Intelligence Director Reviews Changes Since September 11 Attacks

Negroponte says more analysts, intelligence-sharing strengthen counterterrorism


Of course, we continue to improve our efforts against other, more traditional challenges. We have enhanced our focus on North Korea and Iran -- in particular those nations' WMD programs. North Korea's recent long-range missile launch tested the intelligence community's integration, and we ensured that military and civilian intelligence agencies, in concert with our international partners, provided policymakers with the intelligence they needed to fashion an appropriate diplomatic response.

That's good, but we can do even better. We know this because we have already completed an intelligence community-wide "lessons learned" review to see how we can improve. We will not allow ourselves to become complacent; every success affords us an opportunity to prepare better for the next challenge, which will surely come.

In the decades leading up to Sept. 11, America's intelligence community was configured to focus on the major threats presented by the Cold War. We now live in a different era, challenged by a radically different set of threats that have crossed our borders.

Both the Sept. 11 commission and the Robb-Silberman WMD commission accurately and eloquently detailed these new challenges. These commissions also offered a vision for 21st-century intelligence that we have fully embraced. We are "connecting the dots" both nationally and internationally, integrating counterterrorism analysis across the intelligence community, and removing bureaucratic barriers to information-sharing. This is a tall order. But the American people should understand that the components of the nation's intelligence community are working together in ways that were almost unimaginable before Sept. 11.

Through a new focus and better techniques, U.S. intelligence is collecting more information, analyzing it more rigorously and sharing it more broadly. Intelligence is not a panacea, but there are ways to ensure that the intelligence contribution to national security gets stronger, helping thwart our adversaries before they bring us more harm.