Executive order bolsters information-sharing among agencies

President Bush has issued an executive order that restructures information-sharing responsibilities among agencies combating terrorism and grants authority to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now headed by John Negroponte.

The new order, dated Oct. 25, succeeds Executive Order 13356, issued in August 2004.

Under the order, John Russack, who was named National Intelligence Center program manager in June, will serve as the chairman of a new Information Sharing Council comprised of representatives from the departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security; the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Counterterrorism Center; and the U.S. attorney general.

Bush's action arises out of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004'also known as the 9/11 Reform Act'said James Lewis, director of technology and public policy studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'It's just an update to bring [policymaking] into line with the creation of the DNI,' Lewis said.

James Carafano, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said the action creates a collaborative architecture in place for moving information across agencies, but conceded there is no guarantee it will work.

'Over the next year we'll really see what kind of attention Negroponte gives' to the council, Carafano said. 'It could be another opportunity to eat doughnuts and drink coffee, or it could move this forward.'

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