Director of National Intelligence Statutory Authorities: Status and Proposals [May 26, 2010]   [open pdf - 156KB]

From the Summary: "In passing the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458) in 2004, Congress approved the most comprehensive reform of the U.S. intelligence community since it was created over 50 years ago. Principal among enacted changes was the establishment of a new position of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to serve as head of the intelligence community (IC) and principal adviser to the President on intelligence matters related to the national security and to oversee and direct the implementation of the National Intelligence Program. Some observers have questioned whether the act provides the DNI the authority necessary to effectively carry out these responsibilities. Others assert that the DNI's authorities are significantly stronger than those of the former Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), but suggest that DNIs have failed to aggressively assert the authorities they have been provided. During his Senate confirmation proceeding in January 2009, DNI Dennis C. Blair said that he would withhold judgment as to whether his authorities were sufficient but over time would advise the President and Congress if he concluded they were not. He also assured Senators that he would exercise his authorities to the fullest. The abrupt announcement of his resignation in May 2010 suggested to some that he had been unable to exercise his authorities to meet his responsibilities and, for some, raised questions about the viability of the DNI position."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34231
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