I, SPY: Fixing the CIA

Monday, April 1, 2002

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a budget of about $3 billion and more than 16,000 employees working to identify and protect the United States from foreign threats. Yet the CIA failed to prevent the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. How come? Should the CIA have been able to foresee and prevent this sort of attack? Now that the cold war is over, is it time to abolish the CIA or reform it to respond to the new threat of terrorism? If reform is the answer, should the CIA put more emphasis on high technology or on placing agents in the field?

Recorded on Monday, April 1, 2002

Peter Robinson: Today on Uncommon Knowledge, gathering intelligence on the CIA.

Announcer: Funding for this program is provided by the John M. Olin Foundation and the Starr Foundation.

[Music]

Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I'm Peter Robinson. Our show today, I, Spy or What to Do About the CIA? The numbers are secret, of course, but the CIA has a budget of about three billion dollars and employees numbering about sixteen thousand yet despite such resources, the Central Intelligence Agency failed to provide any warning of the terrorist attack on September 11th. How come? Now that the Cold War is over, what should be done about the CIA? Should it be abolished outright or reformed? And if reformed, reformed how? Should a greater emphasis be placed on agents in the field, actual spies or on high technology?

Joining us today, two guests. Greg Treverton is a Senior Policy Analyst at Rand and the author of the book, Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information. Robert Baer is a former CIA field agent and the author of, See No Evil, The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism.

Title: The High Price of Failure

Peter Robinson: Former CIA agent Milton Bearden on the failure of the CIA to predict the terrorist attack of September 11th: "It's easily the greatest single intelligence failure we've seen in fifty years. A massive, systemic failure of imagination and everything else." Should the CIA have been able to predict 9/11 or was the terrorist attack so unthinkable, so outside the realm of possible dangers to the country that the CIA shouldn't be held responsible for that failure? Greg?

Greg Treverton: I think they should be held responsible for that failure. Single events, even big events are inherently very hard to predict but that was so important, with so much background, I think it does underscore how much we need to radically change the way we think about doing intelligence.

Peter Robinson: So you'd agree it was a massive failure?

Greg Treverton: Yes.

Peter Robinson: Bob?

Robert Baer: I agree it was a massive unacceptable failure, which we cannot repeat again.

Peter Robinson: In an article in Vanity Fair not long ago, Sam Tanenhaus laid out an elaborate argument about the CIA. Tanenhaus claimed not only that the CIA should have predicted the attack of September 11th but that it was at least indirectly responsible for the attack. Very provocative argument, I'd like to take you through a couple of the points and see how you respond. Briefly put here's what Sam Tanenhaus argues. Throughout the Cold War the CIA focused on the Soviet Union to the exclusion of virtually every other threat the United States might have faced. This led the agency to make two big mistakes. I'm simplifying the argument but it comes down to two big mistakes. The first, funding and equipping and encouraging the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in an effort to oust the Soviets. The effort succeeded but the CIA quoting Tanenhaus, "should have known that the Freedom Fighters were, in fact, a volatile army patched together from Afghan tribes. Arab Afghans hardened in the war form the cadre of what we now see as the global Jihad." Second mistake, concentrating on the Cold War so completely, so intently and so exclusively, that it missed the rise of radical Islam. From 1979 revolution in Iran on, the CIA should have been paying attention to radical Islam. So the CIA funded and trained the very people who would become terrorists attacking us and spent more than twenty years ignoring the rise of radical Islam. Bob?

Robert Baer: That's an over-simplification. First of all, the CIA in Afghanistan carried out the policy of the White House. This was not a CIA operation. It was a logistics operation. We were simply instructed to divert weapons and money into these people at the behest of the Reagan Administration. The CIA's mistake was not finding penetrations inside these groups as they were handing out weapons.

Peter Robinson: Penetrations means what?

Robert Baer: Agents. These are human sources that you recruit that secretly work for the CIA to tell us what these groups are about ready to do. That was breaking a cardinal rule, which in the CIA we always had. Do not do covert action; do not work with foreign governments unless you know what their real agenda is. We lost our way along the line. We should have had agents in the Arab group in Afghanistan. We should have had agents around bin Laden or we shouldn't have been involved at all. Anybody could have handed those weapons out. The State Department could have handed them out, the military.

