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Eye Opener: Intelligence Turf War

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! The Eye loves a good turf war and it appears there's a big one brewing in the intelligence community, coupled with big changes coming to the Homeland Security and anti-terror efforts that will likely cause ruffled feathers and bad feelings across the NSC-DHS-Justice bureaucracies.

"The nation's two intelligence chiefs are locked in a turf battle over overseas posts, forcing National Security Adviser James L. Jones to mediate, according to current and former government officials," the AP's Pamela Hess reports. "The jockeying between CIA Director Leon Panetta and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair centers on Blair's effort to choose his own representatives at U.S. embassies instead of relying only on CIA station chiefs."

Meanwhile, President Obama plans to merge the staffs of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council to speed up and unify security policymaking inside the White House, according to The Post's Spencer S. Hsu.

"The White House also will add new offices for cybersecurity, for terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, and for 'resilience' -- a national security directorate aimed at preparedness and response for a domestic WMD attack, pandemic or natural catastrophe, officials said."

"Among other things, Obama is establishing a new global engagement directorate to coordinate U.S. communications with other countries and to streamline U.S. diplomatic, aid, environment and energy policies in support of security objectives, officials said."

"Jones said the biggest pitfall for the new structure will be if he and Brennan "don't achieve this degree of collegiality that we've achieved," adding: 'If we don't do this well . . . that will contribute to instability.'" At least they're honest!

Then there's this: "The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions," according to Josh Meyer of the LA Times.

"The approach effectively reverses a mainstay of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, in which global counter-terrorism was treated primarily as an intelligence and military problem, not a law enforcement one. That policy led to the establishment of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; harsh interrogations; and detentions without trials."

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: Several big campaign donors, some former lawmakers get ambassadorships. Timothy Geithner prepares for his China trip. Janet Napolitano apologizes again for her Canada-9/11 gaffe. Hilda Solis visits NYC to tout stimulus-related job training funds. Kathleen Sebelius announces more stimulus funding for community health centers. Arne Duncan and Shaun Donovan visit Montana. Paul Farmer to lead USAID? Has change comes to the NSC?

In other news...

U.S. Weighs Single Agency to Regulate Banking Industry: It would replace a patchwork of agencies that failed to prevent banks from falling into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

FDIC Funds Drop to $13 Billion in Three Months: The agency reported 21 banks failing in the first quarter. Overall, 36 banks have failed this year.

Review of Government Secrecy Ordered: In a memo, Obama acknowledged that too many documents have been kept from the public eye for years and affirmed that he remains "committed to operating with an unprecedented level of openness."

Envisioning a More Muscular OPM: In a wide-ranging meeting with a small group of reporters in his office yesterday, agency director John Berry, who has been in office six weeks, listed three short-term and three long-term goals, some of which may require a magician's skill to achieve.

House Calls for Closer Watch on Food Supply: A new bill would give FDA broad new enforcement tools, including the authority to recall tainted food, the ability to "quarantine" suspect food, and the power to impose civil penalties and increased criminal sanctions on violators.

GAO Faults Tracking of Gifts to Military: Between 2005 and 2008, the military services received about $295 million in major gifts or in-kind donations, but the amount of smaller gifts is unknown because of gaps in reporting.

GAO: Gaps Remain in Data on Contractors: Lawmakers and federal agencies have tried repeatedly to improve the collection and use of information on contractors' past performance, but many of those efforts have stalled or remain unimplemented.

The CHCOs Start Arriving: This is the first presidential transition that Chief Human Capital Officers have gone through, and so far the jobs left open when political appointees departed haven't filled up super-quickly.

Ten Tips for Expanding Your Goverment Web Presence: Number 10: Get on the trendiest sharing devices. Thank you Captain Obvious!

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 28, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Stimulus Package Hits Close to Home. Literally.
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Seems like every time the intelligence community or any other community of agencies is steamlined, another level of bureaucracy is added. We have enough "tail" in government as it is and we ought to be using our tax dollars for "tooth," i.e. the folks who actually perform the missions.

Posted by: ben18 | May 28, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Law enforcement's growing role in the war on terror. How long before we see another stupid Gorelick like wall between the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies?
Probably will be racist Holder and his mutts warring with the doughboy at CIA, or the other incompetent at National Intelligence.

Posted by: LarryG621 | May 28, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

So NDI doesn't consider station chiefs his representative---??? Does this mean that NDI isn't above CIA? Why is it called National Intelligence then?

Posted by: mil1 | May 28, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"So NDI doesn't consider station chiefs his representative---??? Does this mean that NDI isn't above CIA? Why is it called National Intelligence then?"

Posted by: mil1 | May 28, 2009 11:57 AM |

Because National Stupidity would be too frighteningly accurate.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | May 28, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

INT: Edward T. Hampton< X(10-y)=0

Posted by: edtroyhampton | May 28, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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