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Overview:

Created in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the top intelligence official in the United States government. The DNI oversees what is known as the Intelligence Community, which consists of more than a dozen civilian and military agencies that collect information on threats against the United States. The 16 agencies include Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.

 

Prior to the creation of the DNI, the top intelligence official was the Director of Central Intelligence, best known as the head of the CIA. But the massive security failure that allowed terrorists to hijack airliners and crash them into New York and Washington D.C., provoked such outrage that the Director of Central Intelligence lost its top place in the intelligence pecking order to the newly established DNI. The new position has struggled with its own controversies during its short tenure.

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History:

Before there was a Director of National Intelligence, the leading intelligence figure in the U.S. government was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The DCI was established in 1947 as part of the National Security Act, which also created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), over which the DCI presided. Aside from running the CIA, the DCI reported directly to the President, keeping him informed of any threats to the United States while overseeing all aspects of the nation’s Intelligence Community.

 

Over the next 50 years, the DCI was largely preoccupied, as were all intelligence-gathering efforts, with the Soviet Union and the ongoing Cold War. The CIA evolved into a highly secretive and controversial organization, carrying out covert and spying operations throughout the world and sometimes in the U.S. In the 1970s, the Church Committee exposed years of illegal activities by CIA operatives, which led to federal legislation intended to prevent the CIA or any other government spy agency from conducting clandestine missions in the U.S. unless authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

 

Although the CIA kept out of domestic affairs in the succeeding decade, the agency found itself in hot water again with the Iran-Contra scandal. Then-DCI William Casey was involved in the illegal diversion of arms sales to Contra rebels in Central America, but Casey died before federal investigators could determine how deep his involvement was.

 

With the end of the Cold War, the 1990s saw the CIA lose funding and struggle with its mission now that the Soviet Union was no longer around. As threats from Islamic terrorists began to develop, the agency failed time and again to warn government officials of attacks. These included the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing, the 1998 twin attacks against U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. But the agency’s biggest, and most costly, intelligence failure was not learning of the plot to hijack American airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In the wake of the attacks, lawmakers demanded answers and authorized a special commission to look into what went wrong. The 9/11 Commission identified major intelligence failures that called into question how well the CIA and the rest of the Intelligence Community protected U.S. national and homeland security interests against attacks by foreign terrorists.

 

Soon thereafter, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and Bob Graham (D-Florida) introduced legislation to create a Director of National Intelligence. Other intelligence-related reform plans soon followed. After considerable debate, lawmakers passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (pdf). Among other things, the law established the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and, in doing so, down-sized the DCI to the head of the CIA and nothing more. The new DNI was now in charge of the Intelligence Community, overseeing all intelligence gathering from civilian and military spy operations.

 

Some conservatives were not happy with the structure of the new DNI’s responsibilities, arguing that the new director’s powers weren’t strong enough to improve the performance of the Intelligence Community. Although the DNI technically oversaw the work of the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, these three spy groups still reported directly to the Secretary of Defense.

 

When it came time to fill the role of the DNI, President George W. Bush wanted to give the job to former DCI Robert Gates, who served under the President’s father, George H. W. Bush. But Gates declined. Instead, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte was nominated and confirmed to serve as the nation’s first Director of National Intelligence. Negroponte served for two years before moving over to the State Department. The President made former NSA Director John Michael McConnell the second DNI in 2007. President Barack Obama replaced McConnell with retired U.S. Navy Admiral Dennis Blair at the outset of his administration in 2009, and then replaced Blair in 2010 with James Clapper, formerly the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and, previous to that, Director of Defense Intelligence.

 

In April 2009, an internal report produced by the agency’s Inspector General, Edward Maguire, described “poor performance” by the ODNI, which, the report stated, had merely become “an additional layer of bureaucracy” in the U.S. government, where the pre-existing “culture of protecting ‘turf' remains a problem.” The report added that computer systems intended for linking the Intelligence Community’s 16 agencies “are largely disconnected and incompatible,” and it warned of wasteful spending on a litany of private contractors. However, two years later, the Intelligence Community was hailed as a highly tuned, integrated machine for its contributions to tracking down and killing most-wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden.

 

Two Web-based attempts were made to bridge the persistent data-sharing problem in the Intelligence Community. In 2009 it was reported that the ODNI, along with other spy agencies, had developed a Web-based intelligence-sharing system, Intellipedia, that runs 900,000 pages, contains 100,000 user accounts, and undergoes 5,000 page edits per day. The CIA’s Directorate of Support, Dr. Calvin Andrus, proposed an information-sharing network called SIPRNet, which the Pentagon launched, and the CIA set up A-Space, a sort of secure social networking site for spies. The contractor that developed it, ManTech International, was hired by the CIA to maintain the site through 2012. The CIA has been using Facebook as a recruiting tool since 2006, and the FBI uses social networking sites for its investigations and information gathering.

 

The ODNI also put into effect a “join-duty personnel program” that requires personnel of one intelligence agency to rotate to another as a condition for promotion, the idea being to overcome rivalries by encouraging inter-agency trust and cooperation.

 

The ODNI was the only intelligence (or military) agency out of 41 federal agencies that has complied with President Obama’s December 2009 Executive Order to establish new policies to reduce the amount of classified information. In October 2010, DNI Clapper publicly released—for the first time since 1998—the overall budget figures for the U.S. Intelligence Community: $80.1 billion for FY 2010.

 

In 2011, ODNI chief Clapper won an agreement for the agency’s budget to be removed from Pentagon control and placed under the ODNI’s purview by 2013, thereby enhancing the ODNI’s authority throughout the Intelligence Community. Director Clapper also announced that the ODNI will soon be “reduced in its size and budget.”

The World Trade Center Bomb: Who is Ramzi Yousef? And Why It Matters (by Laurie Mylroie, National Interest)

You Call That a Reform Bill?: The new national intelligence director will be a toothless figurehead. (by Fred Kaplan, Slate)

US spy agencies 'still plagued by same intelligence failures which led to 9/11' (by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph)

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What it Does:

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC), overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and acting as the principal adviser to the President, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters. The DNI works together with the principal deputy DNI, mission managers, and four deputy directors to ensure that timely and objective national intelligence is provided to the President, the heads of departments and agencies of the executive branch, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior military commanders, and Congress.

 

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the DNI also establishes objectives and priorities for collection, analysis, production and dissemination of national intelligence, and the director develops an annual budget for the National Intelligence Program (NIP) based on budget proposals provided by IC component organizations. Overseeing coordination of relationships with the intelligence or security services of foreign governments and international organizations is another duty of the DNI, as is supporting national security needs by ensuring the most accurate analysis of intelligence derived from all sources. Last, the DNI develops personnel policies and programs to enhance the capacity for joint operations and to facilitate staffing of community management functions, plus it oversees the development and implementation of plans for acquiring major systems that aid in intelligence gathering, doing so jointly with the Secretary of Defense.

 

Under the DNI is the Science and Technology division, which oversees the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity program, a highly secretive office that develops new technology for spying operations.

 

In March 2011, the National Research Council released an advisory report that was developed at the request of the ODNI. The report recommended that the DNI spearhead an initiative for the intelligence community to adopt methods, theories, and findings from the behavioral and social sciences as a way to improve its analyses. It also urged a routine evaluation of these methods.

 

There are six basic intelligence sources or collection disciplines utilized by the IC. These are: Signals Intelligence (SIGINT); Imagery Intelligence (IMINT); Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT); Human-Source Intelligence (HUMINT); Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT); and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT).

 

Signals intelligence is derived from signals intercepted from all communications intelligence (COMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT), and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT). The National Security Agency is responsible for collecting, processing and reporting SIGINT. The National SIGINT Committee within NSA advises the director of NSA and the DNI on SIGINT policy issues and manages the SIGINT requirements system.

 

Imagery Intelligence includes representations of objects reproduced electronically or by optical means on film, electronic display devices, or other media. Imagery can be derived from visual photography, radar sensors, infrared sensors, lasers, and electro-optics. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is the manager for all imagery intelligence activities, both classified and unclassified, within the government.

