Nationwide Counterterrorism Middle
Liberty Crossing Intelligence Campus
THE PRESIDENT: It’s an honor to be right here. I suppose you all are those that misplaced the lottery, huh? (Laughter.) You needed to be right here in individual.
Properly, I’d wish to thank Director Haines and Director of the Nationwide Counterterrorism Middle, Christy Abizaid, for displaying me across the watch ground.
Of us, the principle purpose I got here — and I imply this sincerely — is to say thanks. Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks. The American individuals, virtually by definition, aren’t in a position to know what you do. And also you commit a lot of your time, your effort, and lots of of you find yourself risking your lives within the Intelligence Neighborhood to do issues to make it possible for your households and other people again listed below are protected — make a distinction.
And also you’d be amazed — as I traveled the world as Chairman of the Overseas Relations Committee or member of the Intelligence Committee for all these years, or as Vice President of the US coping with nationwide safety points, or as President of the US — what number of of now my international counterparts thanks for what you do.
I’d wish to introduce you, by the way in which, to my Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan. Jake, would you arise? (Applause.)
And, you understand, the leaders of lots of our intelligence businesses are right here right now. And I thanks on your diligence and maintaining our nation protected, and your dedication to supporting your groups. As a result of, if there’s something, a crew sport is what y’all are doing if there’s going to be something that’s going to be completed.
As a result of the individuals I most need to honor and thank right now are the intelligence professionals whose names the general public isn’t, ever going to know, by no means have any notion of what you’ve carried out for us: the analysts; the linguists; the collectors and discipline officers; scientists; help employees; so many others who’re actual specialists, whose careers began for much longer earlier than my administration and whose service to our nation goes to increase nicely past my presidency.
You realize, you’re the eyes and ears world wide — within the frontlines of our nationwide protection, and in lots of circumstances, for the world, by means of us. And also you serve the American individuals irrespective of which political celebration holds energy in Congress or the White Home. It’s so important — so important that you’re and must be completely freed from any political stress or partisan interference. That’s fundamental.
And I need to be completely clear that my administration is getting us again to the fundamentals. To the fundamentals. I promise you: You’ll by no means see a time, whereas I’m President of the US, when my administration in any means tries to have an effect on or alter your judgments about what you assume the scenario we face is. I’ll by no means politicize the work you do. You have got my phrase on that. It’s too essential for our nation.
Getting again to fundamentals additionally making — to verify the IC scrupulously acts inside the authorized constraints and abides by our robust traditions of inner and congressional oversight, together with respect for whistleblower protections.
And it additionally means understanding that a lot of the work you have to do is in secret however essential and for the sake of security. However we should always try to be as open as attainable with the American individuals concerning the nature of the threats we face and simply how critical they’re — and they’re.
Each one in every of you joined up since you consider in being a part of one thing that’s larger than your self, particularly you guys and girls in uniform — larger than your self. You’re patriots. It’s a phrase that we use calmly, however I imply it. It’s not — it’s not — I don’t use it calmly. I actually don’t.
My son, who spent a yr in Iraq and died, he was a patriot. He wasn’t simply someone else. You all are patriots. You threat your lives and your sacred honor for all that we have to have carried out for us.
And also you consider within the American concept. And dwelling as much as that concept is embracing democratic values which are our biggest power on the finish of the day, main not simply by the instance of our energy, however by the facility of your instance. The facility of your instance.
Along with thanking you on your bravery, integrity, and your sacrifices, I need to make it clear to everybody right here right now and to the members of the Intelligence Neighborhood working across the globe that you’ve got my full confidence.
That’s doesn’t imply I don’t query what you ship me. That meant — doesn’t imply — it’s not that I — I — you understand, I’m not a brand new man on the block by way of these points. However one of many causes I query is to push — push you to the boundaries to find out simply how sure you might be about what you’re doing. A lot of occasions, the one trustworthy reply: “We’re not sure. We’re not sure, however that is what our greatest judgment is.”
I do know — I actually do — understand how laborious the work you do is. I’ve been doing this for an extended, very long time earlier than I grew to become President. I do know there’s no such factor as one hundred pc certainty within the intelligence world. Sometimes that occurs, however hardly ever, hardly ever, hardly ever.
However I additionally know that your work is invaluable to our capacity to make knowledgeable, strategic nationwide safety selections. And I simply had an fascinating assembly, as you all know, with my very shut buddy, Vladimir Putin. (Laughter.) I can inform — one factor: I’ve been coping with world leaders an extended, very long time. And identical to all of you women and men, you may form of sense someone else after some time.
He is aware of that you simply’re higher than his crew, and it bothers the hell out of him. Not a joke. Not a joke. And he, as a consequence of you, assume we have now capacities he might even exaggerate. That’s a very good factor. That’s a very good factor.
