Analysis: US spy turf-war flares up on Capitol Hill

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Wednesday’s testimony by US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, received plenty of media coverage. But few have examined the ongoing public hearings by three separate Senate committees on the Christmas Day bomb plot in light of the turf battles taking place between US intelligence agencies. An excellent article by Politico’s Kassie Hunt does just that, by pointing out that the hearing proceedings should be viewed in light of the “three-way turf war among Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter”. Capitol Hill lawmakers appear to be aware of this: Hunt’s article quotes Peter King, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s senior Republican member, who warns that US intelligence agencies will use the public hearings to place blame about the Christmas Day bomber fiasco on each other. “In times like this, the intelligence community starts using the tactics against each other that they should be using against our enemies”, he says. An anonymous member of the House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence appears to agree, saying that there is “an all-out war in the intelligence community, and the all-out war is not against Al Qaeda; it’s against each other”. The question is whether the committees will be able to contain the intelligence community’s turf wars behind the scenes, Hunt notes.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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