Intelligence Issues for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
To address the challenges facing the U.S. Intelligence Community in the 21st century,
congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the
different agencies and to encourage better analysis. In December 2004, the Intelligence Reform
and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) was signed, providing for a Director of National
Intelligence (DNI) with substantial authorities to manage the national intelligence effort. The
legislation also established a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Making cooperation effective presents substantial leadership and managerial challenges. The
needs of intelligence “consumers”—ranging from the White House to cabinet agencies to military
commanders—must all be met, using the same systems and personnel. Intelligence collection
systems are expensive and some critics suggest there have been elements of waste and unneeded
duplication of effort while some intelligence “targets” have been neglected.
The DNI has substantial statutory authorities to address these issues, but the organizational
relationships remain complex, especially for Defense Department agencies. Members of Congress
will be seeking to observe the extent to which effective coordination is accomplished.
International terrorism, a major threat facing the United States in the 21st century, presents a
difficult analytical challenge. Techniques for acquiring and analyzing information on small
groups of plotters differ significantly from those used to evaluate the military capabilities of other
countries. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign language
expertise. Whether all terrorist surveillance efforts have been consistent with the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) has been a matter of controversy. Changes to FISA
were enacted in legislation (P.L. 110-161) signed on July 10, 2008.
Intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was inaccurate and Members have criticized
the performance of the Intelligence Community in regard to current conditions in Iraq, Iran, and
other areas. Improved analysis, while difficult to mandate, remains a key goal. Better human
intelligence, it is widely agreed, is also essential.
Intelligence support to military operations continues to be a major responsibility of intelligence
agencies. The use of precision guided munitions depends on accurate, real-time targeting data;
integrating intelligence data into military operations challenges traditional organizational
relationships and requires innovative technological approaches.
Counterterrorism requires the close coordination of intelligence and law enforcement agencies,
but there remain many institutional and procedural issues that complicate cooperation between
the two sets of agencies. This report will be updated as new information becomes available.
Most Recent Developments.............................................................................................................1
Background and Analysis................................................................................................................1
The “INTs”: Intelligence Disciplines..................................................................................3
Integrating the “INTs”.........................................................................................................5
Intelligence Budget Process................................................................................................6
The 9/11 Investigations and the Congressional Response..................................................7
Ongoing Congressional Concerns...........................................................................................10
The Intelligence Community and Iraq...............................................................................11
Intelligence Support to Military Forces............................................................................13 th
Issues in the 111 Congress....................................................................................................13
Quality of Analysis...........................................................................................................14
Implementation of the Intelligence Reform Act (P.L. 108-458).......................................14
Terrorist Surveillance Program/NSA Electronic Surveillance/FISA................................14
Role of the CIA.................................................................................................................17
Role of the FBI.................................................................................................................18
The Role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence...........................................18
Paramilitary Operations and Defense Humint..................................................................18
CIA and Allegations of Prisoner Abuse............................................................................19 th
110 Congress Legislation......................................................................................................20
For Additional Reading.................................................................................................................21
Author Contact Information..........................................................................................................22
President-elect Obama has selected retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair as Director of National
Intelligence and former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta as Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency. Senate confirmation hearings on both officials are expected in the near
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 dramatically
demonstrated the intelligence threats facing the United States in the new century. In response,
Congress approved significantly larger intelligence budgets and, in December 2004, passed the
most extensive reorganization of the Intelligence Community since the National Security Act of
1947. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (hereafter: the “Intelligence
Reform Act”) (P.L. 108-458) created a Director of National Intelligence (separate from the
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency) who heads the Intelligence Community, serves as the
principal intelligence adviser to the President, and oversees and directs the acquisition of major
collections systems. As long urged by some outside observers, one individual is now able to
concentrate on the Intelligence Community as a whole and possesses statutory authorities for
establishing priorities for budgets, for directing collection by the whole range of technical
systems and human agents, and for the preparation of community-wide analytical products.
P.L. 108-458 was designed to address the findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, that there has been inadequate coordination
of the national intelligence effort and that the Intelligence Community, as then-organized, could not
serve as an agile information gathering network in the struggle against international terrorists. The
Commission released its report in late July 2004 and Congress debated its recommendations through
the following months. A key issue was the extent of the authorities of the DNI, especially with regard
to budgeting for technical collection systems managed by Defense Department agencies. In the end,
many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission regarding intelligence organization were
adopted after a compromise provision was included that called for implementing the act “in a manner
that respects and does not abrogate” the statutory authorities of department heads.
On April 21, 2005, the Senate confirmed the nominations of John D. Negroponte, who had served
as Ambassador to Iraq, as DNI and Lt. General Michael V. Hayden, then Director of the National
Security Agency, as Deputy DNI. (In May 2006 Hayden became Director of the CIA.) On
February 7, 2007, retired Navy Vice Admiral J. Michael McConnell was confirmed by the Senate
as Negroponte’s successor as DNI.
The Intelligence Community (defined at 50 U.S.C. 401a(4)) consists of the following:
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State (INR)
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
National Security Agency (NSA)
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Air Force Intelligence
Marine Corps Intelligence
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Coast Guard (CG)
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Except for the CIA, intelligence offices or agencies are components of cabinet departments with
other roles and missions. The intelligence offices/agencies, however, participate in Intelligence
Community activities while supporting the other efforts of their departments.
The CIA remains the keystone of the Intelligence Community. It has all-source analytical
capabilities that cover the whole world outside U.S. borders. It produces a range of studies that
cover virtually any topic of interest to national security policymakers. The CIA also collects
intelligence with human sources and, on occasion, undertakes covert actions at the direction of
the President. (A covert action is an activity or activities of the U.S. Government to influence
political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the U.S. role will not
be apparent or acknowledged publicly.)
Three major intelligence agencies in DOD—the National Security Agency (NSA), the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)—absorb
the larger part of the national intelligence budget. NSA is responsible for signals intelligence and
has collection sites throughout the world. The NRO develops and operates reconnaissance
satellites. The NGA prepares the geospatial data—ranging from maps and charts to sophisticated
computerized databases—necessary for targeting in an era in which military operations are
dependent upon precision guided weapons. In addition to these three agencies, the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) is responsible for defense attachés and for providing DOD with a
variety of intelligence products. Although the Intelligence Reform Act provides extensive
budgetary and management authorities over these agencies to the DNI, it does not revoke the
responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense for these agencies. There is a need for close
cooperation, but also an opportunity for disagreements that could greatly complicate the
The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) is one of the smaller
components of the Intelligence Community but is widely recognized for the high quality of its
analysis. INR is strictly an analytical agency; diplomatic reporting from embassies, though highly
useful to intelligence analysts, is not considered an intelligence function (nor is it budgeted as
The key intelligence functions of the FBI relate to counterterrorism and counterintelligence. The
former mission has grown enormously in importance since September 2001, many new analysts
have been hired, and the FBI has been reorganized in an attempt to ensure that intelligence
functions are not subordinated to traditional law enforcement efforts. Most importantly, law
enforcement information is now expected to be forwarded to other intelligence agencies for use in
The intelligence organizations of the four military services concentrate largely on concerns
related to their specific missions. Their analytical products, along with those of DIA, supplement
the work of CIA analysts and provide greater depth on key military and technical issues.
The Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296) provided DHS responsibilities for fusing law
enforcement and intelligence information relating to terrorist threats to the homeland. The Office
of Intelligence and Analysis in DHS participates in the inter-agency counterterrorism efforts and,
along with the FBI, has focused on ensuring that state and local law enforcement officials receive
information on terrorist threats from national-level intelligence agencies.
The Coast Guard, now part of DHS, deals with information relating to maritime security and
homeland defense. The Energy Department analyzes foreign nuclear weapons programs as well
as nuclear nonproliferation and energy-security issues. It also has a robust counterintelligence
effort. The Treasury Department collects and processes information that may affect U.S. fiscal
and monetary policies. Treasury also covers the terrorist financing issue.
The Intelligence Community has been built around major agencies responsible for specific
intelligence collection systems known as disciplines. Three major intelligence disciplines or
“INTs”—signals intelligence (sigint), imagery intelligence (imint), and human intelligence
(humint)—provide the most important information for analysts and absorb the bulk of the
intelligence budget. Sigint collection is the responsibility of NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Sigint
operations are classified, but there is little doubt that the need for intelligence on a growing
variety of nations and groups that are increasingly using sophisticated and rapidly changing
encryption systems requires a far different sigint effort than the one prevailing during the Cold
War. Since the late 1990s a process of change in NSA’s culture and methods of operations has
been initiated, a change required by the need to target terrorist groups and affected by the
proliferation of communications technologies and inexpensive encryption systems. Observers
credit the then-Director of NSA, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, who became Director of the CIA in
May 2006, with launching a long-overdue reorganization of the Agency, and adapting it to
changed conditions. Part of his initiative has involved early retirements for some NSA personnel
and greater reliance on outsourcing many functions previously done by career personnel. Some of
the initiatives relating to acquisition did not, however, meet their objectives.
A second major intelligence discipline, imagery or imint, is also facing profound changes.
Imagery is collected in essentially three ways, satellites, manned aircraft, and unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs). The satellite program that covered the Soviet Union and acquired highly
accurate intelligence concerning submarines, missiles, bombers, and other military targets is
perhaps the greatest achievement of the U.S. Intelligence Community serving as a foundation for
defense planning and strategic planning that led to the end of the Cold War. In today,’s
environment, there is a greater number of collection targets than existed during the Cold War and
more satellites are required, especially those that can be maneuvered to collect information about
a variety of targets. At the same time, the availability of high-quality commercial satellite imagery
and its widespread use by federal agencies has raised questions about the extent to which
coverage from the private sector can meet the requirements of intelligence agencies. High altitude
UAVs such as the Global Hawk may also provide surveillance capabilities that overlap those of
The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) was established in 1996 to manage imagery
processing and dissemination previously undertaken by a number of separate agencies. NIMA
was renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) by the FY2004 Defense
Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). The goal of NGA is, according to the agency, to use imagery
and other geospatial information “to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and
geographically referenced activities on the Earth.”
Intelligence from human contacts—humint—is the oldest intelligence discipline and the one that
is most often written about in the media. The CIA is the primary collector of humint, but the
Defense Department also has responsibilities filled by defense attachés at embassies around the
world and by other agents working on behalf of theater commanders. Many observers have
argued that inadequate humint has been a systemic problem and contributed to the inability to
gain prior knowledge of the 9/11 plots. In part, these criticisms reflect the changing nature of the
international environment. During the Cold War, targets of U.S. humint collection were foreign
government officials and military leaders. Intelligence agency officials working under cover as
diplomats could approach potential contacts at receptions or in the context of routine embassy
business. Today, however, the need is to seek information from clandestine terrorist groups or
narcotics traffickers who do not appear at embassy social gatherings. Humint regarding such
sources can be especially important as there may be little evidence of activities or intentions that
can be gathered from imagery, and their communications may be carefully limited.
Contacts with individuals or groups who may have knowledge about terrorist plots present many
challenges. Placing U.S. intelligence officials in foreign countries under “nonofficial cover”
(NOC) in businesses or other private capacities is possible, but it presents significant challenges
to U.S. agencies. Administrative mechanisms are vastly more complicated than they are for
officials formally attached to an embassy; special arrangements have to be made for pay,
allowances, retirement, and healthcare. The responsibilities of operatives under nonofficial cover
to the parent intelligence agency have to be reconciled with those to private employers, and there
is an unavoidable potential for many conflicts of interest or even corruption. Any involvement
with terrorist groups or smugglers has a potential for major embarrassment to the U.S.
government and, of course, physical danger to those immediately involved.
Responding to allegations that CIA agents may have been involved too closely with narcotics
smugglers and human rights violators in Central America, the then-Director of Central
Intelligence (DCI), John Deutch, established guidelines in 1995 (which remain classified) to
govern the recruitment of informants with unsavory backgrounds. Although CIA officials
maintain that no proposal for contacts with persons having potentially valuable information was
disapproved, there was a widespread belief that the guidelines served to encourage a “risk averse”
atmosphere at a time when information on terrorist plans, from whatever source, was urgently
sought. The FY2002 Intelligence Authorization Act (P.L. 107-108) directed the DCI to rescind
and replace the guidelines, and July 2002 press reports indicated that they had been replaced.
A major constraint on humint collection is the availability of personnel trained in appropriate
languages. Cold War efforts required a supply of linguists in a relatively finite set of foreign
languages, but the Intelligence Community now needs experts in a wider range of more obscure
languages and dialects. Various approaches have been considered: use of civilian contract
personnel, military reservists with language qualifications, and substantial bonuses for agency
personnel who maintain their proficiency. The National Security Education Program, established
in 1991, provides scholarships and career training for individuals in or planning to enter careers in 1
agencies dealing with national security issues.
A fourth INT, measurement and signatures analysis—masint—has received greater emphasis in
recent years. A highly technical discipline, masint involves the application of complicated
analytical refinements to information collected by sigint and imint sensors. It also includes
spectral imaging by which the identities and characteristics of objects can be identified on the
basis of their reflection and absorption of light. Masint is undertaken by DIA and other DOD
agencies. A key problem has been retaining personnel with expertise in masint systems who are
offered more remunerative positions in private industry.
