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Bush sets up domestic spy service


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Bush sets up domestic spy service


President Bush ® meets intelligence chiefs

John Negroponte (third from right at table) will oversee the FBI changes

US President George W Bush has ordered the creation of a domestic intelligence service within the FBI, as part of a package of 70 new security measures.

The White House says it is enacting the measures to fight international terrorist groups and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The authorities will also be given the power to seize the property of people deemed to be helping the spread of WMD. An independent commission recommended the measures earlier this year.

The new measures form part of Mr Bush's overhaul of US intelligence agencies, aimed at bolstering the fight against terrorism and weapons proliferation.

FBI overhaul

The FBI is to be re-organised, and will include another new intelligence body called the National Security Service.

A stronger, more vibrant intelligence community produces better intelligence products upon which good decisions can be made

Frances Townsend

White House homeland security adviser

It will assume responsibility for intelligence work within the US, and combine the Justice Department's intelligence, counter-terrorism and espionage units.

Correspondents say the measure is designed to help dissolve the barriers between the FBI and the CIA.

John Negroponte, who was given the new job of US director of national intelligence in April, will be charged with putting the changes into effect.

Other measures include:

* An executive order allowing US authorities to seize the assets of any person or any company thought to be aiding the spread of WMD, targeting specifically eight companies including two from North Korea, one from Iran and one from Syria

* The establishment of a national counter-proliferation centre, to centralise US efforts to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons

* Giving control of all overseas human intelligence operations to the CIA

* Seeking the creation of a new assistant attorney general position to centralise responsibility for intelligence and national security at the Justice Department.

'Win for the people'

The Silverman-Robb Commission handed its report to Mr Bush in March.

The commission found that US intelligence on Iraq's WMD had been wrong, and it recommended to the president 74 ways in which the US intelligence effort could be improved.

The FBI will not get ahead of the terrorist threat if it doesn't have a fully dedicated intelligence service, and now it will

Jane Harman

Democrat Representative

Mr Bush has now accepted 70 of those recommendations.

White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend said the new measures were a "win for the American people".

"A stronger, more vibrant intelligence community produces better intelligence products upon which good decisions can be made," she said.

Democrats gave a cautious welcome to the measures.

"The FBI will not get ahead of the terrorist threat if it doesn't have a fully dedicated intelligence service, and now it will," California Representative Jane Harman told CNN.

"But this will require a massive culture change within the FBI, because the guns and badges and the mind-set of the FBI don't totally fit with the challenges of countering terrorism."

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says Americans have long resisted the growth of domestic intelligence agencies, believing they pose a threat to civil liberties.

But Mr Bush can ill-afford politically to see another intelligence failure like that in Iraq on his watch, he says

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Don't know how I managed to miss this post.

Should we call it the Committee for State Security?

(FWIW, I really do support very wide latitude for national security purposes. Where I begin to have a problem is when these things seem to have 'mission creep'. For example: 'helping the spread of WMDs' can include, for example, giving money to the ACLU. Or the DNC. It can mean anyone who objects to, say, searching people's UPS pagkages without a warrant.

(I also have a problem when the rules are that security investigations don't need warrants, but the material gained can then be used for criminal investigations. I remember reading how, after PATRIOT passed, one 'source' said that the CIA started receiving 'dozens' of 'We want to wiretap this guy, but we don't have enough for a warrant, so why don't you folks declare him to be a suspected terrorist, then you can wiretap him without a warrant, and just let us listen in on it.' requests.)

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Isn't this basically what the FBI already did?

And whose idea was it for "intel" reform?

Although Baculaus baby, you had to grab this from the BBC which gives it such an ominious headline and story.

Lets take a look at the Washington Post editorial on it shall we?

Now I am no fan of "intelligence shuffles" because I think our intel problems can be solved quite easily, but I also know the power of headlines and half truths.


Intelligence Shuffle


Monday, July 4, 2005; A16

IN MORE NORMAL times, a presidential decision to rearrange the structure of domestic intelligence gathering would be a big deal. Since Sept. 11, 2001, however, this country has seen the organizational charts of governmental counterterrorism efforts rearranged so extensively that President Bush's shuffling of the FBI's intelligence and counterterrorism authorities last week was almost a ho-hum event: Another day, another reorganization of American government.

But Mr. Bush's reforms of the FBI, which follow recommendations from a commission he appointed to study intelligence failures concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, are potentially profound and warrant public attention. In critical respects, they take the bureau in the right direction. The first question is whether they go far enough or whether they will end up being merely shifted boxes on the government's organizational chart. The second question is whether, in one particular area, they go too far.

The president has directed that the FBI's key national security functions -- counterterrorism, counterintelligence and intelligence gathering -- be consolidated into a single National Security Service headed by a high-level bureau official. The integration of these functions, all of which are now partly under the jurisdiction of the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, makes a lot of sense. For one thing, it will give the director a single hierarchy over whose chief he will have veto power. Moreover, in a world in which counterterrorism so dominates intelligence operations and collection, creating a unified national security infrastructure in the bureau seems like common sense.

A great part of the challenge of reforming the FBI since Sept. 11 has been transforming its law enforcement culture -- rooted in the collection of evidence for criminal prosecution -- into a credible intelligence organization capable of compiling, analyzing and sharing a far broader swath of information than might be useful for criminal purposes. If the FBI is to develop critical mass as an intelligence agency in the long run, creating a unified national security effort within it is a necessary part of the picture.

Whether this transformation is ultimately possible, however, remains an open question. The bureau has made more headway in developing intelligence capability than its fiercer critics acknowledge, but it remains, in its heart and soul, a police force. This culture may simply be too deeply rooted to be changed. At present, however, creating a domestic intelligence service is politically dicey; the step would have significant civil liberties implications and could create gaps in effectiveness that terrorists could exploit. Consequently, there is little choice but to proceed as the administration is proceeding -- that is, reform the bureau with an ongoing eye to whether the project is, at the end of the day, a fool's errand.

The other concern about Mr. Bush's order is that it potentially gives the director of national intelligence, a politically appointed intelligence official who works directly for the president, too much power over day-to-day operations of FBI agents. The president's memorandum requires the government to "develop procedures" by which the director of national intelligence can "communicate with the FBI's field offices" through the new head of the National Security Service. Whether this presents a problem depends entirely on what these procedures turn out to be. It is essential that FBI agents collecting intelligence domestically are not directed by the White House or top administration officials but, rather, by the FBI director overseen by the attorney general. In implementing the president's order, the administration must remember that whatever agency is responsible for domestic intelligence must be kept independent of politics.

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