The DNI’s power keeps growing.

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Dniseal_small_1 When intelligence reorganization was proposed and then passed by Congress after 9/11 there was a great deal of resistance from the heads of the major US national intelligence agencies;  CIA, DIA, NSA, State INR, etc.  President Bush was not too keen on the idea either, but, in the end he went along to get along.  The major "reform" was the creation of a leadership for the intelligence community that would be separate from the CIA.  This would be the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

In the process of creation of the Director of National Intelligence’s office, most of CIAs functions were taken away for redistribution either to other agencies or to the new DNI.

CIA was left with the function of heading what was subsequently referred to as the National Clandestine Service, in other words, they were left in charge of the field operations involved in recruiting and running foreign human espionage agents.

This was a much smaller role than the CIA had fulfilled in the past.  Formerly, they had controlled the apparatus that doled out the general intelligence funds to the other agencies.  They had also controlled the national estimative function in the production of national estimates, and many other functions as well.

In addition, certain functions that properly had nothing to do with the information functions of intelligence were redirected to the armed forces.

In response to this truncation of agency roles, CIA people fought back with an intensive campaign of mobilization of the agency’s friends in general and the media in particular.  As a result it was predicted or implied in the media that the DNI structure would fail and that in the end CIA would rule once again in the intelligence community.

Yesterday’s announcement of further consolidation of power and authority in the hands of the DNI is evidence that function follows form and that once having been given a theoretical mandate, the DNI’s office has proceeded to gather actual power into its grasp.  In other words CIA has failed to eliminate its rival.  Having failed, the CIA will continue its "descent" into the status of a service organization for the rest of the government rather than the alternative foreign policy establishment that it once thought it was.

Several Republican members of the House of Representatives oversight committee for intelligence walked out of the meeting in which they were briefed about the increase in the DNI’s power.  They and the Democrats on the committee were upset that the change had been made without their agreement or knowledge.  Their outrage is probably the proof of the continuing influence of CIA congressional liaison staffs.

"The king is dead.  Long live the king!"  pl

http://www.macaunews.net/story/389262

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22 Responses to The DNI’s power keeps growing.

  1. bstr says:

    Dear Col. Lang, I appreciate your keeping us informed with how our government is facing “tough times” with “work, hard work”;(source for quotes foregotten.) But could you please refresh the data with an update on another consolidation of power, the “War Czar?” How has that worked out?

  2. Patrick Lang says:

    bstr
    LTG Lute has dropped off the screen for me. Anyone? pl

  3. David W. says:

    Col. Lang, this is OT, so feel free not to post this, however, I’m very interested to hear some reaction to the ‘suicide’ of Bruce Ivins, the anthrax research scientist from USAMRIID at Ft. Detrick.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-suspect1-2008aug01,0,1343109.story
    While it is obvious that the ‘party line’ will be to paint Ivins as a lone psychopath, there are many unanswered questions, which are not answerable by this theory. Glenn Greenwald presents a nice summary here:
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/01/anthrax/index.html
    There are too many suspicious behaviors post-9/11, govt. insider warnings to take Cipro, MSM collusion, the linkage of anthrax to Saddam, not to mention the letters sent with the anthrax, which when viewed today, imo, practically scream ‘false flag attack.’ Anthrax also figured promintently in the causus belli of the Iraq war, as well as the passage of the PATRIOT Act. Why is the anthrax case being minimized so drastically now?
    There are too many loose ends here, including some uncomfortable possibilities, but I think it is an important thread to pull on–comments?

  4. JM says:

    I’d be interested in hearing about how organizational and functional changes in the intelligence community are evaluated.
    Presumably, there are indicators that can be used to measure “improvements in intelligence products” resulting from the recent overhaul(s).
    Or am I “wildly off the mark”?

  5. b says:

    Formerly, the [CIA] had controlled the apparatus that doled out the general intelligence funds to the other agencies.
    Was not most of the ‘intelligence’ money always spend through the Def.-Sec.? Some 90% of the current $50 billion or so?
    Both the DNI and the CIA are now led by men from the military.
    How much was the whole creation of the DNI a ploy by the Pentagon to get away from civilian oversight by the CIA?