IMINT Gallery (Federation of American Scientists)

IMINT Gallery (Global Security)

 

Measurement and Signature Intelligence is technically derived intelligence data other than imagery and SIGINT. The data results in intelligence that locates, identifies or describes distinctive characteristics of targets. It employs a broad group of disciplines including nuclear, optical, radio frequency, acoustics, seismic, and materials sciences. Examples of this might be the distinctive radar signatures of specific aircraft systems or the chemical composition of air and water samples. 

 

Human Intelligence is derived from human sources, or spies. To the public, HUMINT remains synonymous with espionage and clandestine activities; however, most of this collection is performed by overt collectors such as diplomats and military attaches. It is the oldest method for collecting information and until recently it was the primary source of intelligence. HUMINT is used mainly by the CIA, the Department of State, the DoD, and the FBI. Collection includes clandestine acquisition of photography, documents, and other material; overt collection by personnel in diplomatic and consular posts; debriefing of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens who travel abroad; and official contacts with foreign governments.

 

Open-Source Intelligence is publicly available information appearing in print or electronic form including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the Internet, commercial databases, videos, graphics, and drawings. While open-source collection responsibilities are broadly distributed through the IC, the major collectors are the DNI’s Open Source Center (OSC) and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).

 

Geospatial Intelligence is the analysis and visual representation of security related activities on the earth. It is produced through an integration of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information collected from spy satellites.

 

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)

Created in 2004, the National Counterterrorism Center serves as the clearinghouse and analytic center for information pertaining to international terrorism. Although most of the center’s activities are secret, for the public, the NCTC does provide a database of terror incidents worldwide, called the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System. Incidents occurring in the United States can be found here.

 

DNI Leadership:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) comprises four directorates, focusing on management, collection, requirements, and analysis.

 

The Deputy Director of National Intelligence (DDNI) for Management helps implement responsibilities related to the administrative management of the IC, strategic planning and coordination and the development and execution of the National Intelligence Program budget. The Deputy Director for Management exercises a number of budgeting, programming, acquisition and personnel authorities and is responsible for the approval of Intelligence Community Directives, instructions and procedural guidance. The DDNI for Management supervises the functions of the chief financial officer, director of strategy, plans and policy, the senior acquisition executive, the IC chief human capital officer, the director for community training and education, and the directors of security and administration.

 

The Deputy Director for Collection coordinates the collection of intelligence data from throughout the Intelligence Community and ensure that the National Intelligence

Strategy (NIS) priorities are appropriately reflected in future planning and systems acquisition decisions. It develops “corporate understanding of needs, requirements and capabilities to ensure that a holistic view is taken on current and future collection systems.” He or she also brings together key IC stakeholders to get senior level insight into issues.

 

According to the Office of the DNI, the Deputy Director for Requirements is responsible for ensuring decision makers receive timely and actionable information that allows them to fulfill their respective national security missions by articulating, advocating and coordinating requirements within the IC. The Deputy Director for Requirements interfaces with the variety of intelligence customers at the national, state and local level, and he or she provides organizations not traditionally associated with national intelligence a link to information, products, and avenues for sharing intelligence.

 

The most well-known of the responsibilities of the Deputy Director for Analysis is the production of the President’s Daily Brief. The DDNI for Analysis also serves concurrently as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). According to the ODNI, the Deputy Director for Analysis manages and establishes common policies and standards to ensure the highest quality, timeliness, and utility of analytic resources. To achieve this goal, the DDNI for Analysis works to increase expertise and improve analytic tradecraft at individual, agency and community levels through specialization, training, collaboration, and cross-fertilization. Some of the most important functions of the DDNI for Analysis include establishing analytic priorities; ensuring timely and effective analysis and dissemination of analysis; tasking of analytic products; and encouraging sound analytic methods, all-source analysis, competitive analysis, and resource recommendations regarding the need to balance collection and analytic capabilities.

 

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is a key component of DNI operations, serving as a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities and as a facilitator of IC collaboration. The NIC supports the DNI in his role as head of the IC and serves as the center for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking. Its core missions are to produce National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), the IC’s most authoritative written assessments on national security issues, and a broad range of other products; reach out to nongovernmental experts in academia and the private sector to broaden the IC’s perspective; and articulate substantive intelligence priorities and procedures to guide intelligence collection and analysis.

National Intelligence Estimates (by Greg Bruno, Council on Foreign Relations)

National Intelligence Estimate (SourceWatch)

Mapping the Global Future: Report on the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project

 

The DNI relies on associate directors who deal with issues cutting across a number of IC functions, and, therefore, reside outside of the directorates. These associate directors include the chief information officer, the civil liberties and privacy officer, the inspector general, and the associate director for science and technology.

 

Mission Managers

Six mission managers serve as the principal IC officials overseeing all aspects of intelligence related to key issues or “targets.” These mission managers oversee Iran, North Korea, Cuba/Venezuela, counter terrorism, counter proliferation, and counterintelligence.

United States Intelligence Community 500 Day Plan

 

From the ODNI Web Site

Contact Information

FAQs

Interviews

Overview of the US Intelligence Community (pdf)

Press Releases

Reports and Publications

Speeches

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Where Does the Money Go:

All government contracts that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) distributes are classified, making it difficult to determine how much money the office spends. Former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell reportedly buried a detailed human capital report that detailed the Intelligence Community’s human resourcing and personnel outsourcing trends.

 

In general, the Intelligence Community reportedly spends 70% of its budgets on private contracts. As a result, intelligence agencies have struggled to retain talent as more government workers leave for the private sector and go back to working for their old agency but at higher costs to the government. In 2007, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden complained that his agency had become a “farm system for contractors,” and officials there banned some companies from the CIA cafeteria for openly recruiting active duty intelligence officers during lunch hour.

 

Those companies that perform a lot of work for spy agencies include Booz Allen Hamilton, Science Applications International Corp., General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and CACI International. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity program, DNI’s research and spy tool development unit, hired Booz Allen Hamilton.

 

Data gleaned from a 2007 ODNI presentation made at a DIA-hosted intelligence industry conference in Colorado revealed that $42 billion was spent on private contractors by the Intelligence Community in 2005, a figure that amounts to 70% of a probable $60 billion overall U.S. Intelligence budget for that fiscal year.

 

In November 2010, DNI James Clapper announced that an agreement had been reached to transfer control of the National Intelligence Program’s then-$53.1 billion budget (covering civilian Intelligence agencies) from the Pentagon to the ODNI. In February 2011, he stated that the size and budget of the agency would be reduced. Although the ODNI budget remains classified, indeed, for FY 2013, it was proposed that the overall National Intelligence budget be reduced by half a billion dollars.

Rent-a-spy (by Patrick Radden Keefe, International Herald Tribune)

Private Spies: Dangerously, US Intelligence Is Now A For-Profit Business (by Tim Shorrock, New York Post)

The spy who came in from the boardroom: Why John Michael McConnell, a top executive at a private defense contractor, should not be allowed to run our nation's intelligence agencies. (by Tim Shorrock, Salon)

The Spy Who Billed Me: Outsourcing the War on Terror (R. J. Hillhouse)

National intelligence director says budget will be moved from Pentagon control (By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post)

Office of Director of National Intelligence to be Downsized (by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News)

‘We Can't Spy … If We Can't Buy!’: The Privatization of Intelligence and the Limits of Outsourcing ‘Inherently Governmental Functions’ (by Simon Chesterman, European Journal of Law) (pdf)

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Controversies:

Clapper’s Numerous Mistakes

Within a span of about four months, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made headlines because of three blunders.

 

In December 2010, Clapper got caught on the air not knowing about a large terrorism arrest in the United Kingdom. ABC News’ Diana Sawyer asked Clapper during an interview about the capture of 12 suspects in London that morning. The intel chief responded with stunned silence, before another administration official stepped in to answer for Clapper.

