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Inspector General for the Intelligence Community

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Inspector General for the Intelligence Community

The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 is one of the most tragic events of contemporary history that claim the lives of many people. At the same time, it became a starting point for bringing changes to the Intelligence Community of the United States (Travers, 2016). The reason was that the responsible authorities had not been able to prevent the terrorists from implementing their plan. This was rightly regarded as a failure of the whole intelligence system (Travers, 2016). Hence, it became obvious that the Intelligence Community required crucial changes. In fact, such alternations were established in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004 (Smist, 1990). The office of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was established in law to coordinate the work of the seventeen members of the Intelligence Community (Smist, 1990). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the consequence of this decision.

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The establishment of DNI was a necessary measure that was aimed at the prevention of terrorist attacks and an improvement in the performance of the Intelligence Community. In fact, it encompasses intelligent agencies and their subordinate bodies (Smist, 1990). These organizations have been tasked with collecting information for the US President and performing intelligence activities for the United States with the main goal being ensuring the USA national security.

Before the tragic events of 9/11, the system was controlled by the US President via the Director of Central Intelligence. However, the attack of the terrorists demonstrated that the seventeen members needed more coordination. Therefore, in 2004, the position of DNI and its office intended at helping the director deal with various spheres of his or her occupation were created (Smist, 1990). According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Prevention Act passed in 2004, the main obligation of the director is controlling the Intelligence Community and ensuring the coordination and collective work of its parts (Smist, 1990). His or her other responsibilities are directing the National Intelligence Program and serving as an advisor of President about the matters of intelligence (U.S. Senate, 2002). Besides, the passage of the Act put DNI in the same position as a cabinet secretary (Travers, 2016). Hence, it might be stated that the Intelligence Community was to experience structural and organizational changes and its head received more power.

Speaking about the consequences of the alternation, one of them is negative and unintended for sure. It refers to the role of DNI and its correspondence to what was planned. In fact, the idea of ensuring better control and coordination as well as the processing and generalizing the information acquired by the agencies was good. However, the routine of the intelligence system includes a large number of documents and data, especially in regard to cyber-security which the USA takes particularly seriously. For managing the information, a sufficient number of employees are required; for example, DNI has a special assistant for briefing although the CIA and the NSA conduct briefings on their own (Nolte, 2019). Hence, the US has to spend large amounts of money on the operation of the DNI’s office. At the same time, the task of dealing with the routine remains an uneasy and hardly achievable goal. Taking into consideration all these facts, it might be stated that DNI has become a political figure rather than a successful coordinator of the intelligence system which is a negative consequence. The ground is that this order of things does not correspond to the initial plan.

To sum up it is important to press the point that the position of DNI and its office was created in 2004 to control the Intelligence Community of the United States. The purpose was to improve the control over the system and optimize its work. However, it turned out that DNI became involved more in politics than in the coordination of the agencies. This might be regarded as an unintended and negative consequence of the decision to establish the position.


Nolte, W. (2019). US intelligence and its future: aligning with a new and complex environment. Intelligence and National Security, 34(4), 615-618.

Smist, F. J., Jr. (1990). Investigative and institutional oversight combined: The Church Senate committee, 1975-76. In Congress oversees the United States intelligence community: 1947-1989 (pp. 25-81).

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Travers, R. E. (2016). Waking up on another September 12th: implications for intelligence reform. Intelligence and National Security, 31(5), 746-761.

U.S. Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, & U.S. House of Representatives, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. (2002). Joint inquiry into intelligence community activities before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: Report. (pp. i – xix).

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