Intelligence Oversight, Congressional

Developed since the 1970s, congressional intelligence oversight has involved diverse efforts by Congress to ensure that the intelligence community operates effectively and in accordance with the Constitution, laws, and core values of the United States. It is a key challenge for a democracy to hold intelligence agencies accountable without compromising classified information. This entry examines its history, key objectives, general mechanism, and major problems.

Historical Background

In the mid-20th century, the need for robust regulation and oversight of the intelligence agencies became increasingly obvious. Already a significant part of the U.S. national security apparatus at the end of the Second World War, the intelligence community expanded rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s. At the same time, police states in the 1930s and 1940s (Nazi Germany in particular) ...

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