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Book Sections Year : 2023

From Radical Contention to Deference: A Sociogenesis of Intelligence Oversight in the United States (1967-1981)

Abstract

By looking at the seminal case of the United States, this chapter frames intelligence oversight mechanisms as a way of governing anti-surveillance advocacy. Using various archival sources including declassified memos, it proceeds in three steps to outline a now traditional script in the unfolding and management of intelligence scandals and associated reforms – a script that has since seen many iterations, both in the U.S. and in other countries. First, it shows how, from the mid-1960s on, the field of intelligence expanded the political espionage of the New Left by resorting to controversial and illegal methods as well as new technologies. Second, it turns to a series of surveillance scandals unleashed over that period, showing how radical denunciations of intelligence and digital surveillance gained traction across multiple fields, thus reducing the autonomy of intelligence agencies. Third, it examines how, after the congressional inquiries launched in 1975, ensuing reforms ended up protecting the intelligence field from its most effective critiques while depoliticising oversight by confining it to technical issues.
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Dates and versions

hal-03952830 , version 1 (06-06-2023)
hal-03952830 , version 2 (27-06-2023)
hal-03952830 , version 3 (21-11-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03952830 , version 1

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Félix Tréguer. From Radical Contention to Deference: A Sociogenesis of Intelligence Oversight in the United States (1967-1981). Didier Bigo, Emma McCluskey, and Félix Tréguer (eds.). Intelligence Oversight in Times of Transnational Impunity: Who Will Watch the Watchers?, Routledge, In press. ⟨hal-03952830v1⟩
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