Another category of information, open source information—osint (newspapers, periodicals,
pamphlets, books, radio, television, and Internet websites)—is increasingly important given
requirements for information about many regions and topics (instead of the former concentration
on political and military issues affecting a few countries). At the same time, requirements for
translation, dissemination, and systematic analysis have increased, given the multitude of
different areas and the volume of materials. Many observers believe that intelligence agencies
should be more aggressive in using osint; some believe that the availability of osint may even
reduce the need for certain collection efforts. The availability of osint also raises questions
regarding the need for intelligence agencies to undertake collection, analysis, and dissemination
of information that could be directly obtained by user agencies. Section 1052 of the Intelligence
Reform Act expressed the sense of Congress that there should be an open source intelligence
center to coordinate the collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of open source
intelligence to other intelligence agencies. An Open Source Center was subsequently established
and annual conferences are held to acquaint the public with the Intelligence Community’s osint
The “INTs” have been the pillars of the Intelligence Community’s organizational structure, but
analysis of threats requires that data from all the INTs be brought together and that analysts have
ready access to all sources of data on a timely basis. This has proved in the past to be a substantial
1 See CRS Report RL32557, Requirements for Linguists in Government Agencies, by Jeffrey J. Kuenzi.
challenge because of technical problems associated with transmitting data and the need to
maintain the security of information acquired from highly sensitive sources. Some argue that
intelligence officials have tended to err on the side of maintaining the security of information
even at the cost of not sharing essential data with those having a need to know. Section 1015 of
the Intelligence Reform Act mandated the establishment of an Intelligence Sharing Environment
(ISE) to facilitate terrorism-related information.
A related problem has been barriers between foreign intelligence and law enforcement
information. These barriers derived from the different uses of information collected by the two
sets of agencies—foreign intelligence used for policymaking and military operations and law
enforcement information to be used in judicial proceedings in the United States. A large part of
the statutory basis for the “wall” between law enforcement and intelligence information was
removed with passage of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-56), which made it possible to
share law enforcement information with analysts in intelligence agencies, but long-established
practices have not been completely overcome. The Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296) and the
subsequent creation of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) established offices charged
with combining information from both types of sources. Section 1021 of the Intelligence Reform
Act made the new National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) operating under the DNI
specifically responsible for “analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired by
the United States Government pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism [except purely
For budgetary purposes, intelligence spending is divided between the National Intelligence
Program (NIP; formerly the National Foreign Intelligence Program or NFIP) and the Military
Intelligence Program (MIP). The MIP was established in September 2005 and includes all
programs from the former Joint Military Intelligence Program, which encompassed DOD-wide
intelligence programs and most programs from the former Tactical Intelligence and Related
Activities (TIARA) category, which encompassed intelligence programs supporting the operating
units of the armed services. The Program Executive for the MIP is the Under Secretary of
Defense for Intelligence. Only a small part of the intelligence budget is made public; the bulk of
the $47 billion in national intelligence spending is “hidden” within the DOD budget. Spending for
most intelligence programs is described in classified annexes to intelligence and national defense
authorization and appropriations legislation. (Members of Congress have access to these annexes,
but must make special arrangements to read them.)
For a number of years some Members sought to make public total amounts of intelligence and
intelligence-related spending; floor amendments for that purpose were defeated in both chambers th
during the 105 Congress. In response, however, to a lawsuit filed under the Freedom of
Information Act, DCI George Tenet stated on October 15, 1997 that the aggregate amount
appropriated for intelligence and intelligence-related activities for FY1997 was $26.6 billion. He
added that the Administration would continue “to protect from disclosure any and all subsidiary
information concerning the intelligence budget.” In March 1998, DCI Tenet announced that the
FY1998 figure was $26.7 billion. Figures for FY1999 and subsequent years were not been
released. During consideration of intelligence reform legislation in 2004, the Senate at one point
approved a version of a bill which would require publication of the amount of the NIP; the House
version did not include a similar provision and, with the Senate deferring to the House, the
Intelligence Reform Act did not require making intelligence spending amounts public. Section
requires, however, that the DNI publicly disclose the aggregate amount of funds appropriated for
the NIP although after FY2008 the President could waive or postpone the disclosure upon
sending a explanation to congressional oversight committees. Consistent with that act, the DNI
announced in October 2008 that the aggregate amount appropriated to the National Intelligence
Program for FY2008 was $47.5 billion.
Jurisdiction over intelligence programs is somewhat different in the House and the Senate. The
Senate Intelligence Committee has jurisdiction only over the NIP but not the MIP, whereas the
House Intelligence Committee has jurisdiction over both sets of programs. The preponderance of
intelligence spending is accomplished by intelligence agencies within DOD and thus in both
chambers the armed services committees are involved in the oversight process. Other oversight
committees are responsible for intelligence agencies that are part of departments over which they
Most appropriations for intelligence activities are included in national defense appropriations
acts, including funds for the CIA, DIA, NSA, the NRO, and NGA. Other appropriations measures
include funds for the intelligence offices of the State Department, the FBI, and DHS. In the past,
defense appropriations subcommittees have funded the intelligence activities of CIA and the
DOD agencies (although funds for CIA have been included in defense appropriations acts, these
monies are transferred directly). The Senate voted in October 2004 to establish an Appropriations
Subcommittee on Intelligence, but this did not occur nor did the House take similar action. On
January 9, 2007, however, the House approved H.Res. 35 which established a select panel within
the appropriations committee that includes three members of the intelligence committee to review
intelligence activities to support the work of the appropriations committee.
Intelligence budgeting issues were at the center of the debate on intelligence reform legislation in
2004. On one hand, there was determination to make the new DNI responsible for developing and
determining the annual National Intelligence Program budget (which is separate from the MIP
budgets that are prepared by the Office of the Secretary of Defense). The goal was to ensure a
unity of effort that arguably has not previously existed and that may have complicated efforts to
monitor terrorist activities. On the other hand, the intelligence efforts within the National
Intelligence Program include those of major components of the Defense Department, including
NSA, the NRO, and NGA, that are closely related to other military activities. Some Members
thus argued that even the National Intelligence Program should not be considered apart from the
Defense budget. After considerable debate, the final version of P.L. 108-458 provides broad
budgetary authorities to the DNI, but in Section 1018 requires the President to issue guidelines to
ensure that the DNI exercises the authorities provided by the statute “in a manner that respects
and does not abrogate the statutory responsibilities of the heads of” of the Office of Management
and Budget and Cabinet departments. Observers expect that implementing the complex and
seemingly overlapping budgetary provisions of the Intelligence Reform Act will depend on
effective working relationships between the Office of the DNI, DOD, and the President.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, there was extensive public discussion of whether the
attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center represented an “intelligence failure.” In
response, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence undertook a joint investigation of the September 11 attacks. (Earlier in
July 17, 2002, the House Intelligence Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland
Security had undertaken an investigation of ways to improve counterterrorism capabilities in the
light of the September 2001 attacks.) Public hearings by the resulting “Joint Inquiry” began on
September 18, 2002, beginning with testimony from representatives of families of those who died
in the attacks. Former policymakers and senior CIA and FBI officials also testified. Eleanor Hill,
the Inquiry Staff Director summarized the Inquiry’s findings: “ ... the Intelligence Community did
have general indications of a possible terrorist attack against the United States or U.S. interests
overseas in the spring and summer of 2001 and promulgated strategic warnings. However, it does
not appear that the Intelligence Community had information prior to September 11 that identified
precisely where, when and how the attacks were to be carried out.”
