"Future analysts and operators will open their computers to a common browser that will take them to sites where they can gather data across the community, assuming they have the authority and clearances." Pincus
I have no quarrel with the DNI's desire to have the national agencies work together better, but his "thinking" about the relationship between collection and analysis is disturbing. If I understand this correctly and Pincus has reported it correctly, this is a terrible concept.
For the uninitiated, "collectors" find and bring in data in various ways. Analysts are tradtionally engaged in scholarship that produces opinions as to what that data means. The present DNI does not seem to have ever accepted that division of labor.
I haven't had anything to do with Clapper for a long time, but I do remember that when I did, he seemed to have little regard for the "value added" provided by the opinions of analysts. His conception seemed to be that analysts should be "clerks" who made lists of the data provided by various kinds of collectors; SIGINT, MASINT, HUMINT, RUMINT (that's a joke), etc. In his way of thinking, analysts would also draw things like "threat" circles on maps so that pilots would know where the anti-air defenses were. He did not appear to have any real conception of the differences in group dynamics among people of differing cultures. Actually, the whole idea of different cultures seemed alien to him.
Such views were understandable. Before he became director of DIA, where I was so fortunate as to know him (another joke), he had spent his career in USAF operational intelligence where apparently analysts perform such tasks as their main function in life. DIA was a vastly different kind of enterprise. In addition to being the operational intelligence planning arm of the JCS, the agency was one of the "Big Five" among the national strategic intelligence agencies. In that capaciity DIA participated directly in the formulation of national estimates on a wide variety of subjects. This activity did not fit Clapper's notion of what DIA should do and so he set out to affect a transformation of the agency. He re-oriented the analytic staff so that they were engaged in counting things and making lists and drawings. DIA was paralysed by this stroke of genius. People who had spent their adult lives studying; Russia, China, Iran, etc. did not want to devote themselves to anti-aircraft guns, tanks, etc. as a "discipline" around which to organize their efforts. Not surprisingly, a lot of them "voted with their feet." I asked him at an "off-site" how he was going to fulfill his role in national estimation with this kind of orientation in DIA. This was not a welcome question. He told me and the group that he did not want to have such a role (paraphrasing). I understand that he got better over time, and I have hoped that was true. In his early days at DIA, he seemed to be obsessed with destruction and disassembly of DIA by shipping functions to the Unified Commands and wandering the world giving briefings as though he were still a squadron intelligence staff officer.
Apparently he is still intent on dealing with those pesky analysts. In his scheme, collectors and analysts would live in a completely transparent world in which there would be one giant data base available to all those who had a password. I guess we learned nothing from the "wikileaks" mess. That was caused by the creation of a similar linked database which a PFC "mined" for a mass of largely meaningless raw data, reporting cables from the State Department, etc. Inevitably, such a linked Clapper style database would become accessible to people outside the intelligence community. Indeed, Clapper seems to have that in mind. At last those pesky "wabbits," er, analysts, would be eliminated as an obstacle to direct access to raw data.
Well pilgrim, we have seen this in action before. Under von Rumsfeld's aegis, a cell of non-intelligence ideologues was assembled in OSD for the express purpose of achieving direct access to the raw data held by the intlligence community and to make their own judgments as to what was true and what was not. This is the famous "Office of Special Plans." They looked at the raw reporting and decided that DIA's decisions as to what was true and what was not were all wrong.
Based on their reading of "history" they decided that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, was successfully hiding their program, and that Saddam and Usama were the best of buddies.
As Leslie Gelb has said, the neocons are waiting to return to power. The Romney and Perry campaigns are full of them. Clapper's concept will be useful for them. pl
PS Expect to see comments here about what an SOB I was at DIA.