Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives [Updated March 5, 2008] [open pdf - 174KB]
From the Summary: "Interest in congressional oversight of intelligence has risen again in the 110th Congress, in part because of the House Democratic majority's pledge to enact the remaining recommendations from the U.S. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 Commission. Its 2004 conclusions set the stage for reconsideration of the problems affecting Congress's structure in this area. The commission's unanimous report, covering many issues, concluded that congressional oversight of intelligence was 'dysfunctional' and proposed two distinct solutions. These were: (1) creation of a joint committee on intelligence (JCI), modeled after the defunct Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (JCAE), with authority to report legislation to each chamber; or (2) enhanced status and power for the existing select committees on intelligence, by making them standing committees and granting both authorization and appropriations power. […] Other proposals, some with a long heritage, include clarifying the independent authority of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the intelligence community, particularly the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]; placing the CIA expressly under the Government Performance and Results Act; increasing the coordinative capabilities and reporting of relevant inspectors general (IGs); and adding a new IG covering the entire Intelligence community. This report first describes the current select committees on intelligence and then the former Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, often cited as a model for a counterpart on intelligence. The study also sets forth proposed characteristics for a joint committee on intelligence, differences among these, and their pros and cons. The report, to be updated as events dictate, also examines other actions and alternatives affecting congressional oversight in the field."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32525