Peter Robinson: Why did the CIA make that mistake?

Robert Baer: Got lazy, because we were listening to the White House, which said let's fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. We got lazy; we didn't do what we were supposed to…

Peter Robinson: Well the Director of the CIA was Bill Casey.

Robert Baer: Exactly. He was…

Peter Robinson: You're listening to your own director then?

Robert Baer: He was a political director. He failed.

Greg Treverton: I think we would have played…

Peter Robinson: Go ahead.

Greg Treverton: …the Afghanistan hand. I think we would have played that even though what we know now, I think we would have played it much the same all over again. We might have done more trying to penetrate the groups but there we wanted to, you know, the main focus was getting the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. That would have been--it's easy to back cast but that was very important at the time. We forget that there was still a Soviet Union; we still worried a lot about it. So my guess is we would have played that hand all over again. The way we played it was on the cheap as a logistics operation so we funneled all the stuff through Pakistani Intelligence. That made us hostage to what Pakistani Intelligence decided.

Peter Robinson: So we were actually operating one removed from the Mujahedeen.

Greg Treverton: Absolutely. We were providing the money. They were doing the rest.

Robert Baer: We were getting somebody to do our dirty work and it shouldn't have been a surprise to anybody that these same people turned against us because we were number two on the hit list after the Soviet Union.

Peter Robinson: You were active in the agency at the time…

Robert Baer: Yes.

Peter Robinson: …of course, as a field agent. Was that widely known within the agency?

Robert Baer: Oh absolutely.

Peter Robinson: Everybody took it for granted that if they were successful getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan, they'd turn against us?

Robert Baer: Yes, oh, of course we knew it. It was clear. I mean I spent twenty-one years in the Middle East. I know what these people agenda is. I know that we weren't allowed to spy in Saudi Arabia. All this money fighting the war in Afghanistan was coming from Saudi Arabia from private individuals, from the Royal Family. We were not allowed to spy in Saudi Arabia. It was too politically risky. It upset State Department, upset the oil companies, it upset the Royal Family who's got houses in Aspen, Colorado and Washington, D.C. It was a very cozy bunch. We didn't know what was going on in this whole Jihad movement, which is centered in Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia. That was a huge failure.

Peter Robinson: So Tanenhaus' argument that the CIA ignored the rise of radical Islam, that's just incorrect. The CIA paid attention to it but couldn't do anything about it because…

[Talking at same time]

Greg Treverton: Well I would say he's right to the extent that we were very focused on the Soviet Union as the main adversary and that probably did make us spend too little effort, be too little attentive to the rise of new things as the Soviet Union was going away.

Peter Robinson: Assessing the CIA's failure in preventing 9/11, let me try one more approach.

Title: Spy Blames

Peter Robinson: I spent six years in government in the Reagan White House and one of the conclusions that I drew was that these large institutions even at the tippy-top, that is to say the White House, are not very good at doing a number of things at once. You really need a small, very tightly focused agenda. In the Reagan White House, it was take on the Soviets, build up the military, cut taxes. He spent eight years and was just lucky in some instances, to get even that much of the agenda accomplished. So is it fair to say as a matter of practical reality, that the CIA missed things? Or is it fair to say look, we had one gigantic enemy, we defeated it. That's pretty good. Now let's move onto what we face at the present moment. How would you--how do you balance that kind of question?

Greg Treverton: As a sometime insider, I'm sympathetic because it really is hard for this as a government that finds it difficult to walk and chew gum at the same time as we always said. In some ways, we're really lucky now that the Balkans is more or less on cruise control while we get on with the war against terrorism because doing the two things at the same time would, I think, be very challenging. That said, it still seems to me if you have an intelligence service at all, you know, one of its main purposes maybe not its main purpose, but one of its important purposes is to be thinking the things that nobody else is thinking, to be directing…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: So it should serve as a warning system?

Greg Treverton: Yeah, yeah.

Robert Baer: You're right, the Reagan Administration shouldn't have been thinking about Wahhabi Islam. It's very esoteric. The National Security Council's very small. We had the problem of the Soviet Union. They went to CIA said let's take care of it. The CIA put all its resources into Afghanistan at that time in the Near East division. But it failed in an imagination to look at the other problems in Yeoman, Saudi Arabia, that were clearly creeping up. The Muslim Brotherhood, which is the forefathers of bin Laden, was expanding. They tried to kill Mubarak. They tried to--they did kill Sadat. We never touched it.

