WASHINGTON: The persistent grumbles from the CIA and other bastions of the Intelligence Community that the Director of National Intelligence is just an unneeded layer of bureaucracy has caught the ear of House Intelligence chairman Rep. Devin Nunes. He promised to try and pass legislation to change this but admitted it would be “tough” to get passed.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (to use the HPSCI’s full name) will hold at least one hearing on the DNI as bureaucracy, Nunes told the audience at the National Security and Intelligence Summit put on by INSA and AFCEA. A decade after its creation in the wake of 9/11, “we remain concerned that it’s a bureaucracy that’s growing and continues to grow,” Nune said. “Is it needed?”
He conceded “there was a need for a DNI for a strategic planning organization, (but I’m) not sure it’s situated correctly now, where you have another layer of bureaucracy built on top of 16 intelligence agencies.”
However, the chairman was cautious, saying later he’d “like to see who the next DNI is and then what changes might be made.”
Nunes also singled out the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for criticism. “I do believe that DIA needs to be completely revamped and looked at in relationship with the COCOMs (Combatant Commanders),” he said. Part of DIA’s problem is that far too many of its people are located in the Pentagon and not in the field. DIA and DNI would be a topic at the planned hearing.
The top Democrat on the HPSCI, Rep. Adam Schiff, offered a more forgiving view of the DNI, saying the position has led to the “significant dismantling of the stovepipes between the agencies,” something that the 911 Commission and many other identified as a crucial problem that meant the Intelligence Community missed signs that Al Qaeda was planning an imminent attack against the United States.
In other news, Schiff called for the White House to clearly tell the American public that the government of Russia is behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computers.
“There’s plenty of publicly available information that Russia is behind these hacks. I think the American people should be made aware of who is hacking us,” Schiff said. Failing to point the finger at Vladimir Putin’s state “only invites further attack and further efforts to disrupt our elections. So I do think a response is warranted.”