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MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD

Event: Interview of Robert Newberry


Type of Event: Interview
Date: June 21, 2004
Prepared by: Bonnie D. Jenkins
Classification: Unclassified
Team Number: 3 (Counterterrorism Policy)
Location: The Pentagon
Participants - Non-Commission: Robert Newberry, Harvey Dalton
Participants - Commission: Bonnie D. Jenkins

Background:
Robert Newberry arrived at the Pentagon the summer of 1987. He was a Lieutenant
Colonel in the Air Force and worked at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the office of the
Director of Operations. He spent three years in that position and in his last year he was
assigned to work in countemarcotics in the Office of Special Operations and Low
Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC). In 1993, he retired from the U.S. Air Force. In 1994, he
became the Principal Director for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for SO/LIC.
In the summer 2000, he became the Principal Deputy for SOILIC and in the summer
2001, he developed an organization titled "Territorial Security'," which he worked at for
one year. During these tenures he worked on counterterrorism issues. He then became the
Principal Deputy for counter narcotics.

Newberry is now at the newly established office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Homeland Defense where he is again working on countemarcotics issues.

CSG and the Deputies Committee Before 9-11


Prior to 9-11, Newberry attended a number of Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG)
meetings that were related to his portfolio. This included countemarcotics (CN),
counterterrorism (CT), and consequence management. In his view, Richard Clarke did a
good job as Coordinator. He often irked people because of his dynamic style of operating.
Clarke was very proactive and demanding. He was also very interagency oriented. He
rubbed the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) the wrong way more than the civilians in the
Pentagon, and the JCS did not like the NSC telling them what to do. Newberry said the
CSG was a good process for the interagency to address issues.

The Deputies Committee (DC) played a role in the development of counterterrorism


policy. Newberry did not attend DC meetings. However, he noted that the deputies could
make decisions on preparations for such things as the millennium celebration. Newberry
was not involved in issues regarding strikes and contingency plans. Operational issues
were not addressed by SO/LIC.

1 Territorial security consists of anti-terrorism, consequence management (foreign and domestic) and
homeland security as it began to development within the Department.
There were a number of table top exercises on potential biological, and chemical terrorist
attacks. These focused on rendering safe a weapon the FBI could not. This capability was
ongoing when he arrived at SO/LIC.

The Department was involved in other domestic counterterrorist activities. It was


engaged in preparations for the millennium and the 1996 Olympics. The Department took
part in a training program for first responders in 120 U.S. cities. The Department took
part in worldwide counterterrorism conferences and initiated counterterrorism reports to
Congress. DoD also took part in agricultural terrorism hearings.

The focus of DoD was on antiterrorism and force protection after Khobar Towers, the
USS Cole, and attacks on the African embassies. The focus was how to better protect the
military so it would not be such an easy target. The concern about consequence
management was just beginning and there were scenarios developed for potential WMD
attacks. This was really pushed after the attacks on 9-11. The concern for personal
protection was also an issue and was also really pushed after 9-11. All of these efforts
cost money, which was not available before 9-11.

Prior to 9/11, a debate revolved around whether there was a terrorist threat at home. The
question was how to improve capabilities across the board and increase security. The
issue was how to protect soft targets, and that was difficult. The Department was very
defense and reaction oriented.

The CT part of DoD was weaker. U.S. targets were believed to be outside the homeland.
The focus was on how to find the terrorists. The Department did begin reviewing ways to
go after targets in Afghanistan with unmanned vehicles. That led to the idea of the use of
Predators.

Tom Kuster memorandum


Newberry says he did not see the Tom Kuster memorandum of September 1998 stating
that the Department should take a more aggressive stance against terrorism.' However, he
does know the U.S. was not ready to go into Afghanistan. The defensive posture (force
protection) was paramount to counterterrorism.

Special Forces Operations


Newberry noted that Special Operations Forces (SOFs) should have been engaged in the
fight against al Qaeda and UBL before 9-11. The military was hesitant about using SOFs,
but this was not because of risk aversion. What was sought was confidence that missions
would be successful. Some were frustrated with DoD because DoD was seen as not
aggressive in going after al Qaeda and Bin Ladin. However, when the military does a
mission, there is a large footprint. They want to succeed. Using the SOFs in another
country is a high risk. If the mission fails, the military must be ready to answer for it.
After 9-11, there is more of a willingness to take such risks.

2 Tom Kuster is the former Deputy Director of the Counterterrorism Division of SO/LIC.

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USSCole
Newberry is not sure a military response to the USS Cole would have made a difference
in preventing the 9/11 attacks. A strike would have had to kill the al Qaeda leadership or
do significant harm to al Qaeda; however, it was very difficult locating al Qaeda
leadership.

Tomahawk Missiles
Missiles were not the best way to go after al Qaeda and Bin Ladin. The missiles are good
systems and are accurate, as long as there is a target. The key is to have actionable
intelligence. The al Qaeda leaders were not stupid. They did not stay in one place for a
long time. August 1998 was a signal from the U.S. "we are mad and we do not like what
you are doing," Newberry said. However, it did not stop anything.

Transition
Newberry did not take part in transition briefings and did not prepare papers for those
who did attend the briefings. Newberry conducted a countemarcotices briefing with
Secretary Rumsfeld and Steve Cambone, the current Under Secretary of Defense for
Intelligence, after the transition. Newberry said the new Pentagon civilian appointees had
a different style than the previous administration. During Secretary Cohen's tenure,
Cohen wanted to know what was going on and to be kept up with the latest events.
Newberry would prepare papers for Cohen with updates. Newberry prepared similar
papers for the Rumsfeld, however, they were shot back. He was told by Cambone not to
forward information memorandum. Cambone wanted to know what action should be
taken, or else, "you look like you are covering your ass." If there was no action that was
going to be requested, Newberry was told not to send anything.

When Cohen was in office, John Hamre, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, had a
special assistant dedicated to domestic consequence management. This individual worked
with SOlLIe personnel. However, the special assistant position went away when the
administration changed. In the new administration, all domestic consequence
management issues were placed in SO/LIC.

Newberry was asked why it took so long for the new administration to appoint a new
Assistant Secretary of Defense for SOLIC. Newberry said SO/LIC is an odd organization
that was forced upon the Pentagon by Congress. Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and
Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith were at the Pentagon when SOlLIe was
created and they were not enthusiastic about the establishment of the new office.
Newberry is not sure the new administration wanted to keep SOlLIe when it arrived in
2001. After the first year, they waited to decide what to do with SO/LIC.

Newberry said there are many lessons that can be learned from the area of
countemarcotics. There is more information sharing that while not great, is still better
than it is in counterterrorism. There have been joint task forces with federal law
enforcement that is rather close. There is a lot that can be done in countemarcotics
becaus.e there is an ability to move money around if it is necessary. The countemarcotics

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area is easier and smaller to manage. The budget is smaller ($1 - $1.1 billion). There is a
synergy of effort that does not exist in counterterrorism.

There is also no synergy between countemarcotics and counterterrorism efforts. There are
stovepipes between the two. There may be a nexus between the two that would allow
benefits to be reaped if efforts were joined. Intelligence collection between the two is the
same. If there could be some sharing, there could be links established. It is also difficult
to get some of the commands, particularly Central Command, to focus equally on
countemarcotics. However, there are links between the two in the Central Command's
area of responsibility, particularly in Afghanistan.