Review of Proposed Omnibus Intelligence Community Reorganization and Reform Act of 1977 and Federal Intelligence Agencies Control Act of 1977

ID-77-48: Published: Aug 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 1977.

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The proposed Omnibus Intelligence Community Reorganization and Reform Act of 1977 (H.R. 4173) and the proposed Federal Intelligence Agencies Control Act of 1977 (H.R. 6051) would provide safeguards against the abuse of individual rights by Federal investigating agencies. The proposed laws attempt to assure that intelligence activities will not be inconsistent with openly stated foreign policy or defense objectives and will be in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Two matters appear to need careful attention. The basic effect of H.R. 4173 in suggesting that domestic intelligence and criminal investigation are both investigative functions and therefore essentially similar needs to be considered. The equation of criminal investigations, which are generally initiated after the fact and aimed solely at developing specific prosecutive evidence, with intelligence investigations is not proper. Additional study and debate is warranted to avoid placing on criminal investigations the restrictions intended to correct abuses in the domestic intelligence area. The inference in both bills that all covert intelligence collection techniques are contrary to the best interests of the American people and that valid and adequate foreign intelligence information can be obtained and foreign intelligence activities conducted with little or no use of these techniques also may not be reasonable.

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