Reaction Paper


The article by Michael Hayden, a former CIA director aimed at dissenting the evolution in the intelligence reforms to establish whether these changes provided were working as had been the plans. The reforms were introduced to the intelligence community through passing of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) in 2004. The main aim of the new law was to strengthen control and the direction of the sprawling American Intelligence community (IC) (Hayden, 2010). 

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The Intelligence community had notably failed the nation by failing to prevent the occurrence of the 9/11attack and the wrong national intelligence estimate on Iraq’s chemical weapons. The options that were available for the reforms were increasing the budgetary allocations, increased the human resources engaged, or restructuring the intelligence community. The first two options were already in place and the legislature chose the option of restructuring. The act was drafted by Senators Collins and Lieberman who were not members of the intelligence committee. 

In the past, the leader of the IC had also doubled as the director to the CIA which were clearly demanding tasks that would in most cases create a bias in the management perspective approached. The supporters to this law indicated the need of the legislation to create the new position of the director of National Intelligence (DNI) both formally and specifically. The new position of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) would informed by the new IRTPA law and the new executive order 12333 (Hayden, 2010). The new position of the DNI was tasked with two major roles: being senior intelligence adviser to the President; and to enhance the intelligence community and ensure its integration. The law pointed to the most important relationship in the intelligence community as being that between the DNI and director of CIA. To achieve this, it required that the director of CIA be recommended by DNI. This position has for half the life-time of post of DNI remained vacant (Hayden, 2010). 

Under the command of Blair, the relationship between DNI and the White House and the Congress. This saw the DNI demoted from the protocol list in the administration with DNI noting that it in most cases lacked guidance from the White House.


The paper is very informative and gives a detailed analysis of the reforms to the American Intelligence Community through legislative process. Being written by a Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA, implies that it is highly reliable and credible. Michael Hayden, himself was a critical supporter of the reforms within the intelligence community played critical role in the development of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of (IRTPA) (Bazan & Yeh, 2006). 

I agree with statement by the author on the need of the reforms within the American Intelligence Community. The 9/11 attack had served a lesson to the whole nation. Lack of collaboration amongst the agencies within the American Community had been the main undoing that prevented the prevention of the attack. The dilemma that the reforms would seek to address have also be clearly and correctly noted; how to create a balance between maintaining autonomous of the organizations in action and attaining the much-needed integration within the community. 

The reforms process rather took a shorter period of time to be initiated. It is indicated that the legislation process for the IRTPA of 2004 moved fairly quickly. It did not originate from members of the intelligence committee. Another important aspect is that the intelligence committees of the House and Senate did not have a central role in the process. Is it coincidental that the two of the people being consulted during the formulation of this law, Jim Clapper and Michael Hayden, later became major beneficiaries of the law? With Hayden being appointed as a CIA director and Jim Clapper having been appointed as the New Director of National Intelligence some years after the enactment of the position under the new law.

From the article, it is clear that the intended purposes of the reforms have not been achieved. One the reason for this can be noted from the shortage in filling the position of the principal deputy for the second-in command officer to the newly created position of the DNI. It has been noted that this position has been vacant almost half the life of the DNI. Another reason that makes it clear that the reforms are not working as intended is the indicated failure when Blair was the DNI. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What does the nature of the relationship between President Obama and DNI Blair indicated about the overall success of the reforms under the IRTPA?
  2. How have the reforms succeeded towards achieving a balance between the ensuring integration of agencies within the American Intelligence Committee without sacrificing their freedom of action?


Bazan, E. B., & Yeh, B. T. (2006, December). Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004:” Lone Wolf” Amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE.Hayden, M. V. (2010). The state of the craft: is intelligence reform working?. World Affairs, 35-4

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