WASHINGTON — President Bush approved an order Wednesday that rewrites the rules governing spying by U.S. intelligence agencies, both domestically and abroad, and strengthens the authority of the national intelligence director, according to a U.S. official and government documents.
Executive Order 12333, which lays out the responsibilities of each of the 16 agencies, maintains the decades-old prohibitions on assassination and using unwitting human subjects for scientific experiments, according to a multimedia briefing given to Congress that was reviewed by the Associated Press.
Interest in the rewrite inside the 16 agencies has been high because it establishes what each agency's powers and limitations will be.
The new order gives the national intelligence director, a position created in 2005, new authority over any intelligence information collected that pertains to more than one agency, an attempt to force greater information exchange among agencies traditionally reluctant to share their most prized intelligence.
The order directs the attorney general to develop guidelines to allow an agency access to information held by others.
The order, which has not been publicly released, has been under revision for more than a year. It is an attempt to update a nearly 30-year-old presidential order to reflect organizational changes made in the intelligence agencies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
It is expected to cut into one of the CIA's traditional roles. For 50 years the CIA has set the policy and largely called the shots on relationships between U.S. intelligence agencies and their foreign counterparts.
According to the briefing charts, the national intelligence director will now set the rules for engaging with foreign intelligence and security services. The CIA will now just "coordinate implementation."