< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://davejustus.com/" >

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Intelligence Reform

Bill Safire criticizes the intelligence reform bill and in particular the rush to pass it before the election.

The proposal to be railroaded into law would concentrate power in one unelected official. It would eviscerate the coordination function of the national security adviser, invite budgetary rivalry with the homeland security secretary and guarantee operational clashes with military officers in the field. Disagreement between the president and the new boss of all covert bosses could paralyze the nation at a moment of crisis. This pre-election panacea not only demolishes the barrier between information provider and policy maker, but also undermines analytical conflict and institutionalizes the "groupthink" it professes to cure. After dangerously marrying the law officer and the spy, it sets up a soothing and toothless Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board likely to be as feckless as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
I haven't spent a lot of time studying the proposals or thinking out what their effects would be but caution does seem prudent in this case. Yes, if it needs fixing, the sooner we fix it the sooner it will get better, but even if a perfect solution was put in place it would take years for results to be seen. More speed, less haste I say. Also, I think it is fair to point out that a failure of intelligence does not necessarily mean that an Intelligence organization is a failure. Sometimes the bad guys win. Yes, we should strive to do better and learn from mistakes, but radical reorganization is appropriate only in cases of extreme organizational failure. It is far from clear to me that that is the case here.


Post a Comment

<< Home