You realize, one of many issues I miss most through the 4 years between my time serving as Vice President and being a professor in a school — and I imply this sincerely: From the time I used to be 31 years previous, each morning I wakened and acquired within the practice to come back to — I commuted day-after-day from Delaware after my spouse and daughter had been killed. And I’d come day-after-day, and one of many issues I’d get — I’d get a short within the morning. And I used to be extra knowledgeable than 99 % of the American individuals. You realize what I miss most, for actual, from these 4 years of being a professor? The PDB. (Laughter.) No, you assume I’m joking. I’m not. A way of figuring out the place all of the items had been. Whether or not we had all of it down, we knew the place all of the items had been. We knew the place the items had been.
And so now I’ve entry once more — and to the chagrin of lots of you, I learn it intimately. (Laughter.) And I ask questions of my briefers and observe up with my crew. And I ask every of you a similar factor I requested Director Haines, “Simply give it to me straight.” I’m not searching for pablum; I’m searching for straight-from-the-shoulder assessments. And whenever you’re unsure, say you’re unsure. However give me your greatest judgment of what you assume is — your greatest judgment is best than virtually anyone else’s judgment in the entire world — even when the information is difficult, even when the information is unhealthy.
I can’t make the selections I must make if I’m not getting the very best unvarnished, unbiased judgments you can provide me. I’m not trying to hear good issues. I’m trying to hear what you assume to be the reality.
I tremendously respect simply how a lot work goes into the evaluation that the IC produces and the tactical and intelligence supporting our warfighters and the excellent effort to make sure our IT, our human capital, and the services are the very best on the planet. As a result of, once more, with out figuring out what — with out you telling me, I don’t know sufficient to know what to ask for from the Congress — how a lot cash we want, what we have to deal with.
It’s an enormous, coordinated, world effort to tug collectively dependable intelligence in a well timed means. And all of you, irrespective of which company you’re employed for, are a part of one crew with one shared mission: maintaining America robust and safe on the planet, or just ensuring your households are protected. It will get right down to basic items. Simply actually basic items.
You realize, for a lot of the final 20 years, a lot of the work has been centered on counterterrorism, ensuring the US doesn’t expertise one other horror like occurred on September the eleventh. And that work has to proceed and evolve to handle the altering form of terrorism as we discover it right now.
And that’s no nice perception on my half, it’s going to vary considerably extra. It’s going to vary considerably extra.
I all the time get kidded by my colleagues once I served within the Senate for 36 years for quoting Irish poets. They assume I quoted Irish poets as a result of I’m Irish. That’s not the explanation I quote them; they’re merely the very best poets on the planet. (Laughter.)
And there’s a well-known poem written by — that claims, “All has modified, modified totally. A horrible magnificence has been born.” The world is altering so quickly — technologically and by way of alliances and human intercourse — that warfare goes to vary throughout the board within the subsequent 10 years than within the final 50 years. That’s not hyperbole; that’s a reality.
If I talked to you 15 years in the past about hypersonic flight, you’d take a look at me like I used to be loopy. A lot goes to vary and that’s going to place an unlimited burden on you to remain forward of the curve. It’s actually going to get harder.
However we have now the very best people on the planet. And one of many issues that I feel — and I don’t need to get off too far afield right here, however one of many issues that’s actually essential is — our biggest power, the truth is, is our variety, bringing utterly completely different views to it. And I actually imply that. That’s not hyperbole. I’m not attempting to be “Kumbaya, all people get alongside.” It’s only a reality. It’s a reality.
And so, threats which are extra geographically dispersed than they had been 20 years in the past are going to proceed to require our vigilance. And we have now to proceed our efforts to higher perceive a number of the hardest and most essential intelligence targets we face as a nation.
However, you understand, we additionally must make it possible for we’re positioning ourselves to remain forward of safety challenges that may stretch the IC in new methods it has by no means been stretched earlier than.
You realize, we’ve seen how cyber threats, together with ransomware assaults, more and more are in a position to trigger injury and disruption to the true world. I can’t assure this, and also you’re as knowledgeable as I’m, however I feel it’s extra doubtless we’re going to finish up — nicely, if we find yourself in a warfare, an actual capturing warfare with a serious energy, it’s going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of nice consequence. And it’s growing exponentially — the capabilities.
Once I was with Mr. Putin, who has an actual downside — he’s — he’s sitting on high of an financial system that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else. Nothing else. Their financial system is — what? — the eighth smallest on the planet now — largest on the planet? He is aware of — he is aware of he’s in actual bother, which makes him much more harmful, in my opinion.
Check out China. I’ve spent extra time with Xi Jinping as a world chief than anybody else has. I spent 25 hours alone with him once I was Vice President as a result of it was essential that, in response to President Obama, that somebody knew who the brand new man approaching board was, and it couldn’t be the President.
