Covert Action and Congressional Oversight

  • John W. Warner


No intelligence activity conducted by the United States government engenders more risk and more controversy than covert action. Covert action is often a source of bureaucratic struggle within the executive branch and between the executive and legislative branches; it invites investigative reporting and titillates the public’s fascination; finally, it is the subject of serious commentary in our newspapers and academic fora. The issues surrounding covert action are numerous, ranging from whether the United States should conduct a particular covert activity to whether the United States should conduct such operations at all. This Chapter addresses the primary policy questions to which Congress will continue to wrestle: should the United States government conduct covert operations? If so, should there be Congressional oversight and what form should such oversight take?


Foreign Policy Executive Branch Central Intelligence Agency United States Government Legislative Branch 
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© Harvard International Review 1991

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  • John W. Warner

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