WP - CIA, Pentagon Seek To Avoid Overlap
July 4, 2005 Pg. 2
CIA, Pentagon Seek To Avoid Overlap
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer
Growing Pentagon intelligence activities at home and abroad have caused CIA Director
Porter J. Goss and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to reach a new written agreement to prevent conflicts and overlap in spying, technical collection and analysis between their two organizations, according to senior officials at both agencies.
Deconfliction is a good thing.
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, deputy director of national intelligence, told reporters last week that a classified memo of understanding between the agencies has been drafted and is awaiting the signatures of Goss and Rumsfeld.
The document sets out what the Defense Department and the CIA will do as part of the intelligence restructuring that is taking place under the aegis of the director of national intelligence (DNI), John D. Negroponte. "We are trying to 'deconflict' the operations," Hayden said, and "coordinate them as closely as possible." Negroponte's office is also studying how new Pentagon operations fit into the DNI's overall role.
One issue is what constitutes traditional military activities such as battlefield preparations, under which military operatives clandestinely visit countries to gather information in preparation for any future conflict. Pentagon operatives allegedly have visited countries without prior CIA knowledge, although the local CIA station chief was supposed to have been told.
Under the reorganization just approved by President Bush, a senior CIA official will become what Hayden described as "the national humint [human intelligence] manager," coordinating all overseas spying activities whether carried on by the CIA, the Pentagon or the FBI.
Why does the phrase "senior CIA official" fill me with such dread?
As part of the response to potential terrorism, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the military services are expanding their human and technical collection of intelligence and their analytical capabilities. The DIA has 7,500 employees -- about half as many as the CIA -- but is planning to add nearly 1,000 over the next few years. As a result, it wants to send nearly that number to new facilities in Virginia, despite having just completed a new building at Bolling Air Force Base in the District.
The size of the new DIA building was planned almost 10 years ago, before the agency acquired new missions and personnel that "won't fit into the building," a senior Defense Department official said.
DIA has to support an ongoing war, not continue with the peacetime work effort as planned for the recently completed facility. This means an expansion.
Some of the new DIA missions involve worldwide counterintelligence and data-collection programs that may overlap into the purview of CIA, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the Department of Homeland Security or other intelligence agencies based on the DNI reorganization.
Yes, there can be overlap. Anecdotally, whenever military intelligence services develop a really good source, a certain non-military intelligence service takes over.
White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend, who was in charge of studying how to integrate intelligence restructuring recommended by the Silberman-Robb presidential commission, told reporters last week that Rumsfeld was reviewing the future role of a little-publicized Pentagon group known as the Counter Intelligence Field Activity (CIFA).
Formed in 2002, CIFA was established to oversee Defense Department counterintelligence investigations and training and to assess potential terrorist threats at home and abroad. It has gathered domestic and international data, including criminal, financial, credit and other records, as well as background information about foreign workers and scientists employed by the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies.
One of the Silberman-Robb panel recommendations was that CIFA be given "new counterespionage and law enforcement authorities to investigate national security matters and crimes including treason, espionage . . . or terrorist-directed sabotage." The panel said this authority could be granted to CIFA by a DNI directive. Townsend said the question was whether an enhanced CIFA should remain within the Pentagon.
It's nice to know someone's taking the CE threat seriously. How far do you suppose they're thinking of expanding or "enhancing" CIFA? To cover non-DoD departments as well?
Another new, little-known Pentagon initiative is the Partnership to Defeat Terrorism, which brings together a worldwide collection of think tanks, academics and private business leaders to try to develop an information-sharing base that could be used to protect the world's critical infrastructures -- including buildings, roads, industrial plants and computer systems related to financial institutions -- from terrorist attacks.
It has been placed under the Defense Department's Strategic Command, as part of the new missions given to that Pentagon unit by Rumsfeld. Senior officials in other intelligence agencies have questioned whether this function belongs in the Pentagon or elsewhere.
This seems like a scaling-up of some of what DHS is supposed to have been doing at the national level for the U.S. It exhibits suspicious signs of thinking outside of the box and is to be encouraged.
The Pentagon has been generous in providing one- and two-star officers to help staff the new DNI offices, senior administration officials said. Hayden confirmed that Defense has been "offering good talent" and that "the trick for us is to balance" the DNI staff among personnel from the 15 agencies that make up the intelligence community.
I wish I could be so confident that "one- and two-star officers" were really going to be all that useful. If you want something done, get a chief warrant officer and crew of sergeants and staff sergeants who know what they're doing. On the other hand, if you're at the managing resources and answering congressional inquiries, perhaps the generals and admirals will do just fine, so long as you give them some majors and lieutenant colonels to prepare the briefing slides and note cards.
"I wish CIA and others would seize that opportunity because people are concerned about bureaucratic balance," said a senior DNI official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A CIA official said Goss "was concentrating on protecting the diminished role of the agency."
Retired Vice Adm. John Redd has been nominated by President Bush to be director of the NCTC. If approved by the Senate, the Pentagon-experienced Redd will replace a CIA official, John Brennan, who directed establishment of the new agency, half of whose employees have come from the CIA.
To be blunt, the CIA hasn't really covered itself in glory in recent years. In fairness, it's been resource starved and poorly lead and directed.
The Counterterrorism Center, now a DNI agency, has also been assigned to plan strategic operations at home and abroad. After some internal discussions in which Pentagon officials attempted to get the strategic planning function removed from the NCTC, Negroponte has decided to put an Army officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, at the head of that office.
Now director of the Aviation Task Force for the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations, Schloesser also has a planning and special operations background, Hayden said.
"The test will be whether Schloesser, a uniformed officer, reports to only the NCTC director and the DNI, and not to the joint chiefs and not the Defense Department," said a senior DNI official. "He now represents the interagency effort."
That's an obvious question but perhaps an unfair one. Uniformed officers at that level are already experienced at joint or out-of-service assignments where they serve different or more-than-one masters.