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National Intelligence Director

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
What do folks think about the debate over a NID? The 9/11 commssion recommended that the office be a quite powerful one. It would control the budgets of all foreign and domestic intelligence services (including those within the DoD). It would have the power to appoint the leaders of those services, subject to the President's approval. And it would serve as the primary liason between all of those services and the White House. An enormously powerful post, with vast responsibilities.

In my opinion, long-overdue - with the possible exception of the "domestic" part. This is what the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) was supposed to be, when that post was created in 1947. Without clear budget powers, without authority over personnel, the NID would be just another figurehead, another DCI. I'm not, however, comfortable with the idea of a domestic intelligence agency, especially one under the same roof as the foreign intelligence agency. There's way too much room there for potential abuse and cross-pollination.

John Kerry has proclaimed that he will rubber-stamp the 9/11 commission suggestions, including the full NDI. He obviously feels that nuancing them would make him appear weak and waffly. For his part, President Bush, apparently feeling outflanked by Kerry's position, and stunned by public support for the recommendations, announced that, he, too, supports the creation of a NDI - but with a few minor, almost irrelevant, nitpicky alterations:
Quote:
White House Press Release
And I think that the new National Intelligence Director ought to be able to coordinate budgets. I certainly hope Congress reforms its budget process, too, so that it's a seamless process.

Secondly, the National Intelligence Director will work with the respective agencies to set priorities. But let me make it also very clear that when it comes to operations, the chain of command will be intact. When the Defense Department is conducting operations to secure the homeland, there'll be nothing in between the Secretary of Defense and me.

No budget power. No personnel authority. No change in the chain-of-command. He even refuses to make the NDI a cabinet-level or White House post. In short, he would take the DCI, remove the "C" and add an "N" in front. Oh, and separate this powerless figurehead job from the job of leading the CIA.

Doesn't this sound like "embrace, extend, extinguish"? If he doesn't like the NDI, why can't he just say so? And how can all the major media outlets possibly be running headlines like "Bush embraces National Intelligence Director"? From his own mouth, it's nothing of the sort! I really hope we can have an honest, adult debate about this before it gets rubberstamped either way.
post #2 of 11
I don't see how adding this one position will improve things. This one guy is not going to read the data him/herself but rather read report summaries put together by his/her staff. We have people who do this already. This post will most likely add a level of bureaucracy to an already laden system. I don't think this post will help in the grand scheme of things.

I feel the red team recommendation--a team of people put in place to challenge all intelligence findings--would produce a much better result. Imagine if someone said "Hey your wrong about Iraq" from within the intelligence community. From the looks of things nothing would have changed given Bush's revelations y'day about the invasion but It would have weakened his position and may have changed the view within congress. Challenging the intelligence community to prove every report would be much more effective than adding another turd to the heap of bureaucracy IMHO.
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post #3 of 11
Another example of how Democrats are Republicans and vice versa. I thought Repubs didn't like "Big Government"???

And this "czar" is USELESS. No hiring/firing power. No budget power. Just more red tape. Way to make our intelligence even dumber at fighting terrorism.

Did I mention I hate Bush?
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post #4 of 11
He's clearly just "supporting" the recommendation for show.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by faust9
I feel the red team recommendation--a team of people put in place to challenge all intelligence findings--would produce a much better result.

I feel like this is something that might be easier with a truly centralized intelligence clearing-house. All intelligence estimates would come through this new NDI office. The law would just have to mandate that each estimate be countered by a "red team" estimate (simple to say, but chances of making it into law?). The way things work now, the community is so Balkanized that having a real red team is impossible. If the White House doesn't like the CIA's estimate, they'll go to DIA, or NSA, or whatever. CIA's red team estimate never makes it out of CIA. CIA feels pressure to come into line, rather than pressure to make sure they're right. Administrative divide and conquer; or divide and manipulate, perhaps.

I'm especially not sure how the NDI should be appointed. "Pleasure of the President" seems to invite politicking, but complete independence is a little too scary. Imagine Alan Greenspan with a literal army at his back. Lifetime appointment, judge-like, is out of the question. Maybe a four-year appointment, but staggered with Presidential terms?
post #6 of 11
Didn't we do this 2 years ago when we created the Department of Homeland Security? How many more intelligence agencies do we need? We have what, the NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, military intelligence and who knows what other departments.
post #7 of 11
What the hell is the National Security Advisor's job?
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post #8 of 11
...and what's so centralized about the Central Intelligence Agency?!
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally posted by PBG4 Dude
Didn't we do this 2 years ago when we created the Department of Homeland Security? How many more intelligence agencies do we need? We have what, the NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, military intelligence and who knows what other departments.

The surplus is to make up for President bush's Lack of intelligence.

*rim shot*

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post #10 of 11
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post #11 of 11
How is this different from what Clarke's job was? I mean, I understand the need for greater coordination among the various agencies and fiefdoms, but isn't this position already in place?
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