Top Secret Security Clearance Held By 1.4 Million People
According to Office of DNI report on security clearances in January 2013, almost 5 million people held one of three levels of security clearance as of October 2012. Access to the highest level of top secret information is limited to 1.4 million people.
In 2010, the Washington Post published a series of articles titled “Top Secret America” which described the intelligence community as “a hidden world, growing beyond control,” written by Dana Priest and William Arkin after a two-year investigation:
“The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”
United States Director of National Intelligence
- Serving as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security;
- Serving as the head of the sixteen-member Intelligence Community; and
- Overseeing and directing the National Intelligence Program.
On July 30, 2008, President Bush issued Executive Order 13470 amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the DNI.
HistoryPrior to establishment of the DNI, the head of the Intelligence Community was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The DCI concurrently served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Establishment of the DNI position was one of the recommendations in the report by the 9/11 Commission investigating the September 11 attacks. The report, which was released on July 22, 2004, identified major intelligence failures that called into question how well the Intelligence Community protected US national and homeland security interests against attacks by foreign terrorists.
Soon thereafter Senators Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham introduced legislation to create a Director of National Intelligence, S. 2645, introduced on June 19, 2002. Other, similar, legislation soon followed. After considerable debate on the scope of the DNI's powers and authorities, the United States Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 by votes of 336-75 in the House of Representatives, and 89-2 in the Senate. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on December 17, 2004. Among other things, the law established the DNI position as the designated leader of the United States Intelligence Community and prohibited the DNI from serving as the CIA Director or the head of any other Intelligence Community element at the same time. In addition, the law required the CIA Director to "report" his agency's activities to the DNI.
Critics say compromises during the bill's crafting led to the establishment of a DNI whose powers are too weak to adequately lead, manage and improve the performance of the US Intelligence Community. In particular, the law left the United States Department of Defense in charge of the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (The limited DNI role in leading the US Intelligence Community is discussed in the Intelligence Community article.)
On February 17, 2005, President George W. Bush named U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte to the post, pending confirmation by the Senate. It was reported that President Bush's first choice for Director of National Intelligence was former Director of Central Intelligence Robert M. Gates, who was serving as president of Texas A&M University; however, Gates declined the offer. Negroponte was confirmed by a Senate vote of 98 to 2 in favor of his appointment on April 21, 2005, and was sworn in by President Bush on that day.
On February 13, 2007, John Negroponte was sworn in as Deputy Secretary of State, and John Michael McConnell became the 2nd Director of National Intelligence.
Donald M. Kerr was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence on Thursday, October 4, 2007. He was sworn in on Tuesday, October 9, 2007.
Kerr, of Virginia, was most recently the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and he was previously the Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Earlier in his career, he was the Assistant Director of the Justice Department's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.
Declan McCullagh at News.com wrote on August 24, 2007 that the DNI site apparently was configured to repel all search engines to index any page at DNI.gov. This effectively made the DNI web site invisible to all search engines and in turn, any search queries.
Ross Feinstein, the Spokesman for the DNI said that the cloaking was removed as of Monday, September 3, "We're not even sure how (the robots.txt file) got there" but it was again somehow hidden on September 4. Another blog entry by McCullagh on September 7, states that the DNI site should, again, now be open to search engines.
In September, 2007, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released Intelligence Community 100 Day & 500 Day Plans for Integration & Collaboration. These plans include a series of initiatives designed to build the foundation for increased cooperation and reform of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as an independent agency to assist the DNI. The budget for the ODNI and the Intelligence Community equal 43.5 billion. The ODNI has about 1,500 employees. The National Counterterrorism Center is a major organization within the ODNI.
On March 23, 2007, DNI Mike McConnell announced organizational changes, which include:
- elevating acquisition to a new Deputy DNI position
- creating a new Deputy DNI for Policy, Plans, and Requirements (replacing the Deputy DNI for Requirements position)
- establishing an Executive Committee
- designating the Chief of Staff position as the new Director of the Intelligence Staff. The chart below shows the ODNI's organization, as of November 2009.
The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive is also responsible to the DNI.