“Did the New Spooks on the Block Really Fix U.S Intelligence?” (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“For decades intelligence reformers sought to centralize the U.S. intelligence community in a single office with real power over budgets, personnel, and operations. Ten years ago they finally got their wish. Following an intense congressional fight, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) set up shop in April 2005 with high expectations. The office was supposed to ensure the kind of inter-agency coordination that was supposedly missing before the 9/11 attacks. It was to be the fulcrum of sharing and collaboration among agencies with long histories of mutual suspicion and occasional disdain. Ultimately it sought to unify a sprawling constellation of civilian and military agencies into “fully integrated intelligence community” that would “inform decisions made from the White House to the foxhole.”

See the article here.


The Office of the DNI’s Greatest Hits (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“The DNI post was the centerpiece of landmark legislation enacted in 2004, informed by the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Presidential, legislative, and bureaucratic politics all contributed to a compromise law that sought to improve information sharing and strengthen central leadership of our sprawling intelligence enterprise without infringing upon existing military and departmental chains of command. Ten years of experience offers an opportunity to take stock and ask whether the government is smarter and the country is safer as a result of these changes.”

See the full debate here.

Report: Recent Guantanamo Releases Less Likely To Reengage In Terrorism (NPR)


“New numbers are out on what U.S. officials consider “terrorist or insurgent activities” by former Guantanamo captives after their release.

At first glance, there appears to be a slight increase in confirmed cases compared to six months ago.

But closer examination of the Director of National Intelligence’s semi-annual reportreveals that the 17.3% to 17.9% uptick was caused entirely by detainees released from Guantanamo during the George W. Bush administration. And even that increase appears to be based almost entirely on shifting previously suspected recidivists into the category of confirmed recidivists.

The grand total in the DNI’s latest report of suspected and confirmed cases of freed detainees is 185, one more than the 184 reported last September.

In contrast, the recidivism rates of detainees released from Guantanamo during the six years of the Obama administration have actually declined over the past six months. Twenty-seven more detainees were released during that half year and no new cases of recidivism have been reported.”

See the full article here.

N.S.A. Breached North Korean Networks Before Sony Attack, Officials Say (NYT)

James Clapper, DNI, courtesy of the NYT

James Clapper, DNI, courtesy of the NYT


This article contends that the National Security Agency gained access to North Korea internet connections through China as early as 2010. Moreover, the information gained from this act led the Federal Bureau of Investigation and President Barack Obama to blame North Korea for the Sony hack.  Moreover Director of National Intelligence James Clapper blamed the commander of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, Kim Yong-chol, whom he had dinner with in Pyongyang, as the leader behind the hacking attack,

See the full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/world/asia/nsa-tapped-into-north-korean-networks-before-sony-attack-officials-say.html?_r=0

The ODNI … on Tumblr!

IC on the Record

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is now operation a Tumblr for releasing declassified documents (mostly on Fridays)! The website also contains official statements, testimony, speeches, interviews, fact sheets, oversight, and compliance.


When the DNI publishes on Tumblr, courtesy of WaPo

When the DNI publishes on Tumblr, courtesy of WaPo


See the page at: http://icontherecord.tumblr.com/

See the WaPo article’s “The NSA and the art of the Friday news dump” at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/09/the-nsa-and-the-art-of-the-friday-news-dump/

2014 Threat Assessment


‘Looking back over my now more than half a century in intelligence, I’ve not experienced a time when
we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.” – DNI James Clapper

Key points of this report include:

The dangers of the Syrian Civil War and ISIS in the Middle East

The draw down of NATO forces in Afghanistan

The militarization of the cyber sphere

The proliferation of WMDs

The tension over the NSA’s SIGINT programs and the Snowden Affair

Altogether, “I could go on with this litany, but suffice to say, we live in a complex, dangerous world. ”


See the full report at:

DNI. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. January 29, 2014.

See Clapper’s remarks to to the Senate Armed Services Committee at:

DNI. “Remarks.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. February 11, 2014.



2014 National Security Strategy.


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its “2014 National Security Strategy” on September 18, 2014. This document is “the blueprint that will drive the priorities for the nation’s 17 Intelligence Community components over the next four years.”

Key aspects of this report include:

“China, Russia, North Korea and Iran will continue to challenge U.S. interests.”

“global power is also becoming more diffuse.”

“New alignments and informal networks, outside of traditional power blocs and national governments, will increasingly have significant impact in global affairs.”

“Competition for scarce resources such as food, water and energy is growing in importance as an intelligence issue as that competition exacerbates instability, and the constant advancements and globalization of technology will bring both benefits and challenges.”

“The seven ‘mission objectives’ are: 1) strategic intelligence; 2) anticipatory intelligence; 3) current operations; 4) cyber intelligence; 5) counterterrorism; 6) counterproliferation; and 7) counterintelligence.”

“The six ‘enterprise objectives’ are: 1) integrated mission management; 2) integrated enterprise management; 3) information sharing and safeguarding; 4) innovation; 5) our people; and 6) our partners.”

DNI James R. Clapper concluded this threat environment sets up “a perfect storm.”


NIS Roadmap, courtesy of the ODNI

NIS Roadmap, courtesy of the ODNI

For more information, see:

Lawfare.The 2014 National Intelligence Strategy Roadmap.” September 30, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

NYT. “James Clapper Jr.” November 17, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

ODNI. “DNI UNVEILS 2014 NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY.” September 18, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

ODNI. “The National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Strauss, Robert. “Office of the Director of National Intelligence: The View from the Top.” Youtube. October 23, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.