Washington The White House issued a classified order this month to resolve mounting frictions between the nation’s intelligence director and the CIA over issues including how the agency conducts covert operations, U.S. officials said.
The White House intervention reflects simmering tension between the two most powerful players in the U.S. intelligence community: Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta.
The memo maintains the CIA’s status as the nation’s lead spy service on covert missions, rejecting an attempt by Blair to assert more control. But the document also includes language detailing the agency’s obligation to work closely with Blair on sensitive operations.
The two sides have sparred in recent months over the CIA’s role in Afghanistan, officials said.