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Friday, July 07, 2006

Report Finds Analysis Problems Remain Despite Overhaul of U.S. Intelligence Agencies

Despite the extensive post-Sept. 11 reform effort, lack of coordination and other problems persist in and among U.S. intelligence agencies, four U.S. intelligence veterans wrote in a report published in the May 2005 issue of the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence (see GSN, Jan. 17).

The article says country- and region-specific experts should not be divided into centers that focus on single issues. The authors also found that the quality of analysis is diminished as the result of coordination problems, duplication of efforts, and misuse of resources, the Associated Press reported.

Former CIA deputy chief Richard Kerr, who led the group, referred to the top problem in the U.S. intelligence community as “the soccer ball problem,” which is characterized by a superfluity of resources focused on a single important issue, like children surrounding a soccer ball.

“You need a balance,” Kerr said. However, “I would weigh it in favor of the country or regional expertise.”

The article says that neither U.S. human spies nor technology “are up to the challenges of today.” It found that many analysts do not understand how much of the technology works and that they do not talk to the people collecting the intelligence often enough (Katherine Shrader, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, July 6).
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