Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), United States Office of

Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), United States Office of

The Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) advises the United States attorney general regarding matters relating to U.S. national security activities. In accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, OIPR prepares and files all applications for authorization to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches. It also acts as legal adviser, not only to the attorney general and the Department of Justice as a whole, but also to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Defense, Department of State, and other federal agencies. Additionally, OIPR acts as the Department of Justice representative on several interagency committees.

Acting under the direction of the Counsel for Intelligence Policy, the attorney general's legal adviser in intelligence matters, OIPR helps keep the attorney general—as the chief law-enforcement executive in the United States—abreast of all relevant national security activities. Under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, OIPR also prepares applications for surveillance and searches, and presents these to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Both for the attorney general and for various intelligence agencies such as the CIA, OIPR provides formal and informal legal counsel on matters relating to U.S. intelligence activities and procedures. For example, in the 1980s, OIPR helped bring an end to an FBI probe of the Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador (CISPES). That group supported the overthrow of the Salvadoran government by Marxist guerrillas, but based on OIPR's analysis, did not appear to be a communist front organization, and OIPR advised FBI leadership in 1985 that the probe threatened CISPES's First Amendment rights.

More than a decade later, OIPR was involved in the scandals surrounding Chinese nuclear spying in the United States during the administration of President William J. Clinton. OIPR twice received applications to wiretap scientist Wen Ho Lee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and twice rejected these applications on the basis that there was not sufficient evidence against him. The FBI disagreed, and in 1999, Attorney General Janet Reno blamed the burgeoning scandal in part on the two agencies for not bringing their disagreement before her.

OIPR serves as a sounding board for other agencies' opinions on matters involving proposed legislation regarding intelligence-related matters. It also represents the attorney general on a variety of interagency task forces and committees concerned with issues of national security and nonproliferation, as well as scientific exchanges, administration of exports, information security, personnel security, and foreign overflights of U.S. territory. Serving the Department of Justice as a whole, OIPR represents the department on interagency committees, including the National Foreign Intelligence Council.

Within the Justice Department, OIPR heads the Department Review Committee, which carries out department policy on security classifications and makes decisions regarding Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act appeals. On the Intelligence-Law Enforcement Policy Board, OIPR co-chairs a variety of groups whose purpose is to facilitate better working relationships between components of the intelligence, security, and law-enforcement communities.



Jackson, Robert L. "Sessions Concedes FBI Erred in Central American Activist Probe." Los Angeles Times. (February 3, 1988): 16.

Safire, William. "Whitewash at Justice." New York Times. (July 16, 1999): A19.


Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. Department of Justice. < > (March 15, 2003).

Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. Federation of American Scientists. < > (March 15, 2003).


Chinese Espionage Against the United States
Clinton Administration (1993–2001), United States National Security Policy
FBI (United States Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review
Justice Department, United States
Reagan Administration (1981–1989), United States National Security Policy

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