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Bush Issues Order Overhauling US Intelligence Agencies


U.S. President George Bush has issued an executive order giving new powers to the national intelligence director to improve coordination among the country's spy agencies.

The order gives the director, Mike McConnell, the authority to form policies guiding U.S. intelligence relationships with other countries. The Central Intelligence Agency previously took the lead in this role.

The measure also establishes a framework for the conduct of the country's intelligence agencies. The White House says the guidelines uphold the existing ban on assassination and maintain the limitations on human experimentation.

McConnell also will be responsible for issuing guidelines on the collection, analysis and sharing of information among the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The order empowers McConnell to make acquisitions, such as new satellites, and other funding decisions.

A statement from White House spokeswoman Dana Perino Thursday says the measures direct the intelligence community to gather timely and accurate information with special emphasis on international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The order updates a nearly 30-year-old presidential order to reflect changes made in intelligence agencies after the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.