The two intelligence committees published the findings and conclusions of the Joint Inquiry on 2
December 11, 2002. The committees found that the Intelligence Community had received,
beginning in 1998 and continuing into the summer of 2001, “a modest, but relatively steady,
stream of intelligence reporting that indicated the possibility of terrorist attacks within the United
States.” Further findings dealt with specific terrorists about whom some information had come to
the attention of U.S. officials prior to September 11 and with reports about possible employment
of civilian airliners to crash into major buildings. The Inquiry also made systemic findings
highlighting the Intelligence Community’s lack of preparedness to deal with the challenges of
global terrorism, inefficiencies in budgetary planning, the lack of adequate numbers of linguists, a
lack of human sources, and an unwillingness to share information among agencies.
Separately, the two intelligence committees submitted recommendations for strengthening
intelligence capabilities. They urged the creation of a Cabinet-level position of Director of
National Intelligence (DNI) separate from the position of director of the CIA. The DNI would
have greater budgetary and managerial authority over intelligence agencies in the Defense
Department than possessed by the DCI. The committees also expressed great concern with the
reorientation of the FBI to counterterrorism and suggested consideration of the creation of a new
domestic surveillance agency similar to Britain’s MI5.
The Joint Inquiry was focused directly on the performance of intelligence agencies, but there was
widespread support among Members for a more extensive review of the roles of other agencies.
Provisions for establishing an independent commission on the 2001 terrorist attacks were
included in the FY2003 Intelligence Authorization Act (P.L. 107-306). Former New Jersey
Governor Thomas H. Kean was named to serve as chairman, with former Representative Lee H.
Hamilton serving as vice chairman. Widely publicized hearings were held in spring 2004 with
Administration and outside witnesses providing different perspectives on the role of intelligence
agencies prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks. The Commission’s Report was published in
Although the 9/11 Commission surveyed the roles of a number of Federal and local agencies,
many of its principal recommendations concerned the perceived lack of authorities of the DCI.
The Commission recommended establishing a National Intelligence Director (NID) to manage
the National Intelligence Program and oversee the agencies that contribute to it. The NID would
annually submit a national intelligence program budget and, when necessary, forward the names
of nominees to be heads of major intelligence agencies to the President. Lead responsibility for
conducting and executing paramilitary operations would be assigned to DOD and not CIA. The
Commission also recommended that Congress pass a separate annual appropriations act for
intelligence that would be made public. The NID would execute the expenditure of appropriated
2 The full report was released some months later as H.Rept. 107-792/S.Rept. 107-351.
funds and make transfers of funds or personnel as appropriate. Proposing a significant change in
congressional practice, the Commission recommended a single intelligence committee in each
house of Congress, combining authorizing and appropriating authorities.
On August 27, 2004, President Bush addressed key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission in
signing several executive orders to reform intelligence. In addition to establishing a National
Counterterrorism Center, the orders provided new authorities for the DCI until legislation was
enacted to create a National Intelligence Director. In addition, several legislative proposals were 3
introduced to establish a National Intelligence Director, separate from a CIA Director. The
Senate passed S. 2845 on October 16, 2004; the House had passed H.R. 10 on October 8, 2004.
Efforts by the resulting conference committee to reach agreed-upon text focused on the issue of
the authorities of the proposed Director of National Intelligence in regard to the budgets and 4
operations of the major intelligence agencies in DOD, especially NSA, NRO, and NGA.
Conferees finally reached agreement in early December, and the conference report on S. 2845
(H.Rept. 108-796) was approved by the House on December 7 and by the Senate on December 8.
The President signed the legislation on December 17, 2004, and it became P.L. 108-458.
The Intelligence Reform Act is wide-ranging (as noted below) and its implementation will th
undoubtedly continue to receive oversight during the 111 Congress. Some observers have
suggested that modifications to the legislation may be needed; others recommend that any
difficulties be addressed by executive orders or memoranda of understandings.
The 9/11 Commission concluded that congressional oversight of intelligence activities was
“dysfunctional.” A number of measures were undertaken to address issues raised by the 5
Commission, including the establishment of oversight subcommittees on both committees.
Proposals to establish one committee with both appropriations and authorization responsibilities
proved unacceptable, but H.Res. 35, passed on January 9, 2007, established a panel within the
appropriations committee with additional staff to review intelligence activities. Senate rules
require that the Intelligence Committee include Members also serving on the Appropriations th
Committee thus providing for a measure of coordination; although S.Res. 445 in the 108
Congress envisioned an appropriations subcommittee on intelligence, no such entity has been
The involvement of the Intelligence Community in homeland security efforts that involve
domestic law enforcement agencies has affected congressional oversight. In the past the two
intelligence committees and the appropriations committees were almost the only points of contact th
between intelligence agencies and the Congress. In the 109 Congress the Homeland Security
Committees also undertook oversight of some aspects of intelligence activities. Disagreements
3 See CRS Report RL32600, Comparison of 9/11 Commission Recommended Intelligence Reforms, Roberts Draft Bill,
H.R. 4104, S. 190, S. 1520, S. 6, H.R. 4584, and Current Law, by Alfred Cumming, and CRS Report RL32601,
Comparison of 9/11 Commission Recommended Intelligence Reforms, S. 2845, S. 2774, H.R. 5024, Administration
Proposal, H.R. 10, Current Law, by Alfred Cumming.
4 See CRS Report RL32506, The Proposed Authorities of a National Intelligence Director: Issues for Congress and
Side-by-Side Comparison of S. 2845, H.R. 10, and Current Law, by Alfred Cumming, and CRS Report RL32515,
Intelligence Community Reorganization: Potential Effects on DOD Intelligence Agencies, by Richard A. Best Jr..
5 See CRS Report RL33742, 9/11 Commission Recommendations: Implementation Status, by Richard F. Grimmett.
have arisen over the extent to which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has oversight 6
over intelligence aspects of government-wide information sharing efforts.
Intelligence agencies collect vast quantities of information on a daily, even an hourly basis. The
ability to locate fixed installations and moving targets has become an integral component of U.S.
military capabilities. On almost any subject, the Intelligence Community can provide a wealth of
knowledge within short time frames. Inevitably, there are “mysteries” that remain unknowable—
the effects of unforeseeable developments and the intentions of foreign leaders. The emergence of
the international terrorist threat has posed major challenges to intelligence agencies largely
designed to gather information about nation states and their armed forces. Sophisticated terrorist
groups in some cases relay information only via agents in order to avoid having their
communications intercepted. Human collection has been widely perceived as inadequate,
especially in regard to terrorism; the Intelligence Reform Act stated the Sense of Congress that,
while humint officers have performed admirably and honorably, there must be an increased
emphasis on and greater resources applied to enhancing the depth and breadth of human
intelligence capabilities. In October 2005 the National Clandestine Service was established at
CIA to undertake humint operations by CIA and coordinate humint efforts by other intelligence
There are also congressional concerns regarding major technical systems—especially
reconnaissance satellites. These programs have substantial budgetary implications. Whereas the
Intelligence Community was a major technological innovator during the Cold War, today both
intelligence agencies and their potential targets make extensive use of commercial technologies,
including sophisticated encryption systems. Filtering out “chaff” from the ocean of data that can
be collected remains, however, a major challenge.
