America does not need a director of national intelligence (WT, 3/23/20)

Washington Times, March 23, 2020

By Fred Fleitz

In response to recent complaints by former intelligence officials like James Clapper, John Brennan and others about President Trump’s current effort to reduce the bloat and politicization of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), it’s time to admit something they do not want to discuss: America does not need a director of national intelligence.

Members of Congress who drafted the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) which created the DNI post were convinced that a centralized director of the intelligence community could prevent another 9/11 by ensuring that intelligence agencies share vital information and improve intelligence management.

Congress created the ODNI because proponents took advantage of a crisis — the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks — to push through a bad idea that never would have been adopted in normal circumstances. Lawmakers knew the American people were demanding bold action in response to the terrorist attacks and were sold on the idea that creating a DNI represented such bold action and would be a panacea for the intelligence community’s shortcomings. Most did not understand — or ignored — warnings that creating a DNI likely would lead to a huge bureaucracy that would damage, not improve, American intelligence capabilities.

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