Covert Action and Clandestine Activities of the Intelligence Community: Selected Definitions in Brief [April 25, 2018] [open pdf - 711KB]
"Since the 1970s, Congress has established and continued to refine oversight procedures in reaction to instances where it had not been given prior notice of intelligence activities-- particularly covert action--that had significant bearing on United States national security. Congress, for example, had no foreknowledge of the CIA's orchestration of the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's only democratically elected government, or of the U-2 surveillance flights over the Soviet Union that ended with the Soviet shoot-down of Francis Gary Powers in 1960. Eventually, media disclosures of the CIA's domestic surveillance of the anti-Vietnam War movement and awareness of the agency's covert war in Laos resulted in Congress taking action. In 1974, Congress began its investigation into the scope of past intelligence community activities that provided the basis for statutory provisions for intelligence oversight going forward."
CRS Report for Congress, R45175