Preparing for the 21st Century: An Appraisal of U.S. Intelligence   [open pdf - 839KB]

It is prudent to reexamine a costly government activity closely tied to that era. Legislative attempts in the early 1990s to restructure and reform intelligence had not been seen as producing significant change. Reform efforts within the Executive branch had proceeded by fits and starts. Intelligence agencies touted new forays into areas such as intelligence on the environment, leading many observers to conclude they had lost focus and were searching for reasons to justify their existence. In addition, new questions arose about the competence and accountability of intelligence agencies. The Ames espionage case, in particular, raised concerns not only about the failure of the CIA to detect a rather clumsy spy in its midst, but also about the degree to which the agency holds accountable those responsible. By the fall of 1994, Congress decided the time had come for a "credible, independent, and objective review of the Intelligence Community" and established this Commission to perform it. Nineteen separate areas were identified for assessment. The Commission began operations on March 1, 1995 and conducted a rigorous inquiry during the following twelve months. It received formal testimony from 84 witnesses, and its staff interviewed over 200 other individuals. Members of the Commission visited several foreign countries with which the U.S. has cooperative relationships in the intelligence area, and the Commission reviewed a large amount of written opinion on intelligence issues. The results of its inquiry are reflected in the fourteen chapters that follow this summary.

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