Intel sharing has been a weakness among members
Donald Trump claimed credit for the new intel position
As it strives to confront terrorism around the globe, NATO is considering creating an intelligence chief.
The key new post, which would be likely known as “assistant secretary general for intelligence,” is aimed at stepping up efforts to deal with the rise of ISIS and other terror groups by addressing a major weakness among member nations – intelligence sharing, U.S. and NATO officials told CNN.
Some critics have laid blame for the attacks in Paris and Brussels on the lack of adequate intelligence sharing among European countries.
However, the NATO intelligence-sharing effort is centered more on sharing of military intelligence than the specific law enforcement-related information that may have not been adequately shared before the Paris and Brussels attacks.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has been critical of NATO during the campaign, tried to take credit for the creation of the new intel post.
But a NATO official told CNN that the creation of the new post had “been considered for some time,” as part of an effort to increase the alliance’s ability to deal with threats such as hybrid warfare.
A German diplomat told reporters that no decision had been made on the position, but said there was a consensus among members that it could help coordinate the various intelligence aspects of both civilian and military cooperation across the alliance.
If the allies agree on the establishment of the new intelligence czar, an announcement is likely to be made at the July NATO Warsaw summit, to be attended by President Barack Obama and the other 27 allied leaders.
According to one administration official, the job will be to integrate NATO intelligence from all technical and human sources, including NATO’s fleet of Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft. NATO is also in the process of acquiring a fleet of surveillance drones that would similarly feed into the new system.
The NATO effort is intended to ensure all member governments have access to the same intel data and analysis, especially given growing threats from ISIS and even Russia, a U.S. official told CNN.
But the official said that there has been some disagreement among the NATO members as to how the new post will be set up. But they said they are optimistic that differences will be ironed out in time for the Warsaw summit next month.
Some politicians in Europe have pushed back against enhanced intelligence sharing among European countries and across the Atlantic due to privacy concerns.
It is also unclear as to the nationality of the new intelligence czar. The current secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, is Norwegian, while the deputy secretary general is American.
While not confirming the discussions about the new post, NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu, stressed the value of intelligence, telling CNN that “intelligence is essential for NATO to tackle the many security challenges we face, including terrorism, cyber-attacks or hybrid threats.”
“Timely intelligence can make the difference,” she said.