Melinda Haas, “Origins of Oversight: Covert Action Amendments to the National Security Act of 1947,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence (2022),

The National Security Act of 1947 enabled the CIA to “to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” Although intended to establish the Central Intelligence Agency’s control over the collection of clandestine foreign intelligence, this language was vague enough to authorize other covert operations (psychological, political, and paramilitary) at the direction of the NSC. Attempts at covert action oversight gained traction only after the exposure of unacknowledged CIA activities. The term “covert action” was not defined in legislation until the 1990s. This article categorizes congressional attempts to establish the parameters and regulate covert action both in terms of prohibiting or enabling such action and of enacting substantive or procedural rules. The success of such attempts has depended heavily on the extent of bipartisan support in Congress. Congress is more likely to choose substantive laws when faced with recent intelligence scandals, and Congress is less likely to create prohibitive laws as bipartisan support increases. These trends are supported by the legislative history of the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.

Melinda Haas and Keren Yarhi-Milo, “To Disclose or Deceive? Sharing Secret Information between Aligned States,” International Security, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Winter 2020/21), pp. 122–161, Appendix:

Why do aligned states sometimes disclose secret information about their military plans to use force, while other times they choose to deceive their partners? The state initiating these plans may choose among four information-sharing strategies: collusion, compartmentalization, concealment, and lying. Three main considerations shape these decisions: the state’s assessment of whether it needs its partner’s capabilities to succeed at the military mission, the state’s perception of whether the partner will be willing to support the state in the requested role, and the state’s anticipated deception costs for not fully informing its partner state. Four cases illustrate how these strategies are chosen: Israel, Britain, and France’s decision to use force against Egypt during the Suez Crisis (collusion between France and Israel, and concealment vis-à-vis the United States), Israel’s 2007 bombing of Syria’s al Kibar reactor (compartmentalization), and Israel’s deliberations whether to attack Iran’s nuclear reactor (lying). These strategies have implications for intra-alliance restraint and contribute to understanding deception and secrecy between allies.


“States Sharing Secrets: To Collude, Compartmentalize, Deceive, or Lie?” Bunker’s Cable Podcast, Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, University of Pittsburgh (June 2, 2022),

Participant on GSPIA Faculty Panel on Ukraine (March 2022),

Michael Poznansky and Mindy Haas, “As US-China Competition Grows, Will Covert Regime Change Make a Return?” The Diplomat (2020),