Position of Director of National Intelligence: Issues for Congress [Updated August 12, 2004]   [open pdf - 110KB]

"Recently some Members of Congress have introduced intelligence community reform legislation that would establish the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), or strengthen DCI authorities. Reactions to the concept of a DNI have been mixed since its inception. Supporters argue that the DCI cannot manage the IC, the CIA and serve as the President's chief intelligence advisor, and do justice to any of the jobs. Other than the CIA, the DCI also lacks hiring, firing and budget authority. They argue that the absence of strong, centralized leadership has resulted in divided management of intelligence capabilities; lack of common standards and practices across the foreign domestic intelligence divide; structural barriers that undermine the performance of joint intelligence work; and a weak capacity to set priorities and move resources. Opponents counter that a DNI would lose day-to-day control over the CIA, a natural power base and, as a result, influence. They also contend that placing the intelligence director in the Executive Office of the President, as the 9/11 Commission has proposed, risks the politicization of intelligence, giving the White House more direct control over covert operations, blurring the line between foreign and domestic operations and possibly shifting too much influence over intelligence to the Department of Defense. With regard to DOD influence, other opponents argue that a national director will shift the balance of control away from DOD, risking intelligence support to the warfighter. The congressional role includes deciding whether to establish the position of the DNI and its authority. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32506
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