print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > July 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 31, 2008

Fact Sheet: A Lasting Framework for United States Intelligence Activities
President Bush Updates Executive Order To Create A More Unified, Integrated, And Collaborative Intelligence Community

     Fact sheet Executive Order: Further Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities

President Bush issued an Executive Order to advance and institutionalize the reforms enacted into law by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and to provide a durable framework for the conduct of the Nation's intelligence activities.  The Executive Order – which updates Executive Order 12333 originally issued by President Reagan in 1981 – responds to the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA).  The updated Executive Order directs the Intelligence Community to produce timely, accurate, and insightful intelligence with special emphasis on the threats posed by international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.  The revised Executive Order will accelerate efforts to build a more effective Intelligence Community capable of providing the President and his advisors with information necessary to defend our national and homeland security. 

  • The Executive Order reaffirms that the Intelligence Community will use "all reasonable and lawful means" to ensure that the United States receives "the best intelligence possible."  The Executive Order similarly reinforces the directive that United States intelligence activities are to be conducted in a manner that protects the constitutional rights of Americans. 
  • The Executive Order retains key features of the original Executive Order 12333, which has served the Nation well for over 25 years, and updates the original Order to account for today’s national security challenges and to reflect the IRTPA structures, including the post of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). 
  • The Executive Order will provide a lasting framework for the conduct of the Nation's intelligence activities by
    • Describing the roles and responsibilities of the DNI, the Intelligence Community, and the agencies composing the Intelligence Community;
    • Stressing the need for collaboration in the collection, analysis, and production of intelligence;
    • Emphasizing the importance of preparing and providing intelligence in manner that results in robust information sharing; and
    • Underscoring and renewing the commitment to conduct intelligence activities in manner that fully protects the civil liberties and privacy rights of Americans.

A Revision Of Executive Order 12333 Was Necessary To Reflect The Current Structures And Priorities Of The Intelligence Community 

With the benefit of more than three years of experience with the IRTPA structures, the President concluded this was an opportune time to update and revise Executive Order 12333.  The President also took full advantage of, and benefited from, the insights and knowledge of respected intelligence professionals with decades of Intelligence Community leadership experience, including Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, CIA Director Michael Hayden, and Undersecretary of Defense James Clapper. 

The Executive Order clarifies the responsibilities and strengthens the authorities of the DNI in important ways.  The DNI will set goals for the conduct of the Nation's intelligence activities by, among other things, issuing guidelines governing collection, analysis, and intelligence sharing and formulating policies to guide our intelligence relationships with foreign countries.  The DNI also will participate more fully in decisions regarding the selection and, if necessary, the removal of senior intelligence officials.  In addition, the DNI will have flexibility to create national intelligence centers and designate Intelligence Community mission and functional managers.

The Executive Order maintains and strengthens existing protections for Americans' civil liberties and privacy rights.  The Executive Order retains and reinforces the provisions in place in the original Executive Order 12333 to ensure that all intelligence activities are conducted in a manner that protects the civil liberties and privacy rights of Americans.  All collection, retention, and dissemination of information regarding United States persons must be conducted in accordance with procedures approved by the Attorney General.

The Executive Order also retains the existing ban on assassination and the limitations on human experimentation.  Intelligence officials will continue to be obligated to report possible violations of federal law to the Attorney General, as well as to the DNI and the President's Intelligence Oversight Board.

The Executive Order preserves and reinforces existing responsibilities of members of the Intelligence Community.

  • The Executive Order assigns to CIA the role of coordinating intelligence collection from human sources overseas and managing foreign intelligence relationships.  It also designates the CIA Director as the Functional Manager for human intelligence and affirms the CIA's existing responsibility to conduct covert action activities approved by the President.
  • The Executive Order recognizes the important role played by the FBI in the collection, dissemination, and analysis of intelligence information.  It also affirms the FBI's responsibility for the coordination of intelligence collection from human sources within the United States.   
  • The Executive Order fully respects and preserves the military chain of command and will ensure intelligence support is provided to our armed forces. 
  • The Executive Order underscores that the Attorney General continues to be the Nation's top law enforcement officer.  The revised Order does not insert the DNI into law enforcement activities.

# # #