Hogan's Alley

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Intelligence Bureaucracy, Whose Fault

The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee are reported to be upset with Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte. Republican Peter Hoekstra and Democrat Jane Harman assert that Negroponte, "is creating just another blanket of bureaucracy, muffling rather than clarifying the dangers lurking in the world."

Most of us are, I think, unfamiliar with the particulars of Negroponte's actions since taking office. Therefore an open airing of his activities would be useful. But I do wonder if the fault, dear Congresspersons, is not in our bureaucrats, but in ourselves.

After all, Negroponte's job was created by Congress in a rush to adopt the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission whole hog. After all, a new office set up above the various intelligence agencies and their competing interests is, on its face, another layer of bureaucracy. It was doomed to add staff to the government who would of necessity delay the travel of intelligence to the various customers of that intelligence in the White House. The question is whether the delay is worth accepting because it serves to coordinate and interrelate disparate pieces of information and forges them into a better product.