APRIL 02, 2009
Years after major reforms the U.S. agencies that gather intelligence to protect national security remain infested with the same mismanagement, turf battles and communication breakdowns responsible for the failures leading to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
A scathing internal report, made public this week by the inspector general for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), presents alarming information on the continued crisis among the country’s 16 spy agencies. Despite a sweeping overhaul and a dramatic budget increase (nearly $45 billion in the last fiscal year), the agencies are still prone to disastrous intelligence failures that put the U.S. at risk.
The 16-page report points out that the DNI, created by Congress four years ago to force collaboration between the nation’s spy agencies, has failed miserably. In fact, it concludes that most U.S. intelligence employees are so confused about the office that they “were unable to articulate a clear understanding” of its mission, roles and responsibilities.
The DNI claims to be the nation’s first line of defense, serving as the head of the intelligence community by integrating foreign, military and domestic intelligence that protects the country from terrorist threats. The agency’s director acts as the principal advisor to the president and National Security Council.
But the report says that the collaboration among the Central Intelligence Agency and its 15 counterparts is dismal therefore the DNI has not succeeded in its key mission. The ongoing problems, mainly management and information sharing, are the same that plagued the agencies before the 2001 attacks.
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