 

Then in February 2011, Clapper testified before a House Intelligence Committee about Egypt’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. He characterized the organization as “very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” Somehow, the existence of “Muslim” in the name escaped Clapper’s assessment of the brotherhood being non-religious in orientation.

 

And the following month, Clapper predicted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi would “prevail” against rebels seeking his overthrow. Gaddafi was forced to flee several months later and later killed by rebels.

 

Clapper was still on the job as of August 2012.

Diane Sawyer Explains Terror Alert To U.S. Director of Intelligence (by Jeanne Armstrong, National Post)

CLAP OFF THE CLAPPER: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Must Go (Red State)

Office of the Director of National Intelligence “Clarifies” Remarks on Muslim Brotherhood (Political Punch)

The Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Had No Idea there Were 12 Terrorist Arrests in the UK (Scared Monkeys)

Intelligence Director’s Testimony About Gaddafi Causes Controversy (Zimbio)

DNI Jim Clapper Out in Fall? Rumor Mill Says Maybe (by Colin Clark, AOL Defense)

 

Intel Chief Blunder

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told lawmakers in January 2010 that a special anti-terrorism unit known as the “High Value Interrogation Group” (HIG) should have handled the investigation of Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

 

The only problem with Blair’s suggestion was the HIG didn’t exist at the time. And even if it had, it would have been inappropriate to use the HIG for someone like Abdulmutallab, instead of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

Administration officials were reportedly “annoyed, angry, and frustrated” with Blair for his gaffe, which gave Republicans more fodder for their arguments that the nation is not secure under President Barack Obama’s leadership.

 

Five months later, Blair announced his resignation. His departure represented the first major shake-up of Obama’s national security team.

Intelligence Czar Dennis Blair Testifies Christmas Bomber Should Have Been Questioned by Non-Existent Unit (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Intel Chief Blair Announces Resignation (MilitaryPhotos.net)

 

Intelligence Report on Iran

In the summer of 2007, the federal government was preparing to release its intelligence report on Iran, which would include an assessment of its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The Bush administration had insisted repeatedly that the Iranian government was determined, and perhaps not far away, from having its first weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The report, what’s known as a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and its top official for intelligence gathering was determined to make the correct call, unlike with Iraq when U.S. spy efforts incorrectly claimed that country had WMDs.

 

Instead of declaring that Iran was on the verge of having nuclear weapons, the report stated that it had ceased its weapons program. The conclusion wound up undermining the administration’s hard-line Iran policy. Diplomats and government officials were stunned, as the NIE touched off a political maelstrom with DNI at the center.

The man behind the Iran arms report reveals the backstory: Analysts are forced to defend their controversial Iran report, which was intended as a symbol of change. (by Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times)

 

DNI to GAO: Don’t Bother Us

In 2006 the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government’s auditor or “watchdog,” issued a report (pdf) urging the Intelligence Community to establish policies for sharing sensitive but unclassified material. The GAO made several recommendations that the ODNI needed to improve information sharing across the government. 

 

The ODNI refused to comment on GAO’s recommendations, claiming it was above the GAO’s authority. “We are aware that you have been previously advised by the Department of Justice that the review of intelligence activities is beyond the GAO’s purview,” read a letter from the ODNI to the GAO.

 

The GAO’s advice apparently continued to be ignored during the ensuing three years. A 2009 internal report produced by the ODNI’s Inspector General acknowledged that the “culture of protecting ‘turf’” among U.S. spy agencies, which contributed to their failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks, “remains a problem,” and that the Intelligence Community’s computer systems “are largely disconnected and incompatible.”

The Director of National Intelligence is “beyond the GAO's purview” (Project on Government Oversight)

US spy agencies 'still plagued by same intelligence failures which led to 9/11' (by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph)

 

 

DNI Says Talking about U.S. Surveillance Will Kill Americans

In August 2007, DNI Michael McConnell granted a rare media interview, in which he said the debate over the warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency was dangerous for the country. At one point, a member of the El Paso Times asked: “So you’re saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?”

 

McConnell replied, “That’s what I mean. Because we have made it so public. We used to do these things very differently, but for whatever reason, you know, it’s a democratic process and sunshine’s a good thing.”

Discussing NSA surveillance kills Americans? Hogwash (by Declan McCullagh, CNET)

Transcript: Debate on the foreign intelligence surveillance act (by Chris Roberts, El Paso Times)

 

What’s DNI Trying to Hide?

According to CNET, the DNI’s office was, for a time, using software to hide its web pages from Internet search engines. The spy office was utilizing robot.txt, a program that blocks search engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo from indexing any files at the ODNI Web site. Speculation arose that the agency was using the program to either hide potentially embarrassing material that had been posted or modify certain pages, such as transcripts, without people noticing.

Feds use robots.txt files to stay invisible online. Lame. (by Declan McCullagh, CNET)

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Suggested Reforms:

Multiple Reforms Offered for ODNI

 

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a special hearing in May 2011 to gather input from experts on ways to improve intelligence operations, especially the performance of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

 

Michael Hayden, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, lamented the lack of productive co-existence between the director of the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). He argued the DNI needs to have more input in selecting the head of the CIA, which officially is the case but in reality has only happened once since the ODNI was created. Hayden also said the president, whomever it is, needs to embrace the ODNI and stand by the position, which would give it more authority in Washington.

 

John Gannon, another former CIA official, agreed with Hayden that the DNI needs to be strengthened. He said the position “should be seen as a leader with explicit responsibilities for clearly defined, selective oversight of IC [Intelligence Community] performance, for the development and application of interagency program standards, and for the implementation of the National Intelligence Program.” Only with these changes will both the Executive and Legislative branches of government come to value the ODNI.

Ten Years After 9/11: Is Intelligence Reform Working? Part I (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)

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Debate:

Should ODNI be abolished?

Created in the wake of the intelligence failure that allowed the September 11 attacks to take place, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has been soundly criticized during the short time it has existed. The national intelligence director was envisioned to better coordinate the work of the intelligence community and resolve differences between rival spy agencies.

 

Pro

Critics of the ODNI say it’s time to pull the plug and dissolve the office. They say too much money has been spent to staff what was supposed to be a small operation that has only made the U.S. intelligence community less effective in doing its job. The office “creates work for everybody else and gets in their way,” said one former American spy, while an ex-FBI agent said its unclear what the ODNI does to be considered productive.  ODNI often collects reports from other agencies, like the Central Intelligence Agency, but what happens after that is unknown. Does it make the country safer to have a staff of 1,500 sitting around reading reports?

 

Con

Supporters of ODNI admit the office has had troubles, and that reforms are needed. But they insist to abolish the office would be an overreaction. Some argue the problem lies with the CIA, which has never been willing to give up its authority to the ODNI. Other intelligence agencies behave similarly, creating too many turf wars that leave the ODNI looking ineffectual. What needs to be done is the president must pick a strong national intelligence director and stand behind that person 100%, making it clear to the CIA and other offices that they must comply with ODNI orders.

Abolish the Office of Director of National Intelligence (by Ronald Kessler, NewsMax)

The Colossal Failure of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (by Melvin A. Goodman, OpEdNews)

Is It Time To Kill Off the DNI? (by Tom Madigan, National Journal)

Intelligence Reform After Five Years: The Role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) (by Richard A. Best Jr., Congressional Research Service)

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Former Directors:

Dennis Blair (January 2009 to May 2010)

Michael McConnell (February 2007 to January 2009)

John Negroponte (April 2005 to January 2007)

John Negroponte received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1960. From 1960 to 1997, Negroponte was a member of the Career Foreign Service. He served at eight different Foreign Service posts in Asia, Europe, and Latin America; and he also held important positions at the State Department and the White House.

 

Among his assignments, Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras (1981-1985); Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (1985-1987); Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (1987-1989); Ambassador to Mexico (1989-1993); and Ambassador to the Philippines (1993-1996).

 

From 1997 to 2001, he was employed in the private sector as executive vice president for global markets of The McGraw-Hill Companies in New York.

 

Negroponte joined the Bush administration in September 2001 as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He was later U.S. ambassador to Iraq, before being selected to serve as the first Director of National Intelligence.