Peter Robinson: So this much the two of you would agree on, you ought not to use the CIA purely as an operational instrument. It needs to be untethered to some extent to use its imagination to gather information and to serve as a warning system for policymakers. It ought to be able to hit the red alert button and get the attention of policymakers at the highest level.

Robert Baer: Yes.

Peter Robinson: You'd go for that?

Greg Treverton: I agree with that. Absolutely.

Peter Robinson: Within a couple of weeks after Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt set up a commission to look into the intelligence failures that permitted Pearl Harbor to happen. Would it do any good to set up a big commission and try to figure out what went wrong or would that simply involve us all in incrimination--would you vote for that if you were in Congress?

Greg Treverton: Well, we have it in some sense now. The Joint Congressional Panel that's just beginning.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Greg Treverton: So one hopes that'll be useful. It looks like circumstances in which we might actually get something interesting.

Peter Robinson: Bob, you're in favor of it?

Robert Baer: Absolutely but it's got to be tough investigation. We know nothing about this. The FBI failed, the CIA failed. We really have to get to the bottom of this whole thing. It's a failed bureaucracy.

Peter Robinson: Bob Baer calls the CIA a failed bureaucracy. So how should that bureaucracy be reformed?

Title: Terminate with Extreme Prejudice

Peter Robinson: Reform number one, get rid of the CIA. Daniel Patrick Moynahan, former Senator, but when he was in the Senate said, look this institution is a creature of the Cold War. It was created to fight the Cold War. It did a so-so job. He was critical even of the way it did that. But it is now so ingrained in the culture of the Cold War that the best thing to do is shut it down. Hive off the different functions to different intelligence agencies but shut the CIA down and start again. Greg?

Greg Treverton: I think I'd be for that.

Peter Robinson: You would? Just shut it right down.

Greg Treverton: As you said, hive off the different functions. And there's a certain argument that said--step back one stage, I would say that in some ways, we were set up to fail on September 11th by our previous success. We actually had done a pretty good job of fighting the Cold War and winning the Cold War. But all of the ways we were organized and all the distinctions we made, distinguishing between foreign and domestic and law enforcement and intelligence and open versus secret, all those distinctions were made for good reasons but they frustrate the campaign against terrorism. So as part of that, yes I think I would be in favor of dispersing or reshaping the assets held by the CIA.

Peter Robinson: Bob?

Robert Baer: Shut it down.

Peter Robinson: Shut it right down?

Robert Baer: Shut it down.

Greg Treverton: Shut it down altogether?

Robert Baer: Shut it down. Break it up into a counter-terrorism--take counter narcotics, give it to DEA. You have to combine domestic and foreign intelligence collection. The FBI doesn't collect intelligence…

Peter Robinson: Just give me a primer on intelligence as it now stands. We have the defense intelligence agency, what's it do?

Greg Treverton: Does analysis basically.

Robert Baer: It's not operational. It's not a replacement for the CIA.

Peter Robinson: Not a replacement for CIA. The State Department does a great deal of intelligence gathering, political analysis of its own.

Robert Baer: Not really.

Peter Robinson: No?

Robert Baer: You've got embassies overseas, you know, political officers that collect a sort of intelligence.

Peter Robinson: So they go to cocktail parties and figure out who's the likely next president of Montenegro?

Robert Baer: It's not worth it.

Greg Treverton: They have an intelligence and research operation that does pretty good intelligence analysis. It's not at all high in the pecking order in the State Department.

Peter Robinson: Would you want to beef it up?

Greg Treverton: I think I would continue it more or less as is. As I say, it's such a stepchild in the State Department but it does good work.

Peter Robinson: All right. FBI?

Robert Baer: FBI doesn't collect intelligence. That's the problem.

