With the re-election of President Bush, the 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist bombings in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, has renewed its push for implementation of its recommendations. Key among those recommendations is the creation of a single intelligence chief.
But Tom Kean, who chaired the Commission, told a New York audience the investigation of the terror attacks revealed a total breakdown in communication among intelligence agencies. He said to prevent this from happening in the future, the global fight against terrorism requires the appointment of a national intelligence director with budgetary and decision-making power over existing agencies.
"What you will get then is a coordination, all the dots will come to the table and be connected and when we want to have a centralized policy with a general direction, that there will be somebody in charge," said Mr. Kean.
The September 11 attacks led to many changes in U.S. counter-terrorism policy, including the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act, which, among other things, strengthens intelligence agencies' surveillance and financial investigation powers.
But critics of the proposal to appoint a single intelligence chief argue the position would diminish the counter-terrorism roles that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency play today.
But former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, who served as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, rejected the criticism.
"There was no place in the government where our intelligence on terrorism was pulled together," said Mr. Hamilton. "And the tragic story of 9/11 is the story of failure to coordinate, share, analyze and act on information."
The 567-page 9/11 Report includes 41 counter-terrorism recommendations, covering everything from identification of terrorism threats, intelligence gathering and agency integration to international cooperation.