State Department Bio

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Founded: 2004
Annual Budget: Classified (National Intelligence Program budget request is $52.6 billion for FY 2013)
Employees: Classified
Official Website: http://www.dni.gov/
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Coats, Dan
Director

Dan Coats, who was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee before retiring from the Senate in 2016, was nominated on January 5, 2017, to be director of national intelligence. On March 15, the U.S. Senate confirmed him by a vote of 85 to 12.

 

Coats was born May 16, 1943, in Jackson, Michigan, to Edward and Vera Coats. He graduated from Jackson High School in 1961 and went to Wheaton College in Illinois. There, he was on the soccer team and met the woman who would become his wife, Marsha. Coats graduated in 1965 with a B.A. in political science. He was drafted the following year and spent two years in the Army, leaving with a rank of staff sergeant. When he left the service, Coats went to law school at Indiana University. He earned his J.D. in 1971 and went to work for a life insurance company in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

 

In 1976, he was made director of the Indiana office of Rep. Dan Quayle (R). When Quayle moved to the Senate in 1981, Coats was appointed to fill his House seat, and when Quayle was elected George H.W. Bush’s vice president in 1988, Coats was appointed to fill Quayle’s Senate seat. Coats won the seat on his own in 1992.

 

Coats declined to run for re-election in 1998 when Democrat Evan Bayh threw his hat into the ring. Instead, Coats went to work for the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand as a lobbyist in 1999.

 

When George W. Bush assumed the presidency in 2001, Coats was said to be on the short list to be secretary of defense. Instead, that job went to Donald Rumsfeld and as a consolation prize, Coats was named ambassador to Germany.

 

Coats returned to the U.S. in 2005 and was asked to shepherd the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers through the Senate. When discussing Miers’ fitness for the job on CNN, Coats didn’t do the nominee any favors when he said, “If great intellectual powerhouse is a qualification to be a member of the court and represent the American people and the wishes of the American people and to interpret the Constitution, then I think we have a court so skewed on the intellectual side that we may not be getting representation of America as a whole.” Miers’ nomination was later withdrawn and Coats successfully led the effort to get Samuel Alito confirmed to the bench.

 

Coats then returned to lobbying, this time with the firm of King and Spalding. Coats represented General Electric, Google and other companies in the pharmaceutical, defense and energy industries. He also represented electrical products manufacturer Cooper Industries when that company was fighting to keep a tax break after it had moved its corporate headquarters from Texas to Bermuda. Coats was successful in saving Cooper’s tax break.

 

Indiana voters returned Coats to the Senate in 2010 and he had spots on the intelligence, armed services and labor and human resources committees. In 2014, Coats fought for tough sanctions against Russia after its invasion and annexation of Crimea. He was subsequently put on a list of those forbidden by the Russian government to travel to that country. “While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” Coats said.

 

Coats is socially very conservative. He was a member of the secretive The Fellowship (or The Family), a Christian group that includes many conservative lawmakers and has promoted a fundamentalist agenda in the United States and around the world, including anti-gay laws in African countries. Coats fought the idea of gays serving openly in the U.S. military in the 1990s and voted against the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2010. He once called same-sex marriage a sign of “deep moral confusion.” In February 2016 he co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act that proposed protection under the 14th Amendment for preborn human beings.

 

In 2015, Coats backed a bill that expanded cyberthreat data-sharing between the government and the private sector. The proposal alarmed privacy advocates. He also voted against killing the USA Freedom Act, the National Security Agency’s bulk-phone-data collection program.

 

Coats is the author of the 1998 book Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society, based on a lecture he gave the previous year.

 

Coats’ wife, Marsha, served as the Indiana Republican National Committeewoman. In 1999 they founded the Foundation for American Renewal. The couple have three adult children: Laura, Lisa and Andrew. They also have ten grandchildren.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Trump Is Expected to Nominate Ex-Senator Dan Coats for Director of National Intelligence (by Sean Sullivan and Anne Gearan, Washington Post)

Trump to Tap ex-Sen. Dan Coats as Intelligence Chief (by Eric Geller and Cory Bennett, Politico)

A Journey From Lawmaker to Lobbyist and Back Again (by Eric Lipton, New York Times)

American Morning Transcript (CNN)

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Clapper, James
Previous Director

James R. Clapper, Jr. has extensive experience in intelligence matters, having worked in the field during his four-decade career in the U.S. Air Force and in the administration of President George W. Bush. However, his nomination by President Barack Obama on June 5, 2010, to be Director of National Intelligence was controversial due to Clapper’s aggressive support for outsourcing intelligence work, including prisoner interrogations, to private contractors, and his multiple payroll connections with defense and intelligence contractors. On July 29, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to approve Clapper's nomination, and he was confirmed by the whole Senate on August 5.

 
As a young man, Clapper first looked to the U.S. Marine Corps for his career, enlisting briefly in its reserves. But he soon decided to transfer to the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which he enrolled in while attending the University of Maryland. Clapper was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science.
 
From March 1964 to December 1965, he served as the analytic branch chief for the Air Force Special Communications Center at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. Clapper was then a watch officer and air defense analyst for the 2nd Air Division (later, 7th Air Force) stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam. From December 1966 to June 1970, he was back at Kelly AFB as aide to the commander and command briefer for the Air Force Security Service.
 
In 1970 Clapper earned a Master of Arts in political science from St. Mary’s University in Texas. It was then off to Thailand, where he commanded Detachment 3 of the 6994th Security Squadron stationed at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. During his two tours in Southeast Asia, he flew 73 combat support missions over Laos and Cambodia.
 
In June 1971 Clapper returned to the states to be military assistant to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Noel Gayler, at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. About two years later he became aide to the commander and intelligence staff officer for the Headquarters Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
 
Clapper spent a year studying at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia from August 1974 to September 1975. Then it was on to Hawaii to serve as chief of the signal intelligence branch at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith.
 
He spent another year studying from August 1978 to June 1979, but this time at the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC.
 
He then returned to Fort Meade to be the Washington area representative for electronic security command. Clapper’s next assignment at Fort Meade was serving as commander of the 6940th Electronic Security Wing, before returning to Washington as the director for intelligence plans and systems in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence located at Air Force headquarters.
 
From June 1984 to May 1985, he was commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.
 
In time, Clapper served as director of intelligence for three unified commands: U.S. Forces Korea (1985-1987), U.S. Pacific Command (1987-1989) and Strategic Air Command (1989-1990). Also, he served as senior intelligence officer for the Air Force, before taking on his final military post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 1992-1995.
 
After retiring from the service in 1995 as a lieutenant general, he worked as executive director of military intelligence programs for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. In 1998 he moved on to Intelligence Programs director for SRA International, another government contractor.
 
On September 13, 2001, he joined the Bush administration as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which was then known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. He held this position until June 2006. During his tenure, he privatized much of the NGA’s imagery gathering, relying heavily on two companies, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye. Five months after leaving the NGA, Clapper joined the board of directors of GeoEye, where he stayed for five more months…long enough to see GeoEye gain an extra $29.9 million in contracts from the NGA.
 
In October 2006 Clapper was hired as chief operating officer for DFI Government Services, a national security consulting firm. DFI was soon acquired by Detica which was, in turn, bought out by BAE Systems. Also in October 2006, Clapper joined the board of directors of 3001 International, a prime contractor of the NGA that was acquired by Northup Grumman in September 2008.
 
Clapper resigned these positions in April 2007, when President George W. Bush nominated him to become under secretary of defense for intelligence. In this role he oversaw the DIA, NGA, the NSA and the National Reconnaissance Office, while working closely with the director of national intelligence. He also held the title of director of defense intelligence, reporting directly to the director of national intelligence as his principal advisor regarding defense intelligence matters. In 2007, Clapper told a Senate committee that he supported the use of private contractors to interrogate detainees.
 
