US-Geheimdienste werden generalüberholt

--- Die US-Geheimdienste, die vor allem aufgrund des 11. Septembers unter Beschuss gekommen sind und generell zu den größten Quellen der allgemeinen Verunsicherung alias Desinformation zählen, sollen jetzt auf Grundlage eines nur noch von Bush zu unterzeichnenden Gesetzes gründlich reformiert werden. Der Ecomomist beleuchtet die Änderungen, die von der 9-11-Kommission empfohlen wurden: The most important aspect of the bill is its focus on intelligence co-ordination. It will create a new National Intelligence Director (NID). ... The September 11th commission, making its recommendations in July, found that the various bits of the government, including the police, the CIA and the FBI, may just have had enough information to foil the plot to attack the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. But competition between agencies, and a culture of secrecy born of cold-war fears of Soviet penetration, kept them from sharing what they knew. The NID will make sure that they do pass information round, and will present their consensus to the president. A new National Counterterrorism Centre will be the institutional locus of this information-sharing. ... More controversially among the various intelligence bureaucrats, the new bill will also give the NID control over their budgets. This was opposed by the Pentagon, which controls around 80% of overall intelligence spending (thanks largely to its stock of expensive electronic kit, including satellites). ... In the wake of the Iraq war, as well as the spies’ failure to foresee September 11th, many believe that the problem was not fragmentation, but just the opposite. A congressional investigation into the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq criticised the spy services for “group think”. Too many people began with the same assumption—that Iraq still had stockpiles of banned weapons. In this echo-chamber environment, raw intelligence that supported the case for the existence of such weapons was played up, and that which cast doubt on them was dismissed.

Kritik kommt auch von Bürgerrechtlern -- obwohl sie erstmals ein eigenens Panel bei dem neuen neuen Nationalen Geheimdienstdirektor bekommen sollen: The bill also calls for creation of a civil-liberties board, charged with ensuring that the government's war on terror does not infringe on civil liberties and privacy. Still, the American Civil Liberties Union said it was opposed to the measure. "This restructuring will centralize the intelligence community's surveillance powers, increasing the likelihood for government abuses, without creating sufficient corresponding safeguards," the organization said.. Man darf gespannt sein, ob das über 600 Seiten starke Gesetz die Kultur der sich aus 40 Mrd. Dollar finanzierenden 15 bekannten US-Dienste ändert.

Update: Die Washington Post hat weitere Kritikpunkte an dem Gesetz zusammengestellt: The intelligence package that Congress approved this week includes a series of little-noticed measures that would broaden the government's power to conduct terrorism investigations, including provisions to loosen standards for FBI surveillance warrants and allow the Justice Department to more easily detain suspects without bail. ... Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) said that while he voted for the bill because of its intelligence reforms, he opposed much of the expansion of law enforcement power. Most of it was not part of the Sept. 11 panel's recommendations. "I am troubled by some provisions that were added in conference that have nothing to do with reforming our intelligence network," Feingold said. He later added: "This Justice Department has a record of abusing its detention powers post-9/11 and of making terrorism allegations that turn out to have no merit."