Fred asserts that the bill was basically gutted to pass so that G-dub and the Rs in Congress wouldn't have egg on their faces, and reforms nothing.
.....Initially, the Senate passed a bill that closely reflected the commission's suggestions, which a handful of Republicans in the House firmly rejected. House Speaker Dennis Hastert refused even to bring a similar bill to the floor for a vote.I think Fred makes a good point. Lets see if the 9-11 Commission Members will be heard to complain and if anyone else picks up on it.
The compromise bill that's about to passand that President Bush, at last, has endorsedestablishes a national intelligence director but one with scant authority.
The key passage in the bill making this so notes that this director will not "abrogate the statutory responsibilities" of the Department of Defense. A story in today's New York Times quotes a supporter of the bill who calls describes this language as "minor." In fact, it is anything but.
The Defense Department's "statutory responsibilities" for intelligence matterswhich the bill says the new NID may not abrogateare laid out in Title 10 of the U.S. Code (Chapter 21) and in DoD Directive 5100.20. They cover the personnel, operations, and budgets of not just the Defense Intelligence Agency (and its Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine sub-branches), but also the National Reconnaissance Office (which controls all spy satellites), the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (which selects the routes for those satellites), and, most critically, the National Security Agency (the largest U.S. intelligence apparatus, which handles electronic and communications intercepts).
All told, these activities comprise about 80 percent of the U.S. intelligence community's budgets. In short, this "reform" bill places about 80 percent of the entity that's supposedly being reformed outside the control of the officialthe new national intelligence directorwho is supposedly the reform's centerpiece.....