US House Intelligence Committee says routinely misled by CIA



On June 23, intelNews reported on the endorsement by key lawmakers in Washington of a proposed bill that would force US intelligence agencies to make full disclosure of covert spy programs to all members of Congress’ intelligence oversight panels. Yesterday, US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), came out once again in support of the proposed legislation, saying that he has evidence that the Committee he chairs has been routinely “misled […] and […] affirmatively lied to” by the CIA. Reyes’ allegations were included in a letter to the committee’s Republican members, in which he urged them to support the proposed bill. According to the National Security Act of 1947, Congressional intelligence committees must be “fully and currently” informed about the activities of US intelligence agencies. In recent years, however, military and intelligence officials routinely make use of a classification label called Operational Preparation of the Environment (OPE), which allows them to shield certain activities from Congressional oversight. The proposed legislation, which has received the overwhelming support of Democratic Congress members, would eliminate the OPE label, thus forcing military and civilian intelligence agencies to keep all oversight panel members informed about even their most sensitive intelligence and espionage activities. In addition to supporting the proposed legislation, Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee have warned that if US intelligence agencies continue to fail in their “obligations to inform the committee of intelligence activities, the committee will consider legislative action” and even “a full committee investigation” into OPE activities.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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