Fireside Chat with DNI Haines at the Reagan National Defense Forum

Fireside Chat with DNI Haines at the Reagan National Defense Forum


Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines engaged in a fireside chat on a range of national security topics with Andrea Mitchell from NBC News at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on December 3, 2022. The fireside chat is available to view here and the transcript is below.


VOICE: Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The fireside chat is about to begin. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome member of the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Ben Sutton.




MR. SUTTON: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. In his first inaugural address President Reagan declared above all we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and morale courage of free men and women.


More than 40 years later, the men and women of Ukraine have proven how right he is. Their courage and resolve have been extraordinary and indeed the most formidable weapon in their arsenal. But if there is a second most important idem in that arsenal, it's the intelligence capabilities and emerging technologies that have allowed them to stand up to what the world long considered a great military power.


That intel and technology, so much of it provided by the United States, has allowed them to flip the script and has made us rethink the wars will be fought in the future. That is way it's so meaningful that for the very first time we're joined here at the Reagan National Defense Forum by a sitting Director of National Intelligence. Director Avril Haines has earned a stellar reputation of bipartisan collaboration and deep expertise.

Many of you worked with her when she served as Deputy Director at the CIA and the Principal Deputy National Security Advisor during the Obama Administration. And the agency she now oversees have been the consequential players as the free world counters Russian aggression.


In the days leading up to Putin's vicious assault on democracy, the United States Intelligence Community over and over accurately and precisely predicted his every move and revealed his intentions. That public use of intelligence exposed false flag operations, it built trust in America's warnings, it united our allies, and it gave the Ukrainians greater time to prepare.

This is the first war in which we've seen intelligence leveraged in this way thanks to the technology that was not even available 10 to 20 years ago. The public use of intelligence has undermined the adversary's plots, destroyed and continues to destroy the Russians' narratives and help the Ukrainians fight for their freedom. So, let us all thank the Intelligence Community for their stellar work, not just in Ukraine, not just for what we know and see, but also for the many unseen ways that they keep us safe every day.




MR. SUTTON: Leading today's fireside chat with Director Haines is a veteran correspondent respected by so many in the national security community, Andrea Mitchell, the Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent for NBC News. Her career dates back to the Reagan Administration when she covered the White House, including traveling with President Reagan to his Arms Control Summits with the late Mikhail Gorbachev. Please join me now in welcoming Andrea Mitchell and the seventh Director of National Intelligence, and also, the very first woman to lead the United States Intelligence Community, Avril Haines.


MS. MITCHELL: Thank you so much and thanks to all of you. It is such a privilege to be back here at the Reagan Library and Foundation and to see so many of my friends from past Administrations and past Congresses and Senate, and to most particularly be here with Avril Haines, the seventh Director of National Intelligence and the first woman, so thank you so much for your service. Thanks for being with us here today.


DIRECTOR HAINES: Thank you for doing this. And let me just say thank you so much for inviting me, honestly, and for the lovely introduction. But I will relay the thanks to the Intelligence Community and I'm deeply grateful, frankly, for what all of you do in the defense industry and across the community, to actually support us in many respects, so thank you.

MS. MITCHELL: And I did want to begin with Ukraine, about the capacity that Ukraine now has, having retaken Kherson. Do they have the capacity for a counteroffensive to even approach Crimea and try to break that land bridge?

DIRECTOR HAINES: So, as we're looking at the trajectory of the conflict, going through the next several months, honestly, we're seeing kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict. Most of the fighting right now is around Bakhmut and the Donetsk area and sort of a slow down with the withdrawal of Russia from the western Kherson area to the east of the river. And we expect that likely to be what we see in the coming months.


And then once you get past the winter, the sort of question is what will the counteroffensive look like, potentially, in the spring, in effect, in March and in that area? And we expect that frankly both militaries are going to be in a situation where they're going to be looking to try to refit, resupply, in a sense, reconstitute so that they're prepared for that counteroffensive. But we actually have a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that. I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that timeframe.


MS. MITCHELL: To that point, to what extent is Putin getting real information about the war and about the reverses they've suffered?


