Thursday, April 26, 2018

Covert Action and Clandestine Activities of the Intelligence Community: Selected Definitions in Brief

"While not defined by statute, DOD doctrine describes clandestine activities as “operations sponsored or conducted by governmental departments in such a way as to assure secrecy or concealment” that may include relatively passive intelligence collection information gathering operations. Unlike covert action, clandestine activities do not require a presidential finding but may require notification of Congress. This definition differentiates clandestine from covert, using clandestine to signify the tactical concealment of the activity. By comparison, covert operations are “planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.”

Since the 1970s, Congress has established and continued to refine oversight procedures in reaction to instances where it had not been given prior notice of intelligence activities— particularly covert action—that had significant bearing on United States national security. Congress, for example, had no foreknowledge of the CIA’s orchestration of the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran’s only democratically elected government, or of the U-2 surveillance flights over the Soviet Union that ended with the Soviet shoot-down of Francis Gary Powers in 1960. Eventually, media disclosures of the CIA’s domestic surveillance of the anti-Vietnam War movement and awareness of the agency’s covert war in Laos resulted in Congress taking action. In 1974, Congress began its investigation into the scope of past intelligence community activities that provided the basis for statutory provisions for intelligence oversight going forward..."
Covert action and intellgence community

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