In 1955, Congress recommended that the CIA’s director take charge of all intelligence for the US. They didn’t. After several other failed efforts, the creation of the National Counterterrorism Center in the wake of 9/11 was supposed to finally accomplish this goal.
But as the failed Christmas bombing in Detroit showed, they simply didn’t. After 55 years of struggle, the nation has 16 distinct spy agencies, and information flows slowly between them, if at all.
But when a failure happens, each springs to life, pointing fingers at the others as the source of the problem. With the groups all vying for slices of the intelligence budget, it behooves them to look like successes, but also to make their rivals look like failures.
Officials are expressing hope that the lap bomber, who didn’t actually kill anybody, may serve as a wake-up call for the problem and finally rectify it. Yet over a half century of history suggests otherwise, and that whatever move they make, information sharing will remain a reluctant endeavor.
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