Lawmakers flag intell agencies

House Intelligence Committee's Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee

The intelligence agencies have not had the technology to effectively do their jobs, in part because Congress has not provided the funding. That must change, a report by the House Intelligence Committee's Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee says.

The report, released July 17, found that these problems in part resulted from the country's surprise at the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The subcommittee focused on the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency and found that there were communications problems among agencies, a shortage of language experts and a failure of agencies -- and lawmakers -- to pay enough attention to terrorism.

Specifically, the subcommittee's 10-page summary of its classified, 140-page report cited the FBI's much-discussed information technology problems.

It also critiques the National Security Agency's need for a worldwide collection across the global communications network. "NSA has been unable to organize itself to define and implement an integrated system that can follow targets across the global intelligence network, beyond high-level goals and plans," the report says.

"NSA also needs to balance modernization funds across its collection systems in order to continue to produce intelligence on" counterterrorism, the report says.

Furthermore, NSA has "fundamental acquisition management problems. Technical solutions continue to be solved by tackling isolated, smaller 'manageable' projects and lack a larger plan on how these small projects will integrate into a whole," the report says.

Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the subcommittee chairman, said he didn't know if the attacks could have been prevented if the recommendations had been in place before Sept. 11.

"Even knowing everything we know today, this was such a closely held, compartmentalized act of devastation that was carried out by the terrorist community, that we don't know of any way it could have been prevented," he said.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), the subcommittee's ranking minority member, said that the intelligence agencies would receive more money to improve their IT infrastructure.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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