National Clandestine Service

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The establishment of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) within the Central Intelligence Agency was approved October 13, 2005, by President George W. Bush.

The new Director of the NCS will report directly to the Director of the CIA, Porter J. Goss, and will work with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, John D. Negroponte, "to implement all of the DNI's statutory authorities." [1]

Established in response to recommendations made in March 2005 by the President's Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, the NCS will serve as "the national authority for the integration, coordination, deconfliction, and evaluation of human intelligence operations across the entire Intelligence Community, under authorities delegated to the Director of the CIA who serves as the National HUMINT Manager." [2]

The NCS "will oversee all human espionage operations - meaning spying by people rather than by technical means," the BBC reported October 13, 2005. "The move is the latest in the post-9/11 reforms of US intelligence agencies."

The identity of the head of NCS will remain secret -- only known as Jose -- "will supervise the CIA's espionage operations and co-ordinate all overseas spying, including those of the FBI and the Pentagon." Jose will report directly CIA head Porter J. Goss, the BBC said.

The Plan

"The plan was drafted by Goss, based on a suggestion made last March by President [George W.] Bush's commission on intelligence. It keeps the CIA's traditional position as leader of U.S. 'human intelligence' collection overseas as the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency and military services are increasing their clandestine operations around the world as part of the terrorism fight," Walter Pincus wrote in the October 13, 2005, Washington Post.

"The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- citing past CIA failures in averting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and in overstating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- recently concluded in a report that coordination of human intelligence should be moved to the office of the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte. The director of intelligence position was created in the intelligence-community revision by Congress last year," Pincus wrote. "Although the intelligence director's office will not directly coordinate the human intelligence activities, it will exercise oversight. Negroponte's deputy in charge of collection, Mary Margaret Graham, a former CIA operations officer, will oversee all human intelligence collection overseas and will set broad requirements for what information needs to be collected, sources said. The CIA, the FBI and Pentagon agencies will work out who carries out the clandestine collections, with the clandestine services chief coordinating their activities."

"As currently envisioned, the clandestine services director will have a deputy who would not only coordinate overseas spying operations, but also ensure that agencies do not overlap one another in recruitment or operations, described by one official as 'deconflicting' activities in the community. The deputy will also supervise establishment of common standards for training all human intelligence collectors in tradecraft, including the recruitment, vetting and handling of sources.

"Another clandestine services deputy will run CIA's clandestine operations, as the deputy director for operations does now. The president's commission had originally proposed creating the position to free the deputy director for operations to concentrate on increasing the capability of CIA's operations, which were found lacking based on the agency's performances in failing to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks and to gain accurate information on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," Pincus wrote.

"Sources inside and outside the government said yesterday they expect that the CIA's current deputy director for operations, referred to as Jose because he is still under cover, will be the first NCS director. 'He is a team builder,' said one of Jose's former colleagues."

Old Proposal Revived? Again?

Apparently Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) was aware of the National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP) study, "a detailed 124-page analysis that was entitled Modernizing Intelligence: Structure and Change for the 21st Century," released in 1998.

"The chairman of the study was U.S. Army Lt. General William Odom (ret.), the former director of the National Security Agency. Odom was assisted by a senior advisory group that included retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper and retired Army Lt. Gen. Harry Soyster, both former directors of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Although admittedly a military view of the issue, the military intelligence veterans pulled no punches in calling for a sweeping structural overhaul and realignment of organizational responsibilities throughout the US intelligence community."

Among those recommendations was to "Restructure the CIA, giving it two major components, the national clandestine service and a component for handling overt HUMINT."

In August 2004, Senator Roberts proposed "legislation to overhaul the intelligence community, recreating it as a National Intelligence Service." Among the changes he proposed was to "[b]reak up the CIA into three parts: a National Clandestine Service to direct traditional spy operations; an Office of National Assessments to be responsible for intelligence analysis; and an Office of Technical Support to handle research and development projects." Under Roberts' proposal, the "CIA director's position would be abolished."

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Note: All of the following proposals, plans, and articles include reference to the creation of a National Clandestine Service.