INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT

Material from the 2010s

F - Z

Farson, Stuart, and Reg Whitaker. "Accounting for the Future or the Past? Developing Accountability and Oversight Systems to Meet Future Intelligence Needs." In The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, ed. Loch K. Johnson, 673-698. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Kibbe, Jennifer. "Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Is the Solution Part of the Problem?" Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 1 (Feb. 2010): 24-49.

The current system of congressional oversight of intelligence "has been undermined by a toxic combination of problems: the intelligence committees' inherent informational disadvantage in relation to the executive branch, the jurisdictional morass in which the committees must operate, and their own internecine partisanship."

Marchand, Sterling. "Fixing What Isn't Broken: How Congressional Oversight Has Adapted to the Unique Nature of the Intelligence Community." American Intelligence Journal 28, no. 1 (2010): 5-12.

Congressional oversight of the IC "has been forced to adapt its traditional methods ... to the unique nature of intelligence activities under the executive branch." While Congressional oversight of the IC "is necessarily and fundamentally different, it is not broken, and any efforts to improve oversight must take these differences into account."

Mazzetti, Mark. "Computer Searches at Center of Dispute on C.I.A. Detentions." New York Times, 6 Mar. 2014, A20. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Senior lawmakers contend that C.I.A. officers conducted unauthorized searches of the computers used by committee staff members in an effort to learn how the committee gained access to the agency's own 2009 internal review of the interrogation program.... But other officials, not speaking publicly, have implied that it was the committee that acted improperly by penetrating parts of the C.I.A.'s computer network it was not authorized to access, and rejected the accusations."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Finds No Wrongdoing in Agency's Search of Computers Used by Senate Investigators." Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2015. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

A CIA review group, led by former U.S. senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), "concluded in a report released [on 14 January 2015] that agency employees should not be punished for their roles in secretly searching computers used by Senate investigators." The agency panel "found that the agency employees' actions were 'reasonable in light of their responsibilities to manage an unprecedented computer system' set up for Senate aides involved in a multiyear probe of the CIA's treatment of terrorism suspects." The report "cited a lack of clear ground rules between the CIA and the Senate, and it faulted CIA workers for missteps including reading e-mails of congressional investigators."

Miller, Greg. "Under Obama, an Emerging Global Apparatus for Drone Killing." Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The Obama "administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents....

"The rapid expansion of the drone program has blurred long-standing boundaries between the CIA and the military. Lethal operations are increasingly assembled a la carte, piecing together personnel and equipment in ways that allow the White House to toggle between separate legal authorities that govern the use of lethal force.... The convergence of military and intelligence resources has created blind spots in congressional oversight. Intelligence committees are briefed on CIA operations, and JSOC reports to armed services panels. As a result, no committee has a complete, unobstructed view."

Rizzo, John. "The CIA-Congress War." Defining Ideas, 30 Mar. 2012. [http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/112491]

Between 1976 and 2009, Rizzo rose through the CIA lawyer ranks to be Acting General Counsel. Here, he offers his "personal perspective" on why the relations between the Congress and the CIA "have gone inexorably downhill over the past three-plus decades." The primary reason for this is: "A failure to communicate."

Superville, Darlene. "Obama Signs Pair of Intelligence Bills into Law." Associated Press, 7 Oct. 2010. [http://www.ap.org]

"President Barack Obama signed a pair of intelligence bills into law" on 7 October 2010. One bill seeks to "improve oversight of sensitive spy operations"; the other seeks to "reduce the amount of threat information that is classified and kept from state and local authorities as a result." Clark comment: The Intelligence Authorization bill is the first such passed by Congress since 2004.

Waterman, Shaun. "Democrats Give Obama Secrecy for Intelligence: Only 'Gang of 8' Would Be Briefed." Washington Times, 30 Sep. 2010. [http://www.washingtontimes.com]

In passing "the first intelligence bill likely to become law in six years," House Democrats on 30 September 2010 "softened legislation that would have required broader notification of Congress about secret intelligence operations.... The deal means the president can continue to restrict briefings about these programs to just a handful of lawmakers, known as the 'Gang of Eight.'... Congress passed a bill in 2008, but President Bush vetoed it."

The compromise allows "the president to restrict briefings on covert action notification to the Gang of Eight," but requires him "to provide a statement of the reasons for the restrictions; and to provide 'a general description' of the program to other committee members. Every 180 days, officials would review the decision to restrict the briefings and issue a new statement of reasons to the Gang of Eight if the restrictions are to continue."

Other provisions of the bill "would allow declassification of the total annual U.S. intelligence budget, and would require reports to Congress about cost overruns in major secret acquisition programs"; would give the DNI "powers to launch reviews into errors or misconduct by intelligence officials, and could open the door to a new role for intelligence oversight by congressional investigators" in the GAO; and "would make the job of inspector general" for the ODNI "a Senate-confirmed post with broad statutory powers."

Zegart, Amy, and Julie Quinn. "Congressional Intelligence Oversight: The Electoral Disconnection." Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 6 (Dec. 2010): 744-766.

"[O]versight varies dramatically by policy issue, and ... intelligence almost always ranks at the bottom. Ironically, the same electoral incentives that generate robust oversight in some policy areas turn out to be far weaker in intelligence."

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