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How Intelligent Is Our Intelligence Community, Really?

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The Conservative Treehouse began a series on "The Fourth Branch of Government, the Intelligence Community." That series, along with Tucker Carlson's revelation that the NSA possibly spied on him and at the very least illegally unmasked him, has brought the Intelligence Community center stage. I usually do not think too much about the various security and intelligence functions of the government, other than to marvel that they have managed to prevent a second 9/11. In doing a bit of research, however, I have come to realize that the security function of our country is a tangled web of bureaucracy. Is that really what it takes to protect U.S. citizens, or is this a turf-building and protection operation?

The foundation of any security operation has to be the knowledge that is gathered and analyzed. In the case of the federal government, that foundation is provided by the Intelligence Community, or I.C., which is "responsible for collecting, analyzing, and delivering foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to America's leaders so they can make sound decisions to protect our country." The I.C. is a coalition of 18 entities with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) integrating the intelligence gathered; however, the members do not report to the ODNI. The ODNI is a relatively new entity, created in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 commission. The commission reported that prior to the 2001 disaster, there were clues about an impending attack, but no one person had a full picture because information was siloed. In typical bureaucratic fashion, the response was to create another level of infrastructure and expand government operations.

Below is a list of the 17 other members of the I.C. and their primary mission. Mission statements portrayed on the I.C. website have been paraphrased for a clearer understanding.

Intelligence Entity


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

The CIA gathers and analyzes national security intelligence for senior U.S. policymakers and conducts covert action as directed by the president.

National Security Agency........

© American Thinker

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