WASHINGTON – The top US spy agency hit back Monday with its own "myth"-busting session over a damning Washington Post article on the bloated US intelligence bureaucracy.
The newspaper's two-year probe found that the US intelligence network has become "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."
Various intelligence agencies produce a whopping 50,000 intelligence reports each year, a volume so large that "many are routinely ignored," according to the article.
The Post's reporting "does not reflect the intelligence community we know," snapped interim Director of National Intelligence (DNI) David Gompert in a statement.
While intelligence agencies "operate in an environment that limits the amount of information we can share," US agents have "thwarted attacks, and are achieving untold successes every day."
The commitment to keep America safe "will remain steadfast, whether they are reflected in the day's news or not," he said.
Hours later, the office of the DNI issued a statement with questions and answers busting what it said were "myths" about the intelligence community.
"Why are there so many organizations doing the same thing, especially in analysis?" read one question.
DNI's answer: "What may appear to be unnecessary redundancy in analysis and analytic products is, in many instances, intentional overlap."
The DNI said it must produce reports tailored for different government agencies, and that federal probes have criticized the "lack of competing analytic judgments."
The office also busted the "myth" that 70 percent of the US intelligence budget is spent on private contractors -- that percentage of the budget is actually "spent on contracts, not contractors," it said.
The Post's Tuesday story -- the second of a three-part expose on the intelligence community -- is to focus on private contractors.
The DNI position was created in 2004 as part of reforms aimed at streamlining US intelligence efforts after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The office however has engaged in turf and budget battles with more established bureaucracies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next DNI, retired US Air Force general James Clapper, a veteran of US spy efforts, faces his first confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Clapper was nominated to replace retired US Navy admiral Dennis Blair, who quit in May after a string of security lapses including the failure to detect the Christmas Day airline bomb plot.
© AFP 2023