DIRECTOR HAINES: I mean this has obviously been an issue that's been discussed pretty widely, and I think what I can say is that I think Putin was surprised by his military's sort of lack of performance and the fact that they did not accomplish more. That's I'm sure no surprise to anybody here. I do think he is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia, but it's still not clear to us that he has a full picture at this stage of just how challenged they are. I mean we see shortages of ammunition, poor morale, supply issues, logistics, a whole series of concerns that they're facing.

MS. MITCHELL: You said in June that he'd not changed his objective to retake Ukraine, do you think that's changed at all?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Yes, what we see is that he has not changed his political objectives and at least we don't see evidence of that. And in effect, I think as we look at it when you say his objective to retake Ukraine, I think there are a lot of interpretations of what that means and so his political objective is effectively to control it.


He doesn't see Ukraine, and of course he says this publicly on a pretty regular basis, as a separate country. He sees it as part of, in effect, his sovereign national ambit and I think the challenge is what does that mean for his near term military objectives. Are they going to be as expansive as they were at the beginning or, does heat some point recognize that he's incapable of doing what it is he intended to originally and sort of downscale what it is that he's willing to accept for now.

I think our analysts would say he may be willing to do that on a temporary basis with the idea that he might then come back at this issue, at a later time.

MS. MITCHELL: How debilitating is the destruction of the power grid in terms of Ukraine's ability to not just get through the winter because it's a humanitarian disaster already, but sustain its military?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Yes, it's a really good question, and obviously, we in the Intelligence Community spend a lot of time looking at the analysis of these issues. It is sometimes hard in the morning as you're reading the intelligence to separate it out from the tragedy of what's happening every day, and I think as we watch the population fight for their country and then see the just outrageous, illegal attack on civilian infrastructure, such as the grid, and it's not just the grid, right? It's gas, it’s heating, it's a variety of other things that they’re going after.

I think, in part, they're doing this in order to undermine the Ukrainian will, in effect. And I think we're not seeing any evidence of that being undermined right now at this point. They are also looking, potentially, to effect Ukraine's capacity to prosecute the conflict and it can overtime, obviously, have an impact. How much of an impact will be dependent on how much they go after what they're capable of doing, the resilience of that critical infrastructure, our capacity to help them defend it in many respects. And then I think also there's the economic aspect of this. I mean Ukraine's economy is suffering very badly. It's been devastating and I think obviously taking down the grid will have an impact on that as well.

MS. MITCHELL: How quickly is Russia burning through its military stockpiles of munition?

DIRECTOR HAINES: I don’t think I can give you precise numbers in this forum, but quite quickly. I mean it's pretty extraordinary and our own sense is that they are not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending at this stage. So, that is going to be a challenge and that is why you see them going to other countries, effectively, to try to get ammunition. And of course, we've indicated that their precision munitions are running out much faster in many respects.

They have a lot of stockpiles. How viable those stockpiles are, how much they have, what they can use in different conflicts are obviously all questions that we look at quite carefully with our allies and partners.

MS. MITCHELL: How much are they relying on North Korea for relying their artillery?

DIRECTOR HAINES: We've indicated we've seen some movement, but it's not been a lot at this stage, and it is one of the ones we're watching quite carefully, because it would be significant, potentially.

MS. MITCHELL: And the Iranian drones which have been so effective in taking out the substations so they don't have to use their advanced weaponry to take out power plants as long as they can interrupt the grid. Do we also see evidence – there have been reports that Iranians are on the ground, are they on the ground helping them to actually manufacture these drones?

DIRECTOR HAINES: What I can say is that we’ve obviously seen them give UAVs and they tried – the Iranian regime first denied it, then they said well these were given before the war. They had a variety of different excuses for it. I think we've also seen the Russians looking for other types of precision munitions from Iran and that will be very concerning in terms of their capacity, more generally, but that's probably as much as I can do.

MS. MITCHELL: Director Burns told me in July that Russia had suffered about 15,000 casualties, are their losses continuing at that pace, can you give us some estimate?


DIRECTOR HAINES: I won't do estimates, but I'll say that right now what we're seeing, as I mentioned, is kind of a reduced tempo, so we're not seeing just as many casualties as we have in the prior weeks and months.


MS. MITCHELL: Is there any evidence that China is supplying any material support, other than buying their oil?