The ultimate goal of intelligence is accurate analysis. Analysis is not, however, an exact science
and there have been, and undoubtedly will continue to be, failures by analysts to prepare accurate
and timely assessments and estimates. The performance of the Intelligence Community’s
analytical offices during the past decade is a matter of debate; some argue that overall the quality
of analysis has been high while others point to the failure to provide advance warning of the 9/11
attacks and a flawed estimate of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as reflecting systemic
problems. Congressional intelligence committees have for some time noted weaknesses in
analysis and lack of language skills, and a predominant focus on current intelligence at the
expense of strategic analysis.
Analytical shortcomings are not readily addressed by legislation, but Congress has increased
funding for analytical offices since 9/11 and the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 contains a
6 See Government Accountability Office, Information Sharing: the Federal Government Needs to Establish Policies
and Processes for Sharing Terrorism-Related and Sensitive but Unclassified Information, GAO-06-385, March 2006,
number of provisions designed to improve analysis—an institutionalized mechanism for alternate
or “red team” analyses to be undertaken (section 1017), the designation of an individual or entity
to ensure that intelligence products are timely, objective, and independent of political
considerations (section 1019), and the designation of an official in the office of the DNI to whom
analysts can turn for counsel, arbitration on “real or perceived problems of analytical tradecraft or
politicization, biased reporting, or lack of objectivity” (section 1020).
These efforts will, however, be affected by the long lead-times needed to prepare and train
analysts, especially in such fields as counterterrorism and counterproliferation. Improving
analysis depends, among other things, upon the talents of analysts brought into government
service, encouraging their contributions and calculated risk-takings, and a willingness to tolerate
the tentative nature of analytical judgments. These factors are sometimes difficult to achieve in
government organizations. Another significant impediment to comprehensive analysis has been a
shortage of trained linguists especially in languages of current interest. As noted above, the
National Security Education Program and related efforts are designed to meet this need, but most
observers believe the need for linguists will remain a pressing concern for some years.
An enduring concern is the existence of “stovepipes.” Agencies that obtain highly sensitive
information are reluctant to share it throughout the Intelligence Community out of a
determination to protect their sources. In addition, information not available to analysts with
relevant responsibilities is many times wasted. In recent years there have been calls for greater
sharing in order to improve the quality of analysis, but it is expected that dealing with this
complex dilemma will require continuing attention by intelligence managers.
The Intelligence Community has been widely criticized for its performance in regard to Iraq. The
Baath regime in Bagdad undeniably presented major challenges; it was almost impossible to
penetrate the inner reaches of Saddam Hussein’s government. U.S. intelligence agencies
supported the efforts of U.N. inspectors charged with determining Iraqi compliance with U.N.
resolutions requiring Iraq to end any programs for the acquisition or deployment of weapons of
mass destruction, but such efforts were frustrated by the Iraqi government.
At Congress’s request, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) dealing with Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) was prepared in September 2002, shortly before crucial votes on the Iraqi
situation. The NIE has been widely criticized for inaccurately claiming the existence of actual
WMDs and exaggerating the extent of Iraqi WMD programs. The Senate Intelligence Committee
concluded that the NIE’s major key judgments “either overstated, or were not supported by, the
underlying intelligence reporting.” The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United
States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction severely criticized analysts who misinterpreted
the limited intelligence about Iraqi WMDs that was available and failed to alert policymakers to
the uncertainties in both evidence and analysis.
Other observers note, however, that the Intelligence Community based its conclusions in
significant part on Iraq’s previous use of WMD, its ongoing WMD research programs, and its
unwillingness to document the destruction of WMD stocks in accordance with U.N. resolutions.
These factors, which have never been disputed, served as background to Administration
decisions. Some observers argue, however, that Administration officials misused intelligence in 7
an effort to build support for a military option.
On February 11, 2004, President Bush by Executive Order 13328 created a Commission on the
Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. The
Commission, co-chaired by former Senator Charles S. Robb and retired Federal Judge Laurence
H. Silverman, was asked to assess the capabilities of the Intelligence Community to collect, st
analyze, and disseminate intelligence regarding WMD and related 21 Century threats. It
addition, the Commission was asked to look specifically at intelligence regarding Iraqi WMD
prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom and to compare prewar assessments with the findings of the Iraq 8
Survey Group. The Commission issued its report on March 31, 2005. The report described in
detail a number of analytical errors that resulted in faulty pre-war judgments on Iraq’s weapons of
mass destruction. The Commission recommended that the DNI take steps to forge an integrated
Intelligence Community, that intelligence functions within the FBI be combined into a single
National Security Service, and urged that the DNI not focus on the preparation of the President’s
Daily Brief at the expense of the long-term needs of the Intelligence Community.
Despite the inadequate intelligence on Iraqi WMD programs, the success of the military attack on
the Iraqi regime launched in March 2003 by the United States, the UK, and other countries was
greatly assisted by intelligence. The extensive use of precision-guided munitions that targeted key
Iraqi military and command facilities and limited civilian casualties was made possible by the
real-time availability of precise locating data. Observers have noted that operational shortcomings
in transmitting intelligence data that were frequent during the 1991 Persian Gulf War were not
observed in the Iraq campaign of 2003.
As the security situation in Iraq continues to be a matter of grave concern, intelligence collection
and analytical capabilities have been severely criticized. In December 2006 the Iraq Study Group
concluded that the “Defense Department and the intelligence community have not invested
sufficient people and resources to understand the political and military threat to American men
and women in the armed forces.” The Group further maintained that intelligence agencies “are
not doing enough to map the insurgency, dissect it, and understand it on a national and provincial
level. The analytic community’s knowledge of the organization, leadership, financing, and
operations of militias, as well as their relationship to government security forces, also falls far 9
short of what policy makers need to know.”
Although intelligence agencies were focused on international terrorism from at least the mid-
1980s, the events of September 11, 2001 made counterterrorism a primary mission of the
Intelligence Community. In response to a widespread perception that barriers that restricted the
flow of information between the CIA and the FBI, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L.
107-56) which removed barriers on sharing foreign intelligence and law enforcement information
(including grand jury information). The PATRIOT Act was designed to facilitate an all-source
intelligence effort against terrorist groups that work both inside and outside U.S. borders.
7 For additional background, see CRS Report RS21696, U.S. Intelligence and Policymaking: The Iraq Experience, by
Richard A. Best Jr..
