Crucial Tasks for the Next Director of National Intelligence (NR, 9/17/19)

September 17, 2019
By Fred Fleitz

With the resignation of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats last month and with only 16 months left in President Trump’s first term, there is important work to be done by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to improve the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to protect our nation, ensure that intelligence officials speak truth to power and address the politicization of intelligence.

The first and most important task is improving intelligence collection and analysis to protect the United States against threats from U.S. adversaries and new and emerging threats. A growing — and underreported — national-security threat concerns how state and non-state actors have begun to use cyber warfare and other advances in technology against our nation. The recent attack on a Saudi oil field by a fleet of drones illustrates how terrorist groups can now use new technology to inflict devastating carnage on a nation-state.

Second, the U.S. intelligence community must do a better job speaking truth to power. I know from my 19 years as a CIA analyst the requirement that intelligence officers always speak the truth to policymakers — including the president — and tell them what they need to know, not what they want to hear.

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