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Negroponte Vows to Help Close Intelligence Gaps

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2005 – Good, solid intelligence is the United States' first line of defense, and the nation's 15 intelligence community elements need to work more cooperatively to bolster this line, the nominee for first director of national intelligence said April 12.

"Our intelligence effort has to generate better results," Ambassador John D. Negroponte told the Senate Intelligence Committee. "This is my mandate, plain and simple."

Negroponte, who most recently served as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, called timely, accurate intelligence a critical component of U.S. national security. "Without good intelligence, we will be unable to defeat the terrorists who began their assault on us long before Sept. 11, 2001," he said.

Negroponte detailed more repercussions of this intelligence gap: shortcomings in the ability to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, lack of insight needed to deal with hostile regimes that conceal their true intentions, and failure to fully understand a broad range of issues that affect the United States and its allies.

If confirmed as director of national intelligence, Negroponte vowed he will marshal the talents of the intelligence community and promote a new sense of teamwork to provide the most complete intelligence picture to the administration, Congress and the military.

This includes eliminating so-called "intelligence fiefdoms" within the U.S. government that some argue divides the intelligence effort into three communities, he told the committee. These include a military intelligence community, centered on the Defense Department; a foreign intelligence community, centered on the CIA; and the domestic intelligence committee, centered on the Departments of Justice and Homeland Defense and the FBI.

This military-foreign-domestic divide leaves gaps in the intelligence network that terrorists, narcotraffickers, high-tech criminals and leaders of anti-democratic states can exploit, Negroponte said.

"We live in an unpredictable world, subject to few of the old orthodoxies. That is why we must ensure genuine teamwork between our military, foreign and domestic intelligence communities, cooperating with both imagination and diligence," he said.

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