ODNI’s Response on Intelligence Oversight Board Shows Lack of Intelligence

In September, I wrote about EFF’s efforts to find out whether Obama had an Intelligence Oversight Board–the board that’s supposed to provide some outside review over potential problems and abuses in the intelligence community.

ODNI has finally responded to EFF’s FOIA lawsuit.

And the results show a distinct lack of intelligence. Meaning, they’re kind of dumb.

There are three documents:

  • Biographies of David Boren, Chuck Hagel, and Lester Lyles, labeled “IOB Member,” “IOB Chair,” and “IOB Member,” respectively.
  • An email (presumably from a press person at the White House) informing the then PIAB General Counsel Homer Pointer that “the announcement” of seven new members of the PIAB–including Lyles–“had been made.” A notation in the corner lists “IOB Members: Hagel (Chair), Boren, Miles.”
  • An ODNI email discussing who, outside that office, should be invited to the DNI Holiday Reception, basically consisting of a list of PIAB members and staffers with “(Also IOB Co-Chair)” noted next to both Hagel and Boren’s names, and “(IOB member)” next to Lyles’.

Maybe I’m just being persnickety, but that appears to suggest ODNI doesn’t know whether David Boren is a Co-Chair of IOB, or just its third member.

And note that the name of the person who puts together James Clapper’s Holiday Party is a secret. Cause the terrorists will win if they know who sets up our intelligence community holiday parties, I guess.

Frankly, maybe the big question is not who the members of IOB are, but who the staffers are, because it appears that between December 2009 and October 2010, IOB got new staffers, seemingly replacing Homer Pointer (who had gone on the record several times complaining about the non-existent IOB) with Ray Heddings (who had worked at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) as Counsel.

So while at one level, these three documents may tell us nothing. At another, they make me wonder whether the Administration’s solution to rising questions about the IOB was simply to replace the guy, internally, who actually cared?