INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT

Material from the 2010s

A - E

Aftergood, Steven. "Admin Threatens Veto Over GAO Role in Intel Oversight." Secrecy News, 17 Mar. 2010. [http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy]

In a 15 March 2010 letter to Congress, Peter Orszag of the Office of Management and Budget identified "several provisions in the pending FY2010 Intelligence Authorization Act that were objectionable to the White House and that might prompt a presidential veto of the bill." These include "a requirement to increase congressional notification of covert actions beyond the 'Gang of 8'; the proposed GAO language [to reinforce the GAO's role in intelligence oversight]; and a proposed reduction in the budget authorization for the Office of the DNI."

Aftergood, Steven. "New Intelligence Directive on Congressional Notification." Secrecy News, 1 Dec. 2011. [http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy]

On 16 November 2011, DNI James Clapper issued Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 112 on "Congressional Notification." ICD 112 "generally encourages 'a presumption of notification' to Congress regarding significant intelligence activities." Text of ICD 112 is available at: http://www.fas.org/irp/dni/icd/icd-112.pdf.

Ambinder, Marc. "Defense Department Broadens Congressional Oversight of Secret Programs." The Atlantic, 6 Jul. 2010. [http://www.theatlantic.com]

In a directive issued 1 July 2010, the Department of Defense set out "a formal procedure for the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, to be granted access to special access programs, or SAPs.... According to the Pentagon instruction, GAO personnel 'shall be granted SAP access if' the director of the DoD oversight committee on SAPs agrees, after receiving a request from the chair and ranking member of either the defense or intelligence committees, and if the GAO employee who would review the SAP has the appropriate security clearance level."

See also, Steven Aftergood, "DoD Directive Allows for GAO Access to Intel Programs," Secrecy News, 6 Jul. 2010. [http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy]

Best, Richard A., Jr. Intelligence Estimates: How Useful to Congress? Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 6 Jan. 2011. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL33733.pdf.

"There seems to be an emerging consensus that publicly releasing NIEs, or even unclassified summaries, has limitations. Some of the nuances of classified intelligence judgments are lost and there are concerns that public release of an unclassified summary of a complicated situation does not effectively serve the legislative process. In passing the FY2010 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 111-84), Congress chose not to require an NIE on the nuclear ambitions of certain states and non-state actors, but rather to request biennial reports (with unclassified summaries) from the DNI."

Best, Richard A., Jr. Intelligence Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 14 Sep. 2011. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL33539.pdf.

Issues in the 112th Congress: Christmas Bombing 2009; ISR Programs; Terrorist Surveillance Program/NSA Electronic Surveillance/FISA; Role of the CIA; Role of the FBI; The Role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Paramilitary Operations and Defense Humint; Regional Concerns; CIA and Allegations of Prisoner Abuse; Congressional Notification Procedures; Civilian Intelligence Personnel System; Government Accountability Office and the Intelligence Community; Intelligence Agencies and Drone Warfare.

Boyd, Judith K. "Improving U.S. Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Services: A Comparative Approach." American Intelligence Journal 28, no. 1 (2010): 29-39.

"This article uses comparative policy analysis to seek out the 'best practices' of parliamentary intelligence oversight systems..... The parliamentary structures for the following countries will be examined in closer detail: the United States, Germany, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Belgium." Despite criticisms otherwise, "[a] strong argument can be made that ... U.S. Congressional intelligence oversight is among the best in the world."

Cumming, Alfred. Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options For Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 6 Apr. 2011. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/R40691.pdf.

From "Summary": "This report describes the statutory provision authorizing Gang of Eight notifications, reviews the legislative history of the provision, and examines the impact of such notifications on congressional oversight."

Donaldson, Patrick J. "Infiltrating American Intelligence: Difficulties Inherent in the Congressional Oversight of Intelligence and the Joint Committee Model." American Intelligence Journal 28, no. 1 (2010): 13-28.

The author concludes that "[o]n balance, the benefits and detriments of the 9/11 Commission Report's proposed Joint Committee on Intelligence do not seem to warrant its adoption.... Instead, strengthening the authority of the GAO to audit intelligence programs will produce far greater opportunity to uncover abusive, illegal, and wasteful programs in the IC."

Drohan, William H. [COL/USAR (Ret.)] "Intelligence Oversight: Street Fight or Delicate Dance." American Intelligence Journal 28, no. 2 (2010): 83-86.

"Whether at greater or lesser degrees of intensity, the battle over intelligence oversight never really ends.... [I]t involves us all ... in a delicate dance involving each branch and its members

Erwin, Marshall Curtis. Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 10 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/RL33715.pdf.

"Senior U.S. intelligence community officials have conceded that the line separating Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and DOD intelligence activities has blurred, making it more difficult to distinguish between the traditional secret intelligence missions carried out by each."

Erwin, Marshall Curtis. "Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 16 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/R40698.pdf.

"'Gang of Four' intelligence notifications generally are oral briefings of certain particularly sensitive non-covert action intelligence activities,... that the intelligence community typically limits to the chairmen and ranking Members of the two congressional intelligence committees. Gang of Four notifications are not based in statute but have constituted a practice generally accepted by the leadership of the intelligence committees and that is employed when the intelligence community believes a particular intelligence activity to be of such sensitivity that a restricted notification is warranted in order to reduce the risk of disclosure, inadvertent or otherwise."

Erwin, Marshall Curtis. Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 10 Apr. 2013. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/R40691.pdf.

"This report describes the statutory provision authorizing Gang of Eight notifications, reviews the legislative history of the provision, and examines the impact of such notifications on congressional oversight."

Return to Oversight Table of Contents