Instructions Please respond to at least 2 other students. Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. 

Responses Due: Sunday, by 11:55pm ET

By: Michael McGarvey

         Intelligence oversight and government committees started over 40 years ago. During the 1970s the federal government was dealing with a tremendous number of leaks coming from the top intelligence agencies, and sense this was during the Cold War something had to change. 1975 was that year changed everything with the introduction of the “Church Committee”, which was a “established the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to intelligence activities” (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015).  It was headed by Senator Church a Democrat and Senator Tower a Republican; the bipartisan approach highlighted many abuses by the President regarding intelligence. Recommendations from the committee to Congress and the Executive branch forced significant reforms designed to establish constitutionally-based checks and balances over intelligence activities and curb future abuse. (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015).  

                However, the events on 9/11 changed a lot of the reforms that were built in the 1970s and rightfully so because of the technological advances. Moreover, the use of mass surveillance and torture by intelligence agencies sparked yet again more change in the government. For new reform to be in place, public support, independent oversight, and governance must exist. “To this end, several former Church Committee staff members signed a letter last year (2014) requesting that Congress establish a new special investigative committee to conduct a thorough public re-examination of intelligence community authorities and practices” (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015). The level in which the intelligence community has grown is incomparable to any other federal department to date and without a committee reviewing and analyzing the process events will slip into the cracks. For instance, the amount of time the Senate intelligence committee took when it investigated the torture and detainment procedures of the CIA; this cannot be the norm. Original members of the Church committee gave recommendations to Congress in how to guide them through an investigation and intelligence abuse and oversight failure.

                The following recommendations given by the committee to Congress are the following; the list that follows is not all encompassing and more can be found from the publication titled “Strengthening Intelligence Oversight”.

                 Assessing whether Congress has the appropriate resources to maintain effective oversight of intelligence activities. For example, does Congress have staff and resources to evaluate reports from oversight bodies such as Inspectors General, the Congressional Research Service, the Government Accountability Office, and outside interest groups? Evaluate whether the intelligence community is using its new resources and authorities responsibly and effectively. (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015).  

                Assessing whether current intelligence committee structures optimizes intelligence oversight or whether structural changes should be made. (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015).  

                Modifying the FISA process to make it more transparent and accountable and strengthening the courts’ ability to hear and resolve constitutional challenges to intelligence practices. (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015).  

                Evaluating how intelligence agencies are currently exploiting existing technologies, anticipating how developing technologies might necessitate additional regulation and scrutiny, and ensure they have the technical expertise to perform these functions. (Mondale, W., & Hart, G. 2015).  

                The changes needed for the use of intelligence oversight have been recommended to the government. Issues with change are so vast and the agencies that feel the “squeeze” tend to push back hard with more lobbying and, well, fear mongering. Looking at what Eric Snowden did to the intelligence community was devastating to the clandestine operations being conducted and this forced intelligence agencies to alter their approaches. The American people must be on the same page as the IC when it comes to everything. This is not to say everyone needs to know everything, but there must be slack in the rope for the agencies to conduct their business their way.


Mondale, W., & Hart, G. (2015). Strengthening Intelligence Oversight. In Brennan Center for Justice’s . Retrieved July 17, 2017, from https://www.scribd.com/document/253870500/Strengthening-Intelligence-Oversight#fullscreen&from_embed

          Following this course, I am enrolled in classes ranging from Emergency planning to Immigration Law and Policy. This will certainly be my last year of school and then I will be considering Graduate school or Law school; I have yet to decide on the path I want to take. I fully enjoyed this course and because my degree offers a limited selection of intelligence based courses, this is one of the last form me until further studies. I have always enjoyed the intelligence field and threat analysis; I had the opportunity and luxury to instruct threats based of the contemporary operating environment for almost 2 years and it was always interesting. Any help mapping on a current career inside the intelligence community would be beneficial, particularly one that deals with the Cartels and narco-terrorism.



By: Steven Carroll

Is Intelligence Oversight (IO) sufficient?  Well, that’s a loaded question.  It’s entirely a subjective question.  Everyone can have a different answer, and a single person’s answer may change from occasion to occasion or moment to moment.  We have to look at the reason for IO.  On one hand, intelligence collection is designed (partly) to protect the U.S., its people, and its interests.  IO is designed to prevent infringement on the rights of Americans, particularly as it relates to the 4thAmendment to the Constitution which deals with the People’s right to be safe from unwarranted search and seizure.  So what’s more important?  Security or freedom?  Every scenario can provide a different answer.  Personally, I tend to take the side of freedom and the rights of the People.  But what does that matter if protecting those rights causes the death of Americans?  Which is more important?

 I can tell you this:  having been an intelligence professional for over 10 years now, I’ve been through so much IO training that I hate it, but I know it.  In fact, sitting on a lanyard around my neck right now is an Intelligence Oversight Smart Card which this command requires everyone to wear at all times in the building.  We’re all required to take IO refresher training at least once per year.  There are more than a few regulations that deal with IO, starting with Executive Order 12333.  Department of Defense Manual 5240.01 governs IO policy within the DoD.  It lists a number of procedures that spell out what is and isn’t legal:

Procedures 2 through 4 articulate the procedures through which the Defense Intelligence Components and those personnel within the scope of Paragraph 3.1.a.(1) are authorized to collect, retain, and disseminate U.S. person information (USPI). Procedures 5 through 10 govern the use of certain collection techniques to obtain information for foreign intelligence and CI purposes (DoDM 5240.01, 2016, p.8).

There are more than ten, but those are the big ones.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that IO concerns do come up sometimes.  I’ve always advised people the same way Denzel Washington’s character does in Training Day: “You wanna go to jail or you wanna go home?”  Violations of IO are taken very seriously and will result in you breaking big rocks into little rocks for a few years.  People tend to seriously rethink their position when you ask them to give you an order in writing and sign it after telling them it’s a violation of IO policy. 

As for what I’m doing after this course, I’m enrolling in more courses, though I haven’t yet.  I’m working on finishing my bachelor’s in intelligence studies that I started eight years ago before my ten year limit runs out.


Department of Defense Manual 5240.01 Procedures governing the conduct of DoD intelligence activities.

(August 8, 2016). Retrieved from https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/m5240_01.pdf