National security adviser James L. Jones has decided that CIA chiefs of station in countries across the world will continue also to represent the office of the director of national intelligence, ending a brief turf battle between the heads of the two spy organizations, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
At issue was a May directive by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, who as head of the 16 agencies that make up the intelligence community, including the CIA, asserted that in "rare circumstances," he could select someone other than a CIA station chief to be his representative to foreign governments or international organizations. The directive provided that, in "virtually all cases globally," the representative would be a CIA station chief and that, before the appointment of anyone else, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and the local U.S. ambassador would be consulted.
Panetta and former CIA director Michael V. Hayden balked at the idea that someone other than a top CIA official could be considered the senior U.S. intelligence representative in a country. They argued that it could confuse foreign leaders and their intelligence agencies, with whom the CIA station chiefs interact regularly. Introducing another, non-CIA intelligence officer could disrupt the normal chain of command in an embassy where the CIA station chief also coordinates all clandestine and covert actions in the country, they said.