Intelligence Oversight and Accountability

Authored by: Claudia Hillebrand

Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415507523
eBook ISBN: 9780203762721
Adobe ISBN: 9781134480296


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In a relatively short period of time, many liberal democracies made considerable efforts to balance effective (secret) intelligence activities with democratic values and scrutiny demands. In 1975, William Sullivan, former head of the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division, stated before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (1976), the ‘Church Committee’, which investigated misconduct by the US Intelligence Community:

During the ten years that I was on the US Intelligence Board … never once did I hear anybody, including myself, raise the question: ‘Is this course of action which we have agreed upon lawful, is it legal, is it ethical or moral?’ We never gave any thought to this line of reasoning, because we were just naturally pragmatists. The one thing we were concerned about was this: will this course of action work, will it get us what we want, will we reach the objective that we desire to reach?

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