Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Intelligence Estimates: How Useful to Congress?
National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are often of considerable interest to many Members of Congress. NIEs address issues of major national security importance which may require congressional action. However, NIEs have occasionally proved unreliable because they were based on insufficient evidence or contained faulty analysis. This report explores this issue and discusses the NIE process and its relevance to congressional policymaking.
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse of the Legal Background and Recent Amendments
This report discusses the National Security Letters (NSLs), which seek customer and consumer transaction information in national security investigations from communications providers, financial institutions, and credit agencies.
Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization
This report discusses the history of constitutional interpretations and legislative responses relevant to the collection of private information for criminal investigation, foreign intelligence gathering, and national security purposes.
Intelligence Authorization Legislation: Status and Challenges
This report assesses the effects of the absence of intelligence authorization legislation since FY2005. Since FY2005, no annual intelligence authorization bill has been enacted. Although the National Security Act requires intelligence activities to be specifically authorized, this requirement has been satisfied in recent years by one-sentence catch-all provisions in defense appropriations acts authorizing intelligence activities.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general.
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information
This report examines the role of Congress as a consumer of national intelligence and examines several issues that Congress might address during the second session of the 111th Congress.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report gives an overview of current intelligence issues of interest to the 112th Congress. It includes background and analysis including most recent development, ongoing Congressional concerns, specific issues for the 112th Congress, and a summary of related legislation from the 109th through the 112th Congresses.
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Acquisition: Issues for Congress
This report discusses Congressional issues regarding Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, which are integral components of both national policymaking and military operations, including counterterrorism operations. ISR systems are costly and complicated, and the relationships among organizations responsible for designing and operating these systems are equally complicated.
Intelligence Reform After Five Years: The Role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)
This report discusses the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458) that was the most significant legislation affecting the U.S. intelligence community since the National Security Act of 1947.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general.
Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress
This report describes the statutory provision authorizing Gang of Eight notifications, reviews the legislative history of the provision, and examines the impact of such notifications on congressional oversight.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report gives an overview of current intelligence issues of interest to the 112th Congress. It includes background and analysis including most recent development, ongoing Congressional concerns, specific issues for the 112th Congress, and a summary of related legislation from the 109th through the 112th Congresses.
"Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications
This report reviews the history of the Gang of Four intelligence notification process and compares this procedure with that of the "Gang of Eight" notification procedure.
Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives
This report describes the current select committees on intelligence; characteristics and a model for a possible joint committee; recent actions by Congress; and obstacles affecting legislative oversight in the field.
The Department of Homeland Security Intelligence Enterprise: Operational Overview and Oversight Challenges for Congress
This report provides an overview of the DHS IE both at headquarters and within the components. It examines how DHS IE is organized and supports key departmental activities to include homeland security analysis and threat warning; border security; critical infrastructure protection; support to, and the sharing of information with, state, local, tribal, and private sector partners. It also discusses several oversight challenges and options for Congress to consider on these issues.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
To address the challenges facing the U.S. intelligence community in the 21st century, congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. This report discusses these challenges and efforts the current and previous Administrations and Congresses have taken and are taking to address them. The report includes criticism of the intelligence community's efforts regarding Iraq, Iran, and other areas. Improved analysis remains a key goal in these discussions.
Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information
The recent online publication of classified defense documents by the organization Wikileaks and subsequent reporting by the New York Times and other news media have focused attention on whether such publication violates U.S. criminal law. This report discusses the statutory prohibitions that may be implicated, including the Espionage Act; the extraterritorial application of such statutes; and the First Amendment implications related to such prosecutions against domestic or foreign media organizations and associated individuals.
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions
This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS's) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
This report provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, including the findings of an Independent Study Group (ISG) with respect to the increased sharing of satellite intelligence data.
Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives
This report describes the Select Committees on Intelligence and then the former Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, often cited as a model for a counterpart on intelligence. The study also sets forth proposed characteristics for a joint committee on intelligence, differences among these, and their pros and cons.
Government Access to Phone Calling Activity and Related Records: Legal Authorities
This report summarizes legal authorities regarding access by the government, for either foreign intelligence or law enforcement purposes, to information related to telephone calling patterns or practices. Where pertinent, it also discusses statutory prohibitions against accessing or disclosing such information, along with relevant exceptions to those prohibitions.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general.
Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information
The recent online publication of classified defense documents by the organization WikiLeaks and subsequent reporting by the New York Times and other news media have focused attention on whether such publication violates U.S. criminal law. The Justice Department and Department of Defense are investigating the circumstances to determine whether any prosecutions will be undertaken in connection with the disclosure. This report identifies some criminal statutes that may apply and also discusses the statutory prohibitions that may be implicated, such as the Espionage Act.
Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information
The recent online publication of classified defense documents by the organization WikiLeaks and subsequent reporting by the New York Times and other news media have focused attention on whether such publication violates U.S. criminal law. The Justice Department and Department of Defense are investigating the circumstances to determine whether any prosecutions will be undertaken in connection with the disclosure. This report identifies some criminal statutes that may apply and also discusses the statutory prohibitions that may be implicated, such as the Espionage Act.
Securing America's Borders: The Role of the Intelligence Community
Maintaining the security of U.S. borders is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government. This report discusses the contribution of intelligence agencies to the border security efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies that work in cooperation with state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Much of the intelligence community's border security-related efforts are classified, however.