Clapper: Managing the Intelligence Enterprise (by Tim Shorrock, Foreign Policy in Focus)
James Clapper Profile (National Corruption Index.org)
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Overview:

Created in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the top intelligence official in the United States government. The DNI oversees what is known as the Intelligence Community, which consists of more than a dozen civilian and military agencies that collect information on threats against the United States. The 16 agencies include Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.

 

Prior to the creation of the DNI, the top intelligence official was the Director of Central Intelligence, best known as the head of the CIA. But the massive security failure that allowed terrorists to hijack airliners and crash them into New York and Washington D.C., provoked such outrage that the Director of Central Intelligence lost its top place in the intelligence pecking order to the newly established DNI. The new position has struggled with its own controversies during its short tenure.

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History:

Before there was a Director of National Intelligence, the leading intelligence figure in the U.S. government was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The DCI was established in 1947 as part of the National Security Act, which also created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), over which the DCI presided. Aside from running the CIA, the DCI reported directly to the President, keeping him informed of any threats to the United States while overseeing all aspects of the nation’s Intelligence Community.

 

Over the next 50 years, the DCI was largely preoccupied, as were all intelligence-gathering efforts, with the Soviet Union and the ongoing Cold War. The CIA evolved into a highly secretive and controversial organization, carrying out covert and spying operations throughout the world and sometimes in the U.S. In the 1970s, the Church Committee exposed years of illegal activities by CIA operatives, which led to federal legislation intended to prevent the CIA or any other government spy agency from conducting clandestine missions in the U.S. unless authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

 

Although the CIA kept out of domestic affairs in the succeeding decade, the agency found itself in hot water again with the Iran-Contra scandal. Then-DCI William Casey was involved in the illegal diversion of arms sales to Contra rebels in Central America, but Casey died before federal investigators could determine how deep his involvement was.

 

With the end of the Cold War, the 1990s saw the CIA lose funding and struggle with its mission now that the Soviet Union was no longer around. As threats from Islamic terrorists began to develop, the agency failed time and again to warn government officials of attacks. These included the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing, the 1998 twin attacks against U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. But the agency’s biggest, and most costly, intelligence failure was not learning of the plot to hijack American airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In the wake of the attacks, lawmakers demanded answers and authorized a special commission to look into what went wrong. The 9/11 Commission identified major intelligence failures that called into question how well the CIA and the rest of the Intelligence Community protected U.S. national and homeland security interests against attacks by foreign terrorists.

 

Soon thereafter, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and Bob Graham (D-Florida) introduced legislation to create a Director of National Intelligence. Other intelligence-related reform plans soon followed. After considerable debate, lawmakers passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (pdf). Among other things, the law established the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and, in doing so, down-sized the DCI to the head of the CIA and nothing more. The new DNI was now in charge of the Intelligence Community, overseeing all intelligence gathering from civilian and military spy operations.

 

Some conservatives were not happy with the structure of the new DNI’s responsibilities, arguing that the new director’s powers weren’t strong enough to improve the performance of the Intelligence Community. Although the DNI technically oversaw the work of the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, these three spy groups still reported directly to the Secretary of Defense.

 

When it came time to fill the role of the DNI, President George W. Bush wanted to give the job to former DCI Robert Gates, who served under the President’s father, George H. W. Bush. But Gates declined. Instead, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte was nominated and confirmed to serve as the nation’s first Director of National Intelligence. Negroponte served for two years before moving over to the State Department. The President made former NSA Director John Michael McConnell the second DNI in 2007. President Barack Obama replaced McConnell with retired U.S. Navy Admiral Dennis Blair at the outset of his administration in 2009, and then replaced Blair in 2010 with James Clapper, formerly the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and, previous to that, Director of Defense Intelligence.

 

In April 2009, an internal report produced by the agency’s Inspector General, Edward Maguire, described “poor performance” by the ODNI, which, the report stated, had merely become “an additional layer of bureaucracy” in the U.S. government, where the pre-existing “culture of protecting ‘turf' remains a problem.” The report added that computer systems intended for linking the Intelligence Community’s 16 agencies “are largely disconnected and incompatible,” and it warned of wasteful spending on a litany of private contractors. However, two years later, the Intelligence Community was hailed as a highly tuned, integrated machine for its contributions to tracking down and killing most-wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden.

 

Two Web-based attempts were made to bridge the persistent data-sharing problem in the Intelligence Community. In 2009 it was reported that the ODNI, along with other spy agencies, had developed a Web-based intelligence-sharing system, Intellipedia, that runs 900,000 pages, contains 100,000 user accounts, and undergoes 5,000 page edits per day. The CIA’s Directorate of Support, Dr. Calvin Andrus, proposed an information-sharing network called SIPRNet, which the Pentagon launched, and the CIA set up A-Space, a sort of secure social networking site for spies. The contractor that developed it, ManTech International, was hired by the CIA to maintain the site through 2012. The CIA has been using Facebook as a recruiting tool since 2006, and the FBI uses social networking sites for its investigations and information gathering.

 

The ODNI also put into effect a “join-duty personnel program” that requires personnel of one intelligence agency to rotate to another as a condition for promotion, the idea being to overcome rivalries by encouraging inter-agency trust and cooperation.

 

The ODNI was the only intelligence (or military) agency out of 41 federal agencies that has complied with President Obama’s December 2009 Executive Order to establish new policies to reduce the amount of classified information. In October 2010, DNI Clapper publicly released—for the first time since 1998—the overall budget figures for the U.S. Intelligence Community: $80.1 billion for FY 2010.

 

In 2011, ODNI chief Clapper won an agreement for the agency’s budget to be removed from Pentagon control and placed under the ODNI’s purview by 2013, thereby enhancing the ODNI’s authority throughout the Intelligence Community. Director Clapper also announced that the ODNI will soon be “reduced in its size and budget.”

The World Trade Center Bomb: Who is Ramzi Yousef? And Why It Matters (by Laurie Mylroie, National Interest)

You Call That a Reform Bill?: The new national intelligence director will be a toothless figurehead. (by Fred Kaplan, Slate)

US spy agencies 'still plagued by same intelligence failures which led to 9/11' (by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph)

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What it Does:

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC), overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and acting as the principal adviser to the President, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters. The DNI works together with the principal deputy DNI, mission managers, and four deputy directors to ensure that timely and objective national intelligence is provided to the President, the heads of departments and agencies of the executive branch, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior military commanders, and Congress.

 

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the DNI also establishes objectives and priorities for collection, analysis, production and dissemination of national intelligence, and the director develops an annual budget for the National Intelligence Program (NIP) based on budget proposals provided by IC component organizations. Overseeing coordination of relationships with the intelligence or security services of foreign governments and international organizations is another duty of the DNI, as is supporting national security needs by ensuring the most accurate analysis of intelligence derived from all sources. Last, the DNI develops personnel policies and programs to enhance the capacity for joint operations and to facilitate staffing of community management functions, plus it oversees the development and implementation of plans for acquiring major systems that aid in intelligence gathering, doing so jointly with the Secretary of Defense.

 

Under the DNI is the Science and Technology division, which oversees the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity program, a highly secretive office that develops new technology for spying operations.

 

In March 2011, the National Research Council released an advisory report that was developed at the request of the ODNI. The report recommended that the DNI spearhead an initiative for the intelligence community to adopt methods, theories, and findings from the behavioral and social sciences as a way to improve its analyses. It also urged a routine evaluation of these methods.

 

There are six basic intelligence sources or collection disciplines utilized by the IC. These are: Signals Intelligence (SIGINT); Imagery Intelligence (IMINT); Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT); Human-Source Intelligence (HUMINT); Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT); and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT).

 

Signals intelligence is derived from signals intercepted from all communications intelligence (COMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT), and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT). The National Security Agency is responsible for collecting, processing and reporting SIGINT. The National SIGINT Committee within NSA advises the director of NSA and the DNI on SIGINT policy issues and manages the SIGINT requirements system.

 

Imagery Intelligence includes representations of objects reproduced electronically or by optical means on film, electronic display devices, or other media. Imagery can be derived from visual photography, radar sensors, infrared sensors, lasers, and electro-optics. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is the manager for all imagery intelligence activities, both classified and unclassified, within the government.

