rank Libutti's job as undersecretary for the Homeland Security Department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate is, as one observer notes, "to integrate a whole bunch of moving parts into one."
IAIP's mandate, as DHS's intelligence unit, is one of prevention, protection, and response: to analyze intelligence data; to identify threats; to assess and inventory vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks throughout the country; and to develop prevention or recovery plans to address those vulnerabilities. These include threats to both physical structures and cyberspace.
IAIP is responsible for analyzing information collected from traditional intelligence agencies-such as the CIA, FBI, and Terrorist Threat Information Center-and from the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and other DHS agencies.
Because 85 percent of the nation's infrastructure is in private hands, IAIP has the daunting mission of building relationships with the private sector. Industry leaders often are reluctant to share information about their vulnerabilities or to spend the money the government may deem necessary to reduce risks.
In September 2003, the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee told Libutti that getting information from his agency-and the department as a whole-proved onerous. Another concern was that Libutti was too slow in hiring intelligence analysts. "Our experience in terms of getting information from the agency on important questions is that it is cumbersome, time-consuming, and rarely good," Rep. Martin Olav Sabo, D-Minn., said at the hearing.
Libutti says that by December 2003, his agency had hired talented assistant secretaries and taken on 70 intelligence analysts. He hopes to have a staff of more than 100 analysts in 2004. IAIP, Libutti adds, works with numerous analysts at other Homeland Security agencies. "Eight-hundred analysts work across the whole department," he says. "We can pull in those rich resources."
Observers say the real question is not whether Libutti, 58, can do the job, but whether anyone can. "Frank's a good man with a terrific reputation-very talented, very thoughtful, and very bright," says David Heyman, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But he has an impossible job."
Described as colorful and a take-charge leader, Libutti is a graduate of the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and is a Vietnam veteran. He retired in 2001 as a lieutenant general in the Marine Corps. A Long Island, N.Y., native, Libutti served as the head of the New York City Police Department's counterterrorism unit before moving to Homeland Security.