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McConnell on New Intelligence Executive Order

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell just put out the following statement about Bush’s updated executive order governing the intelligence community:

On July 30, 2008, President Bush signed a revision to Executive Order (EO) 12333.

Originally signed in 1981 by President Reagan, Executive Order 12333 has been the cornerstone of the Intelligence Community (IC) for over a quarter of a century and has served our Community well. Although amended previously in 2003 and 2004 before the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Action (IRTPA), the Order had not been revised to conform to the Intelligence Reform Act.

With the rise of new national security institutions and to improve our ability to address the national security threats of our day and into the future, it was time to update this foundational policy document to reflect these new realities and to take the next step in intelligence reform to strengthen our collective ability to support our country’s security efforts.

The revised executive order addresses four main objectives:

• Align DNI authorities with the requirements of IRTPA.

• Respond further to key findings of the 9/11 and WMD Commissions.

• Strengthen the DNI’s ability to lead the IC as a unified enterprise.

• Maintain or strengthen the protections for privacy rights and civil liberties. All current EO12333 procedures governing collection, retention and dissemination of U.S. person information remain in effect.

Under the leadership of the National Security Council, and with the support of the Community’s leadership, we produced a draft Executive Order for the President that will strengthen our Community, and most importantly, serve our nation.

This Executive Order is the next, necessary step in intelligence reform and upholds the key themes of intelligence reform, namely: that the sum of our parts will produce better intelligence than each intelligence element individually; that we need a dedicated official – the DNI – with the responsibility and authority to lead and integrate this Community; and that the decentralized structure of the Community should remain intact, with most IC elements remaining embedded in cabinet departments.

This is truly a historic day for our Community and the nation. I believe wholeheartedly that this revised Executive Order will have a real and lasting effect, fostering a true Intelligence Community.

The phrase “talking loud and saying nothing” comes to mind. When I asked McConnell’s press aides if they’d be doing a call with senior intel officials to discuss how the order will be implemented and what will change as a result, they… referred me to the White House. Le sigh.

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