Plan Gives FBI Spy-Catching Clout Clinton Moves to Ease Agencies' Friction on Counterintelligence

By 1994, New York Times News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 27, 1994 | Go to article overview

Plan Gives FBI Spy-Catching Clout Clinton Moves to Ease Agencies' Friction on Counterintelligence


1994, New York Times News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The White House, mediating a bitter dispute between the FBI and CIA over control of counterintelligence, is considering a plan that would cede control of key spy-catching and policy-setting responsibilities from the CIA to senior FBI officials, according to administration officials.

A draft proposal was worked out by the National Security Council staff and described by officials as "broadly agreed" upon by representatives of the CIA, FBI and Justice Department in meetings last week. The plan would institute a series of reforms meant to speed the early and efficient detection of foreign spies who have penetrated the U.S. government, officials said.

The proposal is meant to soothe FBI and congressional anger over what senior U.S. officials have described as the CIA's failure for several years to share vital information with the FBI about the case of alleged spy Aldrich H. Ames and other potential spy cases.

The plan "would significantly alter the way (counterintelligence) policy will be developed, the way priorities would be decided, and establish a new structure for integrating" FBI and CIA operations to ensure that information flows smoothly between them, a White House official said.

The U.S. agencies involved in counterintelligence have been asked to submit their final comments on the plan this week, after which it will be presented to national security adviser Anthony Lake and President Bill Clinton for their review. Several officials said that an agreement in principle had been reached on the proposal but that certain details were still being worked out.

The proposal would set up a national "center" headed by an FBI official to set overall policies on counterintelligence operations, including the use of polygraphs, the collection of information overseas and the training of spy-catching experts, the officials said. …

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