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ent mindset than the average person of his or her society. They are, in the literal sense of the word, extraordinary people.
Clearly, these people require very careful treatment during the first few months of their new country. One vexing issue surrounding the defection is a concern about a false defector. Within the defector community itself, this a source of consternation.
There are certain people in our government who believe that no defector can ever be trusted. This is obviously an extreme, unproductive viewpoint, as well. While unproductive to cultivate an attitude that all defectors are suspect, it would be naive to wave aside all security concerns even with the highest level of defectors.
So we look forward to these hearings, Mr. Chairman. I regret that I am only going to be here part of the time, as I have commitments on the Senate floor as well as another committee meeting. But I thank you, again, for holding these hearings.
Senator Nunn. Thank you very much, Senator Roth.
I just have a couple of questions. You have talked about the problems and the lost opportunities. You have mentioned that the government itself should get more involved. But you also mentioned that the narrow slot of intelligence defectors are generally given more attention and care than the broader group of defectors who don't fit that slot but who may very well also be important officials, former officials in totalitarian regimes.
Do you have any recommendation for our consideration as to how we go about, as a government, dealing with those individuals that fall into that slot? In other words, what agency of government, if any particular agency, or who should assume the responsibility?
Mr. SOPKO. Senator, a number of recommendations will be made throughout the hearing; and we will hear some today from a number of the witnesses. Some of the recommendations and I can't say that the staff accepts every one of them but one that we have heard is to utilize the current funding mechanism of Title VIII of the State Department Authorization Act, which currently gives funding for research in the Soviet area, just to set up a separate category of funding for those non-intelligence defectors in order to get their input. Another recommendation is to fund a number of them as "itenerate scholars” for maybe one to three years at various institutions where they get an opportunity to research and write about their experiences.
In this way they are being paid to do the research that they were doing before, but they get an opportunity also to meet American scholars, to learn more about the American system and they can acquire American academic credentials. Although they may have degrees, Ph.D. degrees from behind the Soviet Union, it is against the law to bring out your diploma with you. So they can't prove that they have a degree. So many of them have to go back to school here and get American credentials in order to compete.
That is one of the most popular recommendation being made, to use the current funding mechanism through the State Department, which then gives money out through, I believe it is called, the National Counsel for Soviet and European research. We will have a member from that organization testifying on the third day. That is one recommendation.
Another recommendation is merely to increase the funding for voluntary refugee agencies. Currently, the voluntary agencies only get $650 dollars per refugee resettled. Just to increase the funding to the volunatry agencies, which have been in existence since the thirties helping refugees, utilizing them as a potential area for assisting the defector is another recommendation.
There are numerous recommendations, but those are two of the most prominent ones that we have heard in our staff investigation.
Senator NUNN. Thank you. Before I call on Senator Roth for questions, Senator Sasser, we are delighted to have you with us. Did you have any opening statement you would like to make?
Senator SASSER. No. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend you and Senator Roth for holding these hearings here today. I look forward to hearing from the witnesses. Thank you.
Senator NUNN. Thank you.
Senator COHEN. In the record you filed, you indicated there is a distinction between a defector and a refugee. Perhaps you could articulate this just briefly in terms of how we draw such a distinction.
For example, should a defector or must a defector have some direction to having intelligence about the Soviet Union or one of the Eastern Bloc countries in order to qualify as a “defector" as opposed to a "refugee"?
Mr. SOPKO. Senator, to explain this, I first would have to say that technically, the term “defector” is not legally defined anywhere in the Code. Basically, they fall under INS requirements as either a political refugee, asylee, et cetera. The defector term has a unique definition to the intelligence community, and I believe Director Webster can probably explain it better than I do.
We have used the term defector to cover those who illegally leave the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc or illegally fail to return to the Soviet Bloc. That is how we define the term defector. I don't know if that answers your question, Senator.
Senator COHEN. For example, I know Cuba is not covered under the committee's investigation or at least the analysis about defection and redefectors.
Second, we don't deal with countries such as China, which present other types of problems for resettlement in this country.
Third, if you were dealing with Vietnamese, and for example, you had a boatload of people leave Vietnam and amongst that boatlaod of people were one or two former intelligence officers with the Vietnamese government, would they be defectors, or would they be part of the refugees who were seeking to leave Vietnam?
I just think we need a little bit more explanation about the refugees versus defectors distinction.
Mr. Sopko. As a basis of the investigation, Senator, we basically focused on European Bloc defectors. Our analysis, from what people told us, would be equally apt for those coming from China, those coming from Vietnam, those coming from Cuba or other countries.
The insights they may give us, some Vietnamese give us tremendous insights and so the analogy, although we focused in our investigations and basically, it was because of our access to people to talk to, has been in that group. It could equally be, and many of the people who will be testifying will say it should, equally be applied to those people from Vietnam and other countries like that.
Senator COHEN. It becomes important, because, as you pointed out, it was Mr. Kucharski, I think, who was not really associated with Polish intelligence but nonetheless had valuable information, and was completely overlooked.
So is it something within our own institutional mind frame that leads us to believe that we deal with defectors who are associated with intelligence activities and disregard the others?
Mr. SOPKO. Many of the defectors are talked to, even if they have no intelligence are not intelligence agents. The Kucharski case, I think, is just an example that sometimes people slip through, and there have been a number of cases. Unfortunately, the examples that we know of all seem to be the Kucharski types. The Jameston Foundation has advised us there were a number of Ethiopian officials who ended up in the United States, and no one had ever talked to them about Ethiopia.
I can't say why that occurred. It doesn't seem that the mechanism we have to talk to people is 100 percent successful.
