In the years since the attacks the number of U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies has swelled to more than 1,200, with 1,900 privately owned organizations pitching in, according to a two-year investigation by the Post that was published in 2010.
"There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that — not just for the DNI [Director of National Intelligence], but for any individual, for the director of the CIA, for the secretary of defense - is a challenge," according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as quoted in the Post investigation.
U.S. intelligence agencies multiply like rabbits rather than calculate like foxes
"Nine years after 9/11, it makes sense to sort of take a look at this and say, 'OK, we've built tremendous capability, but do we have more than we need?'" Gates asked.
Not only are there more intelligence agencies in the U.S. than ever, there is no single agency or authority responsible for coordinating their efforts, avoiding duplication of effort or providing oversight to prevent abuses of human or civil rights in pursuit of intelligence.
"The complexity of this system defies description," retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines told the Post.
According to that view, it might make sense for the Pentagon to create yet another agency – if only to sift the answers it needs from the undefined, possibly duplicated, possibly wasted effort of the other 1,199 agencies.
That marks the new DCS not as a valid agency in its own right, but as a wastefully expensive emergency measure to dig specific answers out of a convoluted, redundant collection of uncooperative intelligence agencies.
Creating it may get the Pentagon answers it needs to make timely decisions on cybersecurity, weapons development, deployment of troops, ships and drones.
It also signals that the Pentagon – and probably the rest of the U.S. government – has given up on ever reining in an intelligence community more intent on proliferation than on gathering intelligence, let alone sharing what they've learned with the military that is responsible for acting on that information.
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