Thursday, December 24, 2009

Background and Analysis in Intelligence Issues

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, dramatically
demonstrated the intelligence threats facing the United States in the new century. In response,
Congress approved significantly larger intelligence budgets and, in December 2004, passed the
most extensive reorganization of the Intelligence Community since the National Security Act of
1947. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (hereafter: the “Intelligence
Reform Act”) (P.L. 108-458) created a Director of National Intelligence (separate from the
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency) who heads the Intelligence Community, serves as the
principal intelligence adviser to the President, and oversees and directs the acquisition of major
collections systems. As long urged by some outside observers, one individual is now able to
concentrate on the Intelligence Community as a whole and possesses statutory authorities for
establishing priorities for budgets, for directing collection by the whole range of technical
systems and human agents, and for the preparation of community-wide analytical products.

P.L. 108-458 was designed to address the findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, that there has been inadequate coordination
of the national intelligence effort and that the Intelligence Community, as then-organized, could not
serve as an agile information gathering network in the struggle against international terrorists. The
Commission released its report in late July 2004 and Congress debated its recommendations through
the following months. A key issue was the extent of the authorities of the DNI, especially with regard
to budgeting for technical collection systems managed by Defense Department agencies. In the end,
many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission regarding intelligence organization were
adopted after a compromise provision was included that called for implementing the act “in a manner
that respects and does not abrogate” the statutory authorities of department heads.

On April 21, 2005, the Senate confirmed the nominations of John D. Negroponte, who had served
as Ambassador to Iraq, as DNI and Lt. General Michael V. Hayden, then Director of the National
Security Agency, as Deputy DNI. (In May 2006 Hayden became Director of the CIA.) On
February 7, 2007, retired Navy Vice Admiral J. Michael McConnell was confirmed by the Senate
as Negroponte’s successor as DNI. Retired Admiral Dennis C. Blair was confirmed as the third
DNI on January 28; Leon C. Panetta, former House Member and Director of the Office of
Management and Budget under President Clinton, was confirmed as CIA Director on February
12.

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