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New Executive Order to Overhaul US Intelligence Powers

By VOA News

31 July 2008

U.S. President George Bush has signed an executive order revising rules for intelligence agencies and giving more power to the national intelligence director.

The order gives the director who oversees U.S. intelligence agencies, Mike McConnell, new authority over any intelligence information that pertains to more than one agency. The responsibility previously was handled by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The order empowers McConnell to make acquisitions, such as new satellites, and other funding decisions.

It also lays out the responsibilities of the country's 16 intelligence agencies.

A statement from the White House spokeswoman Dana Perino Thursday says the measures direct the intelligence community to gather timely and accurate information with special emphasis on international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The order updates a nearly 30-year-old presidential order to reflect changes made in intelligence agencies after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It is an effort to promote a greater exchange of information among agencies that have been reluctant to share intelligence.

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