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Inside Politics

Source: 9/11 report to recommend new Cabinet post

Panel expected to call for national director of intelligence

From John King
CNN Washington Bureau

September 11 attacks
Jane Harman
George W. Bush

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The final report from the 9/11 commission will recommend creating a Cabinet-level post to oversee intelligence responsibilities that are spread across the government, according to a source familiar with the document.

The position is described as a new national director of intelligence. It has previously been described in public statements by several commission members and in proposals now before Congress, the source said.

The 10-member bipartisan panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established to investigate the events before, during and immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said she would welcome the creation of the position.

"Our current intelligence community was created in 1947 to fight an enemy that no longer exists," the California congresswoman said in a statement. "Our 15 agencies now operate with different rules, cultures, and databases. That must change."

One senior administration official said the recommendation is "not unexpected," but that the White House will wait for the report and study it before giving an official response.

Earlier Saturday, a White House official said President Bush has been "open to the idea of intelligence reform," and has made clear that he feels the United States needs to increase human intelligence, improve the quality and quantity of intelligence, and improve coordination among agencies.

CIA spokeswoman Anya Guilsher said the CIA will have no comment on any recommendation to create a national intelligence czar.

The report concludes in "sharp language" that a main reason the country was ill prepared for the September 11 attacks and perhaps did not do more to prevent them, is that intelligence responsibilities are spread too widely across the government, according to the source who has read what he called the "final draft of the final report."

The report notes there have been too many turf battles and other budget and jurisdictional fights, he said. The source made clear the report said it is a years-old and systemic problem, one that is not unique to the Bush administration.

The report also, as expected, calls for major changes in "both the structure and the culture" of the FBI, and chides Congress for not doing more over the years to exert oversight authority and correct obvious problems, the source said.

The report also calls on Congress to streamline how it deals with intelligence, he said.

The chairman of the 9/11 commission, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, set an internal deadline of Thursday, the last day Congress is in session before its summer recess, for releasing the report. The original release date was July 26, which is also the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

CNN's Elaine Quijano contributed to this report.

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