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Observers Predict Further Changes as Clapper Takes New Budget Role

DNI James R. Clapper

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper’s move to assert more authority over the intelligence budget has some observers predicting more changes down the road.

Clapper described a few weeks ago a “conceptual agreement” he had reached with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to move the intelligence budget, which had been split up and placed throughout the overall defense budget, more firmly under the purview of the DNI.

According to Federal Times, “the practice of sprinkling intelligence spending throughout the Pentagon budget [w]as a relic of Cold War secrecy that needed to end,” a DoD official said, but amounted to little more than an accounting matter.

But it could lead to separate appropriations, specifically for intelligence, Federal Times reports. Reducing the secrecy and complexity of the intelligence budget was a recommendation of the 2004 9/11 Commission that has not yet been adopted.

And, while, the move doesn’t necessarily increase Clapper’s authority, “it suggests there could be further reforms or changes down the road,” Andy Johnson, a former Democratic staff director on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence told Federal Times.

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