IMINT Gallery (Federation of American Scientists)

IMINT Gallery (Global Security)

 

Measurement and Signature Intelligence is technically derived intelligence data other than imagery and SIGINT. The data results in intelligence that locates, identifies or describes distinctive characteristics of targets. It employs a broad group of disciplines including nuclear, optical, radio frequency, acoustics, seismic, and materials sciences. Examples of this might be the distinctive radar signatures of specific aircraft systems or the chemical composition of air and water samples. 

 

Human Intelligence is derived from human sources, or spies. To the public, HUMINT remains synonymous with espionage and clandestine activities; however, most of this collection is performed by overt collectors such as diplomats and military attaches. It is the oldest method for collecting information and until recently it was the primary source of intelligence. HUMINT is used mainly by the CIA, the Department of State, the DoD, and the FBI. Collection includes clandestine acquisition of photography, documents, and other material; overt collection by personnel in diplomatic and consular posts; debriefing of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens who travel abroad; and official contacts with foreign governments.

 

Open-Source Intelligence is publicly available information appearing in print or electronic form including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the Internet, commercial databases, videos, graphics, and drawings. While open-source collection responsibilities are broadly distributed through the IC, the major collectors are the DNI’s Open Source Center (OSC) and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).

 

Geospatial Intelligence is the analysis and visual representation of security related activities on the earth. It is produced through an integration of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information collected from spy satellites.

 

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)

Created in 2004, the National Counterterrorism Center serves as the clearinghouse and analytic center for information pertaining to international terrorism. Although most of the center’s activities are secret, for the public, the NCTC does provide a database of terror incidents worldwide, called the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System. Incidents occurring in the United States can be found here.

 

DNI Leadership:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) comprises four directorates, focusing on management, collection, requirements, and analysis.

 

The Deputy Director of National Intelligence (DDNI) for Management helps implement responsibilities related to the administrative management of the IC, strategic planning and coordination and the development and execution of the National Intelligence Program budget. The Deputy Director for Management exercises a number of budgeting, programming, acquisition and personnel authorities and is responsible for the approval of Intelligence Community Directives, instructions and procedural guidance. The DDNI for Management supervises the functions of the chief financial officer, director of strategy, plans and policy, the senior acquisition executive, the IC chief human capital officer, the director for community training and education, and the directors of security and administration.

 

The Deputy Director for Collection coordinates the collection of intelligence data from throughout the Intelligence Community and ensure that the National Intelligence

Strategy (NIS) priorities are appropriately reflected in future planning and systems acquisition decisions. It develops “corporate understanding of needs, requirements and capabilities to ensure that a holistic view is taken on current and future collection systems.” He or she also brings together key IC stakeholders to get senior level insight into issues.

 

According to the Office of the DNI, the Deputy Director for Requirements is responsible for ensuring decision makers receive timely and actionable information that allows them to fulfill their respective national security missions by articulating, advocating and coordinating requirements within the IC. The Deputy Director for Requirements interfaces with the variety of intelligence customers at the national, state and local level, and he or she provides organizations not traditionally associated with national intelligence a link to information, products, and avenues for sharing intelligence.

 

The most well-known of the responsibilities of the Deputy Director for Analysis is the production of the President’s Daily Brief. The DDNI for Analysis also serves concurrently as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). According to the ODNI, the Deputy Director for Analysis manages and establishes common policies and standards to ensure the highest quality, timeliness, and utility of analytic resources. To achieve this goal, the DDNI for Analysis works to increase expertise and improve analytic tradecraft at individual, agency and community levels through specialization, training, collaboration, and cross-fertilization. Some of the most important functions of the DDNI for Analysis include establishing analytic priorities; ensuring timely and effective analysis and dissemination of analysis; tasking of analytic products; and encouraging sound analytic methods, all-source analysis, competitive analysis, and resource recommendations regarding the need to balance collection and analytic capabilities.

 

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is a key component of DNI operations, serving as a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities and as a facilitator of IC collaboration. The NIC supports the DNI in his role as head of the IC and serves as the center for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking. Its core missions are to produce National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), the IC’s most authoritative written assessments on national security issues, and a broad range of other products; reach out to nongovernmental experts in academia and the private sector to broaden the IC’s perspective; and articulate substantive intelligence priorities and procedures to guide intelligence collection and analysis.

National Intelligence Estimates (by Greg Bruno, Council on Foreign Relations)

National Intelligence Estimate (SourceWatch)

Mapping the Global Future: Report on the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project

 

The DNI relies on associate directors who deal with issues cutting across a number of IC functions, and, therefore, reside outside of the directorates. These associate directors include the chief information officer, the civil liberties and privacy officer, the inspector general, and the associate director for science and technology.

 

Mission Managers

Six mission managers serve as the principal IC officials overseeing all aspects of intelligence related to key issues or “targets.” These mission managers oversee Iran, North Korea, Cuba/Venezuela, counter terrorism, counter proliferation, and counterintelligence.

United States Intelligence Community 500 Day Plan

 

From the ODNI Web Site

Contact Information

FAQs

Interviews

Overview of the US Intelligence Community (pdf)

Press Releases

Reports and Publications

Speeches

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Where Does the Money Go:

All government contracts that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) distributes are classified, making it difficult to determine how much money the office spends. Former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell reportedly buried a detailed human capital report that detailed the Intelligence Community’s human resourcing and personnel outsourcing trends.

 

In general, the Intelligence Community reportedly spends 70% of its budgets on private contracts. As a result, intelligence agencies have struggled to retain talent as more government workers leave for the private sector and go back to working for their old agency but at higher costs to the government. In 2007, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden complained that his agency had become a “farm system for contractors,” and officials there banned some companies from the CIA cafeteria for openly recruiting active duty intelligence officers during lunch hour.

 

Those companies that perform a lot of work for spy agencies include Booz Allen Hamilton, Science Applications International Corp., General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and CACI International. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity program, DNI’s research and spy tool development unit, hired Booz Allen Hamilton.

 

Data gleaned from a 2007 ODNI presentation made at a DIA-hosted intelligence industry conference in Colorado revealed that $42 billion was spent on private contractors by the Intelligence Community in 2005, a figure that amounts to 70% of a probable $60 billion overall U.S. Intelligence budget for that fiscal year.

 

In November 2010, DNI James Clapper announced that an agreement had been reached to transfer control of the National Intelligence Program’s then-$53.1 billion budget (covering civilian Intelligence agencies) from the Pentagon to the ODNI. In February 2011, he stated that the size and budget of the agency would be reduced. Although the ODNI budget remains classified, indeed, for FY 2013, it was proposed that the overall National Intelligence budget be reduced by half a billion dollars.

Rent-a-spy (by Patrick Radden Keefe, International Herald Tribune)

Private Spies: Dangerously, US Intelligence Is Now A For-Profit Business (by Tim Shorrock, New York Post)

The spy who came in from the boardroom: Why John Michael McConnell, a top executive at a private defense contractor, should not be allowed to run our nation's intelligence agencies. (by Tim Shorrock, Salon)

The Spy Who Billed Me: Outsourcing the War on Terror (R. J. Hillhouse)

National intelligence director says budget will be moved from Pentagon control (By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post)

Office of Director of National Intelligence to be Downsized (by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News)

‘We Can't Spy … If We Can't Buy!’: The Privatization of Intelligence and the Limits of Outsourcing ‘Inherently Governmental Functions’ (by Simon Chesterman, European Journal of Law) (pdf)

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Controversies:

Clapper’s Numerous Mistakes

Within a span of about four months, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made headlines because of three blunders.

 

In December 2010, Clapper got caught on the air not knowing about a large terrorism arrest in the United Kingdom. ABC News’ Diana Sawyer asked Clapper during an interview about the capture of 12 suspects in London that morning. The intel chief responded with stunned silence, before another administration official stepped in to answer for Clapper.

