Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, United States

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, United States

Established in the wake of congressional investigations regarding activities of United States intelligence services in the 1970s, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is, along with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the principal means by which Congress oversees the intelligence community. In addition to reviewing, studying, and reporting on intelligence activities and programs, the SSCI is responsible for submitting to the Senate appropriate proposals for legislation.

The SSCI was created by Senate Resolution 400 in 1976, the same year that the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Frank Church (D-ID), completed its investigations of U.S. intelligence activities. Whereas the relationship of the Church Committee to the intelligence community was largely adversarial, the SSCI has developed as an entity that, while maintaining scrutiny of intelligence activities, also makes recommendations to increase the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence.

Each year, the SSCI undertakes a review of the intelligence budget submitted by the president, and prepares legislation authorizing appropriations for civilian and military agencies within the intelligence community. The SSCI also makes recommendations to the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding authorizations for intelligence activities of the military services.

During the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, areas of focus for the SSCI included modernization of the U.S. signals intelligence system and improving the implementation of intelligence obtained from satellites and other collection platforms. Particular areas of concern under the administration of President William J. Clinton included satellite and missile technology transfers to the People's Republic of China and Chinese efforts to influence U.S. policy.



Legislative Oversight of Intelligence Activities: The U.S. Experience: A Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994.

Smist, Frank John. Congress Oversees the United States Intelligence Community, 1947–1994. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994.

Wittkopf, Eugene R., and James M. McCormick. The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littefield Publishers, 1999.


Intelligence Laws and Regulations. Federation of American Scientists. < > (March 26, 2003).

Intelligence Oversight. < > (March 26,2003).

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. < > (April 2, 2003).


Bush Administration (2001–), United States National Security Policy
Church Committee
CIA, Legal Restriction
Clinton Administration (1993–2001), United States National Security Policy
Intelligence Authorization Acts, United States Congress
Intelligence, United States Congressional Oversight

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