Benjamin S. Mishkin


Filling the Oversight Gap: The Case for Local Intelligence Oversight

Benjamin S. Mishkin

Since the September 11th attacks, local law enforcement agencies in major metropolitan areas have become increasingly involved in counterterrorism and intelligence activities. Unfortunately, this development has not yet spurred a comparable increase in intelligence oversight. Indeed, at the local level, intelligence activities are conducted largely in a “formal governance vacuum.” This situation is unsustainable. Local formal oversight mechanisms are desperately needed. Whether local actors are actually up to the intelligence oversight task is another question. And it is a question that has yet to be answered in a satisfactory manner. Skeptics have written off local overseers with little explanation, while advocates of local intelligence oversight have endorsed local overseers without apparent consideration of their viability. This Note seeks to provide a comprehensive answer. Drawing upon lessons from oversight of the federal intelligence community, this Note demonstrates that the federal intelligence oversight apparatus is a workable model for the local context.