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A Call for Smart Steps to Improve Intelligence

June 21, 2004

"Bad Fix for CIA's Defects" (editorial, June 14) correctly diagnosed the ills in our intelligence community but implied that efforts to fix them by creating a director of national intelligence amounted to little more than an additional, unnecessary bureaucracy. On the contrary. Some proposals, such as the Intelligence Transformation Act, co-sponsored by more than 20 members of Congress, would focus on changes designed to network the intelligence agencies into an integrated, ultimately more effective, capability. It would be done without creating large, new bureaucracies.

Creating a director of national intelligence -- separate from the CIA director and armed with the right tools -- would establish the authority to cut bureaucracy, get key intelligence collectors and analysts working together and preserve the competitive and objective analysis The Times' editors rightly value. With CIA Director George Tenet's resignation, a number of thorough investigations recommending reform and the very real threat of a terrorist attack this summer, the time is ripe for reform -- now.

Rep. Jane Harman

D-Venice

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