Debate over Recommendations of National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

August 2004

Materials arranged chronologically.

Pavitt, James. "Change and the CIA." Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2004, A19. []

In this Op-Ed piece, the newly retired DDO argues that "we must avoid a rush to change for the sake of change.... If we rush to implement sweeping change, especially at a time when the threats to America are as great or greater than they have been at any time since Sept. 11, we may do more harm than good.... That we need to do intelligence better is not in question. But we need to act thoughtfully and not harm U.S. national security in some vain effort to perfect the country's intelligence capabilities. Intelligence can never be perfect."

Pavitt also notes that "[t]he post-Cold War 'peace dividend' resulted in a 30 percent decline in funding for the CIA's Directorate of Operations ... and a personnel downsizing of nearly 20 percent."

Dewar, Helen, and Walter Pincus. "Congress Split on Pace of Intelligence Reforms: Feeling Pressure From 9/11 Commission, Lawmakers Urge Speed and Caution." Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2004, A8. []

"Members of Congress are sharply divided over how fast to proceed in drafting legislation to restructure the nation's intelligence services -- torn between political demands for speed and caution arising from the complexity of their task. They also appear split over some of the major recommendations that the national commission charged with investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, made in its 567-page report."

Pincus, Walter. "Critics Question Panel's Study of New Measures: Report Said to Overlook Changes." Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2004, A3. []

"Active and retired intelligence and defense officials are questioning whether the Sept. 11 commission adequately considered the many changes made since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in recommending the U.S. intelligence community be restructured."

Graham, Bradley. "Intelligence Changes Concern Pentagon; Creation of New Director May Hurt Military Operations, Officials Warn." Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2004, A19. []

In a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on 10 August 2004, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Army Gen. Bryan D. Brown, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, "warned ... against allowing the proposed creation of a powerful national intelligence director to obstruct the flow of timely information to troops in the field." However, "Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chairman Lee H. Hamilton testified that the proposed reforms were meant to ensure greater cooperation among the government's 15 intelligence agencies, not interfere with military operations. The Pentagon's intelligence needs, they said, would be protected by the appointment of a top Pentagon official as a deputy to the new intelligence director and by keeping 'tactical intelligence' activities in military agencies."

Cumming, Alfred. The Position of Director of National Intelligence: Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 12 Aug. 2004. [Available at:]

This report provides an historical overview of efforts to strengthen centralized authority over the U.S. Intelligence Community, as well as a summary of the arguments for and against the various current proposals to create a Director of National Intelligence.

White, Josh, and Mike Allen. "Rumsfeld: Use Caution in Reform of Intelligence." Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2004, A1. []

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on 17 August 2004, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld "warned ... that moving hastily to centralize all U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts under a new national director could spawn confusion while the country is at war and could prevent vital information from getting to those on the battlefield."

Eggen, Dan. "GOP Plan Calls for Revamping Intelligence; Pentagon, CIA Would Give Up Many Duties." Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2004, A1. []

On 22 August 2004, SSCI Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) "unveiled a radical proposal ... to remove most of the nation's major intelligence-gathering operations from the CIA and Pentagon and place them directly under the control of a new national intelligence director.... [T]he CIA's three main directorates would be torn from the agency and turned into separate entities reporting to separate directors. The Pentagon would lose control of three of its largest operations as well, including the ... National Security Agency." See also, Philip Shenon, "A G.O.P. Senator Proposes a Plan to Split Up C.I.A," New York Times, 23 Aug. 2004.

Shenon, Philip. "Criticism From Many Quarters Greets Plan to Split C.I.A." New York Times, 24 Aug. 2004. []

The "proposal by Republican senators to break up the C.I.A. and transfer other intelligence agencies out of the Pentagon met with an expected rush of strong criticism" from "Republicans and Democrats alike, and drew a noncommittal response from President Bush." Former DCI George J. Tenet said that "Senator Roberts's proposal is yet another episode in the mad rush to rearrange wiring diagrams in an attempt to be seen as doing something." See also, Dan Eggen and Charles Babington, "Many Are Cool to Intelligence Plan: Bush Expresses Reservations; Tenet Says GOP Senate Proposal Would 'Gut the CIA,'" Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2004, A3.

Shenon, Philip. "9/11 Panel Leader Has Praise for Plan to Split C.I.A." New York Times, 25 Aug. 2004. []

The chairman of the Sept. 11 commission, Thomas H. Kean said on 24 August 2004 that the "proposal by several Senate Republicans to break up the C.I.A. and move other intelligence agencies outside the Pentagon appeared to be a 'constructive alternative' to the commission's proposals and reflected a growing view that 'the present situation is unacceptable.'"

Curl, Joseph. "Bush Signs Intelligence Orders." Washington Times, 28 Aug. 2004. []

On 27 August, 2004, President Bush signed a executive order granting the DCI "many of the functions" of the proposed national intelligence director. According to a senior administration official, the move gives "the CIA director temporary authority over budgetary issues" at NSA, DIA, and NRO.

Another executive order creates "a new National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) tasked with enhancing information sharing among intelligence agencies." The DCI "will appoint the NCC director, with the approval of the president, and oversee the new agency." See also, Dan Eggen, "Bush Gives CIA Director More Power," Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2004, A1.

New York Times. "[Editorial:] Beware of Tinkering Lawmakers." 28 Aug. 2004. []

"Underpinning the 9/11 commission's call to reform the nation's intelligence services is the parallel warning that Congress must reform itself. The commission called on Congress to junk its 17-committee jungle of jurisdictional fiefs, which have failed miserably in their responsibility of oversight.... [A]ny real attempt at oversight means Congress must stop signing blank checks for the Pentagon, which controls most of the annual $40 biillion intelligence budget in various secretive ledgers. For openers, the budget should be made public."

Washington Post. "[Editorial:] Too Much Secrecy." 28 Aug. 2004, A24. []

"Unnecessary secrecy erodes public confidence in government.... [I]n a post-Sept. 11 world, needless secrecy is downright dangerous insofar as it prevents the open sharing of information that ought to have many different pairs of eyes examining and analyzing it. The Sept. 11 commission recently recommended declassifying intelligence community budget information. This would be a good place to start."

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