Intelligence Authorization Acts, United States Congress
Intelligence authorization acts are annual legislative Acts of Congress whereby current intelligence issues are addressed and appropriations made for intelligence activities in the coming year. These date to 1979, although the first true intelligence authorization act was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The intelligence authorization acts are an example of the increased legislative oversight of intelligence activities that originated in the mid-1970s.
As a result of the Watergate scandal and its implication of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a participant in some part, combined with numerous revelations of clandestine CIA activities, Congress enacted a number of measures to exert greater legislative control over intelligence activities. Among these was the practice of passing yearly intelligence authorization acts.
The first of these was the Intelligence and Intelligence-Related Activities Authorization Act of 1979. The Act for 1980 had the same title, and only in 1981 was it titled the Intelligence Authorization Act. The 1981 Act was particularly important inasmuch as it established the process whereby the CIA notifies the leadership of the House and Senate intelligence committees of covert actions it intends to undertake.
Intelligence authorization acts have been passed in each fiscal year since 1981. They are far from a "rubber stamp" of the CIA or the administration. For instance, President William J. Clinton vetoed the original Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (H.R. 5630) because of what he called "the badly flawed provision that would have made a felony of unauthorized disclosure of classified information."
█ FURTHER READING:
Bush, George W. "Remarks on Signing the Intelligence
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 38, no. 48 (December 2, 2002): 2101–2102.
——. "Statement on Signing the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 37, no. 52 (December 31, 2001):1834.
Cannon, Carl M. "Central Intelligence Agency." National Journal 33, no. 25 (June 23, 2001): 1903–1904.
Clinton, William J. "Statement on Signing the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 36, no. 52 (January 1, 2001): 3184–3185.
Bush Administration (1989–1993), United States National
Bush Administration (2001–), United States National Security Policy
CIA, Legal Restriction
Clinton Administration (1993–2001), United States National Security Policy
Intelligence, United States Congressional Oversight
President of the United States (Executive Command and Control of Intelligence Agencies)
Reagan Administration (1981–1989), United States National Security Policy