Intelligence Pathologies Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3119 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Intelligence Pathologies

The Church Committee Investigations which began in 1974 after the Watershed Scandal in President Nixon's administration found that intelligence agencies had unlimited executive power. The committee found that intelligence agencies abused this power and harassed and disrupted targeted groups and individuals, spied on citizens, assassination plots, manipulation and infiltration of businesses and media. Recommendations made by the Church Committee in the 1970s concerning intelligence agencies have been overlooked. As President Nixon's administration gave more executive power to intelligence agencies during his reign, so did President Bush. Intelligence agencies acquired executive authority after 9/11 are founded on the rhetoric of the war on terrorism, finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and identifying the link between Iraq and Al-Qaida. The agencies have carried out executive authority of unwarranted surveillance at home and abroad, arresting and detaining citizens and groups in secret prisons abroad, using enhanced interrogation, and denying detainees legal representation. It is evident these executive power has made intelligence agencies intractable after 9/11 as they were in the post cold war era. This executive power has made intelligence checkpoints like the congressional oversight committees, FISA court and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act invaluable.

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Term Paper on Intelligence Pathologies Assignment

The Church Committee arose from the cold war era during the Watergate scandal, the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, and the reform of congress. These led to congressional investigations into abuses and illegal activities of U.S. intelligence agencies, especially the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Led by Idaho's Senator, Church Frank, the congress committee carried out a 17th month investigation into the activities of the CIA, FBI, NSA, other intelligence agents, and their relationship with the president, attorney general, national security advisers, and high ranking executive branch officials (Miller, 2008). The committee revealed that there was gross abuse of power by the agencies and the administration that included domestic spying on American citizens, assassination plots on foreign leaders, disruption and harassment of targeted groups and individuals, human experimentation with drugs in mid control programs, manipulations and infiltration of businesses and media houses (Miller, 2008). This research carries out an investigative analysis on the findings of the Church Committee Investigations of the intelligence agencies during the post cold war era. The findings of the Church Committee investigations of this era are compared to intelligence pathologies of 9/11 and the War on terrorism in Iraq. The goal of the analysis is to prove the thesis that "intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI in the 9/11 era are intractable and a function of the post-cold war era."

As was seen in the 1970s, congressional oversight investigations have risen again in the recent congress due to reports by intelligence community agencies to congress on sensitive matters like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The need for congressional oversight investigations arises from the need for independent auditing authority in the U.S. government Accountability Office (GAO) on the intelligence agencies, restricting congress oversight mechanisms, and clarifying reporting requirements to congress (Halchin & Kaiser, 2012). This situation arises from growing uncertainty and security challenges, traditional state and non-state threats, transactional threats like cyber attacks, energy security concerns, epidemic diseases, and organized crime. The need for a congressional oversight investigation arises from the realization that these challenges, along with terrorism pose problems to U.S.'s bureaucratic national security and intelligence sector (Dale, Serafino, & Towell, 2008). The growing concern is the need for the re-examination of how the U.S. government, especially the executive branch, congress, and national security agencies are applying their national power. The suggestion is that these systems pose a 21st century security challenge to the nation since they are inadequate (Dale, Serafino, & Towell, 2008). The feeling among defense and foreign relations analysts is that the U.S. government's operations like those in Iraq and Afghanistan have deep flaws that provoke attacks from foreign threats and make the nation vulnerable to attacks. Moreover, they are deemed inadequate since the procedures currently in use to formulate strategy plan and execute missions, support presidential decision-making, and budget for activities are founded in the post World War II.

These issues are similar to the basis on which the Church Committee was founded in 1974. The congressional investigation carried out an investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies and government operations in terms of intelligence activities and executive branch decisions. The committee made an audit of executive branch decisions on matters like covert operations and civil liberty abuses, and a lack of accuracy in information and analysis by security agencies to the executive branch (Miller, 2008). The Church Committee investigations exposed decades of misconduct at home and abroad by the executive branch and the intelligence agencies, which violated American ideals, the law, and constitution. The Church committee also revealed that intelligence activities abroad were inconsistent with decent respect for human kind and were harmful to America's long-term interests. The investigations revealed that the U.S. adopted the enemy tactic from fear of a powerful enemy abroad and at home.