DIRECTOR HAINES: China continues to play sort of both sides of this game, right? I mean they are continuing to work with Russia on a variety of things. They continue to do things like have meetings, find ways to support them in international fora to help them manage efforts to expose what the Russians are doing or provide condemnation and they are providing different forms of assistance.

We have not indicated publicly. We don’t see anything that is determinative of military assistance. But there are things on the margins of that, that concern us, and we'll obviously keep watching this.

MS. MITCHELL: It does appear that Putin has tamped down the nuclear threats recently. Is there any evidence that China was instrumental in that?

DIRECTOR HAINES: No. But I think it is fair to say from our prospective, that Xi's voice on this is going to be, obviously, among the most compelling to Putin on this issue and so the fact that he came out and indicated, as he did, in the G7Summit, that was important and I think that's likely to have been something that's important to Putin.

MS. MITCHELL: There's been reference just here now to extraordinary steps that the Intelligence Community took to declassify in the days before the war with our allies and notably in the early days, stages of the war. How much of tactical advantage do you think that gave us and is this a lesson to continue to declassify intelligence to gain leverage over an adversary?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Well, I'll tell you how it developed a little bit, because I think it's important to just understand how we were thinking about it, and also tell you, that it really was an extraordinary team effort. I mean leaders like General Nakasone, who's here today as well, and others, Bill, and just across the Community were apart of making it happen the way we did.

And this has been one of the joys, frankly, of sitting in my seat, which is that I get to see how the Community can work together to actually produce what we've been able to produce in the context of this conflict and have a rare opportunity, honestly, for the world to see a little bit of what we do because often when we're doing this we don't have a chance to expose it as Panetta knows and others who've been leading our Intelligence Community in the past.

But what happened was, essentially, we were obviously starting to provide intelligence to our policy community, to the President, and so on that indicated we were increasingly concerned about the fact that Putin appeared to be developing an option, a military option to do a large scale invasion in Ukraine.

And as we saw that, I think as anybody under the circumstances would be, there was a fair amount of skepticism, even in our own policy community. Are you sure? Like does this really make sense? Why would he do this? What are the options? How is this going to develop? And we, increasingly, were putting intelligence on the table to say, no, we really think this is something that is real. And then the President sort of said, okay, well we need to start talking to our partners and allies about this. What will we do? Is there any opportunity for deterrence? How do we work together to prevent this and ultimately to respond to it?

And so, as you might imagine, Tony Blinken, our Secretary, our National Security Advisor, others, Secretary Austin, go ahead and start talking to allies and partners about it and a lot of them were very skeptical, right? The just sense of really? Like this doesn't seem likely. Are you so sure?

And as it came back, the President sort of said, well, we need the Intelligence Community to go there. We need to start sharing intelligence to make sure that they see what we see so that they'd know that there's at least a basis for actually doing planning and responding to this. And so, we began to set those mechanisms up and really invest in them in a way that was more than what I've at least seen before for this kind of effort. It was pretty extraordinary.

And it was on a bilateral basis. Different leaders in the Intelligence Community going out and talking to their interlocutors. It was teams of our analysts and folks talking to experts in other Intelligence Community services and so on. And we did it to the international fora, to NATO, for example. I went there a number of times before even the invasion and afterwards and briefing them on what we’re seeing and helping them to understand it.

And even if they were skeptical there was a sense of this is serious. We were actually providing some information and changing their mind enough to say we should plan with you on how to do this and I think that did have a big impact. And I think to your final point, yes, it is something that because we saw the structure and how to do this effectively and also the value that we got from talking to our liaison partners about these issues and to getting our system, which of course we do naturally, but doing it in this kind of concerted campaign intensive it.

We're looking at, are there other ways we can do that. I'll put two things down as markers for I think some of the caution we feel about moving forward on this. One is we did it in a very deliberate way to try to protect sources and methods. That's obviously one of our greatest concerns. If we lose the access that allows us to have this insight, then we're really undermining our entire capacity to promote the national security.

So, we want to make sure, and as we look to – many people ask about the China piece, like China any access that we have there we need to protect. It's a long term, critical challenge for us and so we need to be very careful about what we do in this space.