Peter Robinson: I always thought FBI, J. Edgar Hoover sets it up as the G-men that go get…

Robert Baer: No. They…

Peter Robinson: …Pretty Boy Floyd or whatever, that kind of thing is still in my mind. And then when there's a bombing of the barracks in Saudi Arabia or the bombings of the embassies in Africa, this is what four years or so ago, we discover that the FBI Director is in Africa. I thought they…

[Talking at same time]

Robert Baer: They're collecting forensics but that's not intelligence. Forensics is say, you know, what kind of bomb, what kind of explosives it was. It doesn't really add to explaining who these groups are. But they had no penetrations of the Islamic groups in the United States that were being used as a basis for the attacks of September 11th.

Peter Robinson: So CIA is the only group specifically charged with collecting intelligence?

Greg Treverton: Yeah, the FBI is supposed to--I mean, they're basically a law enforcement operation. Right? So they do forensics, they do investigations of crimes…

Peter Robinson: But they're not supposed to be out there poking around groups abroad that might break the law?

Robert Baer: But they're not good at it.

Greg Treverton: They're not good at it. They have the domestic intelligence function. They're supposed to do it because the CIA is not. The CIA is barred from doing domestic activity.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Greg Treverton: So when a spy recruited by the CIA comes to the United States, gets handed off in some raggedy way to the FBI but the FBI also should have a domestic intelligence function, very sensitive with us because of the rights of Americans and others. They don't do, for a combination of legal and I think just bureaucratic reasons, a very good job. They weren't, as Bob says, created.

Peter Robinson: Does either of you think that there's a practical possibility? Practical, political possibility that the CIA would be abolished in the next year or two?

Robert Baer: No.

Greg Treverton: No.

Peter Robinson: All right. Our guests agree the CIA isn't about to be abolished, let's move onto some politically possible reforms.

Title: A Few Bad Men

Peter Robinson: 1995, CIA establishes a policy that makes it necessary for field agents to get approval from headquarters before recruiting unsavory sources, sources believed to have serious criminal records or to have engaged in serious human rights abuses. Repeal that order?

Robert Baer: Repeal it. That was a disaster.

Peter Robinson: How come?

Robert Baer: Well the specifics in the cases--there was a certain Senator who released the name of an agent to the press…

Peter Robinson: American Senator…

Robert Baer: An American Senator released the name of a CIA agent to the press who, in fact, was not guilty of murder. The Senator charged him of murdering Jennifer Harbury's husband in Guatemala.

Peter Robinson: The agent was a Guatemalan.

Robert Baer: He was a Guatemalan…

Peter Robinson: He was a CIA agent…

Robert Baer: Yeah it's very confusing.

Peter Robinson: The American CIA agent had recruited a Guatemalan who seemed to be a bad guy.

Robert Baer: He seemed to be a bad guy. He was accused of being a bad guy on false information. The fact that his name was released, the fact that the CIA then tried to cover itself by getting rid of all people with any sort of human rights suspicions, abuses, whatever you want to call it, cut our agent inventory in half. It was a disaster. I mean, not only that it sent a message to the CIA is if you recruit an agent, a human source, a foreigner who's involved in any sort of crime including not paying U.S. income tax, you personally as the case officer, the CIA officer--you are responsible. You can lose your career. You can go to jail. So you've sent the message to the CIA, watch your backs because we're not going to protect you. So anybody in the field is going to look at somebody unless they're lily-white, they're not going to touch them. But, of course, the terrorists have a background to get in these organizations and people don't want to recruit them. The guy who caught Carlos, we couldn't even meet him after…

Peter Robinson: Carlos?

Robert Baer: Carlos the Jackal. He was involved in attacking OPEC. He was a world-class terrorist. We caught him in the Sudan but we couldn't meet the agent that led us to him because of this ban on dealing with unsavory types.

Peter Robinson: Greg?

Greg Treverton: Well I'm inclined to defer to Bob. My sense from before was this didn't make much difference, that if you'd had an opportunity to recruit somebody close to Osama bin Laden, the answer would have been sure we know he's killed people and been an assassin but go ahead and do it. But if it had the kind of chilling effect Bob alleges, I'll think again about that issue.

Peter Robinson: Barring the CIA from domestic activity, you just said--should we remove that bar?

Greg Treverton: I don't think we should remove that. I think the hard part for us is going to be coming to grips with the domestic intelligence function. I don't think the FBI can do it. I don't think…

Peter Robinson: Who performs good domestic intelligence right now?

