Lawmakers assigned to oversee the sprawling U.S. intelligence apparatus rely strongly on a staff that in recent years has included scores of onetime spooks, analysts and lawyers who previously worked at the spy agencies under scrutiny.
According to a comprehensive analysis by McClatchy, at least one-third, and perhaps far more, of the professional staff members who carry out the work of the House and Senate intelligence committees are themselves veterans of the agencies that the two panels oversee.
That reliance raises questions about how effectively the two oversight committees carry out supervision of a swelling intelligence empire that now employs some 107,000 people with a combined budget projected to reach $78.4 billion next year.
Some national security experts see little problem as long as the spy agencies thwart any repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks – and so far, the agencies have succeeded. Their triumphs are secret, and largely unheralded. (Read more from “Intelligence Committees Heavily Rely on Former Spies” HERE)