Article Image
News Link • Intelligence: Use and Abuse

How about a leaner and meaner intelligence system?

• David Ignatius

The Post series on "Top Secret America" has done a superb job of charting an intelligence community so big and unwieldy, and so layered with redundant operations, that, as the newspaper said in its opening headline, it is "a hidden world, growing beyond control."

The Obama administration, rather than reacting defensively, should seize the initiative by trying to control this behemoth. The paradox here is that a smaller, better-controlled intelligence community will actually make the country safer than the unmanaged sprawl we have now.

This is the real mission for the star-crossed Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which was created in 2005 to bring order out of the intelligence chaos. By picking the wrong fights and conducting turf wars, the DNI has made some of these problems worse. The right model is the Office of Management and Budget -- a coordinating staff of experts that can monitor budgets, personnel and performance.

James Clapper, Obama's nominee for DNI, took some wobbly first steps Tuesday at his confirmation hearing, criticizing "sensationalism" in a Post series that has been widely praised by other intelligence veterans. And he unwisely dismissed the problem of redundancy in the intelligence bureaucracy, which many other experts regard as serious.


Join us on our Social Networks:


Share this page with your friends on your favorite social network: