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NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Dated: (April- June 1993) Pages: 87-97
C G Cogan
Date Published
11 pages
The Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) of 1991 officially identifies covert action as an activity of the U.S. Government and addresses certain loopholes that were revealed by Iran-Contra (timely notification of Congress, involvement of third parties, and involvement of other government agencies).
The IAA defines covert action to include activities conducted by the U.S. Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad in a way that does not publicly acknowledge the U.S. role. The IAA also stipulates that covert action can be undertaken by an agency other than the Central Intelligence Agency. A product of the Cold War, covert action became subject to congressional oversight with the passage of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment in 1974. The Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980 spelled out the obligations of the Director of Central Intelligence. This Act was incorporated in the National Security Act of 1947, and the Hughes-Ryan Amendment maintained a loose relationship with the 1980 act. The IAA of 1991 sought to combine the various legislative acts into a new amendment to the original National Security Act and to close loopholes in covert action that were revealed by Iran-Contra. These loopholes are discussed, as well as other issues that concern intelligence sharing or liaison, the ban on assassination, accountability, and policy guidance for covert action.