Wednesday, August 4

Critical Analysis

by justmy2 @ 8/04/2004 12:09:00 AM

Ray McGovern, who has been an invaluable source of information over the past year and a half, has published an important article on the impact of the 9/11 commission report and recommendation.

There they go again, I thought to myself while listening Friday to 9/11 Commission Chair Gov. Tom Kean tell senators for the umpteenth time, “I do not find today anyone really in charge of the intelligence community.” Kane’s colleagues have been singing from the same sheet of music. Jamie Gorelick: “The authorities to act cohesively do not exist.”

Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton shared with the senators his frustration at the answer he got when he kept asking intelligence community officials who is in charge. The president, they said. Hamilton branded this response: “not a very satisfactory answer.” And added, “No one would say that the Director of Central Intelligence is in charge.”

It need not be so. During my 27 years at the Central Intelligence Agency I served under nine directors and worked closely with four of them. They were in charge.

One of them, Admiral Stansfield Turner, came to the Agency from his post as commander of the Sixth Fleet, with a keen appreciation of the need for the authority necessary to carry out his responsibilities. Recognizing that his authority over the intelligence community was largely ad referendum to the president, he went to President Carter and obtained what was needed. Writing in yesterday’s Washington Post, Turner recounted that Carter issued a presidential executive order giving DCI Turner authority over all 15 intelligence agencies “to reallocate funds and people among them and to set priorities for both collecting and analyzing intelligence.” Turner notes, “This enabled a far greater degree of coordination than we have today.”

So it need not be the case that “no one is in charge.” Mr. Hamilton’s comment notwithstanding, in my view saying the president is in charge is a completely satisfactory answer—and that the president need only empower the DCI by executive order to enable him to get the job done.


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