 

Then in February 2011, Clapper testified before a House Intelligence Committee about Egypt’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. He characterized the organization as “very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” Somehow, the existence of “Muslim” in the name escaped Clapper’s assessment of the brotherhood being non-religious in orientation.

 

And the following month, Clapper predicted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi would “prevail” against rebels seeking his overthrow. Gaddafi was forced to flee several months later and later killed by rebels.

 

Clapper was still on the job as of August 2012.

Diane Sawyer Explains Terror Alert To U.S. Director of Intelligence (by Jeanne Armstrong, National Post)

CLAP OFF THE CLAPPER: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Must Go (Red State)

Office of the Director of National Intelligence “Clarifies” Remarks on Muslim Brotherhood (Political Punch)

The Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Had No Idea there Were 12 Terrorist Arrests in the UK (Scared Monkeys)

Intelligence Director’s Testimony About Gaddafi Causes Controversy (Zimbio)

DNI Jim Clapper Out in Fall? Rumor Mill Says Maybe (by Colin Clark, AOL Defense)

 

Intel Chief Blunder

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told lawmakers in January 2010 that a special anti-terrorism unit known as the “High Value Interrogation Group” (HIG) should have handled the investigation of Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

 

The only problem with Blair’s suggestion was the HIG didn’t exist at the time. And even if it had, it would have been inappropriate to use the HIG for someone like Abdulmutallab, instead of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

Administration officials were reportedly “annoyed, angry, and frustrated” with Blair for his gaffe, which gave Republicans more fodder for their arguments that the nation is not secure under President Barack Obama’s leadership.

 

Five months later, Blair announced his resignation. His departure represented the first major shake-up of Obama’s national security team.

Intelligence Czar Dennis Blair Testifies Christmas Bomber Should Have Been Questioned by Non-Existent Unit (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Intel Chief Blair Announces Resignation (MilitaryPhotos.net)

 

Intelligence Report on Iran

In the summer of 2007, the federal government was preparing to release its intelligence report on Iran, which would include an assessment of its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The Bush administration had insisted repeatedly that the Iranian government was determined, and perhaps not far away, from having its first weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The report, what’s known as a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and its top official for intelligence gathering was determined to make the correct call, unlike with Iraq when U.S. spy efforts incorrectly claimed that country had WMDs.

 

Instead of declaring that Iran was on the verge of having nuclear weapons, the report stated that it had ceased its weapons program. The conclusion wound up undermining the administration’s hard-line Iran policy. Diplomats and government officials were stunned, as the NIE touched off a political maelstrom with DNI at the center.

The man behind the Iran arms report reveals the backstory: Analysts are forced to defend their controversial Iran report, which was intended as a symbol of change. (by Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times)

 

DNI to GAO: Don’t Bother Us

In 2006 the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government’s auditor or “watchdog,” issued a report (pdf) urging the Intelligence Community to establish policies for sharing sensitive but unclassified material. The GAO made several recommendations that the ODNI needed to improve information sharing across the government. 

 

The ODNI refused to comment on GAO’s recommendations, claiming it was above the GAO’s authority. “We are aware that you have been previously advised by the Department of Justice that the review of intelligence activities is beyond the GAO’s purview,” read a letter from the ODNI to the GAO.

 

The GAO’s advice apparently continued to be ignored during the ensuing three years. A 2009 internal report produced by the ODNI’s Inspector General acknowledged that the “culture of protecting ‘turf’” among U.S. spy agencies, which contributed to their failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks, “remains a problem,” and that the Intelligence Community’s computer systems “are largely disconnected and incompatible.”

The Director of National Intelligence is “beyond the GAO's purview” (Project on Government Oversight)

US spy agencies 'still plagued by same intelligence failures which led to 9/11' (by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph)

 

 

DNI Says Talking about U.S. Surveillance Will Kill Americans

In August 2007, DNI Michael McConnell granted a rare media interview, in which he said the debate over the warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency was dangerous for the country. At one point, a member of the El Paso Times asked: “So you’re saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?”

 

McConnell replied, “That’s what I mean. Because we have made it so public. We used to do these things very differently, but for whatever reason, you know, it’s a democratic process and sunshine’s a good thing.”

Discussing NSA surveillance kills Americans? Hogwash (by Declan McCullagh, CNET)

Transcript: Debate on the foreign intelligence surveillance act (by Chris Roberts, El Paso Times)

 

What’s DNI Trying to Hide?

According to CNET, the DNI’s office was, for a time, using software to hide its web pages from Internet search engines. The spy office was utilizing robot.txt, a program that blocks search engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo from indexing any files at the ODNI Web site. Speculation arose that the agency was using the program to either hide potentially embarrassing material that had been posted or modify certain pages, such as transcripts, without people noticing.

Feds use robots.txt files to stay invisible online. Lame. (by Declan McCullagh, CNET)

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Suggested Reforms:

Multiple Reforms Offered for ODNI

 

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a special hearing in May 2011 to gather input from experts on ways to improve intelligence operations, especially the performance of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

 

Michael Hayden, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, lamented the lack of productive co-existence between the director of the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). He argued the DNI needs to have more input in selecting the head of the CIA, which officially is the case but in reality has only happened once since the ODNI was created. Hayden also said the president, whomever it is, needs to embrace the ODNI and stand by the position, which would give it more authority in Washington.

 

John Gannon, another former CIA official, agreed with Hayden that the DNI needs to be strengthened. He said the position “should be seen as a leader with explicit responsibilities for clearly defined, selective oversight of IC [Intelligence Community] performance, for the development and application of interagency program standards, and for the implementation of the National Intelligence Program.” Only with these changes will both the Executive and Legislative branches of government come to value the ODNI.

Ten Years After 9/11: Is Intelligence Reform Working? Part I (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)

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Debate:

Should ODNI be abolished?

Created in the wake of the intelligence failure that allowed the September 11 attacks to take place, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has been soundly criticized during the short time it has existed. The national intelligence director was envisioned to better coordinate the work of the intelligence community and resolve differences between rival spy agencies.

 

Pro

Critics of the ODNI say it’s time to pull the plug and dissolve the office. They say too much money has been spent to staff what was supposed to be a small operation that has only made the U.S. intelligence community less effective in doing its job. The office “creates work for everybody else and gets in their way,” said one former American spy, while an ex-FBI agent said its unclear what the ODNI does to be considered productive.  ODNI often collects reports from other agencies, like the Central Intelligence Agency, but what happens after that is unknown. Does it make the country safer to have a staff of 1,500 sitting around reading reports?

 

Con

Supporters of ODNI admit the office has had troubles, and that reforms are needed. But they insist to abolish the office would be an overreaction. Some argue the problem lies with the CIA, which has never been willing to give up its authority to the ODNI. Other intelligence agencies behave similarly, creating too many turf wars that leave the ODNI looking ineffectual. What needs to be done is the president must pick a strong national intelligence director and stand behind that person 100%, making it clear to the CIA and other offices that they must comply with ODNI orders.

Abolish the Office of Director of National Intelligence (by Ronald Kessler, NewsMax)

The Colossal Failure of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (by Melvin A. Goodman, OpEdNews)

Is It Time To Kill Off the DNI? (by Tom Madigan, National Journal)

Intelligence Reform After Five Years: The Role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) (by Richard A. Best Jr., Congressional Research Service)

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Former Directors:

Dennis Blair (January 2009 to May 2010)

Michael McConnell (February 2007 to January 2009)

John Negroponte (April 2005 to January 2007)

John Negroponte received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1960. From 1960 to 1997, Negroponte was a member of the Career Foreign Service. He served at eight different Foreign Service posts in Asia, Europe, and Latin America; and he also held important positions at the State Department and the White House.

 

Among his assignments, Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras (1981-1985); Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (1985-1987); Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (1987-1989); Ambassador to Mexico (1989-1993); and Ambassador to the Philippines (1993-1996).

 

From 1997 to 2001, he was employed in the private sector as executive vice president for global markets of The McGraw-Hill Companies in New York.

 

Negroponte joined the Bush administration in September 2001 as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He was later U.S. ambassador to Iraq, before being selected to serve as the first Director of National Intelligence.

