Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

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."

Cohen, Sheldon I. "Security Clearance Changes and Confusion in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004." Journal of National Security Law & Policy 1, no. 2 (2005): 527-535.

Title III of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 "reorganized the entire national security clearance system, although the subject received practically no attention in public discussion during the 9/11 Commission hearings. Because this change was not fully explored in either the House or Senate hearings or during floor debate, Title III includes contradictory provisions concerning the assignment of responsibilities for security clearance policies and procedures."

Kaplan, David E., and Kevin Whitelaw. "Intelligence Reform -- At Last." U.S. News & World Report, 20 Dec. 2004, 31-32.

"If not the sweeping change that some hoped for, the reforms do amount to a subtle, but important, recalibration in the balance of power over U.S. intelligence activities.... [A] concern among intelligence watchers is whom [President] Bush will nominate as the nation's first DNI.... That choice may prove more important than any single reform, defining the DNI's role and helping chart the course for U.S. intelligence for years to come."

Pincus, Walter. "New Law to Spread the Use of CIA's Analysis Approach." Washington Post, 20 Dec. 2004, A21. []

The "intelligence reform act requires several key CIA analysis practices to be enforced throughout the entire intelligence community" (IC). The DNI "must pick an 'individual or entity' to be responsible for ensuring that 'elements of the [IC] conduct alternative analysis of the information and conclusions in intelligence products.'... Another CIA practice being spread ... is to have a quality control office or officer make sure that analyses conform to high standards." The DNI must also "appoint an individual [within the director's office] who would provide" the function of the CIA's "ombudsman to whom analysts and others can raise concerns about problems that do not require a full investigation" by the inspector general.

Posner, Richard A. Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), comments that "[b]eyond the thoughtful analysis and practical suggestions," this book "makes a fine text for a course on national intelligence. It covers the basic topics, is thoroughly documented with open sources ... and is short enough to please any student." This is "[a] very valuable addition to the literature." For DKR, AFIO WIN 16-05 (19 Apr. 2005), the author has presented "[a] shrewd and challenging appraisal of what effective reform requires." Posner believes that "by creating a DNI, and so adding one more rung to the ladder of command, less information will reach the top than before."

To Bruns, DIJ 16.1 (2007), Posner's work is "much more thoughtfully and elegantly argued" than the 9/11 Commission report. In addition, the author "convincingly argues that the report's conclusions are not well supported." Winn, Parameters, Summer 2006, calls this "a rewarding read that is worth re-reading." The author "draws into question both the soundness of the [9/11] commission's analysis and the Intelligence Reform Act itself -- the implication being that 'the organization' was to blame for the faulty analysis." Posner's "concern is that a top-heavy, Rube Goldberg-style reorganization may increase rather than reduce the dangers that face us."

Lowenthal, IAFIE News 1, no. 2 (Winter 2008), notes that the author's premise "is simple: the 9/11 Report singled out management flaws as enabling the attack on the U.S. to take place; why then, does the same Report conclude that organizational change is necessary? Posner explores this divide ... by carefully reviewing the various themes believed to have enabled the attacks ... and juxtaposing them" against the Report's recommendations, "primarily the creation of a DNI. He concludes that these organizational changes represent flawed logic."

Shenon, Philip. "Next Round Is Set in Push to Reorganize Intelligence." New York Times, 20 Dec. 2004. []

While the president's signature on the bill to restructure the U.S. intelligence community "was the final act in a tumultuous legislative debate, it signaled the start of a new and perhaps equally turbulent period in which the intelligence director will need to assert authority" over 15 separate intelligence organizations. "It is virtually certain that there will be early struggles between the director and the Pentagon, which now controls most of the government's estimated $40 billion annual intelligence budget but must cede much of its authority to the new official." Clark comment: A careful reading suggests that the latter conclusion (on ceding authority) is not supported by the legislation. Further comment: After-the-fact developments confirm that the Secretary of Defense has "ceded" very little, if anything.

Turner, Michael A. "Intelligence Reform and the Politics of Entrenchment." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 3 (Fall 2005): 383-397.

"[T]he Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, passed in December 2004, does not significantly alter the U.S. Intelligence Community.... The Department of Defense, its advocates in congressional oversight committees, and the White House ... [worked] to blunt [the] effects [of the 9/11 Commission report] and produce legislation that mollified the proponents of reform but did nothing more than reshuffle America's intelligence leadership."

Zelikow, Philip. "The Evolution of Intelligence Reform, 2002–2004: A Personal Perspective." Studies in Intelligence 56, no. 3 (Sep. 2012): 1-20. []

In 2002, "intelligence reform was being pushed on the agenda by arguments about 9/11. But it was also being pushed on the agenda by emergence of a new dimension: the problem of domestic intelligence.... By the beginning of 2004 yet another large issue was in play: the intelligence failure over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq....

"[T]he 9/11 Commission recommendation had provided important political momentum to the push for a DNI. But the actual form this took in the legislation owed more to ... other influences in both the administration and on Capitol Hill....

"[A]n eternal question lingers: At what point does an unsatisfac- tory compromise become too unsat- isfactory? The best may be the enemy of the good. But when is good enough?"

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