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Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community, by Amy B. Zegart

Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community, by Amy B. Zegart

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Published by Hoover Institution

Ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of America's intelligence system is not the CIA or FBI but the US Congress. In Eyes on Spies, Amy Zegart examines the weaknesses of U.S. intelligence oversight and why those deficiencies have persisted, despite the unprecedented importance of intelligence in today's environment. She argues that many of the biggest oversight problems lie with Congress—the institution, not the parties or personalities—showing how Congress has collectively and persistently tied its own hands in overseeing intelligence. Supporting sound logic with extensive data, the author offers a comparative analysis of oversight activities of intelligence with other policy areas to show that Congress is not overseeing nearly as much in intelligence as in other policy domains. Electoral incentives, she reveals, explain why. Zegart also identifies two key institutional weaknesses: one, the rules, procedures, and practices that have hindered the development of legislative expertise in intelligence and, two, committee jurisdictions and policies that have fragmented Congress's budgetary power over executive branch intelligence agencies. She concludes that, unfortunately, electoral incentives on the outside and the zero-sum nature of committee power on the inside provide powerful reasons for Congress to continue hobbling its own oversight capabilities. Amy Zegart is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an affiliated faculty member at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. She has been featured in the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform.

Ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of America's intelligence system is not the CIA or FBI but the US Congress. In Eyes on Spies, Amy Zegart examines the weaknesses of U.S. intelligence oversight and why those deficiencies have persisted, despite the unprecedented importance of intelligence in today's environment. She argues that many of the biggest oversight problems lie with Congress—the institution, not the parties or personalities—showing how Congress has collectively and persistently tied its own hands in overseeing intelligence. Supporting sound logic with extensive data, the author offers a comparative analysis of oversight activities of intelligence with other policy areas to show that Congress is not overseeing nearly as much in intelligence as in other policy domains. Electoral incentives, she reveals, explain why. Zegart also identifies two key institutional weaknesses: one, the rules, procedures, and practices that have hindered the development of legislative expertise in intelligence and, two, committee jurisdictions and policies that have fragmented Congress's budgetary power over executive branch intelligence agencies. She concludes that, unfortunately, electoral incentives on the outside and the zero-sum nature of committee power on the inside provide powerful reasons for Congress to continue hobbling its own oversight capabilities. Amy Zegart is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an affiliated faculty member at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. She has been featured in the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform.

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Publish date: Sep 8, 2011
Added to Scribd: Aug 29, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780817912840
List Price: $9.99

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04/06/2014

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9780817912840

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Hoover Institution added this note
Author Amy Zegart asks us to "Focus on the Officer, Not the Media" - Petraeus’s successor must win inside first, reassuring the C.I.A.’s clandestine service and analysts that he understands the importance of their mission and will fight for them to do it well." - http://nyti.ms/Vh0n3F.
Ariana Popa liked this
Hoover Institution added this note
Political Science Quarter discusses "Eyes on Spies" in their Fall issue - "...beautifully written and finely crafted... what is unique about Zegart's work is that she notes that weak congressional oversight is unaffected by partisanship, single-party control of Congress and the executive branch, and the culture of secrecy that pervades issues related to intelligence."
Hoover Institution added this note
Choice Magazine's current issue reviews "Eyes on Spies"- "An excellent book on oversight in general, and why Congress finds it difficult to control the intelligence agencies... This is a short and very readable account... Zegart summarizes the theoretical explanations of oversight and compares the composition, legislative productivity, number of hearings and staffing with other policy committees."
Lily Lepage liked this
Hoover Institution added this note
"Resilience sounds good, but don’t be fooled: Not all resilience is beneficial. In national security agencies, it is usually just a fancy word for dysfunction." Read author Amy Zegart's piece in Slate on our national security and “the black hole of 'the way things are done around here'.” - http://slate.me/yinEOj.
Alaa Essa liked this

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