WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 – A new Central Intelligence Agency office intended to provide more coordination over American spying operations will wield only limited authority, leaving the Defense Department and the F.B.I. free to carry out an increasing array of human intelligence missions without central operational control, two senior intelligence officials said Thursday.
The director of the new office, as head of a national clandestine service, will instead be responsible primarily for setting standards and rules designed to minimize conflicts between the agencies, whose human spying operations in the United States and abroad have been expanding rapidly and are expected to continue to do so, the officials told reporters at a briefing.
In written statements issued on Thursday, John D. Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, and Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director, said the new arrangements would improve the quality of American human spying. That has been a goal recommended by Congress, the Sept. 11 commission and others in reviews conducted in the last two years. President Bush pledged last year to increase human spying operations at the Pentagon and the F.B.I. by 50 percent in the next five years.
But Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, described the changes as "a negotiated settlement" between the various agencies. Mr. Roberts expressed reservations about what he called "this latest reorganization," saying he would have preferred that Mr. Negroponte exert his authority to "manage human intelligence collection worldwide." Mr. Negroponte took over the new post in April under a law enacted last year.
The limited power to be granted to the new coordinator underscores the degree to which the Pentagon, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. have retained considerable autonomy even under the new system led by Mr. Negroponte, whose job was created as part of an effort to impose more central control over intelligence agencies.
"We won’t tell the F.B.I. how to do their business, and we don’t tell the D.O.D. how to do their business," one of the two senior intelligence officials said of the role to be played by the C.I.A.
A second senior intelligence official said Mr. Negroponte’s office would limit its role in overseeing human spying operations to broad, strategic direction, rather than asserting operational control.
Mr. Negroponte and his deputies do not anticipate "getting into the weeds of tactical day-to-day operations," said that second official, speaking at a briefing at C.I.A. headquarters. The two officials were from the C.I.A. and Mr. Negroponte’s office, but the briefing was provided to reporters on condition that they not be identified by name.
The new system leaves the C.I.A. as the pre-eminent agency in charge of human spying, a mission it has had since its creation in 1947. The new clandestine service replaces the directorate of operations, the C.I.A. branch responsible for stealing secrets, recruiting spies and carrying out covert operations around the world.
The decision to allow the C.I.A. to maintain its designated role as the national human intelligence manager comes despite opposition from Mr. Roberts and other Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who had urged that Mr. Negroponte’s office assume that management task. In a report last month, the Republican majority on the panel said the C.I.A.’s record of coordinating other agencies’ activities had been weak, as underscored by intelligence failures on terrorism and Iraq.
But Democrats on the committee opposed that recommendation, saying it would be "at best premature" to strip the C.I.A. of its powers. In a statement issued on Thursday, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Mr. Negroponte had made "the right decision" and would give Mr. Goss "the tools he needs to ensure an effective and coordinated effort across all agencies involved with human intelligence."
Technically, Mr. Goss, as director of the C.I.A., is to be designated as national human intelligence manager. That is a role comparable to those once played by the director of the National Security Agency, the national signals intelligence manager; and the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the national imagery intelligence manager.
Under the new structure, however, Mr. Goss will delegate those day-to-day responsibilities to a new director of the national clandestine service, and he has appointed the current deputy director for operations to assume that post, the C.I.A. said. That official, a long-serving C.I.A. officer with considerable experience in Latin America, remains undercover and cannot be publicly named, the agency said.
One deputy director of the clandestine service will be responsible for managing the C.I.A.’s own clandestine service, and a second deputy will be responsible for "facilitation, coordination and deconfliction" of broader human spying operations, missions that are increasingly being carried out by the F.B.I.’s new national security branch, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s human intelligence service and Special Operations Forces, as well as the C.I.A. The service will also include a unit responsible for covert operations and another branch responsible for providing scientific and technological support.
James L. Pavitt, who retired in 2004 as deputy director for operations, said he believed that the impact of the restructuring would be limited.
"A change in the table of organization, the ‘wiring diagram,’ will not substantively change the basics of the business," Mr. Pavitt said in an e-mail exchange on Thursday.
Mr. Pavitt said he believed that the old directorate of operations, now renamed the national clandestine service, would "continue to carry the real burden."