At Homeland Security, Doubts Arise Over Intelligence

    Date21 Jul 2003
    CategoryGovernment
    3445
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    The intelligence unit of the four-month-old Department of Homeland Security is understaffed, unorganized and weak-willed in bureaucratic struggles with other government agencies, diminishing its role in pursuing terrorists, according to some members of Congress and independent national security experts. . . The intelligence unit of the four-month-old Department of Homeland Security is understaffed, unorganized and weak-willed in bureaucratic struggles with other government agencies, diminishing its role in pursuing terrorists, according to some members of Congress and independent national security experts.

    The vast majority of the department's intelligence analysts lack computers that are able to receive data classified "top secret" and above. The department has only three experts on biological terrorism, a number that lawmakers said falls far short of expectations, given U.S. officials' grave concern about that kind of attack.

    In passing the law establishing the department last year, Congress intended Homeland Security to be the focal point for handling intelligence to protect America from terrorists. The current controversy over its intelligence unit shows how elusive that goal has become since the Bush administration decided in January that the agency should not have the standing of the CIA or FBI in analyzing intelligence about terror threats.

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