The Work of a Nation

Executive Oversight of Intelligence


The NSC was established by the National Security Act of 1947 to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security. The NSC is the President’s principal forum and the highest Executive Branch entity for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. The NSC is chaired by the President and its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor). The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the DNI is the intelligence advisor.



The President’s IOB was established by President Gerald Ford in 1976 as a White House entity within the Executive Office charged with oversight responsibility for the legality and propriety of intelligence activities. The Board, which reports to the President, is charged primarily with preparing reports “of intelligence activities that the IOB believes may be unlawful or contrary to Executive order or Presidential directive.” The Board may also refer such reports to the Attorney General. This standard assists the President in ensuring that highly sensitive intelligence activities comply with law and Presidential directive. In 1993, the IOB was made a standing committee of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB). The IOB is comprised of up to 5 PIAB members.



The PIAB is maintained within the Executive Office of the President and acts as a nonpartisan body providing advice to the President concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, analysis and estimates, counterintelligence, and other intelligence activities. Its sixteen members serve without compensation at the pleasure of the President and are selected from individuals who are not employed by the Federal Government. The Board continually reviews the performance of all government agencies engaged in the collection, evaluation, or production of intelligence or in the execution of intelligence policy. It also assesses the adequacy of management personnel and organization in intelligence agencies and advises the President concerning the objectives, conduct, and coordination of the activities of these agencies. The Board is specifically charged to make appropriate recommendations for actions to improve and enhance the performance of the intelligence efforts of the United States.


White House


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Historical Document
Posted: Sep 10, 2009 10:26 AM
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2013 01:17 PM