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Contents Most Recent Developments Background and Analysis Intelligence Community Authorization Legislation The "INTs": Intelligence Disciplines Other "INTs" Integrating the "INTs" Intelligence Budget Process The 9/11 Investigations and the Congressional Response Oversight Issues Ongoing Congressional Concerns Collection Capabilities Analytical Quality The Intelligence Community and Iraq and Afghanistan International Terrorism Intelligence Support to Military Forces Issues in the 112th Congress Christmas Bombing 2009 ISR Programs Terrorist Surveillance Program/NSA Electronic Surveillance/FISA Role of the CIA Role of the FBI The Role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Paramilitary Operations and Defense Humint Regional Concerns CIA and Allegations of Prisoner Abuse Congressional Notification Procedures Civilian Intelligence Personnel System Government Accountability Office and the Intelligence Community 109th Congress Legislation 110th Congress Legislation 111th Congress Legislation For Additional Reading Contacts Author Contact Information
To address the challenges facing the U.S. intelligence community in the 21st century, congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. In December 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) was signed, providing for a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with substantial authorities to manage the national intelligence effort. The legislation also established a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Making cooperation effective presents substantial leadership and managerial challenges. The needs of intelligence "consumers"--ranging from the White House to Cabinet agencies to military commanders--must all be met, using the same systems and personnel. Intelligence collection systems are expensive and some critics suggest there have been elements of waste and unneeded duplication of effort while some intelligence "targets" have been neglected.
The DNI has substantial statutory authorities to address these issues, but the organizational relationships remain complex, especially for intelligence agencies that are part of the Defense Department. Members of Congress will be seeking to observe the extent to which effective coordination is accomplished.
International terrorism, a major threat facing the United States in the 21st century, presents a difficult analytical challenge, vividly demonstrated by the attempted bombing of a commercial aircraft approaching Detroit on December 25, 2009. Counterterrorism requires the close coordination of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but there remain many institutional and procedural issues that complicate cooperation between the two sets of agencies. Particular challenges relate to the protection of civil liberties that surround collecting information about U.S. persons.
Techniques for acquiring and analyzing information on small groups of plotters differ significantly from those used to evaluate the military capabilities of other countries, with a much higher need for situational awareness of third world societies. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign language expertise.
Intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was inaccurate and members have criticized the performance of the intelligence community in regard to current conditions in Afghanistan, Iran, and other areas. Improved analysis, while difficult to mandate, remains a key goal. Better human intelligence, it is widely agreed, is also essential, but very challenging to acquire.
Intelligence support to military operations continues to be a major responsibility of intelligence agencies. The use of precision guided munitions depends on accurate, real-time targeting data; integrating intelligence data into military operations challenges traditional organizational relationships and requires innovative technological approaches.
February 11, 2011
Most Recent Developments
The February 8 House vote to extend three USA PATRIOT Act provisions until December 2011 (H.R. 514) did not gain a sufficient number of votes to pass under suspension of the Rules. There are plans to schedule another vote on H.R. 514 in accordance with H.Res. 79. During a public hearing on February 10, Representative Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, highlighted major concerns for the committee based on a need to take stock of developments since 2001. He specifically mentioned the need to extend USA PATRIOT Act provisions that expire in 2011, to reexamine the Communications Enforcement for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), and legal authorities concerning detainees. Also mentioned was an intention to review the performance of institutions established since 9/11--the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the intelligence offices of the FBI. Representative Ruppersberger, the ranking member, emphasized the need the need to address cybersecurity issues and the high costs of the space reconnaissance program
Background and Analysis
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, dramatically demonstrated the intelligence threats facing the United States in the new century. In response, Congress approved significantly larger intelligence budgets and, in December 2004, passed the most extensive reorganization of the intelligence community since the National Security Act of 1947. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (hereinafter, the "Intelligence Reform Act") (P.L. 108-458) created a Director of National Intelligence (separate from a Director of the Central Intelligence Agency) who heads the intelligence community, serves as the principal intelligence adviser to the President, and oversees and directs the acquisition of major collections systems. As long urged by some outside observers, one individual is now charged with concentrating on the intelligence community as a whole and possesses statutory authorities for establishing priorities for budgets, for directing collection by the whole range of technical systems and human agents, and for the preparation of community-wide analytical products.
P.L. 108-458 was designed to address the findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, that there has been inadequate coordination of the national intelligence effort and that the intelligence community, as then-organized, could not serve as an agile information gathering network in the struggle against international terrorists. The commission released its report in late July 2004, and Congress debated its recommendations through the following months. A key issue was the extent of the authorities of the DNI, especially with regard to budgeting for technical collection systems managed by Defense Department agencies. In the end, many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission regarding intelligence organization were adopted after a compromise provision was included that called for implementing the act "in a manner that respects and does not abrogate" the statutory authorities of department heads.
