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Monday, July 19, 2004

Central Intelligence

The 9/11 Commission is all set to simultaneously release its report online and in a bookstore near you, while each one of them goes on to a media outlet to up their Q rating. Chief among their recommendations is a new post for a director of intelligence operations, an Intelligence Czar, if you will. Well, place this blue-ribbon finding next to the Magic Bullet in the Bureaucratic Hall of Fame.

Does the CIA ring a bell to anyone? The entire existence of the CIA is predicated upon this very recommendation. The 9/11 panel is recommending that the US do what Harry Truman already did in 1947, when he signed the National Security Act, which charged the "Director of Central Intelligence (DCI)  with coordinating the nation’s intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence which affects national security".

The problem then was the same as it is now. Intelligence is easy to come by. It's difficult to process. The thinking is the same as shipping everything to Memphis before you overnight it all over the world. By centralizing your operation, you increase efficiency. (That approach is debatable, especially now) But further, there was simply no way to get various department heads to give up their local power, and the situation has improved none over the past half century.


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