won't happen any longer. The CIA will keep its unfettered access to
national security principals, and the DNI still doesn't have the
authority to order covert action programs, but the White House is now
requiring the CIA to fully brief the DNI on all covert action programs
and will seek from the DNI regular assessments of whether any program
fits in with the nation's intelligence strategy, which is set by Blair.
Since Blair briefs Congress more often than Panetta does, it makes
sense for Blair to know as much about covert action programs as CIA
"The relationship between the White House and
the CIA on covert action hasn't changed at all," a U.S. intelligence
official sympathetic to the CIA's point of view said. "That includes
the direct line of command and communication between the President, who
orders covert action, and the CIA, which carries it out. That's exactly
how every president since Harry Truman has wanted it."
issue, regarding CIA attendance at meetings where non-CIA business is
discussed, has also been settled -- apparently in favor of the DNI.
CIA officials would bring several representatives to N.S.C. meetings,
even when they dealt with other, non-CIA intelligence activities. Blair
complained that the CIA was over-represented at the meetings. The CIA
disagreed. But now, for any meeting that deals with non-CIA
intelligence activities, Blair can decide whether a CIA or NSA person
will represent the DNI. Of course, the White House can who they want,
but the point, according to those familiar with the agreement, is that
there is one intelligence community leader who decides who participates
in high-level meetings.
According to an agreement, the DNI will
be the primary intelligence community representative in all meetings --
but the CIA can still bring whoever it wants to them.
substance, things didn't go the DNI's way. He's talking about process
and meetings, not action or results. If that's where he wants to find
meaning or comfort, then fine," a source with knowledge of the
But another intelligence official said that the DNI
was simply trying to institutionalize the roles and responsibilities as
required by Congress. "The DNI is only acting to ensure that we don't
repeat mistakes of the past where agencies worked independently and the
nation suffered because we didn't have a comprehensive picture of what
was going on," he said.
The White House tried to put the best
spin on the feud and the resulting truce. "[National Security Adviser
James] Jones, Director [Dennis] Blair, and Director [Leon] Panetta
clarified and reached agreement on an important provision of the 2004
Intelligence Reform Act," the NSC's chief of staff said in a statement.
"They also reaffirmed the importance of intelligence reform and that
the intelligence community needs a strong and unified leader to ensure
maximum cooperation. It is a good agreement that advances the country's
interests and ensures that we are continuing to work together as a