President Obama has nominated James Clapper, a retired Air Force Lieutenant General (that’s three stars to you civilian types) to head the United States’ 16 spy agencies.
Let me run that past you again in case you missed it: SIXTEEN spy agencies.
Interestingly, the Intelligence Community’s own website lists 17 foreign and domestic spy agencies and organizations:
- Air Force – Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA) – formerly known as Air Intelligence Agency (AIA)
- Army – Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Coast Guard Intelligence
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Department of Energy
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of State
- Department of the Treasury
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Marine Corps Intelligence
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- National Reconnaissance Office
- National Security Agency
- Office of Naval Intelligence
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence
I’m guessing that the “Office of the Director of National Intelligence” doesn’t really count because isn’t an “agency” so much as a bureaucracy. OK, I’ll buy that.
Why do we need 16 separate agencies to spy on people? How much waste and duplication of effort exists? Can some agencies and responsibilities be combined? I do understand that, per Executive Order 12333, foreign and domestic intelligence needs to be kept separate. But hasn’t DHS added a lot more gray to that crayon box anyway?
I really don’t want to get started on Homeland Security… but I’m going to. Isn’t DHS just an “umbrella agency” that oversees the United States National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Coast Guard (weren’t they already listed?), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and Civil Air Patrol? Were these agencies not competent to oversee themselves? (Heh… forget I asked that.) Did they not play well together at spy agency family reunions?
Unnecessary, repetitious redundancy. Why is Customs and Border Protection a separate agency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement? They both have “Customs” in their names! Immigration and Customs Enforcement and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services both share the word “Immigration.” What are these people doing? Can you imagine the savings on business cards alone?
Wait… Civil Air Patrol…? [twitch]