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

December 2004

Materials arranged chronologically.

Coffman, Richard. "Is U.S. Intelligence Headed in the Wrong Direction?" U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 130, no. 12 (Dec. 2004): 2.

"The 9/11 Commission's misguided intelligence recommendations and election-year pressures in a divided nation have intimidated politicians into supporting ill-conceived but politically popular measures." Clark comment: Well said!

Babington, Charles. "House Approves Intelligence Bill: Landmark Measure Passes by 336 to 75 Vote; Senate to Consider Legislation Today." Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2004, A1. []

On 7 December 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives approved "legislation to restructure the nation's intelligence community, creating a director of national intelligence and a counterterrorism center.... [S]enators appear ready to pass the measure, send it to President Bush's desk and adjourn the 108th Congress." See also, Brian DeBose, "House OKs Intelligence Reform Bill," Washington Times, 8 Dec. 2004; and Philip Shenon, "House Overwhelmingly Approves Broad Overhaul of Intelligence," New York Times, 8 Dec. 2004.

Foley, Tom, and Newt Gingrich. "Protecting the Homeland." Washington Times, 8 Dec. 2004. []

The two former House speakers argue for establishing a permanent Committee on Homeland Security. Congress and the President created the DHS "to focus the government's counterterrorist efforts. Congress must now align itself with the new structure of the executive branch, or it will lose influence and DHS will lose focused congressional guidance at the most vulnerable early stages of its development."

Jehl, Douglas. "The Spymaster Question." New York Times, 8 Dec. 2004. []

"The question is whether the changes [to the U.S. intelligence community] will make much of a difference in combating terrorism and weapons proliferation.... [E]ven some supporters of the legislation ... acknowledge their own agnosticism.... [T]here is much that remains uncertain about the plan, with the legislation itself leaving much to be worked out by the agencies affected. Among these is the precise division of authority between the intelligence chief and the Pentagon, which until now has controlled 80 percent of the overall intelligence budget, and how much authority the intelligence chief will exert on operational matters."

See also, Dana Priest and Walter Pincus, "Director's Control Is a Concern," Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2004, A1.

Washington Post. "[Editorial:] Reform in Haste." 8 Dec. 2004, A30. []

"The rhetoric emanating from Capitol Hill ... may have created the impression that ... Congress [has] worked its way to a sensible plan for reorganizing the U.S. intelligence community. Sadly, that is far from the truth.... What passed for a debate ... was actually little more than a turf battle by Pentagon satraps and the congressmen who share their interests on issues that are marginal to the broad reorganization outlined in the legislation. That shake-up ... may improve the quality of intelligence information supplied to the president and other key policymakers; we have our doubts."

Pincus, Walter. "Intelligence Bill Clears Congress: Bush Expected to Approve Post-9/11 Reforms Next Week." Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2004, A4. []

The U.S. Senate approved the intelligence restructuring bill on 8 December 2004 and "sent it to the White House, where President Bush is expected to sign it into law next week." See also, Philip Shenon, "Senate Approves Intelligence Bill," New York Times, 9 Dec. 2004.

Pinck, Charles T., and Dan Pinck. "The Best Spies Didn't Wear Suits." New York Times, 10 Dec. 2004. []

This Op-Ed piece from the a son-father tandem proposes OSS, rather than CIA, as the model for reorganizing the U.S. intelligence community. Specifically, they argue for a Donovan-like leader ("unconventional warfare requires unconventional people"). Clark comment: Not a bad thought standing by itself. However, if the Pincks truly believe that Donovan was "above the [political] infighting," they are reading Donovan differently than he is seen by many others.

Pincus, Walter. "President Gets to Fill Ranks of New Intelligence Superstructure: Reform Legislation Is Set to Be Signed Into Law on Friday [17 December 2004]." Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2004, A35. []

"President Bush is searching ... for a new director of national intelligence [DNI]..., a principal deputy DNI, a director of a new national counterterrorism center, and a general counsel to the DNI, all of whom must be presidential appointees subject to Senate confirmation. In addition, the new chief information officer for the DNI ... will also be a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, under a provision of the fiscal 2005 intelligence authorization bill. Further, the intelligence reform bill requires the president to name a chairman and a vice chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board.... They, too, are subject to a Senate vote."

Baker, Peter, and Walter Pincus. "Bush Signs Intelligence Reform Bill: President Now Must Find an Experienced Hand to Guide 15 Agencies." Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2004, A1. []

On 17 December 2004, President Bush signed into law "the broadest reorganization of the nation's intelligence community in more than half a century.... [T]he legislation left many recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission still unfulfilled, including restructuring congressional oversight as well as broader strategic efforts to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Nor did it address commission recommendations to rethink U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia or to expand diplomatic efforts to win friends in the Muslim world."

Best, Richard A., Jr. Intelligence Community Reorganization: Potential Effects on DoD Intelligence Agencies. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 21 Dec. 2004. Available at:

Shenon, Philip, and Eric Lipton. "9/11 Panel Members to Lobby for a Restructured Congress." New York Times, 21 Dec. 2004, A20.

Clark comment: Thus endth the "will they or won't they" debate. Further coverage is available under the heading of Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

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