Crossing the Rubicon: Investigating Congressional Oversight of the Intelligence Community
MetadataShow full item record
There is a common narrative among researchers and experts that congressional bipartisanship among intelligence overseers is decreasing and effectiveness is increasingly degraded. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has historically demonstrated strong bipartisanship as a result of its organization and leaders. Changing trends among committee membership and voting since the committee’s inception suggests the environment is shifting. There is evidence of modest increases in partisan membership and increasingly divided “yea” votes by committee members on significant national security legislation. However, examining open hearing dialogue suggests its necessary to maintain a more nuanced perspective of oversight partisanship and effectiveness. In the cyber domain, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence demonstrates strong public advocacy and actively addresses constitutional adherence by the Intelligence Community. The committee does not however, effectively provide the Intelligence Community important strategic guidance. Despite shortfalls, public perceptions of intelligence oversight are generally positive. Public opinion among informed respondent’s supports “hands-on” intelligence oversight with an understanding of the secrecy required by intelligence overseers. Respondents recognize the negative effects of partisanship and reinforce the significance of existing oversight institutions. There is support for some changes in intelligence oversight to improve effectiveness, but no indication respondents believe the system is in need of major change. Crossing the Rubicon explores each of these important intelligence oversight issues with objective and methodical analysis. The research provides academics and legislators unique data regarding a critical government function. Intelligence oversight has a responsibility to ensure American ideals are protected and the Intelligence Community operates effectively within prescribed boundaries.