The second is that we don't want to be perceived as a tool of policy. And I think in my own efforts to try to think about this I wanted to make sure that there was still a separate between – I didn't go to the North Atlantic Council, for example, with Tony to do a brief. I went separately and provided the Intelligence Community perspective. I had our senior analyst with us. We let them say what they want. We're not clearing talking points with anybody and we're providing our best assessment and I think that is critical that we continue to have credibility, essentially, in this space if we're not perceived as basically holding policy's water on this.

MS. MITCHELL: Finally, on Russia, I want to ask you about Putin. We've seen the protests which are remarkable, especially since the call up of the troops, but do you see any real dissent among the military, among the elites, the oligarchs in the power structure?

DIRECTOR HAINES: I mean we've seen increasing, essentially, dissent among the elites and you've seen mayors speak out. You've seen some of the more significant figures in Russia provide more critical views of the war and what's happening and Putin than you have in the past, but nothing that amounts to likely regime change, but it could shape some of his decision making. And I think that's the space that we frequently are trying to understand better.

MS. MITCHELL: How do you think the protests have shaped decision making?

DIRECTOR HAINES: The protests in Russia?

MS. MITCHELL: In Russia.

DIRECTOR HAINES: I mean I think the elite voices have probably had more to do to shape potential Putin's decision making than the protests themselves.

MS. MITCHELL: To harden his decision making?


MS. MITCHELL: Speaking of protests, Iran, extraordinary protests that we really have never seen to this extent, not in 2009 even. To what extent do you think it will actually need to change because the Iranian women whom I speak to they believe there's no turning back, but the regime doesn't really seem Tobe movable.

DIRECTOR HAINES: Yes, it is remarkable to see. And I mean among the first protest movements that we've seen really be launched by a cultural issue that was just extraordinary. So, look, we’re not seeing the regime perceive this as an imminent threat to their stability, in effect, right? They’re cracking down on what's happening.

On the other hand, when we look at how this is developing, when we look at it combined with the economy, for example, which really is having extraordinary challenges right now. They hit in early November an all time low for the rial, which was like 370,000 to a dollar. Late November, I think we saw 50 percent inflation, 70 percent food inflation. They are really having challenges and even nationwide seeing sporadic closedowns of businesses and things like that.


And I think from our perspective that’s one of those things that will lead to a greater risk of unrest and instability over time and depending on how it develops and when you combine it with the generational divide that we're seeing that are represented in the protests and those pieces, I think we have yet to see how this ultimately evolves, but it is not something that we see right now as being an imminent threat to the regime and we see the regime continuing to crack down on this pretty violently and that they are posed to do more. Even as we see some kind of controversies, even within them, about exactly how to respond within the government.

MS. MITCHELL: To what extent are they using Chinese technology, surveillance technology to track the protestors and to carry out punitive?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Yes, we see them doing a lot in the information space to try to manage it, as we've seen obviously Iran's efforts to influence our own politics and policymaking.

MS. MITCHELL: Iran is now enriching to just below weapons grade and are taking other steps at Fordow, which is obviously a lot harder to track now that the inspectors are not functioning the way they had been, and the cameras are shut off. What is our red line here?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Well, this is where I get lucky because I'm not in the policy community.

MS. MITCHELL: Can you say how closely they are weaponizing and demilitarizing?

DIRECTOR HAINES: We don't have information to suggest that they've made a decision to move towards a nuclear weapon, but we continue to see them take moves, obviously.

MS. MITCHELL: The U.S. is spending millions of dollars a month to protect former officials from Iranian threats. To what degree haste Revolutionary Guard penetrated the U.S.? I know that protection and action is a domestic issue, but what do we know about their ability to penetrate?


DIRECTOR HAINES: I can't go into details about the operational piece, but I will say that we continue to see the IRGC, the Quds Force basically. And, frankly, other Iranian intelligence services just continue to pursue increasingly aggressive actions. And in part, in response to the Soleimani death and as a reprisal for that, but really across the board they are being extraordinarily aggressive going after both domestically and abroad dissidents and others.


MS. MITCHELL: I want to ask you about North Korea. We saw the most advanced ICBM launch and the frequency of testing is extraordinary. We also saw Kim Jong un bringing his nine year old daughter out the first time to see a launch.

DIRECTOR HAINES: Like a celebration, yes.

MS. MITCHELL: There's a lot of reporting that we're now expecting a nuclear test. What sense does the Community have about how close we are to the first nuclear test in five years?

