Congress enacts statutes (laws), called "Acts," which are the basis of the United States' Intelligence Community (IC's) authority and responsibility. These statutes are our touch stones as intelligence professionals. The United States IC, as we know it today, was a result of the post-World War II reorganization of government to maintain a focus on national security and foreign policy matters.
Congress provides authority to each of the Intelligence Community organizations in different "authorization" Acts.
In addition, federal statutes often establish the organizational structure of an organization or office:
Major events often shake the American public's trust of the Intelligence Community. When this happens, Congress may open special investigations or change the law:
When reviewing specific statutes on intelligence, students should determine whether the documents they are reading are original or amended. For example, this link is inclusive of the changes made to the National Security Act of 1947, as amended through PL 115-232, enacted August 13, 2018.