Secrecy News: A Look Back at Intelligence Reform (By the Perp)

Uncategorized

Phi Beta Iota Warning Notice:  Do NOT waste ink on the IC report.  We’ve ordered up what they should have done in the first place, a printer-friendly low-footprint version that prints reliably and should have it delivered to Secrecy News by the end of the week.  Not only does this offering waste a lot of ink, it prints in very tiny font two pages per sheet.  Pending our better offering that retains color and context, go with the text only version.  Our graphics person considers this document to be so deliberately clogged as to be non-usable online to unclude deliberately unprintable in usable form.  Substantive comments below.

Secrecy News:  The development of the 2004 intelligence reform legislation that created the Director of National Intelligence and attempted to modernize and integrate the U.S. intelligence community was examined in detail last year in an unreleased report (large pdf) from the Office of the DNI.

The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was supposed to “address institutional obstacles that had complicated the IC’s struggle to adapt to new technologies and a changing national security environment. The new act would redraw boundaries between foreign and domestic intelligence, set new rules for intelligence and law enforcement, enhance the interplay between civilian and military intelligence, correct the shortfall in information sharing, and meet the needs of traditional and emergent intelligence functions.”

But five years later, many of those original obstacles remain in place.

“The IC continues its struggle to keep up with technological innovations in collection. Other challenges include transforming analysis, anticipating future threats, increasing critical language capabilities, and improving hiring and security clearance processing.”

The report itself ironically exemplifies at least two of the enduring defects afflicting U.S. intelligence, namely pointless secrecy and a surprising backwardness in communications and information sharing.

For unknown reasons, the unclassified report has not been publicly released and made available online by ODNI.  (It was however footnoted in an article by Patrick C. Neary in the latest issue of the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence.)  Limiting distribution in this way tends to diminish whatever value and utility the document might have.  [Phi  Beta Iota:  Studies PDF prints quickly and well.]

Moreover, the report itself is so extravagantly overproduced that it requires a gargantuan 18 Megabytes to present a mere 25 pages of text.  (A word-searchable version of the document is 25 Megabytes.)  In such an unwieldy format, the report is the opposite of user-friendly.  It is unlikely to be emailed, downloaded— or read.

A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.  See “Reforming Intelligence: the Passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act,” Laurie West Van Hook, National Intelligence University, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, February 2009.