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Secret Report Warns of Skewed U.S. Intelligence Priorities

Mar. 21, 2013 - 10:50AM   |  
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WASHINGTON — White House advisers have warned that U.S. spy agencies are too focused on anti-terror operations and pay inadequate attention to China, the Middle East and other flashpoints, a news report said Thursday.

The Washington Post reported that a panel of White House advisers warned President Barack Obama last year that the work of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other U.S. spy services had been distorted by more than a decade of counterterror efforts following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The panel, whose members included new U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former senator David Boren, urged greater attention to America’s other intelligence priorities and called for a significant shift in resources to correct the perceived imbalance.

The document issued last year by the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board was distributed to senior national security officials at the White House, the newspaper wrote.

U.S. intelligence officials cautioned that any course corrections are likely to be incremental rather than comprehensive, because of continued concern over the threat by al-Qaida, and because of influence amassed by U.S. counterterror institutions over the past decade, the Post reported.

The daily wrote that the intelligence board, which meets in secret, is made up of 14 experts, many of whom once held top government posts and that they have extensive access to intelligence officials and records.

The Post reported that it contacted several panel members who declined to discuss the contents of the report but expressed misgivings about the increasingly paramilitary missions of U.S. intelligence efforts, including at the Central Intelligence Agency.

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