Tuesday, July 13, 2004

KRT Wire | 07/13/2004 | Sept. 11 panel may recommend overhaul of intel agencies

KRT Wire | 07/13/2004 | Sept. 11 panel may recommend overhaul of intel agencies: "The panel's final report also is expected to add further detail on its finding June 16 that there had been no collaborative relationship between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. Republican Commissioner John Lehman said he expected the final report would provide details on contacts between al-Qaida and Iraqi officials that did not appear in earlier commission statements. He said he expected the report to stand by the earlier finding.
That finding has proved politically embarrassing for the Bush administration, which argued for going to war against Iraq based in part on its alleged cooperation with al-Qaida.
'There will be a fulsome discussion of the nature of the contacts and what we know,' Lehman said.
Lehman, a former Navy secretary and longtime critic of the CIA, is viewed by the White House as a potential replacement for George Tenet as CIA director. Tenet, who left his job this week, announced his departure ahead of last week's Senate intelligence committee report that the CIA had overestimated Saddam's threat before the war.
Other candidates under consideration to replace Tenet are Rep. Porter J. Goss, R., Fla., chairman of the House intelligence committee, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
In an April 15 preliminary report, the Sept. 11 panel found that U.S. intelligence-gathering agencies suffered from institutional fatigue. Sharp budget-cutting during the 1990s depleted the CIA of analysts and other staff who might have remained on top of the al-Qaida threat, it said.
The balkanized nature of U.S. intelligence-gathering, spread as it was across several federal departments, made coordination difficult, the panel said.
It also found that intelligence agencies seemed not to take direction from the top.
Although Tenet "


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