August 23, 2004


Senators propose dismantling of CIA (Bryan Bender, August 23, 2004, Boston Globe)

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday proposed a sweeping overhaul of US intelligence agencies that would break up the CIA and the Pentagon's vast spy bureaucracy, split off the FBI's intelligence mission, and centralize control of most of the functions of the executive branch's distinct espionage, counterterrorism, and intelligence analysis organizations.

The proposal by Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, goes well beyond the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission and the Bush administration to reconstruct the nation's intelligence bureaucracies, including removing the largest intelligence-gathering operations from the CIA and the military.

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Roberts said, "My worry is that, if the administration comes out and does not go far enough in regards to the 9/11 Commission and the families, or for that matter with my friends across the aisle, and then they simply introduce a bill that encapsulates the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, that's not a bill. It's a good list of recommendations. . . . We have an urgent need to move but we have to get it right. This was not an idle thing."

The draft legislation would effectively do away with the intelligence structure that has defined the national security apparatus since the years after World War II, replacing the landmark National Security Act of 1947 that established much of the modern model for US intelligence and defense.

The proposed 9/11 National Security Protection Act, supported by eight committee Republicans, met with immediate criticism from longtime government bureaucrats, many of whom have warned against a hasty reshuffling of intelligence agencies.

Already yesterday, intelligence and defense officials who asked to remain anonymous described the plan as "unworkable" and "counterproductive."

It's a great idea to dismantle the current agancies and start over, a terrible one to just reconstitute them in a more centralized structure.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2004 9:42 PM

Mr. Judd;

When a systems architect is designing a mission critical system, the first lesson is "don't have a single point of failure". Of course, the government solution to our intelligence failures is to create just such a single point of failure.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 24, 2004 11:05 AM


And yet people cling to the belief that we learn from the past.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2004 12:13 PM

oj: Did you spot the entry below from Oxblog? It purports to be comments from an ex-KGB officer about Soviet-era reorganizations of their intelligence services.

Posted by: Henry IX at August 24, 2004 11:33 PM