Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Congressional Activity Regarding CIA Paramilitary Activities

109th Congress
The 109th Congress did not address this issue legislatively. On November 23, 2004, President
Bush issued a letter requiring the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence to
review matters relating to Recommendation 32 and submit their advice to him by February 23,
2005. In unclassified testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February 2005,
the Director of the CIA testified that the CIA and DOD disagreed with the 9/11 Commission’s
recommendation.14 In June of 2005 it was reported that the Secretary of Defense and the Director
of the Central Intelligence Agency responded to the President, stating that “neither the CIA nor
DOD endorses the commission’s recommendation on shifting the paramilitary mission or
operations.”15 The Administration reportedly rejected the 9-11 Commission’s recommendation to
shift the responsibility for paramilitary operations to DOD.16

110th Congress
The 110th Congress saw the enactment of P.L. 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the
9/11 Commission Act of 2007 which did not address either paramilitary operations by CIA or
special operations by DOD. Opposition by the Pentagon, the Intelligence Community, and the
Bush Administration undoubtedly affected the congressional response to the 9/11 Commission’s
recommendation to vest responsibilities for paramilitary operations in DOD. CIA’s reputation
may have also been assisted by the generally favorable assessments given to the Agency’s post-
9/11 performance, especially in the initial phases of the Afghan campaign that led to the collapse
of the Taliban regime in December 2001.

111th Congress
Although most observers believe that there remains little inclination among Members to transfer
responsibilities for all paramilitary operations out of CIA, some Members have expressed
concerns about apparent blurring of lines between DOD clandestine operations and CIA
intelligence-gathering operations.17

Endnotes

14 Transcripts, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Subject: National Security Threats to the United States, Federal New Service, Feb. 16, 2005, p. 29.

15 John J. Lumpkin, “Rumsfeld, Goss Oppose DOD Assumption of CIA Paramilitary Covert Operations,” Army Times, June 29, 2005.

16 Douglas Jehl, “White House is Said to Reject Panel’s Call for a Greater Pentagon Role in Covert Operations,” New York Times, June 28, 2005.

17 See CRS Report RL33715, Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions, by Alfred Cumming; also, U.S. Congress, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, to accompany H.R. 2701, 111th Cong., 1st sess., June 26, 2009, H.Rept. 111-186 (Washington: GPO, 2009), pp. 48-49.

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