SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2010, Issue No. 45
June 1, 2010

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

A LOOK BACK AT INTELLIGENCE REFORM

The development of the 2004 intelligence reform legislation that created the Director of National Intelligence and attempted to modernize and integrate the U.S. intelligence community was examined in detail last year in an unreleased report from the Office of the DNI.

The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was supposed to "address institutional obstacles that had complicated the IC's struggle to adapt to new technologies and a changing national security environment. The new act would redraw boundaries between foreign and domestic intelligence, set new rules for intelligence and law enforcement, enhance the interplay between civilian and military intelligence, correct the shortfall in information sharing, and meet the needs of traditional and emergent intelligence functions."

But five years later, many of those original obstacles remain in place.

"The IC continues its struggle to keep up with technological innovations in collection. Other challenges include transforming analysis, anticipating future threats, increasing critical language capabilities, and improving hiring and security clearance processing."

The report itself ironically exemplifies at least two of the enduring defects afflicting U.S. intelligence, namely pointless secrecy and a surprising backwardness in communications and information sharing.

For unknown reasons, the unclassified report has not been publicly released and made available online by ODNI. (It was however footnoted in an article by Patrick C. Neary in the latest issue of the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence.) Limiting distribution in this way tends to diminish whatever value and utility the document might have.

Moreover, the report itself is so extravagantly overproduced that it requires a gargantuan 18 Megabytes to present a mere 25 pages of text. (A word-searchable version of the document is 25 Megabytes.) In such an unwieldy format, the report is the opposite of user-friendly. It is unlikely to be emailed, downloaded--- or read.

A copy was obtained by Secrecy News. See "Reforming Intelligence: the Passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act," Laurie West Van Hook, National Intelligence University, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, February 2009.


HOUSE APPROVES GAO ROLE IN INTEL OVERSIGHT

The House of Representatives last week approved an amendment to the 2010 Defense Authorization Act that would require the Director of National Intelligence to cooperate with the Government Accountability Office in the performance of audits and investigations that are requested by the congressional intelligence committees.

The House voted 218-210 in favor of the measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo and several colleagues.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) spoke in opposition to the amendment, which he said would risk a veto of the defense bill by the Obama White House, and could undermine the Director of National Intelligence. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) spoke in favor of the amendment, but he expressed concern that it permitted only the intelligence committees to task the GAO to perform oversight of an intelligence program or activity. He said that any committee with relevant jurisdiction should be able to do the same.

The May 27 floor debate and vote on the Eshoo amendment may be found here:

A 2008 congressional hearing chaired by Senator Akaka on the potential role of the GAO in intelligence oversight is here:


TERRORISM, MIRANDA, AND MORE FROM CRS

Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following.

"Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters," May 24, 2010:

"Defense: FY2011 Authorization and Appropriations," May 25, 2010:

"Quadrennial Defense Review 2010: Overview and Implications for National Security Planning," May 17, 2010:

"North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation," May 26, 2010:

"Ballistic Missile Defense and Offensive Arms Reductions: A Review of the Historical Record," May 25, 2010:

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Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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