A senior intelligence official conceded Tuesday that the intelligence community has failed to fully inform Congress about some of its spying activities.
Congress is probing what some Democratic lawmakers argue are failures by the Bush administration's intelligence services to inform Congress what they’re doing.
Robert Litt is chief counsel for the Director of National Intelligence. He testified before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that the spies didn't tell Congress about a small number of operations. But Litt says the intelligence services have now corrected those omissions and is now informing Congress of its espionage.
Over the summer, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) asked all intelligence services to study and improve the systems they used to tell Congress about what they're doing.
The ODNI says there were a some minor instances where they found Congress wasn't properly acquainted with various actions. Lawmakers were later brought up to speed.
The law requires the intelligence services to brief Congress about certain types of missions it undertakes.
“We have an obligation to get you the information that you need to provide oversight. And the scope of what we provide you needs to be adequate to permit you to provide oversight of the intelligence community,” Litt said.
Litt did not discuss what sorts of activities the intelligence services failed to disclose to lawmakers or which agencies were not thorough in briefing Congress.
“I think that when some of the agencies went back and looked at their records, they found a couple of matters where they had determined not to brief. And they relooked at it and decided probably ought to be briefed,” Litt said. “But those were a few isolated instances.”
The House Intelligence Committee launched a probe of the intelligence community over the summer after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) exclaimed at a contentious May press conference that the CIA "lied" to her about using advanced interrogation techniques on detainees.
Democrats on the House Intelligence panel say there as many as five episodes where Congress was kept in the dark. CIA Director Leon Panetta told the committee in June that it failed to alert Congress about operations targeting al Qaeda.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano told FOX that “it is the policy of the Central Intelligence Agency to be clear and candid with the United States Congress. Director Panetta has made a relationship of trust, confidence, and respect a top priority."
Some Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, including ranking member Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), argue that the House inquiry is politically motivated and is an effort to shield Pelosi from criticism after her allegation that the CIA failed to tell her the truth.