I traveled 17,000 miles with him. I’ve sat with him, with me and simply an interpreter — every of us have a simultaneous interpreter. He’s lethal earnest about turning into essentially the most highly effective army pressure on the planet, in addition to the most important — essentially the most outstanding financial system on the planet by the mid-40s — the 2040s. It’s actual.
I don’t know. We in all probability have some individuals who aren’t completely cleared — I don’t know, however you noticed simply what we discovered about hypersonic — we — anyway, as they are saying in Southern Delaware, “This boy has acquired a plan.” And, you understand, we higher determine how we’re going to maintain tempo with out exacerbating and transferring us ready the place we enhance the hostilities unnecessarily.
I feel we additionally must tackle the rampant disinformation that’s making it more durable and more durable for individuals to entry — assess the information, be capable to make selections.
In right now’s PDB you all ready for me, look what Russia is doing already concerning the 2022 elections and misinformation. It’s a pure violation of our sovereignty.
Now you see what’s occurring. Extra individuals get their info from the Web than they do from some other outlet. What’s — all of the disinformation that’s having actual penalties by way of individuals’s entry.
And so, there’s a lot that you simply all — significantly these of you who’re new and coming alongside — are going to should be — sustain with and forward of in methods that aren’t even occurring now, pretty much as good as all the things is.
You realize, as we compete for the way forward for the twenty first century with China and different nations, we have now to remain on high of the cutting-edge developments of science and know-how.
For those who’d maintain for a second right here, I need to level out one thing. You realize, we used to — we was, once I first acquired right here as a U.S. senator, really three and a half many years in the past, we invested more cash — R&D — cash in R&D as a % of our GDP than any nation on the planet. We’re now quantity eight. China was quantity 9; they’re now quantity two. It issues. It issues.
Have a look at the place we’re on issues that intelligence communities and others don’t even assume fairly often about — about how educated the general public is. We’re coming round proper now. This doesn’t relate to the intelligence neighborhood per se, nevertheless it does.
Give it some thought. If we had been having the controversy that was going down in the US within the late Eighteen Nineties and the early 1900s about public schooling, do you assume any of us would say 12 years of free public schooling was sufficient to compete within the twenty first century? Not a joke. Give it some thought. What do you assume? I don’t assume there’s a shot if we had been doing that right now.
So the actual fact we have now the best-educated public on the planet — nicely, that’s our goal — will matter an amazing deal. It would matter an amazing deal. It’s as a lot part of nationwide protection, in my opinion, as anything is.
So I feel we have now to assume in another way. I don’t anticipate you to agree with me. I anticipate you to not less than perceive the place I’m coming from as a result of the world is altering so considerably.
And it’s particularly essential that we work intently with our companions and allies to take care of our technological edge; shore up provide chains; make sure that the principles that govern applied sciences help democracies, not autocracies.
You realize, on the identical time, we have now to work in cooperation with nations like China and Russia which are our rivals — and probably mortal rivals down the highway — within the context of there’s — to fulfill the existential threats, for instance, of local weather change. There are specific issues which are in our mutual curiosity. However we are able to’t — we are able to’t be lulled into pondering that that’s sufficient and that we don’t actually should hold a watchful eye on what the final word goal of the opposite crew is. However there are issues the place we must be — the place we must be cooperating.
This shared hazard impacts all of countries. Local weather challenges are already accelerating instability in our personal nation and world wide: excessive climate occasions which are extra frequent and extra lethal; meals and water insecurity; sea ranges rising, leading to altering climates and driving better migration and posing basic threat to essentially the most susceptible of communities.
For those who might maintain for only a second once more. We’re in a scenario the place — take into consideration this. Take into consideration this: I’ll always remember the primary time I went down within the tank as Vice President, after I acquired elected. The Protection Division mentioned what the best risk dealing with America: local weather change.
If, the truth is, the seas’ degree rises one other two and half toes, you’re going to have thousands and thousands of individuals migrating, preventing over arable land. You noticed what occurred in North Africa. What makes us assume this doesn’t matter? It’s not your accountability, nevertheless it’s one thing you’re watching as a result of you understand what’s going to occur.
Individuals who had been Muslim, and the one distinction was Black and/or Arab, killing one another by the hundreds for arable — a chunk of arable — arable land in North Central Africa. However what occurs — what occurs in Indonesia if the projections are appropriate that, within the subsequent 10 years, they could have to maneuver their capital as a result of they’re going to be underwater?
It issues. It’s a strategic query in addition to an environmental query.
A dramatically warming Arctic is opening up competitors for assets that after had been laborious to entry. I had — as they are saying in Southern Delaware — they speak at you want this, you understand what I imply? — I had a “Come to Jesus” assembly, an “altar name” with Mr. Putin about what he thinks is what Russia’s property is within the Arctic. China trying very intently at that as nicely, the place they’re.
