Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
This article is from the New York Times. It looks at the impact of increased intelligence activities by the Pentagon with little accountability. The original article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/29/politics/29intel.html (registration may be required to view the article).
Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
By Douglas Jehl
New York Times
Thursday September 29 2005
Republican members of Congress say there are signs that the Defense Department may be carrying out new intelligence activities through programs intended to escape oversight from Congress and the new director of national intelligence.
The warnings are an unusually public signal of some Republican lawmakers’ concern about overreaching by the Pentagon, where top officials have been jockeying with the new intelligence chief, John D. Negroponte, for primacy in intelligence operations. The lawmakers said they believed that some intelligence activities, involving possible propaganda efforts and highly technological initiatives, might be masked as so-called special access programs, the details of which are highly classified.
We see indications that the D.O.D. is trying to create parallel functions to what is going on in intelligence, but is calling it something else, Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview.
Mr. Hoekstra said he believed that the purpose might be to obscure the extent of Pentagon intelligence activities and to keep them outside Mr. Negroponte’s designated orbit.
Even under the new structure headed by Mr. Negroponte, the Pentagon’s activities are widely understood to make up about 80 percent of an annual intelligence budget whose details remain classified but that is widely understood to total about $80 billion a year. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Pentagon is understood to have carried out a major expansion of its intelligence programs, including human spying efforts by Special Operations Forces and an arm of the Defense Intelligence Agency, whose missions have expanded into areas traditionally the purview of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have been pressing Stephen Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence, for more information about the Pentagon’s human spying. But the concerns now being voiced by Mr. Hoekstra and others appear to extend more broadly.
In the interview, Mr. Hoekstra declined to be specific, citing concerns about classification and the general sensitivity of the issue. But as an indication of the committee’s sentiments, another Republican lawmaker cited an unclassified report issued by the committee in June, which said the panel believed that
it does not have full visibility over some defense intelligence programs that do not clearly fall under particular budget categories.
The report said the committee believed that
individual services may have intelligence or intelligence-related programs such as science and technology projects or information operations programs related to defense intelligence that are embedded in other service budget line items, precluding sufficient visibility for program oversight.
Information operations is a military term used to describe activities including electronic warfare, psychological operations and counterpropaganda initiatives.
A version of the intelligence authorization bill that was passed by the House this summer calls on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, in consultation with Mr. Negroponte, to provide Congress with
a comprehensive inventory of Department of Defense intelligence and intelligence-related programs and projects. Those who would receive such a report would include the House Intelligence Committee, its Senate counterpart and the armed services committees in both chambers of Congress.
As part of the intelligence overhaul that Congress ordered last year, Mr. Negroponte, as director of national intelligence, is supposed to oversee 15 intelligence agencies whose activities fall under a budget category known as the National Intelligence Program. Mr. Negroponte has less authority over programs that fall under another category, the Military Intelligence Program, which are intended to provide tactical and strategic support to military commanders.
But the concern expressed by Mr. Hoekstra and others is focused on a third category of programs involving intelligence activity but not labeled as such, and included within the budgets of the individual military services.
Greater transparency into these programs and projects will enhance Congressional oversight and permit identification of potentially duplicative programs in other services, the committee said in its recent report, issued in June to accompany the intelligence authorization act for the fiscal year 2006.
In the interview, Mr. Hoekstra said the committee had been told that the Pentagon was creating parallel structures
so they don’t have to deal with the D.N.I., the abbreviation for the new intelligence chief.
A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher Conway, declined to comment on the issue, referring questions to Mr. Negroponte’s office. A spokesman for Mr. Negroponte, Carl Kropf, described coordination between Mr. Negroponte’s office and the Pentagon as
excellent on budget issues.
Successfully integrating D.O.D.-unique intelligence programs and missions into the National Intelligence Program requires full transparency, Mr. Kropf said.
Such transparency exists today.
General Fair Use Notice
This reposted page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Globalissues.org is making this article available in efforts to advance the understanding of the workings, impact and direction of various global issues. I believe that this constitutes a “fair use” of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This article is part of the following collection:
- War on Terror: Crackdown on Civil Rights; War on Freedom
- Amnesty International: Human Rights Backlash
- U.S. Intensifies the War of Words
- America’s hyperreal war on terrorism
- Post-September 11 Corporate Stance
- Goodbye to Patriotism
- The Silence on Terrorism
- The New McCarthyism
- American Caesar
- Farewell Liberty
- Bush’s Aggressive Accounting
- Race War
- The War on Dissent Widens
- The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11
- FBI digs deeper into the Web
- Seven Points
- The War on Freedom and Democracy in the EU
- Overview of Changes to Legal Rights
- How I became a target for America’s zealots
- Washington’s Eye on the Internet
- High treason in the U.S. government
- US Librarians See 'Big Brother' Monitoring
- Muted Response to Ashcroft’s Sneak Attack on Liberties
- Our Designated Killers, 'Where Is the Outrage?'
- Our voices are lost in the tide of intolerance sweeping America
- Broad Domestic Role Asked for C.I.A. and the Pentagon
- Amnesty International: No Shortcut to Genuine Security
- Asian Security Talks Risk Giving Green Light to Repression
- South African Anti-Terror Bill Draconian
- Rage. Mistrust. Hatred. Fear. Uncle Sam’s Enemies Within
- US Anti-war Activists Hit by Secret Airport Ban
- On the Record
- Army Admits Using JetBlue Data
- Congress Defunds Controversial 'Total Information' Program
- Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
- Executive Power after 9-11 in the United States
- War on Terror or War on Liberties?
- War on Global Values
- India’s 'No' to 9-11 Legacy
- Homeland Security: The price of safety
- Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
- Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
- Judge Rules NSA Warrantless Spy Program Unconstitutional
- Pentagon is keeping secret tabs on peaceful protest activities
- Is Princeton Professor and Retired Marine on Government No-Fly List for Criticizing the White House?
- Corporate Takeover of US Intelligence
- US and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data
Back to top