8 The report may be found at http://www.wmd.gov/report/index.html.
9 U.S., Iraq Study Group, Report (Washington: Vintage Books, 2006), p. 94.
Nevertheless, problems of coordination and institutional rivalries persist. Moreover, some
provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act relating to the sharing of law enforcement and foreign
intelligence information were to have expired in early 2006, but new legislation (P.L. 109-177
and P.L. 109-178) was enacted on March 9, 2006, that extended expiring provisions with 10
Legislation was also enacted to create a Department of Homeland Security that would contain an
analytical office responsible for integrating information from foreign intelligence and law
enforcement sources. In addition, the Administration announced the establishment of the Terrorist
Threat Integration Center (TTIC) in January 2003 under the DCI. In accordance with EO13354 of
August 27, 2004 and the Intelligence Reform Act, TTIC has been transferred to the National
Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
As an intelligence mission, counterterrorism has several unique characteristics. Although it
usually requires input from all the various intelligence disciplines, most observers believe that it
is especially dependent upon humint. Technical systems are good at providing information about
numbers of airplanes, ships, and tanks but the most important information on small groups of
terrorist plotters often is provided by humint sources. Furthermore, the type of humint required
for counterterrorism depends on contacts with sources far removed from embassy gatherings and
requires expertise in languages that are possessed by few in this country. This is a distinct
difference from humint collection during the Cold War when Soviet diplomats and military 11
officers were often the principal targets.
In 1997, the House intelligence committee noted that “intelligence is now incorporated into the
very fiber of tactical military operational activities, whether forces are being utilized to conduct
humanitarian missions or are engaged in full-scale combat.” The Persian Gulf War demonstrated
the importance of intelligence from both tactical and national systems, including satellites that
had been previously directed almost entirely at Soviet facilities. There were, nonetheless,
numerous technical difficulties, especially in transmitting data in usable formats and in a timely
manner. Many of these issues have since been addressed with congressional support and in
Operation Iraqi Freedom intelligence was an integral part of the operational campaign.
Observers expect that oversight of the implementation of the Intelligence Reform Act will extend th
into the 111 Congress. Both chambers will address authorization and appropriations legislation
in accordance with procedures established in the Intelligence Reform Act, undoubtedly taking
into consideration the diverse interpretations of different Members regarding the provisions.
Congress is also likely to monitor the evolving relationship between the DNI and the CIA
Director especially in regard to humint collection and covert operations as well to CIA’s
analytical efforts. The role of the Defense Department and the Under Secretary of Defense for
Intelligence are also likely to be a congressional concern.
10 For further information, see CRS Report RS22412, USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005: A
Sketch, by Brian T. Yeh and Charles Doyle.
11 See CRS Report RL31292, Intelligence to Counter Terrorism: Issues for Congress, by Richard A. Best Jr..
Evaluations of the Intelligence Community’s performance in regard to Iraqi WMD undertaken by
congressional committees and by the Robb/Silverman Commission are likely to affect the
influence of ongoing assessments of Iranian and North Korean and potentially other nuclear
programs. Intelligence on WMD requires the collecting of data with highly sophisticated
technical systems and by human agents in areas where U.S. access is limited and continuing
analysis of complex and subtle indicators. As WMD proliferation will remain a major policy
concern, the quality of supporting intelligence is likely to be a focal point of congressional
interest in the Intelligence Community.
The legislation is expected to continue to have a major influence on the Intelligence Community.
The DNI has authority to task intelligence collection and analysis and manage national
intelligence centers including the National Counterterrorism Center, which encompassed TTIC,
and the National Counter Proliferation Center (and potentially additional centers). The DNI will
have enhanced budgetary and acquisition authorities over the entire national intelligence effort,
although the exact contours of the relationship with other government organizations, especially
the Defense Department, will be addressed in accordance with presidential guidelines. The act has
a number of provisions designed to ensure that intelligence analysis is not politicized or biased
and to protect civil liberties. Intelligence agencies in the DOD remain in their existing chain of
command and continue to be responsible for providing support to combat commands.
The expansion of intelligence efforts, especially those related to counterterrorism, has resulted in
a severe shortage of trained analysts, especially those with excellent foreign language talents. The
problem is already acute in some agencies and the likelihood of significant retirements in coming
years will complicate efforts to improve intelligence capabilities.
Although major intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance programs are classified and
discussed in the classified annexes of intelligence authorization and defense appropriations acts,
they include a substantial portion of the overall intelligence budget. Satellites and NSA’s sigint th
efforts are likely to continue to receive close scrutiny from Congress throughout the 111 12
Congress given their technological complexity and high costs.
In December 2005 media accounts of electronic surveillance by NSA authorized outside the
parameters of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) led to extensive criticism of the
Administration. Although the technical details of the effort remain classified, the Bush
Administration maintained that communications, which involve a party reasonably considered to
be a member of Al Qaeda, or affiliated with Al Qaeda, and one party in the U.S., may be
monitored on the basis of the President’s constitutional authorities and the provisions of the Joint
12 For further information, see CRS Report RL32508, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Programs:
Issues for Congress, by Richard A. Best Jr..
Resolution providing for Authority for the Use of Force (P.L. 107-40) of September 18, 2001. The
need for speed and agility requires, the Administration further argues, an approach not envisioned
by the drafters of FISA. Others countered that FISA should have governed such electronic
surveillance. In early March 2006 agreement was reached with the leadership of the two
intelligence committees to establish procedures for enhanced legislative oversight of the NSA
effort, and legislative initiatives were considered to either modify FISA or establish new statutory
authorities for electronic surveillance.
Differing views of Members on the NSA effort were reflected in the House Intelligence 13
Committee’s 2006 report on FY2007 intelligence authorization legislation (H.Rept. 109-411). In
light of decisions issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on January 10,
2007, the Bush Administration advised the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate
Judiciary Committee that any electronic surveillance that had previously occurred as part of the
Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) would thereafter be conducted subject to the approval of
the FISC. Further, the Administration indicated that it would not re-authorize the TSP after the
expiration of the then-current authorization. On May 1, 2007, the Senate Intelligence Committee
held an open hearing on the Administration’s proposal to revise FISA to take account of changes
in communications technologies since the 1970s, with Members expressing differing views on the 14
desirability of the legislation.
According to media reports, a judge on the FISC at some point in 2007 ruled that a FISC order
was required for surveillance of communications between foreign persons abroad if the
communications passed through the United States. On August 2, 2007, the DNI issued a
statement on FISA modernization in which he contended that the Intelligence Community
“should not be required to obtain court orders to effectively collect foreign intelligence from
foreign targets located overseas.” Although details of the effort remain classified, there appears to
have been wide agreement among Members that FISA needed to be amended to permit
surveillance without a court order of such foreign to foreign communications regardless of
whether they were routed through the United States.
The Protect America Act (PAA) (P.L. 110-55), signed on August 5, 2007, after extensive
congressional debate excluded from the definition of “electronic surveillance” under FISA,
surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. In
addition, under certain circumstances, FISA, as amended by this legislation, permitted the DNI
and the Attorney General, for periods up to one year, to authorize acquisition of foreign
intelligence information “concerning persons reasonably believed to be located outside of the
United States,” apparently including U.S. persons, and to direct a communications provider,
custodian, or other person with access to the communication immediately to provide information,
facilities, and assistance to accomplish the acquisition. Those receiving such directives had the
right to contest them in court. The DNI and the Attorney General were required to certify, in part,
that this acquisition did not constitute electronic surveillance; and the Attorney General was
required to submit the procedures by which this determination is made to the FISC for review as
to whether the Government determination was clearly erroneous. On a semiannual basis, the
13 See also CRS Report RL33637, Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, as Passed by the House of
Representatives, by Elizabeth B. Bazan, and CRS Report RL33669, Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006: S. 3931 and
Title II of S. 3929, the Terrorist Tracking, Identification, and Prosecution Act of 2006, by Elizabeth B. Bazan.
