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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 8, 2004

Reforming and Strengthening Intelligence Services
Fact Sheet: Leading the Way on Reforming and Strengthening Our Intelligence Services

September 8, 2004

Presidential Action

  • In a meeting with a bipartisan group of senior Congressional leaders and committee chairs, President Bush conveyed a detailed proposal for legislative action to create a National Intelligence Director (NID) with the authority needed to get the job done. The President intends to give the NID full budget authority over the National Foreign Intelligence Program appropriation and the management tools necessary to successfully oversee the Intelligence Community, including ensuring the full integration of foreign and domestic intelligence.
  • The President seeks intelligence reform legislation that is consistent with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. On August 2, the President endorsed many of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations -- including the Commission's recommendation of the creation of a National Intelligence Director (NID) and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
    • The Bush Administration was already implementing many of the actions suggested by the Commission well before the report was issued. The Administration is already implementing or otherwise addressing 36 of the Commission's 41 recommendations.
    • Of the remaining five recommendations, two call for changes to Congressional oversight of intelligence and homeland security. The Administration endorses these recommendations. The Administration is studying the remaining three recommendations.
  • The President also announced that the NID should be assisted by a cabinet-level Joint Intelligence Community Council (JICC). The JICC will help ensure the implementation of a joint, unified national intelligence effort to protect national and homeland security. The JICC will advise the National Intelligence Director on setting requirements, financial management, establishing uniform intelligence policies, and monitoring and evaluating performance of the Intelligence Community.

Background on Presidential Action

President Bush seeks legislation designed to:

  • Improve the integration of foreign and domestic intelligence;
  • Improve indication and timely warning of impending threats to national security;
  • Improve analysis of threats;
  • Improve our ability to use intelligence to counter threats to our national security;
  • Improve our ability to set goals and prioritize intelligence requirements, both collection/acquisition and analysis; and
  • Improve the sharing of information in the fullest and most prompt manner.

The President's reform plan is designed to establish an effective National Intelligence Director and reorganize the Intelligence Community. The President's plan outlines powers and responsibilities for the NID that are consistent with the 9/11 Commission report.

Structure of the National Intelligence Director -- The NID will:

  • Report to the President, be appointed by the President, be confirmed by the Senate, serve at the pleasure of the President, and testify before Congress;
  • Act as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters relating to the national security; and
  • While part of the Executive Branch, will not be located in the Executive Office of the President or serve as a member of the President's Cabinet.

General Powers of the National Intelligence Director -- The NID will:

  • Serve as the head of the United States Intelligence Community;
  • Develop objectives and guidance for the Intelligence Community to ensure timely and effective collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination, including access by users to collected data and analytic products generated by or within the Intelligence Community, of national intelligence;
  • Determine and establish requirements and priorities for, and manage and direct the tasking of, the collection of intelligence by the Intelligence Community;
  • Resolve conflicts in collection requirements and the tasking of national collection assets of the Intelligence Community; and
  • Determine and establish intelligence analysis and production
  • priorities for the Intelligence Community.

Budget Authority of the National Intelligence Director -- The NID will:

  • As recommended by the 9/11 Commission, receive the funds for the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) and allocate, as apportioned by the Office of Management and Budget, those funds to the Intelligence Community;
  • With respect to the NFIP budget, approve annual budgets for the Intelligence Community and determine, develop, and present -- with the advice of the heads of departments -- the intelligence budget request for the approval of the President; and
  • Have the authority to transfer or reprogram funds within the NFIP and to review, and approve or disapprove, consistent with the existing authorities of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, any proposal to transfer or reprogram funds.

