INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT

Material from the 2000s

S - Z

Savage, Charlie. "Obama Strengthens Espionage Oversight." New York Times, 29 Oct. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In an executive order released on 29 October 2009, President Obama "restored to the [Intelligence Oversight Board] a duty to forward to the attorney general any information it encounters about illegal intelligence activities." An executive order by President George W. Bush "said it would be up to the Director of National Intelligence to make any such criminal referrals."

Obama has not announced whom he will appoint to serve on the Intelligence Oversight Board. However, on 28 October 2009, the President "appointed Charles Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, and David Boren, a former Democratic senator from Oklahoma, to be co-chairs of the Intelligence Advisory Board, which focuses on making spy agencies more effective. The oversight board is a component of the advisory panel." For a report on President Bush's earlier action see Charlie Savage, "President Weakens Espionage Oversight: Board Created by Ford Loses Most of Its Power," Boston Globe, 14 Mar. 2008.

Savage, Charlie. "President Weakens Espionage Oversight: Board Created by Ford Loses Most of Its Power." Boston Globe, 14 Mar. 2008. [http://www.boston.com]

President Bush issued an executive order in late February 2008 stripping the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) of much of its authority. President Ford created the IOB "following a 1975-76 investigation by Congress into domestic spying, assassination operations, and other abuses by intelligence agencies."

Schwarz, Frederick A.O., Jr. "The Church Committee and a New Era of Intelligence Oversight." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 2 (Apr. 2007): 270-297.

The author was the Church Committee's chief counsel. Here, he persuasively argues the continued relevance of the lessons that came out of the Committee's work. Salient points include: "in times of crisis even constitutional democracies are likely to violate their laws and forget their values"; "too much was collected from too many for too long"; and "[i]t was not evil that caused us to do what we ought not to have done. It was zeal, fostered by excessive secrecy; vague instructions and implicit nudges or winks joined to pressure for results without attention to means; and oversight that was either lacking altogether, empty, or knowingly chose to turn a blind eye."

Shane, Scott. "C.I.A. Reviewing Its Process for Briefing Congress." New York Times, 10 Jul. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Intelligence officials said on 9 July 2009 that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta has "assigned a senior C.I.A. officer" to conduct "an internal review of how it briefs Congress on secret programs." This action comes as Democrats and Republicans trade "barbs over an admission" by Panetta "that the C.I.A. failed for eight years to inform the Intelligence Committees of one unidentified program.... Several members of Congress said the program, begun in the immediate aftermath of the [9/11] terrorist attacks, involved creating a capability that was never used."

Shenon, Philip, and Eric Lipton. "9/11 Panel Members to Lobby for a Restructured Congress." New York Times, 21 Dec. 2004, A20.

Snider, L. Britt. The Agency and the Hill: CIA's Relationship with Congress, 1946-2004. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2008. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/agency-and-the-hill/The%20Agency%20and%20the%20Hill_Book_1May2008.pdf]

Peake, Studies 52.3 (Sep. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.2 (Fall 2008), says that this work "adds new well-documented perspective to the legal requirements of congressional oversight and the political realities that bound their implementation. It will be the principal reference book on the topic for the foreseeable future." For Wippl, I&NS 26.1 (Feb. 2011), the author provides "a combination of fairness, balanced judgment, and understanding.... His book is well written, well researched, and most worthy of a commercial publisher."

Snider, L. Britt. "Congressional Oversight of Intelligence After 9/11." In Transforming US Intelligence: Challenges for Democracy, eds. Jennifer Sims and Burton Gerber, 239-258. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005.

Solomon, John. "In Intelligence World, A Mute Watchdog: Panel Reported No Violations for Five Years." Washington Post, 15 Jul. 2007, A3. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a report in May 2007, the Justice Department told the House Judiciary Committee that the President's Intelligence Oversight Board [IOB], "the principal civilian watchdog of the intelligence community," sent no "reports to the attorney general of legal violations during the first 5 1/2 years of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort."

Walker, Matthew B. "Reforming Congressional Oversight of Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19, no. 4 (Winter 2006-2007): 702-720.

Discusses current legislative oversight problems; critiques the 9/11 Commission's recommendations; and makes additional recommendations.

Warrick, Joby. "CIA Assassin Program Was Nearing New Phase: Panetta Pulled Plug After Training Was Proposed." Washington Post, 16 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter, "CIA officials were proposing to activate a plan to train anti-terrorist assassination teams overseas when agency managers brought the secret program to the attention of CIA Director Leon Panetta last month... The plan to kill top al-Qaeda leaders, which had been on the agency's back burner for much of the past eight years, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of proposals to initiate what one intelligence official called a 'somewhat more operational phase.' Shortly after learning of the plan, Panetta terminated the program and then went to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers."

Warrick, Joby, and Ben Pershing. "CIA Had Program to Kill Al-Qaeda Leaders: Agency Didn't Tell Congress About Bush-Era Plan to Use Assassins." Washington Post, 14 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. intelligence and congressional officials on 13 July 2009, the CIA for nearly eight years ran a program authorized by the Bush administration, which proposed to deploy "teams of assassins" to kill top al-Qaeda leaders. However, the agency did not tell Congress about the program. Sources briefed on the matter said that the plan "never became fully operational." The sources confirmed that then-Vice President Cheney "had urged the CIA to delay notifying Congress" about the plan. The program "was terminated last month," but several Democrats have argued that the CIA "misled Congress by not disclosing its existence."

Washington Times. "[Editorial:] Intelligence Under Siege." 18 May 2009. [http://www.washingtontimes.com]

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's war with the CIA could not come at a worse time for America's beleaguered intelligence agencies. When the United States needs its intelligence arms the most -- to combat terrorism, track Iran's nuclear-weapons program and fend off foreign espionage -- they are under assault from many quarters.... The covenant among the government, the people and our intelligence and national security professionals must be restored. We ask this select group of specialists to do things that, while legal, must be shielded from public scrutiny lest they be compromised and rendered ineffective. Congress is entrusted with the responsibility of oversight which itself must remain secret. When this critical process is polluted by politics, sensationalism and deceit, the wound must be opened and cleaned. We owe our struggling intelligence services nothing less."

Zegart, Amy. "Outside View: Hill Intelligence Unreformed." United Press International, 30 Aug. 2007. [http://www.upi.com]

"Six years after Sept. 11, the least reformed part of our intelligence system sits not in Langley, Va., or the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building, but on Capitol Hill.... Today there are more committees involved in intelligence oversight than ever. Committee term limits in the House remain. And radical intelligence overhaul still requires battling, and defeating, the powerful armed services committees.... It is all well and good for Congress to be demanding accountability from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. But accountability starts at home. Until Congress overhauls itself, intelligence reform will remain elusive."

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