2013 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Director of National Intelligence Statement for the Record, Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, March 12, 2013

Today, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on current and projected national security threats to the U.S. The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, has released his prepared testimony for the hearing.


From the introduction: “This year, in both content and organization, this statement illustrates how quickly and radically the world–and our threat environment–are changing. This environment is demanding reevaluations of the way we do business, expanding our analytic envelope, and altering the vocabulary of intelligence. Threats are more diverse, interconnected, and viral than at any time in history. Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable. Destruction can be invisible, latent, and progressive. We now monitor shifts in human geography, climate, disease, and competition for natural resources because they fuel tensions and conflicts. Local events that might seem irrelevant are more likely to affect US national security in accelerated time frames.”

Among the threats highlighted, cyberattacks and cyberespionage take center stage in the report. “State and nonstate actors increasingly exploit the Internet to achieve strategic objectives,” Clapper writes in the document. Among the most active actors are China and Russia; however, according to the report, both are unlikely to unleash a large scale, devastating attack “against the U.S. outside of a military conflict or crisis that they believe threatens their vital interests.” If there were an attack on U.S. critical infrastructure systems, “it would result in long-term, wide-scale disruption of services, such as a regional power outage.” “Terrorist threats are in a transition period as the global jihadist movement becomes increasingly decentralized. In addition, the Arab Spring has generated a spike in threats to US interests in the region that likely will endure until political upheaval stabilizes and security forces regain their capabilities. We also face uncertainty about potential threats from Iran and Lebanese Hizballah, which see the United States and Israel as their principal enemies.”

The aforementioned issues represent only a few of the serious threats highlighted in the report. Clapper states that, “In this threat environment, the importance and urgency of intelligence integration cannot be overstated. Our progress cannot stop. The Intelligence Community must continue to promote collaboration among experts in every field, from the political and social sciences to natural sciences, medicine, military issues, and space.” Sections/threats highlighted in the report include:

  • Cyber
  • Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime
  • WMD Proliferation
  • Counterintelligence
  • Counterspace
  • Natural Resources: Insecurity and Competition
  • Health and Pandemic Threats
  • Mass Atrocities

To see the entire report click here.

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4743

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