ODNI Casts a Wide Net to Hire Staff

07.17.06 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Many U.S. intelligence agencies as well as the congressional intelligence oversight committees hire their senior staff from a predictable, somewhat in-grown pool of personnel, which frequently includes those who have previously worked in the intelligence field since they can be immediately cleared.

But the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seems to be casting an unusually wide net as it seeks the best qualified staff it can find in academia and the public interest sector.

Historian Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, a China specialist at Georgetown University, became an Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analytic Integrity in January 2006, and was appointed last month as the first ODNI “analytic ombudsman.” (She also previously served in the State Department.)

In her new capacity, Dr. Tucker will be “a fact finder, mediator, and facilitator for intelligence analysts who desire to raise concerns regarding timeliness, politicization and objectivity in intelligence analysis without fear of reprisal,” according to a June 16 ODNI news release.

Even more remarkably, Timothy H. Edgar, a prominent critic of Bush Administration national security policies with the American Civil Liberties Union, has joined the ODNI staff.

“I have recently taken a job as deputy to Alex Joel, the Civil Liberties Protection Officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” he wrote in an email message to former colleagues last week.

“This was a position that Congress mandated in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and it reports directly to the DNI.”

“The new job is challenging and I am looking forward to continuing to defend civil liberties within the government,” Mr. Edgar wrote.