Activities of the Senate Intelligence Committee, 1976-2009

04.20.10 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Senate Intelligence Committee has posted a collection of its biennial public reports on the Committee’s activities, from the first report in 1976 to the latest in 2009, providing a retrospective survey of intelligence controversies past and present.

“The committee has unintentionally produced a profoundly biased political document,” complained the late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan in a statement appended to the very first report (pdf) in 1976.  “The committee reports on a world in which very simply, the values which the United States hopefully stands for do not seem to be threatened by any activity save the activities of the U.S. Government…. Nowhere is the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union (the KGB) even alluded to. There is a pattern of avoidance of the reality of totalitarian threat throughout this document.”

“I believe that my colleague misses the point,” replied Sen. Joseph Biden in the same 1976 report.  “At the heart of what is wrong with the intelligence community and what indeed has caused many of the abuses we have seen is the fact that most officials of the intelligence community do not know what they should and should not be doing…. We will not solve that problem by restating the obvious, that the Soviets operate a very effective intelligence service, unfettered by the restrictions of a vibrant constitution.”