2008 - 2009


Materials presented in chronological order.

Waterman, Shaun. "U.S. Agencies Set Up YouTube for Spies." United Press International, 19 Mar. 2008. []

"U.S. intelligence agencies have set up a series of secure Web sites on which analysts and other officials can post and view videos -- a YouTube for spies."

McCreary, John, and Richard A. Posner. "The Latest Intelligence Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 23, no. 3 (Jun. 2008): 371-380.

Using the 2007 NIE on Iran's "suspension" of the development of nuclear weapons as a pivot for their commentary, the authors argue that "[w]hen security concerns preclude publication of the key evidence on which an intelligence finding is based, the publication of the finding itself becomes doubly questionable." They conclude that there are better ways (less sensational art forms) for conveying this kind of information to a President.

Waterman, Shaun. "Bush Reforms Security Clearances, Again." United Press International, 1 Jul. 2008. []

"President Bush signed an executive order [on 1 July 2008] streamlining the background checks undergone by federal employees, including those who need security clearances to access secret information."

Warrick, Joby. "Bush Orders Revamping of Intelligence Gathering: DNI's Authority Boosted, Document Shows." Washington Post, 31 Jul. 2008, A2. []

On 30 July 2008, President Bush issued a revised Executive Order 12333 that seeks to bolster the DNI's authority. According to a White House presentation, shared with congressional oversight committees, the revision "gives the DNI primary authority to issue 'overarching policies and procedures' and to ensure that intelligence collection is coordinated among the 16 agencies. It also conveys greater power to set spending priorities and establish standards for training and tradecraft. In one of the more controversial changes, the new order allows the DNI to formulate policy for engaging with the intelligence agencies and security services of other countries.... But the new policy stipulates that the CIA would 'coordinate implementation' of those policies."

CNN. "U.S. Intelligence Community Reveals 2008 Budget." 28 Oct. 2008. []

On 28 October 2008, the DNI announced that "[t]he U.S. national intelligence operations budget was $47.5 billion in fiscal year 2008.... The previous year’s figure was $43.5 billion."

Mikkelsen, Randall. "Obama to Get First Intelligence Briefing Thursday." Reuters, 5 Nov. 2008. []

Barack Obama will get his first intelligence briefing as president-elect on 6 November 2008, a U.S. official said on 5 November 2008. The official added "that Obama would receive the same briefing as outgoing President George W. Bush." DNI Michael McConnell "will launch Obama's briefings and two CIA employees will be the principal briefers."

DeYoung, Karen. "National Security Structure Is Set: Under Obama, Council Will Grow." Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2009, A3. []

President Obama's NSC Policy Directive 1, signed on 13 February 2009, "adds the attorney general, the secretaries of energy and homeland security, and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to the formal National Security Council." National security adviser James L. Jones will set the NSC agenda, communicate the President's decisions to the others, determine when to call White House meetings of policymaking "principals," and oversee implementation of assigned tasks. The directive mandates that White House counsel, Gregory B. Craig, "shall be invited to attend every NSC meeting," along with deputy national security adviser Tom Donilon.

The President "has divided his national security orders into two categories: presidential policy directives, and presidential study directives, designed to initiate and direct policy reviews." Study Directive 1, dated 23 February 2009, "orders an interagency review of the White House homeland security and counterterrorism structure. Headed by counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, the review will recommend whether to retain the separate the Homeland Security Council established under the Bush administration, or to incorporate some or all of its functions within the NSC."

Sniffen, Michael J. "Obama Orders Review of Government Classification." Associated Press, 29 May 2009. []

On 27 May 2009, President Barack Obama "ordered national security adviser James L. Jones to consult relevant agencies and recommend revisions in the existing presidential order on national security classification that lays out the rules under which agencies can stamp documents 'confidential,' 'secret' or 'top secret.'" The president also "ordered Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to set up a government-wide task force on standardizing so-called controlled but unclassified information."

Scarborough, Rowan. "Lack of Translators Still Hampers Intelligence; Congress Warns about Weakness in the War on Terror." Washington Times, 31 Aug. 2009, A1. []

In its 2010 budget report, the SSCI wrote that "[t]he necessary cadre of U.S. intelligence personnel capable of reading and speaking targeted regional languages such as Pashto, Dari and Urdu 'remains essentially nonexistent.' ... Intelligence officials say they've offered significant sums of money to try to lure more translators, but recruitment remains slow and some attractive candidates have trouble passing the review for security clearances.... The Senate committee is looking for results. It wants agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy by year's end, and it added budget money to fix what it called 'this perpetual problem.'"

Baker, Peter, and Carl Hulse. "U.S. Had Early Signals of a Terror Plot, Obama Says." New York Times, 30 Dec. 2009. []

"President Obama was told [on 29 December 2009] about more missed signals and uncorrelated intelligence that should have prevented a would-be bomber from boarding a flight to the United States, leading the president to declare that there had been a 'systemic failure' of the nation’s security apparatus." See also, Carrie Johnson, Karen DeYoung, and Anne E. Kornblut, "Obama Vows to Repair Intelligence Gaps Behind Detroit Airplane Incident," Washington Post, 30 Dec. 2009, A1.

Savage, Charlie. "Obama Curbs Secrecy of Classified Documents." New York Times, 30 Dec. 2009. []

In an executive order and an accompanying presidential memorandum, "President Obama declared on [29 December 2009] that 'no information may remain classified indefinitely' as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch's system for protecting classified national security information.... He also established a new National Declassification Center at the National Archives to speed the process of declassifying historical documents by centralizing their review." Moreover, the President "eliminated a rule put in place ... in 2003 that allowed the leader of the intelligence community to veto decisions by an interagency panel to declassify information. Instead, spy agencies who object to such a decision will have to appeal to the president."

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