Intelligence chief defends U.S. agencies


Reporting from Washington

The nation’s top intelligence official sought Monday to rebut a Washington Post series charging that intelligence agencies have become bloated and inefficient, insisting they “are achieving untold successes every day.”

David C. Gompert, the acting director of national intelligence, contended in a statement that the intelligence agencies strive to be efficient, and that some overlap is by design.

“We work constantly to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies, while preserving a degree of intentional overlap among agencies to strengthen analysis, challenge conventional thinking, and eliminate single points of failure,” he said.

The Post’s series, which began Monday, said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks set off a huge growth of the counter-terrorism bureaucracy. Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are now part of a sprawling secret network of agencies that lacks thorough oversight, the report said.

Gompert said the intelligence community “can do better, and we will.” He said the Post’s account “does not reflect the intelligence community we know.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also defended the intelligence community.

With Sept. 11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, “you’re going to have an increase in the capability that’s required to fight that,” Gibbs said. “That is not to say that anybody in this country – and I don’t think anybody in the intelligence community – would abet excessive waste.”

He said the White House had “some concerns” about the security risks of some of the information disclosed in the series, but declined to elaborate.