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Founded: 2004
Annual Budget: Classified (National Intelligence Program budget request is $52.6 billion for FY 2013)
Employees: Classified
Official Website: http://www.dni.gov/
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Coats, Dan
Director

Dan Coats, who was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee before retiring from the Senate in 2016, was nominated on January 5, 2017, to be director of national intelligence. On March 15, the U.S. Senate confirmed him by a vote of 85 to 12.

 

Coats was born May 16, 1943, in Jackson, Michigan, to Edward and Vera Coats. He graduated from Jackson High School in 1961 and went to Wheaton College in Illinois. There, he was on the soccer team and met the woman who would become his wife, Marsha. Coats graduated in 1965 with a B.A. in political science. He was drafted the following year and spent two years in the Army, leaving with a rank of staff sergeant. When he left the service, Coats went to law school at Indiana University. He earned his J.D. in 1971 and went to work for a life insurance company in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

 

In 1976, he was made director of the Indiana office of Rep. Dan Quayle (R). When Quayle moved to the Senate in 1981, Coats was appointed to fill his House seat, and when Quayle was elected George H.W. Bush’s vice president in 1988, Coats was appointed to fill Quayle’s Senate seat. Coats won the seat on his own in 1992.

 

Coats declined to run for re-election in 1998 when Democrat Evan Bayh threw his hat into the ring. Instead, Coats went to work for the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand as a lobbyist in 1999.

 

When George W. Bush assumed the presidency in 2001, Coats was said to be on the short list to be secretary of defense. Instead, that job went to Donald Rumsfeld and as a consolation prize, Coats was named ambassador to Germany.

 

Coats returned to the U.S. in 2005 and was asked to shepherd the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers through the Senate. When discussing Miers’ fitness for the job on CNN, Coats didn’t do the nominee any favors when he said, “If great intellectual powerhouse is a qualification to be a member of the court and represent the American people and the wishes of the American people and to interpret the Constitution, then I think we have a court so skewed on the intellectual side that we may not be getting representation of America as a whole.” Miers’ nomination was later withdrawn and Coats successfully led the effort to get Samuel Alito confirmed to the bench.

 

Coats then returned to lobbying, this time with the firm of King and Spalding. Coats represented General Electric, Google and other companies in the pharmaceutical, defense and energy industries. He also represented electrical products manufacturer Cooper Industries when that company was fighting to keep a tax break after it had moved its corporate headquarters from Texas to Bermuda. Coats was successful in saving Cooper’s tax break.

 

Indiana voters returned Coats to the Senate in 2010 and he had spots on the intelligence, armed services and labor and human resources committees. In 2014, Coats fought for tough sanctions against Russia after its invasion and annexation of Crimea. He was subsequently put on a list of those forbidden by the Russian government to travel to that country. “While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” Coats said.

 

Coats is socially very conservative. He was a member of the secretive The Fellowship (or The Family), a Christian group that includes many conservative lawmakers and has promoted a fundamentalist agenda in the United States and around the world, including anti-gay laws in African countries. Coats fought the idea of gays serving openly in the U.S. military in the 1990s and voted against the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2010. He once called same-sex marriage a sign of “deep moral confusion.” In February 2016 he co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act that proposed protection under the 14th Amendment for preborn human beings.

 

In 2015, Coats backed a bill that expanded cyberthreat data-sharing between the government and the private sector. The proposal alarmed privacy advocates. He also voted against killing the USA Freedom Act, the National Security Agency’s bulk-phone-data collection program.

 

Coats is the author of the 1998 book Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society, based on a lecture he gave the previous year.

 

Coats’ wife, Marsha, served as the Indiana Republican National Committeewoman. In 1999 they founded the Foundation for American Renewal. The couple have three adult children: Laura, Lisa and Andrew. They also have ten grandchildren.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Trump Is Expected to Nominate Ex-Senator Dan Coats for Director of National Intelligence (by Sean Sullivan and Anne Gearan, Washington Post)

Trump to Tap ex-Sen. Dan Coats as Intelligence Chief (by Eric Geller and Cory Bennett, Politico)

A Journey From Lawmaker to Lobbyist and Back Again (by Eric Lipton, New York Times)

American Morning Transcript (CNN)

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Clapper, James
Previous Director

James R. Clapper, Jr. has extensive experience in intelligence matters, having worked in the field during his four-decade career in the U.S. Air Force and in the administration of President George W. Bush. However, his nomination by President Barack Obama on June 5, 2010, to be Director of National Intelligence was controversial due to Clapper’s aggressive support for outsourcing intelligence work, including prisoner interrogations, to private contractors, and his multiple payroll connections with defense and intelligence contractors. On July 29, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to approve Clapper's nomination, and he was confirmed by the whole Senate on August 5.

 
As a young man, Clapper first looked to the U.S. Marine Corps for his career, enlisting briefly in its reserves. But he soon decided to transfer to the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which he enrolled in while attending the University of Maryland. Clapper was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science.
 
From March 1964 to December 1965, he served as the analytic branch chief for the Air Force Special Communications Center at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. Clapper was then a watch officer and air defense analyst for the 2nd Air Division (later, 7th Air Force) stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam. From December 1966 to June 1970, he was back at Kelly AFB as aide to the commander and command briefer for the Air Force Security Service.
 
In 1970 Clapper earned a Master of Arts in political science from St. Mary’s University in Texas. It was then off to Thailand, where he commanded Detachment 3 of the 6994th Security Squadron stationed at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. During his two tours in Southeast Asia, he flew 73 combat support missions over Laos and Cambodia.
 
In June 1971 Clapper returned to the states to be military assistant to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Noel Gayler, at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. About two years later he became aide to the commander and intelligence staff officer for the Headquarters Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
 
Clapper spent a year studying at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia from August 1974 to September 1975. Then it was on to Hawaii to serve as chief of the signal intelligence branch at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith.
 
He spent another year studying from August 1978 to June 1979, but this time at the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC.
 
He then returned to Fort Meade to be the Washington area representative for electronic security command. Clapper’s next assignment at Fort Meade was serving as commander of the 6940th Electronic Security Wing, before returning to Washington as the director for intelligence plans and systems in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence located at Air Force headquarters.
 
From June 1984 to May 1985, he was commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.
 
In time, Clapper served as director of intelligence for three unified commands: U.S. Forces Korea (1985-1987), U.S. Pacific Command (1987-1989) and Strategic Air Command (1989-1990). Also, he served as senior intelligence officer for the Air Force, before taking on his final military post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 1992-1995.
 
After retiring from the service in 1995 as a lieutenant general, he worked as executive director of military intelligence programs for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. In 1998 he moved on to Intelligence Programs director for SRA International, another government contractor.
 
On September 13, 2001, he joined the Bush administration as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which was then known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. He held this position until June 2006. During his tenure, he privatized much of the NGA’s imagery gathering, relying heavily on two companies, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye. Five months after leaving the NGA, Clapper joined the board of directors of GeoEye, where he stayed for five more months…long enough to see GeoEye gain an extra $29.9 million in contracts from the NGA.
 
In October 2006 Clapper was hired as chief operating officer for DFI Government Services, a national security consulting firm. DFI was soon acquired by Detica which was, in turn, bought out by BAE Systems. Also in October 2006, Clapper joined the board of directors of 3001 International, a prime contractor of the NGA that was acquired by Northup Grumman in September 2008.
 
Clapper resigned these positions in April 2007, when President George W. Bush nominated him to become under secretary of defense for intelligence. In this role he oversaw the DIA, NGA, the NSA and the National Reconnaissance Office, while working closely with the director of national intelligence. He also held the title of director of defense intelligence, reporting directly to the director of national intelligence as his principal advisor regarding defense intelligence matters. In 2007, Clapper told a Senate committee that he supported the use of private contractors to interrogate detainees.
 
Clapper: Managing the Intelligence Enterprise (by Tim Shorrock, Foreign Policy in Focus)
James Clapper Profile (National Corruption Index.org)
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