Friday, February 18, 2005


One Voice, One Path ... One Wonders

John Negroponte's appointment as the United States' first director of national intelligence means that he will run a $40 billion dollar budget, control multiple agencies, and brief the president on a daily basis. Heady stuff.

What's lost in all this - hidden behind an inadvertent smokescreen of old, usually vague charges against him stemming from his 1981-1985 stint in the Honduras - is the argument that should be made: where is the separation of of duties, the checks and the balances?

One man's opinion is now to be the sum of US intelligence policy and presidential knowledge. Every error in judgement on Mr. Negroponte's part, in this most complex of jobs, will stand officially unopposed.

It's a textbook case of over-centralization. In the short run, if Negroponte does a good job, and if he is right more often than wrong, he can counterbalance a lot of problems and help clean house, and maybe that's all Bush really wants ("just clean things up in the next 4 years, John"), but as a long-term approach it's the wrong path, regardless of whether or not one thinks well of the man chosen.