US Delays Intelligence Center Targeting Foreign Influence

( During the RussiaGate Panic, Congress authorized the creation of an intelligence center to head up efforts to prevent foreign adversaries from sowing discord among Americans and interfering in US elections. But two years later, the intelligence center is nowhere close to opening.

The proposed Foreign Malign Influence Center was supposed to solve the lack of cohesive strategy to fight foreign influence operations. But the lack of cohesive strategy is precisely what is getting in the way of the center coming to fruition because the intelligence community and Congress still can’t agree on the center’s mission, budget, or size. Meanwhile, the person who was supposed to head up this new center has since been assigned elsewhere, leading many to suspect that this is one boondoggle that won’t happen.

President Biden’s Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines is supposedly staying focused on getting this center up and running so the IC can integrate efforts combating “foreign malign influence” into one centralized location.

Problem is, some lawmakers are pushing back at the prospect of further expanding the mission of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Originally, the ODNI was supposed to be a small coordinating body created to address the intelligence-sharing failures that led up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now the ODNI has several centers, meaning the attempt to solve the problem only created more unnecessary duplication.

While he supports the idea of this Foreign Malign Influence Center, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Mark Warner said there are legitimate questions regarding just how large the organization should be and how it would fit in the existing efforts to combat foreign influence operations.

In a recent statement, Warner said Congress wants to be certain the center enhances existing efforts rather than further “miring them in unnecessary bureaucracy.”

Well, bureaucracy is the lifeblood of the federal government. There’s no escaping it. If Warner wants to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, Congress should just cancel this project completely.

Earlier this year, Biden’s ODNI presented a plan to the House and Senate intelligence and appropriations committees for a small center staffed by a few dozen people. However, key lawmakers from both parties expressed doubts about the plan.

A subsequent proposal to fund the center failed this summer and it is not likely to move any further while the government is operating under temporary funding.