Secrecy News

Senate to Hold Hearing on GAO and Intelligence Oversight

The simplest, most effective and most achievable way to improve congressional oversight of intelligence might be to utilize the Government Accountability Office to audit and evaluate intelligence programs, a prospect that is opposed by the Director of National Intelligence.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Friday, February 29 to consider pending legislation that would bolster GAO’s role in intelligence oversight. The Federation of American Scientists will be represented among the witnesses.

“The need for more effective oversight and accountability of our intelligence community has never been greater,” said Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) last year. “Yet the ability of Congress to ensure that the intelligence community has sufficient resources and capability of performing its mission has never been more in question.”

0 thoughts on “Senate to Hold Hearing on GAO and Intelligence Oversight

  1. It would be helpful to have you elaborate on your statement that “the simplest, most effective and most achievable way to improve congressional oversight of intelligence might be to utilize the Government Accountability Office to audit and evaluate intelligence programs”?

  2. The GAO has conducted some fairly high-level oversight of intelligence subjects in the past; those might serve as a useful precedent when making proposals for more such activity in the future. I recently became aware of one such study and submitted a pseudo-FOIA request for it to GAO last month. (Not being in the Executive Branch, GAO isn’t actually subject to FOIA but does entertain such requests.) No word back as yet.

    First paragraph of the request:

    According to a declassified National Reconnaissance Office memorandum of 3 February 1978, GAO produced a report titled “Review of DoD’s Reconnaissance Intelligence Assets (GAO Code 951357)” which was under review as of the date of the memorandum. The main body of the report was classified SECRET, with a supplement in the TALENT-KEYHOLE channel.

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