Exposing the Seams: The Impetus for Reforming U.S. Counterintelligence   [open pdf - 768KB]

U.S. counterintelligence is in need of reform. The September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qa'ida against America highlight this fact but are not in themselves the reason counterintelligence should be reformed. Not surprisingly these attacks have stirred a general debate on how U.S. intelligence ought to be reformed to more adequately protect the nation. However, amidst these various discussions one aspect of American intelligence capabilities seems to be conspicuously absent: counterintelligence. A review of counterintelligence functions and organization reveals that U.S. counterintelligence must be reformed organizationally. The current counterintelligence community structure hinders the effective employment of this crucial intelligence capability. In order to resolve this problem the author proposes a threefold approach to that reform: (1) Centralize U.S. counterintelligence operations under a single agency that will have the authority to conduct both domestic and foreign operations, (2) leave the remaining offices of counterintelligence located throughout the federal government in place to provide investigative and analytical support to the central operations agency, and (3) devolve U.S. counterintelligence down to the state and local levels along with encouraging greater private sector participation in order to provide wider coverage of the threat that both spies and terrorists pose to U.S. national security.

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