On April 21, 2005, the Senate confirmed the nominations of John D. Negroponte, who had served as Ambassador to Iraq, as DNI and Lt. General Michael V. Hayden, then Director of the National Security Agency, as Deputy DNI. (In May 2006 Hayden became Director of the CIA.) On February 7, 2007, retired Navy Vice Admiral J. Michael McConnell was confirmed by the Senate as Negroponte's successor as DNI. Retired Admiral Dennis C. Blair was confirmed as the third DNI on January 28. Blair resigned in May 2010 and retired Air Force Lt. General James R. Clapper, Jr. became the fourth DNI in August 2010. Leon C. Panetta, former House member and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton, was confirmed as CIA Director on February 12, 2009.
The intelligence community (defined at 50 U.S.C. 401a(4)) consists of the following:
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State (INR)
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
National Security Agency (NSA)
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Air Force Intelligence
Marine Corps Intelligence
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Coast Guard (CG)
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Except for the CIA, intelligence offices or agencies are components of Cabinet departments with other roles and missions. The intelligence offices/agencies, however, participate in intelligence community activities while supporting the other efforts of their departments.
The CIA remains the keystone of the intelligence community. It has all-source analytical capabilities that cover the whole world outside U.S. borders. It produces a range of studies that address virtually any topic of interest to national security policymakers. The CIA also collects intelligence with human sources and, on occasion, undertakes covert actions at the direction of the President. (A covert action is an activity or activities of the U.S. government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the U.S. role will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly.)
Three major national-level intelligence agencies in DOD--the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)--absorb the larger part of the national intelligence budget. NSA is responsible for signals intelligence and has collection sites throughout the world. The NRO develops and operates reconnaissance satellites. The NGA prepares the geospatial data--ranging from maps and charts to sophisticated computerized databases--necessary for targeting in an era in which military operations are dependent upon precision-guided weapons. In addition to these three agencies, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is responsible for defense attaches and for providing DOD with a variety of analytical products. Although the Intelligence Reform Act provides extensive budgetary and management authorities over these agencies to the DNI, it does not revoke the responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense for these agencies.
The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) is one of the smaller components of the intelligence community but is widely recognized for the high quality of its analysis. INR is strictly an analytical agency; diplomatic reporting from embassies, though highly useful to intelligence analysts, is not considered an intelligence function (nor is it budgeted as one).
The key intelligence functions of the FBI relate to counterterrorism and counterintelligence. The former mission has grown enormously in importance since September 2001, many new analysts have been hired, and the FBI has been reorganized in an attempt to ensure that intelligence functions are not subordinated to traditional law enforcement efforts. Most importantly, law enforcement information is now expected to be forwarded to other intelligence agencies for use in all-source products.
The intelligence organizations of the four military services concentrate largely on concerns related to their specific missions. Their analytical products, along with those of DIA, supplement the work of CIA analysts and provide greater depth on key military and technical issues.
The Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296) provided the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsibilities for fusing law enforcement and intelligence information relating to terrorist threats to the homeland. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis in DHS participates in the inter-agency counterterrorism efforts and, along with the FBI, has focused on ensuring that state and local law enforcement officials receive information on terrorist threats from national-level intelligence agencies.
The Coast Guard, now part of DHS, deals with information relating to maritime security and homeland defense. The Energy Department analyzes foreign nuclear weapons programs as well as nuclear nonproliferation and energy-security issues. It also has a robust counterintelligence effort. The Treasury Department collects and processes information that may affect U.S. fiscal and monetary policies. Treasury also covers the terrorist financing issue.
Annual intelligence authorization bills were enacted from FY1979 through FY2005, providing congressional authorization for intelligence programs and guidance to the several intelligence agencies in specific provisions and report language. No intelligence authorization legislation was enacted between December 2004 and October 2010. On September 16, 2009, the Senate approved an amended version of the FY2010 Intelligence Authorization bill (S. 1494) on voice vote. The bill would require Senate confirmation of future nominees to head the NSA, the NRO, and the NGA, and to serve as deputy director of the CIA. It would also strengthen the role of the DNI in managing acquisitions of intelligence systems. The two intelligence committees are to be kept informed of all covert actions and other intelligence activities; if the executive branch intends not to inform all members of the committees, the committees are to be advised of the "main features" of the activity in a form that could be accessible to all committee members. In a provision that has been under consideration for some years, the bill would establish a statutory Inspector General for the entire intelligence community. It would also require that the Administration disclose the amount …