Senator COHEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Nunn. Thank you, Mr. Sopko. We will be hearing from you again during the course of these hearings.
Director Webster, we are delighted to have you here. this morning. We swear in all the witnesses bofore our subcommittee. So if you would hold up your right hand. Do you swear the testimony you give before the subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Director WEBSTER. I do.
Senator Nunn. Mr. Director, we appreciate you being here this morning. We know that you haven't been in your new position long enough to be held responsible for everything that has or has not happened in the past, but we also know that you were very familiar with these sensitive areas, as the Director of the FBI. So we are, I suppose, going to be looking to you for your past experience as well as your present position, but we will be delighted to have your opening statement.
I mentioned, I believe, before you came in, we know there are sensitive areas here, and we respect that. We are going to be very careful about our questions, but if any of the questions go over into those areas, if you will simply indicate you prefer to answer that in a private hearing, we will be glad to respect that. TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM H. WEBSTER, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Director WEBSTER. Fine. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I am pleased to be here today and to share with you my thoughts on what we all recognize is an important subject: Persons who flee from the Communist Bloc to the United States and how our country might better take advantage of all that they have to offer.
Let me begin by discussing briefly the one area to which I can speak officially as the Director of Central Intelligence: The very small fraction of these people who are of intelligence interest to the United States government. The intelligence community, over which I as Director preside, has a system to identify and select intelligence information and to address other intelligence concerns with respect to these persons.
The system is comprehensive, very active and highly successful. The nature and extent of our work is, of course, as you pointed out, classified and cannot be discussed in specifics in this forum. I can say, though, that I am satisfied that my community is working very hard and, indeed, has made improvements in existing efforts.
Today, however, the subcommittee focuses not on these few individuals, but on the larger group, those persons not of special intelligence interest to the United States government.
The Director of Central Intelligence is not officially charged with the responsibility for dealing with this larger group. Nonetheless, I am pleased to share my thoughts with you, and I shall do so. I shall refer to this larger category of persons as resettlement cases rather than as defectors, due to the fact that for us in the intelligence community, the word “defector” is a term with a very limited, specific meaning.
Resettlement cases have chosen to come here of their own will and initiative, just as have so many millions of immigrants throughout our history. Being human, their motivations, their ambitions and their capabilities vary widely. There are, however, two characteristics which all seem to share.
On the one hand, they are dissatisfied with the restrictive societies from which they have come and look forward to enjoying the liberties that we take for granted, perhaps yearning to be free. On the other hand, they have to deal with the difficulties of readjustment to life in a new society in which the mores, the customs, the language, the rules and regulations are different from those to which they are accustomed.
The latter point may seem apparent, but I think it deserves some emphasis. Americans who have changed their residences within the United States are aware of the simple frustrations involved: different systems of trash collection; different ways of calculating state income taxes; variances in whether rentals normally include refrigerators and stoves and so on. This, in our own country. Think how difficult it is for individuals and families who are attempting to build a new life under circumstances in which all the rules have changed and the language is difficult to speak and to understand.
Also, I note that on occasion, those who come here have unrealistic expectations and plans that just simply don't materialize.
The government subsidizes routinely and to a very modest extent the initial resettlement expenses of many resettlement cases. These funds are distributed by the government to the voluntary agency which sponsored the individual. Beyond this assistance, which covers only the first weeks following arrival in the United States, there is no organized system through which the government offers assistance to such individuals.
For helping to smooth the transition and adjustment for so many of the resettlement cases and their families, much credit and praise is due to the voluntary agencies who assume the overwhelming task of resettling many thousands of these individuals each year. I understand that the subcommittee will hear from some of their representatives tomorrow. Given the relatively limited resources available to them, they accomplish a very great deal.
Beyond these, there is also a role for individual Americans to play here. Any of us may, at some point, have occasion to encounter these persons in a wide variety of settings, as neighbors, as colleagues in the work place or as fellow members of religious congregations.
In such instances, we should take the initiative and offer assistance, suggestions and guidance on dealing with American life. While this may seem a small thing, it can mean a great deal to a person coming from a closed, highly structured, repressive system to one whose openness, breadth and freedom offer a sense of liberation, but also a sometimes bewildering range of choices.
Looking beyond the early stages of resettlement, these individuals have a potential to contribute to our society in a variety of ways. They possess a personal knowledge and understanding of their former cultures and political systems which they could provide to interested parties were the effort made to reach out to them.
Some possess unique language skills, a point which I believe General Odom may address in more specific detail in his testimony. Potential recipients of these benefits include: academic institutions, scholars, civic groups, universitites and high school classes and, in certain cases, the government.
Sometimes, however, there is a problem in matching these individuals with potential recipients. Again, the voluntary agencies perform an important function here. These agencies, however, cannot be everywhere and in touch with all the people at once.
Individual initiatives by the potential recipients to seek out such people and offer them the opportunity to make their personal contributions would simultaneously provide them with a sense of satisfaction and enrich our society. This is obviously an area on which the subcommittee may wish to focus.
I note that the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as the primary United States government agencies responsible for the movement of persons from overseas to this country, have important roles to play here, and I would assume that the subcommittee plans on consulting them.
In these brief opening remarks, I have been able to touch only in the most general terms on this very important topic. The problems and the opportunities are as varied and as individual as you might expect with persons of widely differing ages, educational backgrounds, experience and family circumstances.
So at this point, I believe, it would probably be more appropriate to conclude my general comments and respond to specific questions that may be of particular interest to you.
I appreciate the chairman's remarks about some of the work that you do with our own defector programs, but to the extent that I can be helpful in sharing experience gleaned there, I will be glad to do so.