Former CIA Director George Tenet on Monday attacked a Republican senator's proposal to reorganize the CIA, calling it "a dangerous misunderstanding of the business of intelligence."
In a statement issued to the press, Tenet said the proposal "would undermine years of effort to integrate disciplines — hard-won steps that have led to some of the most significant intelligence successes in our history. The proposal runs totally counter to the concept of the collaboration among disciplines — a concept that has proven so effective against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups since 9/11."
Bush administration officials, for their part, have reacted warily to the proposal by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., to transfer the nation’s major intelligence gathering from the CIA and the Pentagon to control by a new director. Roberts chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The warmest response, in fact, came from the camp of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. His national security adviser, Rand Beers, welcomed the plan and described it as very similar to Kerry’s, according to MSN.
Roberts bill builds on the 9/11 commission report published in July which called for the appointment of a powerful national intelligence director who could force the country's intelligence agencies to co-operate. Acknowledging he had not consulted either Democrats or the Bush administration, he said he was open to suggestions. "It's not a tablet written in stone," he said. "If anybody wants to make changes or if anybody that wants to lob a brick bat or two... we're perfectly ready."
Under the senator's proposed bill:
- A national intelligence director (NID) would be appointed with budgeting powers over the departments of treasury, energy, homeland security and defence intelligence - The CIA's three main departments - science and technology, operations and intelligence - would be split into three separate agencies, each placed under an assistant NID - the Pentagon would have to surrender control over three of its largest intelligence departments, informed INDOlink.
The FBI would remain intact, although its intelligence and counterintelligence divisions would report to the national director. The Pentagon would relinquish control over several of the largest spy agencies, including the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic eavesdropping and code breaking.
Senator Roberts said the bill would be shared this week with the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which has the lead role in drafting legislation to reform the intelligence community. The Senate is expected to consider reform legislation in America's autumn, wrote Los Angeles Times