Shift to put CIA chief in charge of U.S. human intelligence


WASHINGTON -- CIA Director Porter J. Goss will be placed in charge of human spying operations across all of the nation's intelligence agencies as part of a restructuring expected to be unveiled today, U.S. intelligence officials said.

The change would solidify the CIA's long-standing role leading human intelligence collection efforts around the globe and give the agency greater control over spying operations conducted by the Pentagon and the FBI, officials said.

A senior intelligence official said yesterday that the restructuring had been approved by the White House and was scheduled to be announced by John D. Negroponte, the national intelligence director.

A second intelligence official said the changes would include the creation of a "national clandestine service" to foster closer ties among the various agencies that send operatives overseas to gather intelligence on terrorist networks and other targets.

Although the CIA is the nation's best-known spy service, other agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, Special Forces units and the FBI, are also increasingly engaged in human intelligence-gathering operations around the world.

Officials said the changes would not eliminate any of those agencies or consolidate their operations into a single spying service - a more radical restructuring favored by some members of Congress.

Instead, the changes are designed "to standardize requirements, procedures and training for people who work in the clandestine field," said one government official who had been briefed on aspects of the restructuring.

The CIA has been stripped of many of its most prestigious functions as part of a major intelligence overhaul last year. But Negroponte signaled this year that he intended to preserve the CIA's role atop human intelligence-gathering, sometimes referred to as "humint."

It was not clear yesterday whether the changes would include the creation of a position within the CIA to oversee the spying operations of other agencies. Officials declined to elaborate on other aspects of the restructuring, including whether Goss will have authority to block military spying operations.

Some lawmakers and former intelligence officials have advised against putting the CIA director in charge of human spying operations across other agencies, instead calling for the creation of a position in Negroponte's office that would be of higher rank and closer to the president.

Greg Miller writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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