Money quote from the Author’s Note:
The unavoidable conclusion is that the U.S. government cannot continue to allow a collecting agency to make unilateral originator control determinations regarding the intelligence it collects. … I hope to explain why they are not in position to make the best “need to know” determinations – that decision must be made by an independent body.
I argue that collection agencies should have their analytic capabilities removed for similar reasons. Restrictive classification or handling caveats are more often than not tools to minimize the ability of others to steal your thunder. Of course by seeking institutional glory in this fashion agencies are hindering effective exploitation and analysis of collected data; the agency best suited to use a given piece of information could very well be an agency that doesn’t have “permission” to use it.
PS: Just finished. Very well done. Research into the security aspects of this problem are instructive for both pros and laymen alike. Reading the many “what could have been” moments in the piece will alternately make you weep or pound the table in fury. There are of course legitimate concerns on this front, but by and large it is pure selfishness. The idea of having a honest broker and not collectors determine NTK is interesting, though care would have to be taken as far as who is chosen for the job (ideally, cleared outsiders who don’t have misguided loyalties to a home office).