This is a problem brought about by the post-9/11 reforms that added another layer of bureaucracy to the IC, the Intelligence Community. The question is, who gets to appoint the intelligence "station chiefs" in each of the nations where we have an embassy. With some 16 intelligence organization in the Federal Government, the station chief is an important bureaucratic personage, with authority to say which intelligence personnel may and may not visit their country.
In separate pleas to National Security Adviser James Jones, CIA director Leon Panetta and current DNI Dennis Blair asked for a speedy resolution.What didn't happen was a quick resolution. So, now it is over to the Vice President. To go back to the article:
Beginning with the first DNI, John Negroponte, the new intelligence directors wanted more control over who served as the country's chief intelligence representative in foreign countries, reasoning that that there would be instances where the CIA's station chief might not be the best person for the job, and noting that the CIA was but one of 16 different intelligence agencies that served the president, policy-makers and the Department of Defense.So, we have the man from Delaware, who can't tell the difference between the Governor of New Jersey and the Governor of Virginia, deciding who should be picking CIA Station Chiefs for the CIA. Good luck to us.
Even more important—and more institutionally tender—the DNIs want the authority to coordinate and manage resources in those countries without having to go through the CIA director. Who reports to whom? Does a station chief have two masters? The answers—Biden's answers—could shape the future of the U.S. intelligence community.
Regards — Cliff