Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Some Spooky Stuff

I confess: I enjoy watching entrenched federal bureaucracies fight over turf, especially when those bureaucracies are the C.I.A. and the Pentagon.

As we all know, everything changed after 9/11. National security has become the number one priority (some would say obsession) to the extent that two new bureaucracies have been created: one under the Director of Homeland Security, the other under the Director of Intelligence. Once that happened, the scramble to protect and/or expand turf was on.

So far, the biggest loser appears to be the C.I.A. Porter Goss, Director, no longer is the one briefing the President each day. That now falls to John Negroponte, the Direct of Intelligence. Today's New York Times carries an article indicating that the C.I.A. has finally won a round.

The White House has decided to reject classified recommendations by a presidential commission that would have given the Pentagon greater authority to conduct covert action, senior government officials said Monday.

The White House will also designate the C.I.A. as the main manager of the government's human spying operations, even those conducted by the Pentagon and the F.B.I., the officials said.

The decision marks the second time in a year that the White House has rejected a high-level recommendation to transfer some C.I.A. powers to the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 commission recommended that the agency's special paramilitary unit be transferred to the Pentagon, but the White House decided in November to maintain that capacity at the C.I.A., while also moving to strengthen the Pentagon's paramilitary capacities.

The full announcement by the White House is due out later this week. That announcement will include the various recommendations made by the presidential commission studying various aspects of spying and covert action.

Frankly, I am not all that thrilled about spying, covert and clandestine actions by this or any other civilized nation. I am even less thrilled, however, about giving any more of this kind of power to the military, especially under the current Administration.

Chew on that, Donald Rumsfeld.


Blogger Horatio said...

Rumsfeld + more power = Yikes!

9:35 AM  

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