  6. Pan says:

    Reading the new EO 12333, I was struck at the new DNI powers to hire and fire. The only major agency he has no power over the selection is DIA, but he CAN request the SECDEF to fire DIA/DR. The DNI otherwise is on the chop chain for all other major three letter agency heads’ selection process. Interesting.

  7. Curious says:

    Anybody seen the structure of DNI? (and who in congress approved the show?)
    This is hilarious, so bunch of political appointees now control the entire intel final analysis.
    You gonna get “monica Goodling” type of hacks deciding what all those billion dollar worth of information means.
    (which btw, there are two directorate in DNI. Iran, and Venezuela, lead by interesting people)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_the_Director_of_National_Intelligence
    If I have to read the DNI structure it is:
    a) neocon attempt to control the final “valve” how information reaches the president and congress.
    b) they also now get the budget control.
    logical result to all this:
    a) DC think-tank policy will dictate the interpretation to all those data. (they all political appointees one way or another anyway.)
    b) big agencies will lost funding coherency. Every new guys in, CIA will get new budget and mission. (notice mission coordinator are located in DNI for some activity)
    c) since there are only so few people and mostly political appointee, the DNI is going to develop “tunnel vision” if not outright manipulating information. (notice, all those name in the chart are not the brightest bulbs in the business. zero ground experience. And it will get worst and worst as power and corruption accumulate.)
    d) the entire organization chart violate basic inteligence analysis and operation, “compartmentalize” it. When there is scandal or penetration, the entire information collection and analysis structure will collapse for sure.
    ..finally why bother with DNI? hand everything to AIPAC already. DNI will pretty much dictated by DC think-tank anyway. It’s so obvious from the chart.
    Or maybe the CIA should just annex aipac and control the entire thing. That’s one way to reroute those info. hah..

  8. Andy says:

    Col. Lang,
    In a related matter, DIA has doing a lot of reorganizing lately.
    One thing I’m still not clear on with the new DNI structure is how control over the various budgets is going to work and whether oversight and infighting will still take place between the defense and intelligence subcommittees in Congress.

  9. Dana Jones says:

    I would also be interested in the Bruce Ivins story and any other background.
    From what I have been able to read in the local rags, there is nothing stating just when he became a “person of interest”. It sounds like that happened only this year? But that don’t make sense.
    They jumped on Steve Hatfill almost right away, but that looks in hindsight like it was a very clever distraction. There is way more than meets the eye here. Unfortunately, with his death, the whole thing could get dropped by the wayside and forgotten.

  10. First let’s play the lyre for General Lute. Second, anthrax investigation reflects the total incapacity of FBI for anything novel under investigation. Third, the DNI and CIA relationship. I think it is increasingly obvious that judgment was passed on the CIA for its collective mistakes after 9/11. Too many big misses and too many inside the belt-way aggrieved at how the CIA got a separate retirement system, 20 years and out, although few stars considering on the wall in McLean. Probably more school crossing guards killed in action than CIA since its formation under the National Security Act of 1947. Remember despite tremendous opposition, Truman shut down the OSS. It would be useful to review his worries about creation of the “spy agency” in a democracy. There are good people and hopefully those who are will help fill the decimated ranks for the other 15 organizations collectively part of the Intelligence Community. Now that the bulk of the CIA work is contracted out makes it easier to transfer knowledge and skills to other components. I sat next to the son of Richard Helms in Law School (one of the very few with Ethics courses mandatory at the time) and when he told me he was going to be a summer intern for his father’s business I suggested that this was NOT a good idea and smacked of nepotism if nothing else. Nonetheless he did work for the CIA as summer intern. Where do we get such men? Well Williams College for one. Once a key source of CIA leadership. Perhaps given the time frame the American University of Beruit might have been a better choice. By the way ever wonder where the US Gov’t gets its expertise in petroleum engineering? And petroleum geology? Or that’s right, the oil business itself is glad to help out. Thanks for the help! Just cynical at a young age. 66 On Monday.

