"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Eight months before the White House appointed him the Homeland Security Department’s top intelligence official, retired U.S. Army Gen. Patrick M. Hughes told a public forum at Harvard last year that the government would have to “abridge individual rights” and take domestic security measures “not in accordance with our values and traditions” to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States.
“What I’m about to say is very arrogant — arrogant to a fault,” said Hughes, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), in previously unreported remarks at a March 2003 Harvard University forum on “Future Conditions: The Character and Conduct of War, 2010 and 2020.”
“Set aside what the mass of people think. Some things are so bad for them that you cannot allow them to have them. One of them is war in the context of terrorism in the United States,” Hughes said, according to a transcript obtained by CQ Homeland Security.
“Therefore, we have to abridge individual rights, change the societal conditions, and act in ways that heretofore were not in accordance with our values and traditions, like giving a police officer or security official the right to search you without a judicial finding of probable cause,” said Hughes.
“Things are changing, and this change is happening because things can be brought to us that we cannot afford to absorb. We can’t deal with them, so we’re going to reach out and do something ahead of time to preclude them.
“Is that going to change your lives?” Hughes asked rhetorically. “It already has.”
Neither the department nor Hughes would comment for the record on whether Hughes stood by his comments in the year he has held the senior DHS intelligence post.
At the time of his remarks, Hughes was a private consultant whose clients included the CIA, the FBI, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DIA, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, Science Applications International Corp., SRI International, Anteon, Boeing, Rand Corp., and others, according to the Web site for his company, PMH Enterprises, LLC.
In his current position, Hughes heads up DHS’ intelligence analysis efforts and coordinates with the other members of the intelligence community, as well as with such interagency intelligence efforts as the Terrorist Threat Integration Center.