Thursday, August 05, 2004

Flip Flop

From FAS:

Some of the most important intelligence reforms proposed by the 9-11 Commission, including the creation of a Director of National Intelligence (DNI), might have been adopted over a decade ago if not for the opposition of the Secretary of Defense at the time, Dick Cheney.

In a March 1992 letter to Congress, Secretary Cheney defended the status quo and objected to proposed intelligence reform legislation, particularly the DNI position.

"The roles of the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence have evolved in a fashion that meets national, departmental and tactical intelligence needs," Cheney wrote.

The intelligence reform proposals "would seriously impair the effectiveness of this arrangement by assigning inappropriate authority to the proposed Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who would become the director and manager of internal DoD activities that in the interest of efficiency and effectiveness must remain under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense," he wrote.

A companion letter from the DoD General Counsel elaborated on Secretary Cheney's objections, complaining that the intelligence reform proposal would "give the DNI far more extensive authority and responsibility for program and budget matters than is now exercised by the DCI," which is indeed the whole point.

Secretary Cheney successfully torpedoed the initiative with his warning that "I would recommend that the President veto [the measure] if [it] were presented to him in its current form."

(tip from Sirota)