Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte delivers remarks about the fight against al-Qaida in this file photo taken at Georgetown University in Washington on Friday, Feb. 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
The nation's spy chief disclosed for the first time Thursday that the
number of U.S. intelligence personnel worldwide totals nearly 100,000.
In a speech at the National Press Club marking his first year on the job, National
Intelligence Director John Negroponte indicated his willingness to make some,
normally classified information public.
He provided one previously secret fact: "The U.S. intelligence community
comprises almost 100,000 patriotic, talented and hardworking Americans in 16
federal departments and agencies."
"To the extent that the requirements of secrecy permit, the country should
know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how well they are doing
it. Public understanding is important," Negroponte later added.
In the hourlong session, he also touched on a number of other issues.
Negroponte said perspective is needed on Iran's nuclear program and noted that
Tehran may not have a weapon for years — perhaps into the next decade.
He said it is important for Iraq to form a new government soon to take on the
challenges posed by sectarian violence.
And Negroponte discussed the changes made within the spy agencies to prevent
mistakes similar to those made on the prewar Iraq intelligence. He called it
the "WMD fiasco."
On the Web:
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence: http://odni.gov/