Greg Treverton: I don't know anybody that's very good at it in the democracies because it is a sensitive function. But one of our problems is we don't have a home office. We don't have an interior ministry and probably we're grateful we don't have an interior ministry of the sort that some European countries do but it does mean we don't have anybody who's primarily charged with doing what is essentially the foreign intelligence function but at home. It's very sensitive stuff and my guess is we're going to have to create some new arrangements along with safeguards for doing it. Now there is a special court, The Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Court that approves requests for wire taps and other things for intelligence purposes. And that's been on the whole I think successful but very narrow in scope.

Peter Robinson: On to Bob's big reform: bring back the spies.

Title: Field Agents of Dreams

Peter Robinson: Robert Baer, I quote you, "The theory was that satellites, the Internet, electronic intercepts would tell us all we needed to know. The way to start reform is by putting CIA officers back on the street, by letting them recruit and run sources in the mosques, the Kasbahs or anywhere else we can learn what the bad guy's intentions are. Greg?

Peter Robinson: The signal emphasis, get the spies back in the street.

Greg Treverton: Well I would like us to do a lot better at espionage. My own conclusion is we've never been very good at it. In the Cold War, our best Soviet Agents, our best--Penkovsky was a walk-in. We didn't recruit him. He found us. So we've never been terrific at this in my view. Imagine somebody who looks like Bob or me, we're not going to have much success hanging around the bazaars in the Middle East trying to recruit people. I think inherently we're going to have to both find new ways to do it ourselves and new people to do it, including people who aren't Americans. But we're also going to have to depend on friends and allies and even people that aren't friends.

Peter Robinson: Here's another field agent who, like you, turned to journalism. Reuel Gerecht, if I'm pronouncing that correctly…

Robert Baer: That's right.

Peter Robinson: All right. "No case officer stationed in Pakistan can penetrate either the Afghan communities in Peshawar or the northwest frontier's numerous religious schools, let alone recruit foreign agents. Even a Muslim CIA officer with native language abilities could do little more in this environment than a blonde, blue-eyed all American." Radical schools, remote villages, terrorist cells, as a practical matter, it's just too hard for agents in the field to crack that kind of problem.

Robert Baer: That wasn't my experience. I served in Beirut for three years during the Civil War, the toughest time when there were no…

Peter Robinson: Give us those years.

Robert Baer: That was 1986 to '89.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Robert Baer: I had a couple Lebanese friends who introduced me to the head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood who was very radical. He was wanted for murder in Syria. He had a small Koranic school, was right on the green line, the confrontation line, and I said to these guys, what do I do, how do I meet this guy? They said don't worry about just say that you're of Lebanese origin, you're a Muslim and you want to come back and find your roots. Now I'm a Protestant American with blue eyes. I went into this school. I sat down with him. I said I'm half Lebanese and I'm trying to discover Islam.

Peter Robinson: You said this in English presumably?

Robert Baer: No I said this in Arabic. I speak Arabic. I speak very good Arabic. I sat down with the guy and studied a man named Ibn Taymia. He's the one that the whole jihad philosophy--with this man for two years. He never asked a question. He accepted it. This happens all the time. That's just one case. It's extreme but you can do this across the board. We can take Arab Americans, we can put them into charities in the United States, clean them up for a couple of years and then send them to Afghanistan. Arab Americans want to do this. They're very pro-American. They want to stop this perversion of Islam and there are Americans all over Afghanistan right now, not just John Walker Lindh. We can do it. We're not going to get the keys to the kingdom to bin Laden but we're going to get a lot closer. We can send people into these mosques in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Americans, send them back, give them a salary, find out what's being preached in the mosques. That's a start.

Greg Treverton: Seems to me you can imagine a continuum between what diplomats and what spies do, right? There's a whole range in between and there maybe lots of people like Arab Americans who are there on legitimate business, who would be happy to be talked to and do some looking. Now we don't do a very systematic job of that. There is a function unfortunately handled by the CIA to debrief Americans. But I imagine a whole series of things between diplomacy and spying. A spy on one hand but there's a whole set of looking.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: I would just return to my point and my feeling is the way these large organizations, particularly organizations in the federal government where you're really hamstrung, you can't give people very large raises or bonuses the way investment bankers--it's also difficult even to fire people. You have to appeal to a sense of mission. And so…

Robert Baer: And rewards, because right now people are rewarded in the CIA and FBI for coming back to headquarters and working in the bureaucracy. That's where the rewards are. You have to give the rewards to the people out in the field who actually collect the information.

