Document Type

Book Chapter

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This chapter examines the challenges, how they affect congressional oversight of intelligence, and Congress’s efforts to ensure accountability for United States (US) intelligence activities. The United States Government has engaged in intelligence collection and covert action since its earliest days. Congressional oversight of intelligence activities, however, has a relatively short history. It was not until the late 1940s, with the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), that the US House of Representatives and Senate created entities – subcommittees of their Armed Services committees – with responsibility for intelligence oversight. The Church Committee revelations and other concerns that surfaced during that period led to a number of significant reforms to intelligence oversight. In the years since, there have been additional changes to structure and process. The Church Committee subject that generated perhaps the greatest outrage was its extensive chronicling of domestic electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies.

Publication Citation

This is a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in National Security Intelligence and Ethics on November 8, 2021, available online: Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND.