Intelligence Agency's Focus Turns to Spies on the Ground

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Central Intelligence Agency will continue a shift toward developing networks of agents overseas while losing some of its role in analyzing intelligence, Bush administration officials said yesterday.

Some CIA analytic units will be moved to other agencies, such as the new National Counterterrorism Center, as part of ongoing reforms and the appointment of Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden to succeed outgoing CIA Director Porter J. Goss.

Mr. Goss had opposed some of the reforms proposed by Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, fearing they would undermine the CIA's mission as a "central" agency among 15 spy services, most of which are linked to the Pentagon, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"He was somebody who stood up for the agency," said one official, who added that Mr. Goss opposed plans that he saw as eroding some of the CIA's core missions.

Mr. Negroponte told reporters yesterday that the CIA will "remain the intelligence community's premier human intelligence agency." He said that Gen. Hayden, currently the second highest-ranking official at DNI, will coordinate all human spying if confirmed by the Senate.

CIA analysis will remain a "center of excellence" for all intelligence agencies, Mr. Negroponte said, making no reference to the transfer of analytic units.

CIA reforms are on the way to "increasing their human intelligence and their analytic capabilities by 50 percent," he said.

A replacement at DNI for Gen. Hayden, 61, has not been made, Mr. Negroponte said.

Gen. Hayden said in an interview in December that there has been a difficult transfer of authority over the intelligence community from the CIA director to the new position occupied by Mr. Negroponte.

"There's going to be some natural traumas there. What part of that function was community and what part of that function was agency?" he said. "And that simply added to the kind of .. burden that folks are working under there."

Reform at the CIA has been hampered by those at the agency who oppose the changes and dispute the idea that institutional failures contributed to the success of the September 11 attacks, intelligence officials say. …