In an effort to reform the U.S. intelligence community and avoid dangerous and embarrassing mistakes, Congress and the White House in 2004 created the Director of National Intelligence.
With the Bush administration facing another embarrassing intelligence scandal -- this time, it appears to have knowingly repeated false claims to the American people about Iraqi trailers -- it's a good reason to check in with the current DNI, John Negroponte, and see if he's making any improvements.
The short answer, USA Today tells us this morning, is no. The DNI's office "is not adding any value," the paper quotes House intelligence chair Pete Hoekstra (R-MI). "They're lengthening the time to make things happen."
Negroponte disputes that, of course. But others say he's already figured out the truth: his job is basically impossible. According to Congressional Quarterly, he's known to spend as long as three hours every workday at the University Club, an elite D.C. hangout, where he swims, gets massages, smokes cigars and reads the papers.
Now, it's hard to feel sorry for anybody who gets to spend so much time in the swank confines of the University Club. But with these latest revelations about the alleged WMD trailers, you gotta feel some sympathy for the guy: how can he reform an intelligence community when the guy above him -- the President of the United States -- keeps using it as a political tool?