Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 24, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

9/11 RECOMMENDATIONS....You know, it strikes me that the 9/11 report puts John Kerry in a tight spot: should he push to have its recommendation adopted quickly or not?

Let's assume he mostly agrees with them. In that case, pushing to have them adopted is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do, since it gets Kerry out in front on this issue and puts pressure on Bush to get in line.

On the other hand, if I thought I was going to be elected president in three months, I'd want to be the one who crafted all this legislation. And presidential nominee or not, the junior senator from Massachusetts in the minority party just won't have that much say over how the legislation is put together.

Decisions, decisions. In any case, the more I think about it the more I wonder whether this intelligence czar idea is the right way to go anyway. The problem is that in addition to budget authority, the commission also envisioned him as having hiring and firing authority over the intelligence chiefs at the Pentagon and the FBI, both of whom would presumably also report up through their normal chain of command since the commission doesn't envision their entire agencies being moved (the way various agencies were moved when the Homeland Security department was created, for example). In other words, matrix management.

This isn't automatically a bad idea, mind you, but it is a tricky one. I'd want to be very sure of myself before I decided that a matrix reporting structure was the best possible answer to our intelligence woes.

Kevin Drum 1:41 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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