Peter Robinson: Let's see what Greg makes of Bob's ideas for recruiting new field agents.

Title: The Spy Who Loved Money

Peter Robinson: One reform is you make sure that your agents in the field are paid fifty percent more. They're the best paid people in the entire CIA. We have lots of organizations in this country in the private sector in which star salesmen or star programmers are paid more than the Chief Executive Officer. Put the money where the--recruit stars--what do you think of that?

Robert Baer: Absolutely.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Would you go for that?

Greg Treverton: Yeah I'd go for that. But the question is whether--I mean, Bob's trying to recruit a whole service full of Bob Baers and I'd love that too…

Peter Robinson: Right.

Greg Treverton: The question is whether we could do that and whether money would be the main way to do--certainly wouldn't hurt but I'm just skeptical that we can with any set of circumstances recruit…

Peter Robinson: It's not a bad signal though, is it?

[Talking at same time]

Greg Treverton: It's the right signal, absolutely.

Robert Baer: We have to. I mean we're not talking about billions of dollars. We're just talking about five, six hundred people who go out in the Middle East…

Peter Robinson: Five or six hundred people, that's the right number?

Robert Baer: Yes.

Greg Treverton: So much more targeted. Now we, you know, now we do spying everywhere mostly against low value targets. So I agree with that.

Robert Baer: Give up narcotics, give up economics in Europe. We're fighting a war now.

Peter Robinson: So that's his one big reform. What would your one big reform be?

Greg Treverton: My main reform would be for the intelligence community to think of itself as not just in the secrets business but as in the information business. Terrorism is a bit oblique to that argument but, in general, we're now in a world where we don't own all the sources of information that are important. There's a huge amount of information out there.

Peter Robinson: So you're talking about what, Internet…

Greg Treverton: Yeah, absolutely, the Internet and all its kin, all the gray and other sources that are out there. Intelligence needs to think of itself as in that business, not just in the secrets business. That means all kinds of experiments at opening up, at talking to NGO's, at talking to academics, at talking to people on Wall Street.

Peter Robinson: That's the other emphasis though. That's adding analysts.

[Talking at same time]

Greg Treverton: Analysts are cheap.

Robert Baer: Analysts are cheap but--this is a little bit inside baseball-- but if everybody's required to have a top secret clearance, that takes for years. It's a huge horrible security bureaucracy. We don't need people with top-secret clearances, with confidential clearances who can go out and do those jobs.

Peter Robinson: And can monitor the Arab press very well?

Robert Baer: Monitor the press, do all these sorts of things. We've got to get rid of the Cold War bureaucracy, which has hampered us.

Peter Robinson: Okay. Last question. I'm going to set it up once again with a quotation from you Bob, "The CIA I joined in 1976 was not one enamored of satellite technology and scared of its own shadow, but one with the guts to walk into the wilderness and deal with what it finds there." Three years from now, will the most prestigious, best paid members of the CIA be agents in the field or technical analysts and big shots at headquarters? Greg, what do you think?

Greg Treverton: Oh it'll still be big shots at headquarters. I think not technical analysts.

Peter Robinson: In three years, will the CIA be better at what it needs to do now in this war on terrorism?

Greg Treverton: I think it certainly won't be worse. You know, my guess is it'll be significantly better, not dramatically better.

Peter Robinson: Bob, three years from now?

Robert Baer: You're not going to get an argument. It's not going to walk on water, the CIA. It's going to be a bit better.

Peter Robinson: Will it have recruited those four to six hundred agents?

Robert Baer: No. It will still be run out of Washington, I agree completely. It'll still be a big bureaucracy and it'll still be a lot of people going to the same old information.

Peter Robinson: But it'll be better? Give me something to be optimistic about.

Robert Baer: It will be better. We have the focus now. There's more focus; we're at war. It's got to be better.

Peter Robinson: Okay. Bob, Greg, thank you very much.

Peter Robinson: I'm Peter Robinson for Uncommon Knowledge. Thanks for joining us.