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Archive of posts filed under the Intelligence Oversight category.

SSCI’s Approach to Releasing its Classified Report Weakens the Senate’s Prerogatives

Section 8(a) of S. Res. 400 provides that SSCI “may, subject to the provisions of this section, disclose publicly any information in the possession of such committee after a determination by such committee that the public interest would be served by such disclosure.” Chairman Feinstein clearly wants to publicly release SSCI’s report on the CIA [...]

A Closer Look at the Senate’s Procedures for Releasing Classified Information under S. Res. 400

As discussed in my last post, there is (or should be) no serious controversy regarding the Senate’s authority to release classified information unilaterally pursuant to Section 8 of S. Res. 400. Yet the full Senate has apparently never taken a vote to release information under Section 8, perhaps in part because of that section’s elaborate [...]

Does the Obama Administration Challenge the Senate’s Authority to Release Classified Information under S. Res. 400?

On Friday, August 1, the executive branch returned to SSCI the redacted executive summary of the committee’s study on the CIA detention and interrogation program. Chairman Feinstein announced that there had been “significant redactions” made and that the public release of the report would be held until the committee had time to “understand the basis [...]

Is SSCI Following the Senate Rules?

According to a press release from Chairman Feinstein yesterday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has “voted to declassify the 480-page executive summary as well as 20 findings and conclusions of the majority’s five-year study of the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program, which involved more than 100 detainees.” But, wait, SSCI can’t “declassify” anything. Classification [...]

Chris Donesa on the SSCI/CIA Dispute

Chris Donesa, former chief counsel to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, provides this thoughtful and balanced analysis at Lawfare of Senator Feinstein’s charges against the CIA, raising three questions about the dispute. Of particular interest is Donesa’s third question, which relates to why SSCI itself apparently violated its agreement with the CIA by [...]

But Other Than That, the CIA Has Been Very Cooperative With SSCI’s Investigation

Senator Feinstein’s bill of particulars against the CIA, set forth in her speech this morning: Between 2002 and 2006, the CIA failed to brief the Members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, other than the Chairman and Vice Chairman, regarding its detention and interrogation program. In 2007 the CIA destroyed videotapes, over the objections [...]

Congressional Release of Classified Information and the Disciplinary Power

In reference to my last post, it has been suggested by one of the more faithful commenters at Balkinization, Shag from Brookline, that the Speech or Debate Clause might bar a house of Congress from taking disciplinary action against a member who unilaterally releases classified information without authorization. Shag asks: “Can action by Congress trump the [...]

Congressional Release of Classified Information and the Speech or Debate Clause

At Foreign Policy, Professor Bruce Ackerman asks “should members of Congress use their special constitutional powers of free speech to force the facts about the [NSA surveillance program] out into the open?” Ackerman notes that under the Speech or Debate Clause, members of Congress “cannot be prosecuted for reading classified material into the public record– [...]

The Senate’s Legal Basis for Muzzling Former Staffers

According to this story, Vicki Divoll, former counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has been barred by SSCI from discussing in the media (specifically Talking Points Memo) certain non-classified information relating to the committee’s oversight of intelligence programs. Divoll gave an interview to TPM regarding the congressional role in intelligence oversight and submitted [...]

Laufman on Leaks

Pertinent to my last post, white collar defense attorney (and my former Hill colleague) David Laufman has published this article for the Huffington Post on “Prosecuting Leaks of Classified Information.” It provides an excellent overview of the laws governing national security leaks, and the challenges and risks involved in prosecuting leakers. Tweet