time we could have a terrorist incident.
Quotation of Cofer Black
I was an intelligence officer, not a policy-maker.
Quotation of Cofer Black
If they get by you, then it's going to be a challenge for this country to respond. That's the way it is for us.
Quotation of Cofer Black
If you want to know what we are to do, you have the appropriate clearances, you access and take a look at it.
Quotation of Cofer Black
In Afghanistan, the civilians and the military are indistinguishable, and they all bring particular skills to the battlefield. we have a lot of commonality. It should be encouraged.
Quotation of Cofer Black
It's my honor to take full responsibility for the Counterterrorism Center, for those men and women that served this country so well. I'm proud to do it.
Quotation of Cofer Black
It's one of these unfortunate jobs where you have lots of bosses and you get lots of advice.
Quotation of Cofer Black
It's very important to be accurate. You want to provide your customer with the best information you have. Professional instinct is good.
Quotation of Cofer Black
No matter how many plots we uncover and disrupt, no matter how many terrorist organizations we degrade or destroy, another individual or group will rise to take their place.
Quotation of Cofer Black
On the afternoon of September 11th, we had reports all over the map. We thought the Department of State had been bombed. We thought the Sears Tower was evacuated.
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On the one side, you have catastrophic failure, more than 3,000 people dead. And no one is more bothered by this than us. But we engaged these targets.
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One of our goals was to convince the Taliban that Osama bin Laden was a liability.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Osama bin Laden's own words stated he has a war against the United States. He declared that American civilians should be considered as combatants.
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Our approach to dealing with threat has evolved.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Our mission is to engage with the enemy to produce intelligence. If you're talking about covert action authorities, I really do not want to go into that here.
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People talk about the millennium threat. After the millennium threat was over, we spent our time trying to get the money to make up for that which we spent.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Psychological operations are always hard to conduct and measure.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The activity covering these people in Kuala Lumpur was pretty comprehensive. We were concerned about their actions. We were able to conduct photography.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The alert to the people down range in Bangkok did not arrive in time to put coverage upon the targets upon arrival. Got there late.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The CIA, at least, was unable to prove linkage between these al Qaeda operatives in Yemen and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The Counterterrorism Center can deal with the symptoms of terrorism at a tactical level.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The director of central intelligence did a heroic job with what was available and certainly in comparison to the other competing interests.
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The enemy we're up against is one that I've been operating against since the early '90s. I know these guys. I know what they want to do. I know how dedicated they are. And they were coming at us hard.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The men and women that did this, that serve this country in war, out front, did a fantastic job.
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The only way to address terrorism is to deal with the issues that create terrorism, to resolve them where possible, and where that's not possible to ensure that there is an alternative to violence.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The Pakistani government under Musharraf is a strong and key player in the global war on terrorism, and their contribution has been second to none.
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The people that did this are heroes and we didn't give them what they needed to fight and win. It's that simple.
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The plan we developed to deal with al Qaeda depended on developing sources of human and technical intelligence that could give us insights into his plans at the tactical level. This is easy to say but hard to accomplish.
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The reason bin Laden is so hard to get is that people are helping him.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The record shows that the U.S. government understood the nature of the threat.
Quotation of Cofer Black
The shortage of money and people seriously hurt our operations and analysis.
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The single issue that overwhelmingly occupied our attention was Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.
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There were very serious debates over how to proceed.
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There's an elaborate vetting process. Information is received, raw intelligence is received, it comes into personnel that review it, that do the analysis function.
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This was a period of heightened threat. We had a global collection network out. We were receiving significant amounts of intelligence. It was spiking.
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To improve our intelligence collection, we were working with a variety of partners to develop innovative approaches to dealing with a denied area like Afghanistan.
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To understand the threats that emerged during 2001, and our response to those threats, I want to provide some context.
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Too often in this election year, the effort you are engaged in has revolved around what people in this country perceive as partisan issues.
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Unfortunately, when Americans get killed it would translate into additional resources. Either you run out or people die. When people die, you get more money.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Wanting something does not translate into having it ready to deploy.
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We collected more intelligence. We went about it globally, comprehensively. Our confidence went up. But we were still looking for that positive link to Osama bin Laden.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We could use some help. We could have used some help.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We did the best we could under the law and with the resources provided and under our defined rules of engagement.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We had to look for opportunities to take down al Qaeda cells. With the intelligence we collected, we worked to create plans to disrupt or degrade al Qaeda.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We have to be mindful that there is the certainty that terrorists will attempt to launch multiple attacks against their enemy, which is us and our allies.
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We heard our director's call. The Counterterrorism Center was at war. We conducted ourselves at war. And that's the way it is.
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We operate under the law. Covert action authorities are communicated in a memorandum of notification.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We were able to prove, even in the intelligence case, there was a direct link between Osama bin Laden and the Cole attack.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We were looking for every opportunity to go on the offensive against al Qaeda.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We were trying to drive bin Laden to areas that might be easier for us to operate in at the same time that we are disrupting his operations.
Quotation of Cofer Black
We were working on two tracks: to go after al Qaeda and to disrupt the terrorist attacks.
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We were worried, Is al Qaeda going to do something else tomorrow? What is going to be the next thing we're going to get hit with?
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We worked to develop our own operations to advance U.S. counterterrorism objectives by penetrating terrorist safe havens and collecting intelligence that would inform policy and enable our own operations.
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What am I going to tell these people? It should not be my words alone, it should be ours.
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What is written down in these memorandums of notification are our orders to engage the target, and that's what we do.
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When I started this job in 1999, I thought there was a good chance I was going to be sitting right here in front of you. I was mentally prepared for it all along.
Quotation of Cofer Black
Where we did not have enough information, we warned. We produced CIA and community analysis that examined the heightened threat situation.
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Where we had clues, it looked like planning was under way for an attack in the Middle East or Europe.
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Words mean something in this country. Words are formed into Orders For Action. And the Central Intelligence Agency conducts itself according to those orders under the law.
Quotation of Cofer Black
You have lawyers in the National Security Council; you have lawyers in the Central Intelligence Agency. They have groups called lawyers' groups. May I never be in such a group.
Quotation of Cofer Black
You've got these people racing around, playing essentially professional racquetball in trying to keep up with all these facts.
Quotation of Cofer Black