THE MAGAZINE

Spying Trouble

By Michael A. Gips

Culture clashes among the FBI, CIA, and the military intelligence agencies are among the problems cited in the intelligence community. This report looks at whether progress is being made.

Since 9-11, there have been numerous attempts to “fix” the U.S. intelligence apparatus. First, President Bush established the Terrorism Threat Integration Center (TTIC), which was supposed to help coordinate analysis among the intelligence community’s multiple players. Before that had time to coalesce, however, it was superseded by the National Counterterrorism Center, among other changes contained in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which also established the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Amidst these legislative and presidential attempts to redraw reporting authority, many highly regarded Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel have departed en masse, some in protest over the appointment of Porter Goss, who himself was eased out in May. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency (NSA) has come under fire for harvesting records of Americans’ phone calls from telephone companies.

Nearly two years after passage of the reform act, it is unclear whether the changes have helped. Among the most frequently mentioned problems dogging the reform is the persistence of contrasting cultures among intelligence entities, especially between military and civilian intelligence agencies, and between members of the intelligence community and law enforcement in agencies that combine both missions. Other roadblocks to reform are a lack of access to policymakers, insufficient integration of intelligence, and difficulties in obtaining quality intelligence.

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