Congressional intelligence oversight evolution in progress 1947-2005
Reid, Edwina Clare.
Simeral, Robert L.
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From the creation of the Intelligence Community as part of the National Security Act of 1947 to present day, congressional oversight has varied depending on popular interest generated by media reports of scandal or due to perceived failures. Conversely the Intelligence Community has used the varying degrees of oversight as an opportunity to participate in activities outside its charter. This thesis examines the evolution of congressional oversight from virtually non-existent to the current efforts to reform the Intelligence Community. What this study demonstrates is that oversight has primarily been driven in response to an abuse or a failure. It has been popular interest fueled by media involvement that has forced congressional action. This is demonstrated by examining the wave of reform after the publication of the Central Intelligence Agency's abuse of power in 1970, again after the revelation of the Iran-contra affair in 1986 and lastly after the September 11th attacks. The study also uncovers a reoccurrence in the recommended reforms, particularly the recommendation for the creation of a Director of National Intelligence and the need for greater congressional involvement.
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