Like the Church Committee in 1974, congressional investigations into intelligence agencies today are concerned with the response to terrorist attacks and war on Iraq. Congressional intelligence oversight committees in the current government increase investigation given that the current U.S. government was spawned under increased partisan tensions on terrorism and the oversight process. These committees were created after 9/11 under Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, and were slowed by a lack of compliance by the executive branch (Miller, 2008). A request by the committee to extend its deadline from the original May 2004 to complete interviews and review official documents became a political affair. Other challenges facing this committee were the war on Iraq, the mistakes of intelligence agencies, their reporting to the White House, and the intelligence handling by Bush's Administration.

According to Warner and McDonald (2005), the attacks of 9/11 like watershed, called for high-level investigations and reforms to the national security, intelligence agencies, and executive branch decision on security. The commission proposed several changes like the splitting of the intelligence community and Director of National Intelligence (Miller, 2008). This arose from congressional investigations that revealed that the Director of Central Intelligence was an unworkable position. Secondly, the investigations after 11th September 2011 revealed that the intelligence community was largely a political controversy, especially in 2004 presidential campaigns, which were marred by visible disputes over the use of intelligence resources in the war in Iraq and the hearings of the DCI (Miller, 2008). The other similarity between intelligence oversight post 9/11 and in Church Committee's was that intelligence followed a partisan nature and were highly political. This was also indicative of the nature by which investigations scrutinized the intelligence information used by Bush's administration for justifying the invasion and war on Iraq.

This analysis identifies that intelligence agencies post 9/11 follow the post cold war era in Richard Nixon's era as established by Church Committee. Church Committee found that at the time, intelligence agencies carried out spy operations on domestic and foreign grounds and followed political ideals, carried out assassination plots. At the time, intelligence agencies were acted under orders of the executive branch of the government (Miller, 2008). Church Committee made Recommendations like the establishment of a separate and permanent select committee on intelligence to offer congressional oversight. As a result, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was created to establish procedures for intelligence activities. In addition, the special FISA court was established to authorize warranted electronic surveillance operations by intelligence agencies (Miller, 2008). The investigations of the Church Committee are applicable to the aftermath of 9/11 since President Bush used "war on terror" to justify the invasion of Iraq and the breaking away from restrictions and procedures put in place in the 1970s. Moreover, this research finds that current intelligence activities are a replica of intelligence agencies in the post cold war era for bypassing procedures, the constitution, laws, and human rights issues.

Intelligence agencies post 9/11 by-passed the FISA court to carry out unwarranted electronic surveillance especially against groups that are anti-Iraq-War and civil liberties of American Citizens citing counter terrorism activities. Church committee revealed countless examples of intelligence agencies like the CIA, NSA, and FBI's abuses. The committee revealed that despite the abuse of intelligence resources like the Watershed Scandal by executive branch of government, the government was unable to oversee and control intelligence agencies. This made agencies like the FBI, CIA, and NSA intractable. The U.S. intelligence community that seems unchanged by the various recommendations and investigations by the congressional committees include the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). These agencies are intractable and significance for they given the Secretary of Defense authority over U.S. intelligence analysis and gathering operations. The agencies with this capability are CIA, FBI, and NSA. The Church committee found that the executive branch government too actions in the name of national security and subversion, which were shielded by secrecy and without guidance by the law. At the time, intelligence activities… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Intelligence Pathologies.  (2013, April 24).  Retrieved December 4, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Intelligence Pathologies."  24 April 2013.  Web.  4 December 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Intelligence Pathologies."  April 24, 2013.  Accessed December 4, 2020.