That’s what I imply concerning the world altering. What’s that going to do to our strategic doctrine within the subsequent 2, 5, 10, 12 years, when you may circumvent the Arctic with out icebreakers?
So, look, we want your perception, we want your experience on all these points. The one factor you all have in frequent is you all have excessive IQs. You’re all sensible. You have got vital intelligence quotients, and you set it to make use of to assist the elected leaders on this nation determine what the very best path to go is.
So simply as you all the time have been important as we’ve sought to counter conventional threats, the Intelligence Neighborhood goes to be crucial to America’s power as we tackle these new challenges and hybrid threats.
Lastly, I’ve laid out a broad agenda, and that’s only a fraction of it. However we are able to’t do any of this with out taking good care of our greatest and most essential asset: the American individuals.
I do know the intelligence neighborhood is already probably the greatest locations to work within the federal authorities. I requested my employees once I discovered you got here in second simply after NASA — I mentioned, “Don’t inform me what the White Home is ranked.” (Laughter.) “It would harm my emotions.” They usually assured me, no, you don’t rank them. That was a very good factor: “We don’t rank the Oval Workplace.” (Laughter.)
However all kidding apart, it’s concerning the comradery you will have, and most of all, it’s about with the ability to belief each other — to belief each other.
My highest precedence as President is the protection and safety of all People, and that features those that serve in our Intelligence Neighborhood.
You tackle distinctive dangers in these jobs, and we’re taking the circumstances of anomalous well being incidents which are affecting intelligence officers, authorities officers, and their households very severely, for instance.
My administration is coordinating a government-wide effort to answer these incidents, as a result of this problem calls for — calls for that departments and businesses, together with your entire Intelligence Neighborhood, work along with urgency.
Talked about adjustments. What’s going to occur as we transfer on and we’re in a position to develop world wide pathogens that may be transmitted to societies and communities? It might not be a nuclear weapon. It might not be a hypersonic missile. It might not be any of the issues we consider.
However give it some thought. Simply take into consideration what’s occurred with one — I’m not suggesting it was meant — much more we have to know — however assume what’s occurred: Extra individuals have been killed in the US of America due to COVID than in each single main warfare we fought mixed. Each single one. What’s subsequent? What is meant? There’s a variety of analysis occurring. You’re going to seek out — you’re going to have to extend your ranks with individuals with vital scientific capability relative to pathogens.
So, my level is: Your worth goes to extend and enhance and enhance and enhance by way of safety. You realize, from the CIA to all of the businesses, there’s quite a bit that’s going to occur.
And to all of you who’ve been affected, we acknowledge how essential it’s to make it possible for they’ve the very best care at a time you’re determining take care of what’s occurring, not solely to a few of those that have been stationed overseas, however their households.
Look, it is a precedence for our complete management crew. So let me simply shut by saying how a lot I worth the work you do. That’s why I wished to come back right here right now.
A lot of the work you do is in secret. It means many, many occasions you don’t get credit score — the credit score you deserve — and the belongings you prevented from occurring, the catastrophes you’ve enabled us to keep away from, the judgments you’ve offered us to make our individuals safer.
And America might be by no means going to study concerning the lives you’ve saved or the disasters that by no means come to go due to your diligent, skilled intelligence work. However I need you to know I do know. In the intervening time, not less than so long as I’m round, I do know.
And on behalf of the American individuals, thanks all for what you do each single day. And we’re grateful — we’re grateful that you simply’re there for us. We’re safer due to your dedication, your honesty, your integrity, and your vital mental capability to behave in our curiosity.
We’re stronger due to your perception. We’re a extra noble nation due to your perception. And American lives have been saved repeatedly due to your perception. I do know it could sound like hyperbole, however from the underside of my coronary heart, I thanks. I thanks for all you do and proceed to do.
And should God bless you all. And should God shield our troops and all these patriots serving in hurt’s means, as a result of there’s quite a bit nonetheless there. Thanks, thanks, thanks. (Applause.)
I’ve to hunt permission to go away. I needed to examine, in the event you seen. (Laughter.) Thanks once more. (Applause.)
Q President Biden, will you require federal staff to get vaccinated?
THE PRESIDENT: Beg your pardon?
Q Will you require all federal staff to get vaccinated?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s into account proper now. However in the event you’re not vaccinated, you’re not practically as sensible as I assumed you had been.
Q Are you involved that the CDC’s masks steerage might sow confusion?
THE PRESIDENT: We now have a pandemic due to the unvaccinated, and so they’re sowing huge confusion. And the extra we study — the extra we study this virus and the Delta variation, the extra we have now to be fearful and anxious. And just one factor we all know for certain: If these different hundred million individuals acquired vaccinated, we’d be in a really completely different world.
So, get vaccinated. For those who haven’t, you’re not practically as sensible as I mentioned you had been.