14 See CRS Report RL34279, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: An Overview of Selected Issues, by Elizabeth
Attorney General was to report to congressional oversight committees on instances of
noncompliance with directives and numbers of certifications and directives issued during the
reporting period. P.L. 110-55 expired on February 1, 2008 and efforts to extend it further failed in 15
the House when H.R. 5349 was rejected on February 13. Acquisitions authorized while the PAA
was in force may continue until the expiration of the period for which they were authorized.
The Protect America Act was strongly criticized by some Members; on November 15, 2007, H.R.
and Effective Act of 2007) was passed by the House to clarify that a court order is not required
for the acquisition of the contents of communications between two persons neither of whom is
known to be a U.S. person, and both of whom are reasonably believed to be located outside the
United States, regardless of whether the communications passed through the United States or if
the surveillance device was in the United States. If, in the course of such an acquisition, the
communications of a U.S. person were incidentally intercepted, stringent minimization
procedures would apply. Court orders would, however, be required if the communications of a
non-U.S. person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States were targeted where
the other parties to the target’s communications are unknown and thus might include U.S. persons
or persons located physically in the U.S. Some Members argued that this provision would
unnecessarily tie the hands of intelligence agencies and jeopardize the counterterrorism effort.
The RESTORE Act would have also provided for increased judicial oversight and would have
required quarterly implementation and compliance audits by the Inspector General of the Justice
Department, and added related congressional reporting requirements.
On October 26, 2007 the Senate Intelligence Committee reported its own version of a FISA
amendment. The Senate bill (S. 2248), as amended, contained provisions authorizing the Attorney
General and the DNI jointly to authorize targeting of persons, other than U.S. persons, reasonably
believed to be outside the U.S. to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods up to one
year. Under the Senate bill, FISC approval would be required for targeting a U.S. person
reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S. to acquire foreign intelligence information, if
the acquisition constitutes electronic surveillance under FISA, or the acquisition of stored
electronic communications or stored electronic data that requires an order under FISA, and the
acquisition is conducted in the U.S. The Senate bill also provided some retroactive immunity to
telecommunications companies from civil suits in federal and states courts related to assistance
that they have provided to the government in connection with intelligence activities between
September 11, 2001 and January 17, 2007.
A central issue was the role of the Judicial Branch, and the FISC in particular, in approving and/or
overseeing surveillance that does not target but may involve individuals who are U.S. persons.
Some argued that only the independent judiciary could ensure that intelligence efforts would not
become improperly or illegally directed towards Americans. At the time FISA permitted
electronic surveillance to gather foreign intelligence information pursuant to a FISC order of U.S.
persons where there was probable cause to believe they were foreign powers or agents of foreign
powers if other statutory criteria were met. Some argued, however, that changes in technologies
since FISA was enacted in 1978 made case-by-case judicial review of each international
communication link that might involve a U.S. person impractical and risky to national security.
15 For further background see CRS Report RL34143, P.L. 110-55, the Protect America Act of 2007: Modifications to
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, by Elizabeth B. Bazan.
Details of this issue are complex and, in many cases, classified. The Senate approved S. 2248 on
February 12, 2008 (and incorporated it into H.R. 3773).
On March 14 the House approved an amendment to the version of H.R. 3773 that had been
approved by the Senate. The House amendment would have required judicial review by the FISC
of procedures for targeting a non-U.S. person located outside of the U.S. even if the person was
not reasonably believed to be communicating with a U.S. person or a person in the U.S. The
House amendment would require either a prior FISC order approving the applicable certification,
targeting procedures, and minimization procedures or a determination that an emergency situation
exists in which case a certification would have to be filed with the FISC within seven days. The
Bush Administration argued that this requirement added unprecedented requirements for targeting
communications of non-U.S. persons that could result in delaying collection efforts and the loss
of some intelligence forever.
If the target of an acquisition were a U.S. person reasonably believed to be outside the U.S. , then,
except in emergencies, the House-passed amendment would have required a FISC order
approving an application for an acquisition for a period up to 90 days. The acquisition could have
been renewed for additional 90 day periods upon submission of renewal applications. If the
Attorney General authorized an emergency acquisition of such a U.S. person’s communications,
the Attorney General would have had to submit an application for a court order within seven days
of that authorization.
The House version of H.R. 3773 would also not have granted retroactive immunity to
telecommunications companies but would have allowed them to present evidence in their defense
to a court. In addition, the House bill would have established a commission on warrantless
electronic surveillance activities conducted between September 11, 2001 and January 17, 2007.
The House version of H.R. 3773 did not come to a vote in the Senate, and after considerable
discussions, Representative Reyes introduced a new bill, H.R. 6304, on June 19 that strengthened
the role of the FISC in approving procedures for intelligence surveillance and provided
telecommunications companies an opportunity to demonstrate to the courts that they had acted in
response to a request for support from the Executive Branch. H.R. 6304 was passed by the House 16
on June 20, 2008 and by the Senate on July 9, 2008; it was signed by the President on July 10.
Intelligence reform legislation enacted in 2004 is having a significant effect on the work of the
CIA. The CIA Director does not have the Community-wide responsibilities that historically
absorbed the attention of the DCI, nor is he responsible for daily morning briefings in the White
House. In his role as National Humint Manager, the CIA Director oversees the National
Clandestine Service’s efforts humint collection by the CIA and coordinates humint efforts by
other agencies. The CIA also retains primary responsibilities for all-source analysis on a vast
array of international issues that are of concern to the U.S. Government. Some observers suggest
that the CIA has lost stature as a result of the Intelligence Reform Act that placed the DNI
between the head of the CIA and the President. Other observers argue, however, that without the
burden of interagency coordination, the CIA Director is better positioned to emphasize analytical
16 See CRS Report RL34566, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues, by Elizabeth B.
and humint activities. Congress has expressed concern about both humint and the conduct of
analysis on repeated occasions and may choose to oversee the CIA Director’s efforts more
In the wake of the September 2001 attacks, the FBI was strongly criticized for failing to focus on
the terrorist threat, for failing to collect and strategically analyze intelligence, and for failing to
share intelligence with other intelligence agencies (as well as among various FBI components).
Director Robert S. Mueller III introduced a number of reforms to create a better and more
professional intelligence effort in an agency that has always emphasized law enforcement.
Congress has expressed concern about the overall effectiveness of these reforms and with the 17
FBI’s widely criticized information technology acquisition efforts.
The position of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)) was established by the
Defense Authorization Act for FY2003 (P.L. 107-314, sec. 901). The statute and DOD directives
give the incumbent significant authorities for the direction and control of intelligence agencies
within DOD especially in regard to systems acquisition. There are reports that DOD special
forces have also been involved in human intelligence collection efforts that are not effectively
coordinated with CIA. Some media commentators have pointed to potential conflicts between the
office of the USD(I) and the DNI’s office, but there is little official information available publicly.
