Skip to comments.President Gets to Fill Ranks of New Intelligence Superstructure
Posted on 12/16/2004 7:47:32 AM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
President Bush (news - web sites) is searching not only for a new director of national intelligence to become his chief adviser on intelligence but also for three other senior officials who will work atop the new organization created by the intelligence reform act he is scheduled to sign into law tomorrow.
Along with the job of the intelligence director, or DNI, there is to be a principal deputy DNI, a director of a new national counterterrorism center, and a general counsel to the DNI, all of whom must be presidential appointees subject to Senate confirmation.
In addition, the new chief information officer for the DNI, who is to put together a computerized information-sharing system for the 15 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, will also be a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, under a provision of the fiscal 2005 intelligence authorization bill.
Further, the intelligence reform bill requires the president to name a chairman and a vice chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, which will review regulations and policies related to the war on terrorism. They, too, are subject to a Senate vote.
The intelligence reorganization, set in motion by the Sept. 11 commission and approved earlier this month by Congress, has created a personnel challenge for the Bush administration, which must fill a range of new senior positions as it embarks on the task of making a new intelligence organization work.
CIA (news - web sites) Director Porter J. Goss had been expected by many to be the administration's choice for DNI, so much so that his former House colleagues put a provision in their version of the intelligence bill that would have allowed him to take over the post without another confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a vote in the Senate. But the Senate refused to accept that provision, and so the DNI nominee -- Goss or not -- will have to go before the panel early next year.
Goss has described his two days before that panel last September at his CIA confirmation hearings as "grueling." If Goss were named DNI, he would inevitably be questioned in depth about the personnel troubles and retirements at the CIA after he arrived, bringing with him four Republican former staff members from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, administration and congressional sources said.
"Neither the White House nor Goss apparently wants that," said one senior administration official, who like others has said the CIA director is no longer the leading contender for the DNI job.
With Goss apparently out of the running, Bush faces the challenge of finding someone who meets the legislation's requirement that the new intelligence chief "have extensive national security expertise." In addition, the bill calls for the principal deputy DNI to have "extensive national security experience and management expertise."
The DNI will have to be someone who has significant political weight at the White House and within the intelligence and political communities. The intelligence reform bill, for example, will make the CIA an independent agency; Goss, as CIA director, will report to the DNI, but he will not be under the control or direction of that person.
"He must have enormous stature both inside and outside the administration," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller (news, bio, voting record) IV (W.Va.), ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel. "He has to be able to stand up to the president, and be someone who has the country behind him or her."
One possibility for DNI is an active or retired military officer, because another provision of the bill indicates that Congress expects either the DNI or his principal deputy to be an active or retired military person. At a minimum, the bill says it is the sense of Congress that one of the two officials be a commissioned officer or have "by training or experience an appreciation of military intelligence activities and requirements."
In another time, that provision may have led to the nomination of Brent Scowcroft, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, national security adviser under Bush's father, and for the past four years chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which has provided oversight on some specific intelligence matters to Bush.
But since Scowcroft became a relatively open critic of the Iraq (news - web sites) war, the activities of the PFIAB have been limited. Scowcroft and the entire board recently submitted their pro forma, post-election resignations.
Few, if any, including Scowcroft, expect to be reappointed by Bush, according to a former board member.
Two possibilities in the ex-military category are Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Iraq and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday by Bush, and Adm. William O. Studeman, a former CIA deputy director and a member of Bush's commission studying the handling of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction.
Franks at one point told associates he would like to be CIA director, according to one friend in the intelligence community.
Studeman had been in Navy intelligence and then director of the National Security Agency, which runs electronic intercept activities, before being appointed to the CIA by President George H.W. Bush.
"Studeman's real strength is his connections to Vice President Cheney," said one former senior intelligence official, who noted that the vice president suggested the former admiral for the president's commission.
Another name being mentioned as a candidate for DNI is John F. Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy and member of the Sept. 11 commission. And Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the current head of the NSA, is considered a possibility for deputy DNI or deputy CIA director, another post that is open and requires a presidential appointment.
"We are looking," a member of Bush's inner circle said last week. Rockefeller suggested yesterday that the administration may take its time before naming anyone.
I nominate McCain ...
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