Intel Director: Make This into a Job Someone Wants

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CORRECTION: In "Make This Into a Job Someone Wants" (Periscope, Feb. 21) we misidentified a photo. The photo is of Porter Goss, not Robert Gates. NEWSWEEK regrets the error.

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Byline: Mark Hosenball and Tamara Lipper

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Even as President Bush looks for a director of National Intelligence, the job may be revised. The "intelligence czar" is supposed to have wide authority to manage intel resources and personnel, and ensure that competing agencies share info to prevent future terror attacks. But the intel-reform bill contains ambiguities that have raised doubts about the intel director's powers--leading more than one potential candidate to turn down the post.

The White House has now asked a secretive commission headed by federal appeals Judge Laurence H. Silberman to reassess the intel czar's post and clarify its responsibilities. Silberman's commission, set up by Bush a year ago, was assigned to study U.S. intel failures on Iraq and ways to stop nuclear proliferation. At a White House meeting soon after his re-election, NEWSWEEK has learned, Bush asked commissioners to focus on "the importance of making sure the intel agencies worked in concert," says a White House official. A source close to the commission says the panel was doing a "lot of work" on the issue and that this was a natural assignment for the group because any recommendations the panel comes up with have to take into account the role of the new intel czar. …