Research: Publications

National Intelligence: The dereliction of congressional oversight

May 1, 2006 | Report


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Oversight is an essential aspect of democratic government, an integral part of any system of checks and balances, and central to any effort to “watch and control the government.”2 Oversight is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the government, to detect arbitrary and capricious behavior, let alone illegal and unconstitutional conduct, to ensure compliance with legislative intent, and to prevent executive encroachment on legislative authority. Currently the Senate and House intelligence committees, which were created in the mid-1970s to ensure oversight of secret agencies, are observing all of these duties in the breach. Senate and House intelligence chairmen, Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), respectively, have become the cat’s paw of the Bush administration and have made sure that there is no accountability and no criticism of any actions of the intelligence community that could redound unfavorably on the White House.

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