CIA director pushes for faster info

The national intelligence community needs to take greater advantage of information technologies and "move information faster than we ever have before," CIA Director George Tenet told members of Congress on Wednesday.

Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Tenet was asked by its chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), to offer recommendations for organizing the intelligence community for the 21st century.

"One of the principal things we need is to enhance collaboration and the flow of information to move information faster than we ever have before," Tenet said.

He rejected the idea of creating one collection agency to handle all forms of intelligence. The move would, according to Tenet, "create a bigger bureaucracy and a more difficult situation."

Instead, he advised shoring up the ability of intelligence agencies to take advantage of modern technology, and to move information more effectively by using the Internet and collaboration and information technologies.

"The challenge is [in] how we apply the modern collaboration tools and modern imagery tools and bring collection together," Tenet said. "We need to take modern Web-based technology and apply it to our business relentlessly. It frees money for missions; it frees up our analysts and collectors in ways it hasn't done before."

He added that adopting information technology is worth the security risks involved.

"It is proven that we can overcome the security concerns that are involved with it, but we need to act like a modern corporation in digitizing information," Tenet testified. "The communications backbone for the national security infrastructure is something no one pays attention to. The truth is, we don't have the bandwidth we need, and we don't move data in pipes the way we need to."

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