Intelligence (re)design


Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

On July 22, nearly three years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, a nonpartisan commission released its 567-page report on what went wrong-and how future attacks might be prevented. Though President Bush initially resisted forming such a commission, he publicly praised members for their "very solid, sound recommendations," which he promised to implement quickly.

That proved easier said than done, however. The panel's most important demand-the creation of a new, Cabinet-level intelligence czar-drew strong resistance from conservatives in the House, who feared a more centralized approach would compromise the Pentagon's ability to gather wartime intelligence. Despite pressure from President Bush, who hoped to sign a reform bill before Election Day, Republicans held out until Dec. 8, when they finally reached a compromise guaranteeing battlefield commanders would have direct access to intelligence sources.

The most sweeping intelligence changes since the end of World War II threatened to sweep away much of the power of CIA director Porter Goss, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who took the spy agency's helm in late September. House Republicans hoped to see Mr. Goss elevated to the new post of national intelligence director, but the White House remained tight-lipped about its nomination plans.

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