IT IS TIME TO STRENGTHEN CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OF THE CIA -- H.R. -- (Extension of Remarks - May 17, 1991)
HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR.
in the House of Representatives
FRIDAY, MAY 17, 1991
- Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing a bill amending the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 to require that the President obtain the advice and consent of the Senate in appointing six senior officials of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- The purpose of this bill is to strengthen congressional oversight of the CIA by requiring these key decisionmakers to undergo the same confirmation process that is used with comparable levels in other executive branch departments and agencies. My bill would extend congressional scrutiny to include these critical appointments, and thus help reinforce public accountability by the CIA.
- As an independent and coequal branch of Government, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to oversee the operations of the executive branch--even those of its most secret agency.
- On too many occasions the CIA has operated outside the normal checks and balances in our constitutional system. In my view, requiring the President to secure the advice and consent of the Senate in appointing these officials is a long overdue step toward assuring the proper balance between the two branches.
- Six senior positions in the Central Intelligence Agency, comparable to Assistant Secretaries in other exective departments, are included in these amendments:
- First, the Deputy Director for Operations;
- Second, the Deputy Director for Intelligence;
- Third, the Deputy Director for Science and Technology;
- Fourth, the Deputy Director for Administration;
- Fifth, the Deputy Director for Planning and Coordination; and
- Sixth, the General Counsel.
- These senior CIA officials play critical roles in setting the policy and conducting the operations of that Agency. The public interest demands that the architects of those secret activities be fully accountable to the American people, and I am confident that including them in the confirmation process is one way of enhancing accountability.
- The text of my bill follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 (50 U.S.C. 403a et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
`SEC. 20. APPOINTMENT OF CERTAIN OFFICIALS BY THE PRESIDENT.
`(a) Presidential Appointments.--The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, the following officers of the United States who shall serve within the Central Intelligence Agency:
`(1) The Deputy Director for Operations.
`(2) The Deputy Director for Intelligence.
`(3) The Deputy Director for Science and Technology.
`(4) The Deputy Director for Administration.
`(5) The Deputy Director for Planning and Coordination.
`(6) The General Counsel.
`(b) Qualifications for Appointment.--Appointments under subsection (a) shall be made without regard to political affiliation and shall be limited to persons with substantial prior experience and demonstrated ability in the field of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence or, in the case of the General Counsel, to persons either with substantial prior experience and demonstrated ability in the field of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence or in a related area of the law.
`(c) Basis for Removal.--Notwithstanding section 102(c) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 403(c)), any individual appointed pursuant to this section shall serve at the pleasure of the President and may be removed from office only by the President.'.