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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Obama Orders Security Agencies|to Coordinate with Homeland Security

WASHINGTON (CN) - President Obama ordered the heads of all of the nation's domestic and international security agencies to coordinate with his Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, to overhaul the intelligence, screening and watchlisting systems which failed to prevent the attempt of a Nigerian man to bring down a flight on Christmas Day.

In a memorandum, the president ordered the agencies to submit a monthly progress report to Brennan, who will work with the agencies and the Office of Management and Budget on the resources needed to meet shortcomings uncovered by the review.

Brennan was previously the interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center under former President George W. Bush, and before that spent 25 years at the Central Intelligence Agency rising to be Deputy Executive Director of the agency.

Brennan left government service to become the CEO of The Analysis Corporation based in McLean, Va., and was believed by many to be Obama's first choice to be CIA director before he withdrew his own name from consideration after controversy arose about his involvement in approving harsh interrogation techniques at the CIA under the Bush administration.

In addition to a general admonition to the agencies to accelerate their adoption of new scanning, screening and watchslisting technology, the president specifically directed the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to identify and clarify roles and responsibilities in synchronizing, correlating and analyzing all sources of intelligence related to terrorism.

Critics have said that the lack of clearly identified roles for each of the agencies allows them to point fingers at each other rather than develop systems to integrate their roles.

Similarly, National Security Agency chief Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander has been charged with upgrading training courses for analysts so that they can better integrate information gathered in partnership with National Counterterrorism Terrorist Center and the Terrorist Screening Center.

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