America is about to see the most radical changes to its intelligence-gathering since the end of the Cold War. The House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly in favour of overhauling the country’s information services, in a bid to prevent another September 11th-style attack. But some disagreed. Republican James Sensenbrenner was unhappy changes to immigration laws were not included: “Unfortunately the Conference has left us with an incomplete product that does not secure our borders and thus makes us more vulnerable to another terrorist attack.”
The bill – expected to be passed by the Senate this Wednesday – creates a new intelligence director – one of the changes demanded by the 9/11 Commission. That person will be charged with co-ordinating the CIA and FBI. In effect, a single individual will soon be in charge of co-ordinating the work of the country’s 15 spy agencies, as well as their huge budgets. The 9/11 Commission found intelligence agencies did not share information. This, it concluded, was partly to blame for the failure to prevent the 2001 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people.