Congress and Intelligence Policy

Through much of our country’s history, Congress was largely deferential to the executive branch in the conduct of intelligence policy, and hesitant to conduct meaningful oversight of intelligence operations. That all changed in the 1970s with the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House, and the establishment of permanent select intelligence committees in both chambers. Further reforms have been enacted over the years, particularly in 2004. Nonetheless, there are still significant challenges in the relationship between the branches in the area of intelligence policy. This course will examine congressional efforts to assert its constitutional authority in intelligence policy making, including oversight, without compromising the ability of the intelligence community to carry out its responsibilities in an effective manner.

Specific topics may include:

  • The history of congressional oversight of intelligence
  • The committees involved in intelligence policy and oversight
  • Jurisdictional issues in Congress on intelligence matters
  • The recent reorganization of the intelligence function
  • Intelligence reporting requirements

Research Seminars meet approximately four times for two hours, over the course of 12 weeks. The first meeting date is published, with the others determined at the first class.

Download the Certificate Program Application (PDF) and review the Application Procedures.



March 25, 2020 (first class meeting)

Tuition: $1,250

Next Course: March 25, 2020