DIRECTOR HAINES: It's certainly something that we're continuing to look at and monitor. And we've indicated that we expect to see additional tests that a nuclear test is a possibility. Those are things in a move forward, but as you point out, I think we're just seeing an extraordinary number and this year I think it's been over 50 launches and this year alone is pretty extraordinary. And, remember, there are a number of factors that go into that, right? I mean I think, in part, North Korea recognizes that China is in a position where they're less likely to essentially hold them accountable during this period distracted by a variety of other things that we're, in effect, focused on, the Russia/Ukraine. They are potentially having more leverage with Russia to avoid being sanctioned by them and it makes it much harder for Linda in the EU and in the United Nations and in the U.N. Security Council to really get additional sanctions moving forward on them.

MS. MITCHELL: As you point out, China is now more concerned about its own issues as well as perhaps seeing North Korea as less of a threat, a nuclear North Korea, than doing anything that would help America at a time like this.

DIRECTOR HAINES: Yes, they are certainly, as you say, distracted by domestic issues and they have a lot on their plate right now.

MS. MITCHELL: The Chinese protests. Especially surprising to many observers after President Xi Jinping had just consolidated power, how significant do you think these protests are?

DIRECTOR HAINES: I mean I think in a way it's a different version of really more in the probable Putin piece, which is to say that it's, again, not something we see as being a threat to stability at this moment or a regime change or anything like that, obviously. But it is nevertheless something that we're watching quite carefully and again can have an impact on decision making and how it develops will be important to Xi's standing.

I mean for one thing it is highlighting the challenges that Xi finds himself in the context of his COVID policy, right? I mean it has had a pretty negative impact on the economy and China and yet it is also something that seeing protests and the response to it is countering the narrative that he likes to put forward, which is that China is so much more effective at government, they're better at management. There is sort of no chaos here. We don’t have these kinds of problems, right?


And it also, I think, is highlighting the fact that despite the impact it's having on the economy, despite the human impact of the zero COVID policy on communities who are experiencing this in China, he's unwilling to take a better vaccine from the West and is, instead, relying on a vaccine in China that's just not nearly as effective against Omicron and the challenges that they're facing and that's, I think, a challenge for him to manage.

MS. MITCHELL: I know you can't talk about the investigation into Mar a Lago, but if somebody in the Intelligence Community took home documents, classified documents, and then resisted turning them back, what would be the impact?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Andrea? Please don't do that. Just leave it at that.

MS. MITCHELL: I mean two former CIA directors had to pay a price for that or for something similar, for the way they handled intelligence. All right.

Speaking of transparency, the survey of this foundation had an historic low in terms of the public's confidence in the Intelligence Community. What do you attribute that, is that Iraq or is it the vilification of the so called Deep State by domestic criticism, political criticism unwarranted or otherwise? What do you think has caused this lack of confidence?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Yes, I think the survey is indicating that there's a lack or the trust in the military, not the Intelligence Community, but I do think that we also have a challenge with public trust in the Intelligence Community. And honestly, we’ve seen for years public trust deteriorating in public institutions more broadly. This is something that's happening in the United States, and also in Europe and I take it very seriously for the Intelligence Community. I mean I think coming in it was one, from my perspective, one of the key priorities, is can we increase public trust in the Intelligence Community? And I see it as fundamental, frankly, to our mission.


Which is to say that when we have an opportunity to warn the public about threats and challenges that we're facing as a country, I'm hoping that they will actually believe what we're saying, right?

I mean we're not going to be as effective if they don't have trust in us and we're also not going to get the best people coming to the Intelligence Community if they don't trust us. So, there's a variety of reasons for why I think it's critical for us to be building on that. And I'll just tell you some of the things that we're trying to do, in order to enhance that.

I think it's a series of things. One is transparency on some level and for us that's pretty hard I would say. But it's nevertheless critically important for us to push on and it's something that – I mean, look, I am part of a long tradition of leaders, frankly, trying to do this. And the areas that I'm focused on are trying to get out more on what we see as the threat, in general ways, if we cancan add to the conversation.

I think that's important because I think in a democracy we want to have as educated a public conversation and debate as possible and I believe national security and foreign policy is critically important and increasingly so, and so I want to contribute, essentially, what our analysts do, and we have an initiative where National Intelligence Council papers and other analytic products we're trying to pull out.

