INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT

Material from the 1990s

A - K

Barrett, David M. "Glimpses of a Hidden History: Sen. Richard Russell, Congress, and Oversight of the CIA." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 11, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 271-298.

The focus here is Russell's and Congress' relationship with the CIA during the Eisenhower presidency. The author concludes that "[t]here can be no doubt that Russell was powerful in relation to the CIA; the question that remains largely unanswered is the extent to which he exercised that power." In the absence of the release of relevant records by the government, "[t]he well-known contention that no effective congressional oversight of the CIA existed in this and other parts of the 'era of trust' is not yet proven."

Cogan, Charles G. "Covert Action and Congressional Oversight: A Deontology." Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 16, no. 2 (Apr. 1993): 87- 97.

Conner, William E.

1. "Congressional Reform of Covert Action Oversight Following the Iran-Contra Affair." Defense Intelligence Journal 2, no. 1 (Spring 1993): 35-64.

The author examines the legislative history of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 1991, "the most extensive intelligence oversight legislation in over a decade," to show that "compromise between Congress and the President can yield practical solutions to difficult, yet profound, national security issues."

2. Intelligence Oversight: The Controversy Behind the FY 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. AFIO Intelligence Profession Series, No. 11. McLean, VA: Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1993.

Surveillant 3.4/5: This was the "first significant remedial intelligence oversight legislation in more than a decade." It reflects a "compromise between Bush and Congress as a solution to thorny national security issues."

3. "Reforming Oversight of Covert Actions after the Iran-Contra Affair: A Legislative History of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 1991." Virginia Journal of International Law 32 (Summer 1992): 871-928.

Conner, William E.. "Snider Discusses Hill Access to Intelligence." National Security Law Report 20, no. 1 (Winter 1998): 1, 8, 11-12.

Report on remarks by L. Britt Snider, 15 January 1998, Washington, DC. At the time, Snider was Special Counsel to the DCI; he later served as CIA Inspector General.

[DeConcini, Dennis [Sen. (D-AZ)].] "April Breakfast Remarks: DeConcini Responds to Gates Remarks on Oversight." National Security Law Report 15, no. 5 (May 1993): 1-5. [Text]

Gates, Robert M. "Strengthening Congressional Oversight of Intelligence." National Security Law Report 15, no. 2 (Feb. 1993): 1-5.

Glennon, Michael J. "Congressional Access to Classified Information." Berkeley Journal of International Law 16, no. 1 (1998): 126-137.

Gumina, Paul. "Title VI of the Intelligence Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1991: Effective Covert Action Reform or 'Business as Usual?'" Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly (Fall 1992): 149-205.

Hastedt, Glenn P., ed. Controlling Intelligence. London: Frank Cass, 1991.

Jackson, William H., Jr. "Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Search for a Framework." Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 3 (Jul. 1990): 113-147.

Johnson, Loch K.

1. "The CIA and the Question of Accountability." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): 178-200.

Clark comment: Johnson is arguably the foremost academic writer on the subject of intelligence accountability. His views, however, have been irreducibly influenced by his service on the Church Committee staff. While this gives his work a sameness of tone and viewpoint, it does not diminish the value of his thoughts. His basic argument here is that the investigations of 1975 and the reforms that flowed from them have made the CIA "a part of the government's usual checks and balances," that the resulting increase in accountability is a good thing, and that Congress remains a necessary -- and clearly, constitutionally mandated -- part of maintaining democratic oversight of intelligence activities.

See Stephen Knott's counterargument: "Executive Power and the Control of American Intelligence," Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 171-176. Johnson responds in, "Intelligence and the Challenge of Collaborative Government," Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 177-182.

2. "Controlling the CIA: A Critique of Current Safeguards." Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 12, no. 2 (Spring 1989): 371-396. [Petersen]

3. "The Evolution of CIA Accountability." American Intelligence Journal 16, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1995): 43-46.

Johnson "grades" the CIA's exposure to external review from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches on a scale of "high," "moderate," and "low" for the years 1947-1994.

4. "The Role of Congress in U.S. Strategic Intelligence." American Intelligence Journal 11, no. 3 (Jul. 1990): 41-45.

5. "A Conversation with Former DCI William E. Colby: Spymaster during the 'Year of the Intelligence Wars.'" Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 2 (Apr. 2007): 250-269.

This "previously unpublished interview ... was conducted in 1991." It is well worth reading.

Kaiser, Frederick M.

1. "Congress and the Intelligence Community: Taking the Road Less Traveled." In The Postreform Congress, ed. Roger H. Davidson, 279-300. New York: St. Martin's, 1992.

2. "Impact and Implications of the Iran-Contra Affair on Congressional Oversight of Covert Action." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 205-234.

Knott, Stephen. "Executive Power and the Control of American Intelligence." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 171-176.

Responding to an earlier essay by Loch Johnson -- "The CIA and the Question of Accountability," Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): 178-200 -- Knott argues that Congressional involvement in oversight of previously executively controlled secret activities is a phenomenon of the Vietnam-Watergate era. In fact, the author states, "[e]vidence now abounds that Congress has actually wrested control of the CIA away from the executive branch," a circumstance that "fails to recognize a distinction between the highly sensitive and discreet world of clandestine operations and more routine government functions."

Johnson takes issue with Knott's arguments and conclusions in "Intelligence and the Challenge of Collaborative Government," Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 177-182. He concludes that Knott's "disdain for the Congress drips from his pen like a corrosive acid that would eat away all vestiges of accountability."

Clark comment: It is in the latter observation -- and this from a writer who accuses the other of hyperbole -- that the real point of friction between Knott and Johnson can be found: This is at heart a dispute over the Constitution's "invitation to struggle," despite Johnson's protestations otherwise.

Koh, Harold Hongju. The National Security Constitution: Sharing Power After the Iran-Contra Affair. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990. KF4651/.K64

Return to Oversight Table of Contents