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RAND’s Gompert Nominated to Be Blair’s Intelligence Deputy

David C. Gompert, a former RAND Corporation vice president and longtime nonpartisan State and National Security Council official (Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the Elder), has been nominated to be the principal deputy to Adm. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence. He’s testifying before the Senate intelligence committee right now, and in pre-written answers to Senators’ questions, explained that part of his job will be to focus on day-to-day management to free up Blair to look at the longer-term intelligence picture and to rate the performances of intelligence community personnel and missions.

Gompert sounded some familiar notes about limiting notification of sensitive programs to the so-called Gang of Eight — the political leadership in Congress and that of the intelligence committees — rather than the full House and Senate intelligence panels:

[C]ongressional notification must be made to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters. This does not limit the obligation to keep the intelligence committees informed but rather provides the Administration a degree of latitude in determining how and when to bring extremely sensitive matters to the committees’ attention. I agree with Director Blair that limited notification should occur only in the most exceptional circumstances…

I believe that timely and complete congressional notification to the full intelligence committees should be provided and the “Gang of 8″ limitations should be used only when consistent with standards set forth in the statute.

House Democrats wanted to do away with the Gang of Eight restrictions, but President Obama threatened to veto an intelligence bill that would have forced him to do that.

Meanwhile, there isn’t much in Gompert’s background that deals with intelligence. But he was part of a well-intentioned and tirelessly designed program to disarm and integrate the militias of powerful Iraqi factions aligned with the United States in 2003 and 2004. Alas, the Iraqis gutted Gompert’s work, but life is sometimes like that.

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