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Executive Oversight of Intelligence

National Security Council

The National Security Council (NSC) was established by the National Security Act of 1947 to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security. The NSC is the highest Executive Branch entity providing review of, guidance for, and direction to the conduct of all national foreign intelligence and counterintelligence activities. The statutory members of the NSC are the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense. The Director of Central Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff participate as advisors.

President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) is maintained within the Executive Office of the President. Its sixteen members serve at the discretion of the President and are appointed from among trustworthy and distinguished citizens outside of government on the basis of achievement, experience, and integrity. They serve without compensation. The Board continually reviews the performance of all government agencies engaged in the collection, evaluation, or production of intelligence or in the execution of intelligence policy. It also assesses the adequacy of management, personnel, and organization in intelligence agencies and advises the President concerning the objectives, conduct, and coordination of the activities of these agencies. The Advisory Board is specifically charged to make appropriate recommendations for actions to improve and enhance the performance of the intelligence efforts of the United States.

Intelligence Oversight Board

The President's Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) was established by President Gerald Ford in 1976 as a White House entity with oversight responsibility for the legality and propriety of intelligence activities. The Board, which reports to the President, is charged primarily with preparing reports "of intelligence activities that the IOB believes may be unlawful or contrary to Executive order or Presidential directive." The Board may also refer such reports to the Attorney General. This standard assists the President in ensuring that highly sensitive intelligence activities comply with law and Presidential directive. In 1993, the IOB was made a standing committee of the PFIAB.