The U.S. Government overhauls intelligence agencies forming the new Director of National Intelligence.
After World War II the U.S. created the CIA to handle security concerns in the growing cold war. Our intelligence agencies have largely remained the same, that is until September 11, 2001.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States the U.S. Government began an inquiry to find out exactly how we were caught so unaware of the pending attacks. The Sept. 11 Commission found that, among other issues, the lack of cooperation and communication between the 15 U.S. intelligence agencies was largely responsible for the lack of useful intel that could have prevented the terrorist attack.
The Commission's report included the recommendation of forming a new Director of National Intelligence to address the problem. President bush was reluctant to sign on to the bill, which would give sweeping powers to the new Director, but eventually gave his full support creating the new Director of National Intelligence.
The Director of National Intelligence's mandate is to organize the 15 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, FBI and NSA, coordinating the sharing of information, resources and other efforts. The new Director, to truly have the power to effect change, has been given a broad range of powers including control of a substantial budget, reportedly at 40 billion dollars. The new Director will see to the budget needs of all the agencies making sure they have what they need to do their jobs effectively.
The focus of the new DNI is largely to prevent terrorist attacks like those that happened on September 11.
"Under this new law, our vast intelligence enterprise will become more unified, coordinated and effective. It will enable us to better do our duty, which is to protect the American people," said president bush during the signing ceremony.
Key officials believe that a stronger cooperation between the U.S. security agencies is vital to the safety of the U.S. They also suggest that it will take the right leadership to make the DNI strong enough to effect the changes necessary to secure our nation. Some of the people being named as choices include CIA Director Porter Goss; Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, the head of the National Security Agency; Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; and White House homeland security adviser Fran Townsend. The front runner being CIA Director Porter Gross, though the position is proving hard to fill some six weeks after the bill has been passed.
Since the position has not been filled we have yet to see what this new DNI can accomplish with the new resources of the combined security agencies. The bill also outlined additional powers like wiretaps, improve baggage checking at airports and tighter border patrols including a 2000 person staff increase each year for the next 5 years. Until the position is filled we can only speculate on what can be done, but if it is as effective as the CIA was after its creation then we should see some impressive results. We'll just have to wait and see.