Books Monographs

The Agency and the Hill

CIA’s Relationship with Congress, 1946-2004

Publication Details

Published 2008

By: L. Britt Snider

About the Author

Mr. Snider’s career in the federal government spanned 30 years, split almost evenly between the legislative and executive branches. From 1971 until 1974, he served as counsel to a Senate judiciary subcommittee chaired by Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC) where he was involved in the subcommittee’s investigation of the Army’s domestic intelligence activities during the Vietnam era. During 1975‚Äì76, he was counsel to the Church Committee, princi¬≠pally focusing on the intelligence activities of the National Security Agency and the military. From 1977 until 1987, he served as a policy official within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, responsible for counterintelligence and security matters, an assignment that brought him into frequent contacts with the select intelligence committees of the Congress. In 1987, he returned to Capitol Hill, first as minority counsel, then general counsel, of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He remained in that position for almost nine years, leaving in 1995 to become staff director of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community (the Aspin-Brown Commission).

From there, Mr. Snider joined the Center for the Study of Intelligence as a visiting senior fellow, where he wrote a groundbreaking study entitled “Sharing Secrets with Lawmakers: Congress as a User of Intelligence,” published by CSI in 1997. Later that year, after a short teaching stint at Cambridge University in England, he became special counsel to DCI George J. Tenet. In 1998, President Clinton, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appointed him to be the second statutory inspector general of the Agency. He served in that position until his retirement in 2001.

Since retirement, Mr. Snider has been an adjunct professor at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, where he teaches a course on intelli¬≠gence oversight. He has also written numerous articles on the subject. See “Unlucky SHAMROCK: The Church Committee’s Investigation of NSA,” published in Studies in Intelligence, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Winter 1999; “Creating a Statutory Inspector General at the CIA”, published in Studies in Intelligence, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Winter-Spring, 2001; “Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Some Reflections on the Last 25 Years,” published as a monograph by the Center for Law, Ethics, and National Security, Duke University School of Law, 2004; and “Congressional Oversight of Intelligence After September 11,” published as chapter 14 of Transforming U.S. Intelligence, Sims and Gerber, eds., Georgetown University Press, 2005.

Mr. Snider is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Virginia School of Law.