Critics and Defenders: A Review of Congressional Oversight

By James S. Van Wagenen


Permanent, continuing, day-to-day Congressional oversight of the US Intelligence Community (IC) marked its 20th anniversary in May 1996. Two decades earlier, Senate Resolution 400 established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) following revelations of “intelligence abuses.” In July 1997, the SSCI’s House counterpart, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), will celebrate its 20th birthday. During this time, the IC’s missions, responsibilities, capabilities, size, and management have experienced dramatic changes. The Congressional oversight committees have played a significant role in shaping these changes and continue to do so. . . .

For a newer and fuller treatment of this subject, see Britt L. Snider, The Agency and the Hill: CIA’s Relationship with Congress (2008), in the Books and Monographs section of CSI resources.

From a still more current perspective, see Jon Rosenwasser, “From Capitol Hill: Intelligence Integration—A Congressional Oversight Perspective,” in Studies 65, No. 3 (September 2021)

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