CIA and the Congress, John M. Maury. Beaumarchais' appraisal of politicians is widely shared these days, and perhaps nowhere more than among members of Executive Agencies who have come to look upon Congressmen and their endless investigations and criticisms as irreconcilable enemies of the bureaucratic establishment. In the case of agencies involved in sensitive questions of national security, the problem is intensified by concern among the bureaucrats that Congress will, perhaps inadvertently, lack proper discretion in the handling of highly classified material to which it demands access. On the other hand, the Congress instinctively suspects that whenever an Executive Agency pleads national security as an excuse for withholding information, the purpose is merely to cover up mischief or inefficiency...
Oversight or Overlook: Congress and the U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Representative Lucien N. Nedzi (D-Mich.). I have entitled my notes this morning "Oversight or Overlook: Congress and the U.S. Intelligence Agencies." "Oversight?" or "Overlook?" To some extent this is a tongue-in-cheek characterization, but it is essentially an appropriate, fundamental question. Indeed, it is a bit unsettling that 26 years after the passage of the National Security Act the scope of real Congressional oversight, as opposed to nominal Congressional oversight, remains unformed and unclear. It is a sobering experience for me, as Chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee, to find our Subcommittee still in the process of defining ourselves, still exploring (or worse yet, just beginning to explore) what we can do and what we must do.
The SAM Upgrade Blues, Sayre Stevens. In the period from 1969 until the signing of the ABM Treaty in Moscow in 1972, the intelligence community was faced with a new challenge. Most simply stated, that challenge came in the form of a postulation that the Soviets might somehow give ABM capabilities — through "SAM upgrade" — to their extensively deployed air defenses and thereby significantly affect the strategic balance between the U.S. and the USSR. This postulation came from a scientific and technical community largely outside the intelligence business which found its leadership in the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (O/DDR&E). As a result of this challenge, the intelligence community, and most particularly the CIA, was forced to assess the likelihood of material possibilities fostered in the lively imaginations of defense technologists whose thinking was largely unfettered by the factual constraints affecting current intelligence judgments. In this confrontation, we were faced with the task of countering an argument which was continuously modified and which preserved its importance so long as any possibility of its viability could be maintained...
Confessions of a Former USIB Committee Chairman, David S. Brandwein. To many people the word "committee" triggers a reaction which ranges between revulsion and displeasure. Within the intelligence community, the likeliest targets for committee-haters are the USIB committees. Typically, criticisms laid against them are that their judgments tend to be waffled, they don't respond quickly to urgent tasks, and they don't come up with imaginative solutions to difficult problems. Hardly a year goes by without a fresh study by a high-level official or group of the "problem" of some or all of the USIB committees. Usually the objective of these studies is to improve the committees' effectiveness through reorganization and reallocation of functions. Actually, changes have been few and far between, and for the most part the committees have proved to be very durable. One cannot escape the conclusion that they must do some good, and that we have as yet not figured out how to come up with a better scheme for ventilating interagency problems and for achieving coordination on them...
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