The first USD(I), Stephen Cambone, resigned at the end of 2006; his successor is retired Air
Force Lt. General James Clapper who previously served as director of both NGA and DIA. In
May 2007 the USD(I) was also designated Director of Defense Intelligence and will also serve on
the DNI’s executive committee.
In the Afghan campaign and in Iraq the CIA conducted paramilitary operations separate from or
alongside Special Forces from the Defense Department. Some observers, and the 9/11
Commission, have recommended that DOD assume responsibility for all such efforts to avoid
duplication of effort. In addition, there had been media reports that CIA and DOD efforts in
Afghanistan were not well coordinated. Then-DCI Goss testified in February 2005, however, that
a joint review by CIA and DOD had reaffirmed the need for separate efforts. Observers note that
CIA can hire paramilitary operators (in many instances retired military personnel) for specific
missions of a limited duration; in addition, some missions may be more appropriate for 18
17 For further information, see CRS Report RL33033, Intelligence Reform Implementation at the Federal Bureau of
Investigation: Issues and Options for Congress, by Alfred Cumming and Todd Masse.
18 See CRS Report RS22017, Special Operations Forces (SOF) and CIA Paramilitary Operations: Issues for Congress,
by Richard A. Best Jr. and Andrew Feickert; also CRS Report RL33715, Covert Action: Legislative Background and
Possible Policy Questions, by Alfred Cumming.
Some observers have expressed concern that expanded efforts by DOD intelligence personnel to 19
collect humint overseas may interfere with ongoing efforts of CIA humint collectors.
Intelligence officials have maintained in congressional testimony that there is no unnecessary
duplication of effort and that careful coordination is undertaken during the planning and 20
implementing of such operations. The determination to ensure that such coordination is
effective was further reflected in the designation of the DCIA as head of the National Clandestine
Despite the urgency of the counterterrorism mission, the Intelligence Community is responsible
for supporting traditional national security concerns, including developments in China, North
Korea, Iran, and South America. In February 2006 testimony before the Senate Intelligence
Committee, then-DNI Negroponte provided a summary of the Intelligence Community’s
assessments of threats, challenges, and opportunities throughout the world. A similar review was
provided by DNI Negroponte on January 11, 2007 and by DNI McConnell on February 5, 2008.
Media accounts of abuse of prisoners in Iraq by CIA officials have led to calls for a congressional
investigation. Some have also raised broader concerns about the role of intelligence agencies in 21
holding and transporting prisoners. The conference version of the FY2008 Intelligence
Authorization bill (sec. 327) included provisions requiring all executive branch agencies,
including the CIA, to use only interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual.
Opposition to this provision was a primary reason cited in President Bush’s message vetoing this
legislation on March 8, 2008.
H.R. 2475 (Hoekstra)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2006; introduced May 19, 2005; reported June 2, 2005
(H.Rept. 109-101); passed House June 21, 2005.
H.R. 5020 (Hoekstra)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2007; introduced March 28, 2006; reported April 6, 2006
(H.Rept. 109-411); passed House April 26, 2006.
S. 1803 (Roberts)
19 See Barton Gellman, “Secret Unit Expands Rumsfeld’s Domain,” Washington Post, January 23, 2005, p. A1.
20 See the testimony of General Bryan Brown, Commander, Special Operations Command, to the Senate Committee on
Armed Services, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, April 22, 2005.
21 See CRS Report RL32567, Lawfulness of Interrogation Techniques under the Geneva Conventions, by Jennifer K.
Elsea and CRS Report RL33643, Undisclosed U.S. Detention Sites Overseas: Background and Legal Issues, by
Jennifer K. Elsea and Julie Kim.
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2006; introduced and reported by the Select Committee on
Intelligence, September 29, 2005 (S.Rept. 109-142); reported by the Armed Services Committee,
October 27, 2005 (S.Rept. 109-173).
S. 3237 (Roberts)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2007; introduced and reported by the Select Committee on
Intelligence, May 25, 2006 (S.Rept. 109-259); reported by the Armed Services Committee, June
S. 372 (Rockefeller)
Intelligence Authorization Act for 2007. Introduced and reported by the Select Committee on
Intelligence, January 24, 2007 (S.Rept. 110-2). Debated April 16-17, 2007.
S. 1538 (Rockefeller)
Intelligence Authorization Act for 2008. Introduced and reported by Select Committee on
Intelligence, May 31, 2007 (S.Rept. 110-75). Reported by Armed Services Committee, June 26,
2007 (S.Rept. 110-92). Floor consideration, October 3, 2007; incorporated into H.R. 2082 as an
H.R. 1196 (Reyes)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2007. Introduced and referred to the Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence, February 27, 2007.
H.R. 2082 (Reyes)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2008. Introduced and referred to the Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence, May 1, 2007 (H.Rept. 110-131). Reported, May 2, 2007; debated
May 10-11, 2007; approved May 11, 2007. Conference report (H.Rept. 110-478) filed December
February 13, 2008. Returned (vetoed) by the President, March 8, 2008.
H.R. 5959 (Reyes)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2009. Introduced and referred to Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence, May 5, 2008. Reported (amended), May 21, 2008.
S. 2996 (Rockefeller)
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2009. Original measure reported, May 8, 2008.
U.S. Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of
Mass Destruction, Report to the President of the United States, March 31, 2005.
U.S. Congress. Committee of Conference Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005: thnd
Conference Report. December 7, 2004. 108 Congress, 2 session (H.Rept. 108-798).
——. Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. December 7, 2004. 108th nd
Congress, 2 session. (H.Rept. 108-796).
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Report of
the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee
on Intelligence, Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the thnd
Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. December 2002. 107 Congress, 2 session (H.Rept.
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. June 21, 2004. 108th Congress, 2nd
session (H.Rept. 108-558).
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006. June 2, 2005. 109th Congress, 1st
session (H.Rept. 109-101).
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007. April 6, 2006. 109th Congress, 2nd
session (H.Rept. 109-411).
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. May 7, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st
session (H.Rept. 110-131).
———. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Conference Report. December 6, thst
——. Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Counterterrorism Intelligence
Capabilities and Performance Prior to 9-11. July 2002.
U.S. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Intelligence. Report of the Select Committee on
Intelligence on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. July th
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006. September 29, 2005. 109th Congress, st
——. To authorize Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2005 for Intelligence and Intelligence-Related
Activities of the United States Government, the Intelligence Community Management Account, th
and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System. May 5, 2004. 108 nd
Congress, 2 session (S.Rept. 108-258).
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007. January 24, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st
session. (S.Rept. 110-2).
——. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. May 31, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st
session. (S.Rept. 110-75).
U.S. Department of Justice, Commission for Review of FBI Security Programs, A Review of FBI
Security Programs, March 2002.
U.S. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission
Report, July 2004.
Richard A. Best Jr.
Specialist in National Defense