Covert Action and Congressional Oversight
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?
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