Intelligence Community Management Responsibilities of the NID -- The NID will:

  • Ensure the fullest and most prompt sharing of and access to information practicable, with special emphasis on detecting, preventing, preempting, and disrupting terrorist threats and attacks against the United States, its people, property and interests;
  • Establish standards, policies, and programs within the Intelligence Community;
  • Supervise the National Counterterrorism Center and oversee all new national centers, including potentially a future National Center to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Proliferation;
  • Ensure that appropriate agencies and departments have access to and receive all-source intelligence support needed to carry out their own missions as well as to perform independent, alternative analysis;
  • Establish within the Director's office a National Intelligence Council to produce national intelligence estimates and evaluate Intelligence Community-wide collection and production of intelligence;
  • Provide guidance and issue tasking to the Intelligence Community; and
  • Assume the functions of the current Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) as head of the Intelligence Community, to include the coordination of the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) intelligence and counterterrorism activities, and relevant parts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Personnel Authorities of the National Intelligence Director -- The NID will:

  • Have a role in the appointment of any individual to a position that heads an organization or element within the Intelligence Community. If the appointment is made by an agency head, the agency head must receive the concurrence of the National Intelligence Director. If the appointment to such position is made by the President, any recommendation to the President to nominate or appoint an individual to that position shall be accompanied by the recommendation of the National Intelligence Director.
  • Under the President's plan, the Intelligence Community structure would:
    • Be led by the National Intelligence Director, who will have authority over the budget and collection objectives and will coordinate the foreign and domestic activities of the Intelligence Community;
    • Keep the national intelligence agencies -- National Security Agency (NSA), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) -- under the Department of Defense, thereby avoiding the disruption of the war effort that a more far reaching restructuring could create; and
    • Ensure that departmental intelligence support is retained and that direct command authority for operations occurs through the appropriate chain of command for departmental intelligence entities.
  • President Bush has led the way on intelligence reform and has already undertaken a number of major reforms to improve intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing to obtain the best information on the terrorist threat to the Nation -- including:
    • Implementing, by Executive Order, many of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations for intelligence reform. The President, on August 27, signed executive orders giving the Director of Central Intelligence many of the strengthened management powers over the Intelligence Community that will eventually belong to the NID. He also established a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to serve as a central knowledge bank on known and suspected terrorists and international terror groups, as well as their goals, strategies, capabilities, and networks of contacts. The NCTC will also plan U.S. government-wide counterterrorism activities. The President also ordered that additional actions be taken to continue to improve the sharing of terrorism information among agencies and to improve our information technology architecture.
    • Reforming the FBI: The President is transforming the FBI into an agency focused on preventing terrorist attacks through intelligence collection and other key efforts, while improving its ability to perform its traditional role as a world-class law enforcement agency.
    • Creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): The President has led the most extensive reorganization of the Federal government in 50 years by creating DHS. DHS brought together 22 entities and over 180,000 employees with critical homeland security missions and provided the Nation with a single Federal department with the primary mission to protect the homeland against terrorist threats. DHS launched the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), a real-time collaboration system to report incidents, crimes, and potential terrorist acts to federal, state, and local officials and the DHS Homeland Security Operations Center. The HSIN is now linked to all 50 states and more than 50 major urban areas.
    • Establishing the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), integrating and analyzing terrorism threat-related information collected domestically and abroad, ensuring that intelligence and law enforcement entities are working together. Elements of the CIA, DoD, the Department of Justice, DHS, and the FBI work to close the "seams" in our intelligence analysis. The TTIC will be absorbed by the newly established National Counterterrorism Center.
    • Creating the Terrorist Screening Center to consolidate terrorist watchlists and provide 24/7 operational support for Federal and other government law enforcement personnel across the country and around the world. The Center ensures that government investigators, screeners, and agents are working off the same unified, comprehensive set of anti-terrorist information -- and that they have access to information and expertise that will allow them to act quickly when a suspected terrorist is screened or stopped.
    • Creating U.S. Northern Command to provide for integrated homeland defense and coordinated DoD support to Federal, state, and local civilian governments.
    • Proposing and signing into law the USA PATRIOT Act, which strengthens law enforcement's abilities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute acts of terror, facilitating Federal government efforts to thwart potential terrorist activity throughout the United States. President Bush continues to call on Congress to take action to ensure that these vital law enforcement tools do not expire.
    • Creating a White House Homeland Security Council, led by a Homeland Security Advisor who reports directly to the President, to coordinate homeland security policy across multiple departments and agencies -- modeled on the National Security Council.


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