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Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans: Book II: Final Report of the Select Committee . . . : United States Senate . . . , April 26, 1976

The Church Committee conducted a wide-ranging investigation into foreign and domestic intelligence activities, including controversial programs to assassinate foreign leaders. The committee’s carefully researched multivolume report documented foreign and domestic intelligence abuses. It concluded that “properly controlled and lawful intelligence is vital to the nation’s interest,” but also strongly recommended greater oversight of the intelligence agencies.

Law Library of Congress, Library of Congress

Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans: Book II: Final Report of the Select Committee . . . : United States Senate . . . , April 26, 1976

Foreign and Domestic Spying

Allegations of domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) surfaced in the 1970s, triggering public demand for an investigation of federal surveillance operations. In 1975 the Senate established the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, headed by Senator Frank Church of Idaho. The Church Committee’s reports exposed abuses and led to legislation governing domestic and foreign surveillance—most notably, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. House and Senate permanent select committees established at that time now oversee U.S. intelligence.

The critical question before the committee was to determine how the fundamental liberties of the people can be maintained in the course of the Government’s effort to protect their security.

Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans . . . United States Senate . . . , Final Report, April 26, 1976