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Rumsfeld Urges Careful Reform of Intelligence Community - 2004-08-17

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is again warning that restructuring of U.S. intelligence agencies, as recommended by the 9/11 commission, should not lead to new obstacles for the forces defending the nation. The defense chief testified before a Senate panel considering sweeping changes to the nation's intelligence community.

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that if Congress and the President rush into reorganizing the nation's huge intelligence apparatus, most of which is now controlled by the Pentagon, the nation's security could end up being jeopardized rather than improved.

"We need to remember that we are considering these important measures however, while waging a war," he said. "If we move unwisely and we get it wrong, the penalty would be great."

Also testifying was the Pentagon's top man in uniform, General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He told the committee that creating a national intelligence director to oversee the sprawling multi-billion-dollar intelligence apparatus must not end up creating bureaucratic obstacles for those who rely on that information on the battlefield.

"The data that the private in the foxhole needs right now might be the same information that the president needs," said General Myers.

On Monday, two former defense secretaries told senators the Pentagon's own intelligence agencies should not be placed under a new intelligence director for that very reason.