The White House wants to kill the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, Pa., says U.S. News & World Report. The magazine describes the agency as a “drug war boondoggle.” The pending budget proposal calls for the center’s $40 million annual budget be slashed to $17 million–enough to shut down the unit and transfer its functions. U.S. News says “the facility has run through six directors, been rocked by scandal, and been subjected to persistent criticisms that it should have never been created at all.” Congressman John Murtha, The Pennsylvania Democrat who created the center and had it placed in his district, vows to keep it running.
The Office of Management and Budget says “the proliferation of intelligence centers across the government has not necessarily led to more or better intelligence, but rather more complications in the management of information.” The White House is supporting a new program–the multiagency Drug Intelligence Fusion Center. Blessed by the DEA, the fusion center will be located in the Washington area. It has already received $25 million from Congress in start-up costs and is to open its doors later this year. The idea that a different agency can do the job the NDIC failed to do has left some shaking their heads. “You have to ask, ‘What is the master plan?'” said a former official in the office of the drug czar. “The answer is there is no master plan.”