Hughes–Ryan Act

Hughes–Ryan Act

The Hughes-Ryan Act is a 1974 United States federal law that amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The Act was named for its co-authors, Senator Harold E. Hughes (D-Iowa) and Representative Leo Ryan (D-CA). The Act required the President of the United States to report all covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency to one or more Congressional committees within a set time limit.

This amendment addressed the question of CIA and Defense Department covert actions, and prohibited the use of appropriated funds for their conduct unless and until the President issues an official "Finding" that each such operation is important to the national security and submits these Findings to the appropriate Congressional committees – a total of six committees, at the time, growing to eight committees after the House and Senate "select committees" on intelligence were established.

The legislation was meant to ensure that the intelligence oversight committees within Congress were told of CIA actions within a reasonable time limit. Senator Hughes, in introducing the legislation in 1973, also saw it as a means of limiting major covert operations by military, intelligence, and national security agents conducted without the full knowledge of the president.

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Hughes–Ryan Act - History
... response was enactment in 1974 of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 ... The passage of the act posed four fundamental implications for executive power as it relates to covert action ... First, the Act established ultimate accountability of the President for all covert action conducted by the CIA ...

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