Gerald R. Ford - Intelligence reform

All of this further played into the hands of those eager to check runaway intelligence operations. The Senate's Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, led by Frank Church of Idaho, published its report in April 1976 with details about assassination attempts against foreign leaders that went back into the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Another study was undertaken by Representative Otis Pike, a New York Republican. The climate for imposing some restraint was established. "Once these two committees began their investigations," Nessen has written, "Ford found himself spending long hours trying to settle disputes among Congress, Kissinger, the National Security Council, the CIA and other agencies over access to classified documents and procedures for handling them. There were no orderly and uniform rules for responding to congressional demands for documents." There was also little reason left for the optimism that had hailed the incoming Ford presidency.

Ford first presented his intelligence reorganization package at a press conference on 17 February 1976. His recommendations failed either to ban covert intelligence operations overseas or to define what would be regarded as improper domestic activities. Inevitably, then, the publication of Church's recommendations led to the establishment of the permanent Senate Committee on Intelligence, with legislative and budgetary authority over the CIA and other federal intelligence activities.

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