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 Intelligence Agencies and Drone Warfare 109th Congress Legislation 110th Congress Legislation 111th Congress Legislation 112th Congress Legislation For Additional Reading Contacts Author Contact Information
October 5, 2011
Most Recent Developments
On September 9, 2011, the House approved H.R. 1892, the Intelligence Authorization bill for FY2012. The legislation authorizes amounts of funds for intelligence activities as specified in a classified schedule of appropriations accompanying the bill. Section 104 in the bill authorizes funds for some 794 positions in the Office of the DNI with additional personnel authorized in the classified schedule. The bill provides additional benefits for CIA personnel killed in the line of duty. The version as adopted did not include an earlier provision requiring the Administration to provide information about transfers of detainees held at Guantanamo Naval Base. During a September 13, 2011, hearing, Senator Feinstein indicated that the House bill had been pre-conferenced with the Senate Intelligence Committee. However, Senator Chambliss indicated that a detainee provision "must be part of any final authorization bill unless the Administration moves quickly to work with the committee on a reasonable alternative accommodation." Also dropped from the House-passed version was a provision requiring Senate confirmation of the NSA Director.
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 and succeeded Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense in July 2011. Army General David H. Petraeus was nominated to serve as CIA Director. After Senate confirmation (and retirement from active duty in the Army) Petraeus took office in September 2011.
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 the Department of Defense (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 requested in the annual budget for the National Intelligence Program. At the request of the Administration, the Senate Intelligence Committee separated issues of terrorist detention and interrogation from the bill and indicated an intention to address these issues in separate legislation. Differences over these issues had contributed to the inability to enact intelligence authorization legislation since 2004. Although details of satellite programs are contained in the classified annex to the accompanying report (S.Rept. 111-55), the legislation recommends "a more capable and more affordable imagery architecture" than currently exists with some observers suggesting that provisions in S. 1494 differ significantly from provisions in the defense appropriations bill that was subsequently enacted as P.L. 111-118.
On June 26, 2009, the House Intelligence Committee reported (H.Rept. 111-186) its version of the FY2010 Intelligence Authorization Act, H.R. 2701. If enacted, the legislation would have curtailed implementation of the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System, required that the President brief Members of the intelligence committees on both planned intelligence activities and covert actions unless he certified the need to limit notification for "extraordinary circumstances." The bill would also have required that the Senate confirm nominees to head the NRO and NSA (but not the NGA); the bill would establish the position of deputy director of the CIA to be appointed by the President but does not require Senate confirmation for filling this position. The bill would also have established a statutory Inspector General for the intelligence community. The Administration criticized several provisions in the bill as originally reported and threatened a veto of provisions that would alter current law that permits notification of covert actions to only the "Gang of Eight," rather than the full membership of the two intelligence committees. H.R. 2701 did not receive floor consideration in the House until late February 2010 when the legislation was passed with amendments intended to meet the Administration's concerns about excessive restrictions on covert action notifications. Media reports in mid-May 2010 indicated that informal discussions with the Administration had prepared the way for conference. The June 2010 version of H.R. 2701 would require covert action notifications that are made to a limited number of Members to be based on a certification "that it is essential to limit access ... to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States." The certification would have to be reviewed within 180 days.
After extensive negotiations with the Obama Administration, the Senate passed a new version of H.R. 2701 on September 27, 2010, based largely on S. 3611 that had passed the Senate earlier. Inasmuch as FY2010 was nearing its end, the final version of H.R. 2701 did not include a classified annex specifying funding levels for intelligence programs. The bill did include provisions to require that in the case of findings regarding …