Iraq War cannot be blamed squarely on the CIA’s
faulty intelligence, but the American public still
does not grasp the magnitude of how badly the U.S.
intelligence community has failed them. Our intelligence-gatherers
and analysts have become bureaucratized, militarized
and politicized, while congressional oversight has
become lax, timid and complacent. The result is that
we are less secure, with intelligence failures becoming
more frequent and – in the case of the failure
to anticipate the 9/11 attacks – catastrophic.
U.S. intelligence apparatus has become steadily more
militarized – the Pentagon now controls 90 percent
of the intelligence budget – with the result
that strategic intelligence has been sacrificed to
nearsighted tactical priorities. Intelligence agencies
continue to guard their fiefdoms jealously; the resulting
lack of coordination allows much to slip through the
cracks, especially where homeland security is concerned.
Congress, which should be asking tough questions,
has utterly failed in its oversight role. Meanwhile,
the imperative to root out terrorism is creating new
internal roles for intelligence agencies, presenting
an increasingly urgent threat to civil liberties.
Though they have made some useful contributions, official
reviews of pre-9/11 and pre-Iraq intelligence, including
the work of the Kean-Hamilton commission, suffer from
inside-the-box thinking and even make some potentially
dangerous recommendations, such as the creation of
an easily politicized “intelligence czar”
within the executive branch.
Iraq WMD controversy and the 9/11 Commission’s
recommendations have brought intelligence reform to
the forefront of the national debate as never before.
Long-lasting structural reforms to our intelligence
apparatus are being debated and enacted as we write
this, and more is to come. Our security, and our democracy,
demand that these reforms genuinely meet the needs
for demilitarization, depoliticization, coordination,
oversight and protection of civil liberties. We cannot
sit by and hope that the leadership in Washington
– the same practitioners and legislators who
have not been held accountable for past failures –
does the right thing on its own.
National Security Program of the Center for International
Policy (CIP) wishes to make the most of the opportunities
of the present. All of our actions over the coming
year will continue to be guided by the overarching
goal of “no more 9/11s and no more Iraqs.”
Reform Project has five guiding objectives:
To reverse the militarization of the intelligence
community, which has weakened the United States’
strategic intelligence assets. The CIP project seeks
to weaken the control of the Secretary of Defense
and the Pentagon over the intelligence community.
Such major intelligence collection agencies as the
National Security Agency, the National Geospatial
Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance
Office must be removed from the Department of Defense.
The DoD must abolish its new post of assistant secretary
of defense for intelligence, which had a major hand
in politicizing intelligence on Iraq and served to
weaken the independent role of the director of central
To prevent the establishment of an intelligence “czar”
in the executive branch, which will increase possibilities
for the politicization of intelligence. CIP favors
separating and strengthening the positions of the
director of Central Intelligence and the director
of the CIA. Unlike the 9/11 commission and various
congressional resolutions, we strongly oppose placing
an intelligence czar in the executive branch of government,
where it would be more susceptible to manipulation
To stop the centralization of intelligence analysis,
which will weaken the intelligence community’s
To encourage improved congressional oversight of intelligence.
We strongly believe that congressional oversight capabilities
must be strengthened and made more aggressive, and
that the intelligence committees must monitor the
Defense Department’s efforts to establish its
own covert-action and intelligence-collection capabilities.
To protect civil liberties in the wake of the USA-PATRIOT
Act and the intelligence community’s expanded