But I also think it's critically important for us to be transparent about our programs and activities in very general ways that allow people to understand here are the lines around what we do, and we don't do. And that's something that the more we can expose that I think the better we are on just trying to help people understand this is something that I can't expect the Intelligence Community to do, or this is something I can. And so therefore when something comes out, we're able to say this is what fit within this framework and here's why and hopefully people will understand that or here's where it didn't fit in the framework and so therefore you need to hold us accountable for that.

The other piece of it is that we continue to have mechanisms that try to oversee, essentially, our activities and we report to Congress on a whole series of different programs where what is our compliance with those things, where do we see issues, that sort of thing. And we try to increasingly publicize where we see noncompliance because I think that's part of helping to build trust.

We are not doing everything perfectly. We understand that. We see problems too. We're going to try to correct it. We do sometimes needs pace for people to say, okay, you're doing something that is totally unacceptable, but okay, you've admitted to it. Now, let's actually fix it and get better and work on that.

And then we are also doing things where we're trying to, frankly, help reflect the country in our Intelligence Community and the diversity of views.

MS. MITCHELL: Does that include recruitment?

DIRECTOR HAINES: Exactly. So, that means a variety of things. That means trying to actually reflect from an ethnic and racial and gender perspective what America looks like in the Intelligence Community, but it also means getting out to diverse geographies, it means getting diverse viewpoints in the Community. It means, for example, this sometimes comes up, we may produce something like on origins of COVID or something like that and we go out and we talk to a variety of experts on these issues and many times scientists don't want to be seen as consulting with the Intelligence Community for a variety of reasons and so we can't always list here are all of the outside experts we go to. But we want to be able to show people that we have actually gone to a diverse set of views and that we actually have educated folks who are consulting with us and so we try to give as much transparency as we can on all those things. I'm sorry. That was probably too long.

MS. MITCHELL: Before we have to go, I wanted to ask you about any concerns you have about personal data and privacy with the explosion of TikTok, for instance, and Chinese ownership. Should parents be concerned about their kids being so willing to use TikTok?

DIRECTOR HAINES: I'm probably not the best person to ask that question since I don't have kids. But I will tell you I think you should be. It is extraordinary the degree to which China, in particular, but they're not the only ones, obviously, are developing just frameworks for collecting foreign data and pulling it in and their capacity to then turn that around and use it to target audiences for information campaigns or for other things, but also to have it for the future so that they can use it for a variety of means that they’re interested in. And it is extraordinary how open we are, as a society, and the amount of information that we put into public venues that then can be accessed, but also through commercial means as well.

MS. MITCHELL: And finally, I would be remiss if I didn't ask you about the terror threat, is it being reconstituted in Afghanistan and is there real danger of ISIS now? We understand that military operations have stopped in northern Syria against ISIS because of the Turkish attacks against the Kurds.

DIRECTOR HAINES: So, when I list the key terrorist threats to the homeland and to U.S. persons, the terrorist threat from Yemen, from AQAP is right there at the top of the list; al-Shabaab in Somalia; in Mali, AQIM and JNIM, and those are in the top three and then you get to ISIS core in Iraq and Syria and you get to ISIS-K in Afghanistan and those are really the ones that we're focused on in the top tier of threats that we have to manage and monitor. And in terms of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, we're not seeing the capability being derived now in

Afghanistan to be able to attack the United States. That doesn't mean that over time there may not be a threat and that's something that we obviously have to continue to monitor, but that's not our top concern.

ISIS-K is a concern and that is one that we are working to ensure that it doesn't become more of a concern, and it's largely focused, frankly, on the Taliban right now. And we're seeing the Taliban attempt, but they really don't have the capability to go after the way, obviously, we do. That is something that we'll continue to try to manage. And then, as you say, in Syria, I mean this continues to be obviously a concern and, yes, other things create more challenges for us in the space. But again, this is something we've seen two ISIS leaders go in the last year. It's a pretty dynamic environment and we're going to continue to do everything we can to protect Americans on these issues and our allies and partners as well.

MS. MITCHELL: Well, unfortunately, my time is up. We've concluded but thank you very much. Thanks for everything that you're doing and thanks for sharing with us.