  11. Mad Dogs says:

    Pat, this is a very interesting post!
    As a paid-in-full, member of good standing, life-long contrarian, I’d pose a question or two to myself, if to no others:
    Does the loss of so much intelligence responsibility by the CIA (reduced to merely the National Clandestine Service), and the placement of much of the Analysis function (as well as much else including the power to fire and hire senior-level intelligence folks) into the DNI improve or diminish the strength of our Intelligence services?
    Simply moving pieces around on the chessboard suggests that it would not improve analysis. What it might do however, is tilt the playing field, skew the results, pre-determine the outcome. And perhaps that is exactly the point!
    Perhaps there is something more nefarious to this than meets the eye. Let me link a couple other notions this Administration is known for and see if our picture becomes clearer.
    Politicization – This Administration is rife with undeniable examples of the deliberate politicization of the instruments of government. The most recent example of course is the just released DOJ OIG/OPR Report “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General”.
    The goal, as this report irrefutably documents, was to inundate the DOJ with “loyal Bushies” not only into the Political Attorney Positions within the DOJ, but more immportantly, into the non-political Career Civil Service positions of the DOJ.
    But, by no means is this the only such example. Other notable examples include the DoD’s Office of Special Plans created by Mr. Jacobin himself, Paul Wolfowitz, and headed by “the blankety-blank stupidest guy on the face of the earth” Doug Feith. The specific and only charter of the OSD was to stovepipe raw, unvetted intelligence that supported pre-determined opinions and judgments of this Administration. Such as the existence of WMD in Iraq, Al Qaeda ties to Saddam Hussein, and that Iraq had something to do with 9/11.
    Everywhere one looks, the very same Politicization took place. The State Department, the EPA, the Commerce Department, and on and on and on. Even the CIA was subject to the same infiltration with Porter Goss and his personal Congressional Staff.
    Cheney’s Animus – VP Cheney has a life-long history of disdain and outright animus for those who hold opinions different than his own. This is particularly true of Intelligence Analysts and their analysis. While Deadeye loves the clandestine, James Bond derring-do side of the CIA, he abhores the analysis side.
    Perhaps this new power and reach of the DNI is meant to not only strip the CIA of its intelligence analysis function, but to hold sway over the hiring and positioning of staff and managers into the new DNI Analysis organization (both political and career civil service positions). Do you want to bet whether a similar “loyal Bushie” test is a criteria for the DNI organization positions?
    Giving creedence to this view is the very fact that both Congressional Democrats and Republicans were upset by this EO (Executive Order), secretly created with none of their imput or approval, and issued at the end of this Administration as diktat or fiat, and more importantly, fait accompli. Why those Republican Congress folks were so angered, they even walked out on the briefing being provided by DNI Mikey McConnell!
    I’m suspicious of the timing, the method and the intent behind this EO “revision”. And I have serious doubts given this Administration’s penchant for secrecy, politicization of career government positions, insistence on the dominance of the Unitary Executive, and the breaking or ignoring of federal laws as suits their whims, that this is anything but bad news.
    And Pat, while I’m on the topic of Intelligence restructuring, do you have an opinion or two on the restructuring of your old stomping grounds at the DIA? By that I mean this: “A Reorganization of Defense Intelligence“:

    The Department of Defense has embarked on a significant modification of its intelligence apparatus, creating a new human intelligence center within the DIA, abolishing a controversial counterintelligence agency, and reorganizing the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence…

  12. J says:

    Colonel,
    under the odni system we’re already starting to see a ‘outsourcing’ of intel to outfits like the odni’s previous outfit bah. so to whom will intel contractors have allegiance regarding their ‘intel’ will it be to the highest paid bidder or our nation? will it’s intel be real or memorex? i worry that intel will become more memorex the longer the odni position stays on the block, notwithstand the longer its around the stronger (turf wise) it becomes, and not for the better.

  13. Patrick Lang says:

    J et al
    I don’t agree about the evils of outsourcing. The government employees who do the work are the same people who do the work as empolyees of contractors after they retire. The intelligence agency leaders are so sensitive to the desires of the consumers that the contractors are at least as independent in their judgments. pl

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    All
    The notion that DoD has always had the bulk of the intelligence money is a piece of brilliant CIA disinformation. They are at least as good at self-serving information operations as the marines. (Note the small “m”).
    Money in the USG has been distributed in what are called “programs” under the McNamara inspired PPBS system since the ’60s. There are various programs. The Cryptologic program is run by NSA which funds itself and the service cryptologic agencies. NSA is only formally under DoD control. Secdef has only a very limited say in what they do with that money. It is really the national command authority as represented by the NSC that has the deciding authoprity there. The National Reconnaissance Program (satellites) is similarly controlled. The Tactical Intelligence and Reconnaissance Programs (TIARA)are not programs at all really. They are elements of the service (Army, Navy, etc.) programs that are further part of big programs like the General Purpose Forces Program that are the business of the individual armed services as institutions. DoD has a coordinating responsibility for those but does not run them directly.
    If you think that these distinctions are unimportant than you eiher need more bureaucratic experience or you have been successfully influenced by the CIA. pl

  15. Patrick Lang says:

    All
    The careerist bureaucrats who run CIA are not a bit more independent than the careerist bureaucrats who now run the DNI structure.
    If you think that CIA ever did anything without thinking of what the administration in power wanted than you are truly a naif.
    The great flaw in the old structure. from my point of view, was that the director of CIA was not a “daddy” to all the agencies of the national community. He was the director of CIA first, last and always and did everything he could to advance CIAs interests at the expense of all the other agencies whether or not that was good for the country.
    NSA and the NRO were largely safe from that process because they had their own money in separate PPBS “programs” as I have described elsewhere.
    If you don’t think that is true than you are either uninformed or have watched too many TV movies like “The Company.”
    DoD always had a HUMINT function. The notion that this is something new is an element of the old guard CIA people’s last ditch efforts to regain their former supremacy.
    My advice to them is to give it up and go work at the DNI. pl

  16. Jonathan House says:

    Off topic
    An excellent short piece by Patrick Cockburn
    Who’s Really Running Iraq?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick08022008.html

  17. Pan says:

    I find it amusing people are alarmed by another DIA reorganization. Reorganizations have been so frequent, people don’t make more than a few business cards at a time to save money from throwing all the old ones out everytime there’s a reorganization.

  18. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Seems to me that, as a nation, we need to do whatever it takes to get the best possible product to consumers and decisionmakers in the Executive and Congress. If that takes major reorganization so be it. We did this after WWII and presumably have learned some lessons over the years.
    Will reorganization mean that product won’t be politicized? Time will tell…and we must keep a vigilant eye on what the Neocons and their fellow travelers are up to in their march through the institutions.

  19. Pan, you are so spot on that I’ll second your post by repeating it here…
    I find it amusing people are alarmed by another DIA reorganization. Reorganizations have been so frequent, people don’t make more than a few business cards at a time to save money from throwing all the old ones out everytime there’s a reorganization.
    I really don’t understand the reorganization culture of the US government. But upper management seems to love it! My current client is DISA. After a little over three years there, I’ve seen more than one reorganization. Everyone just goes with the flow, shows up to the same cube every morning, and changes their email signature to the new org code!
    As for the DNI, I don’t know what to think of that. Those types of “dynamics” are way over my pay grade. It is more than the typical shuffling of org codes that I’m used to seeing.

  20. JM says:

    Col. Lang writes: “I don’t agree about the evils of outsourcing. The government employees who do the work are the same people who do the work as empolyees of contractors after they retire…”
    But it’s a question of cost-effectiveness, isn’t it?
    And contractors are not just skilled people who’ve retired. They’re also people who leave service in the prime of their careers to make more dough in the private sector.

  21. I’d be interested in hearing about how organizational and functional changes in the intelligence community are evaluated.
    Your question got me looking for an answer. I really didn’t find one that covers the methodology for evaluating changes. But here’s some good reading that is related to the topic:
    “SEC. 1095. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY REFORM.
    (a) REPORT.—Not later than one year after the effective date of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence shall submit to the congressional intelligence committees a report on the progress made in the implementation of this title, including the amendments made by this title. The report shall include a comprehensive description of the progress made, and may include such recommendations for additional legislative or administrative action as the Director considers appropriate.”
    Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
    Here’s the report:
    DNI’s Report

  22. JM says:

    Thanks for the links, CWZ.

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