The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
(PFIAB) is an advisor to the Executive Office of the President of the United States
. According to its self-description, it "...provides advice to the President concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities." It goes on to say "The role of the board: [is] Unique within the government, the PFIAB traditionally has been tasked with providing the President with an independent source of advice on the effectiveness with which the intelligence community is meeting the nation's intelligence needs and the vigor and insight with which the community plans for the future."
The PFIAB, through its Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB), also advises the President on the legality of foreign intelligence activities.
The PFIAB was created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower
. Most of the board's work is secret, but one very public investigation involved the loss of U.S. nuclear secrets to China
from the Los Alamos National Laboratory
during the 1990s.
Intelligence Oversight Board
President Gerald Ford created the IOB following a 1975-76 investigation by Congress into domestic spying, assassination operations, and other abuses by intelligence agencies. His executive order doing so went into effect on March 1, 1976. In 1993, the IOB became a committee of the PFIAB, under Executive Order #12863
One of the IOB's functions is to examine violations of the laws and directives governing clandestine surveillance. Thirteen cases involving FBI actions between 2002 to 2004 were referred to the IOB for its review.
In an executive order issued on February 29, 2008, President George W. Bush terminated the IOB's authority to oversee the general counsel and inspector general of each U.S. intelligence agency, and erased the requirement that each inspector general file a report with the IOB every three months. The order also removed the IOB's authority to refer a matter to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, and directed the IOB to notify the president of a problem only if other officials are not already "adequately" addressing that problem.
The PFIAB currently has 16 members selected from among distinguished citizens outside the government who are qualified "on the basis of achievement, experience, independence, and integrity." The members are not paid.
PFIAB membership is generally considered public information; for example, the Clinton Administration posted the names of the members on a PFIAB web page. In August 2002, Randy Deitering, the executive director of PFIAB, confirmed that current membership of the board was the same as the list released by the White House press office in October 2001:
- Brent Scowcroft, the chair
- Pete Wilson, a former governor of California
- Cresencio Arcos, an AT&T executive and former US ambassador
- Jim Barksdale, former head of the internet company Netscape
- Robert Addison Day, chairman of the TWC Group, a money management firm
- Stephen Friedman, past chairman of Goldman Sachs
- Alfred Lerner, chief executive of MBNA
- Ray Lee Hunt, scion of the Texas oil fortune
- Rita Hauser, a prominent lawyer
- David Jeremiah, a retired admiral
- Arnold Kanter, a national security official in the George H.W. Bush administration and a founding member of the Scowcroft Group
- James Calhoun Langdon, Jr., a power-lawyer in Texas
- Elisabeth Pate-Cornell, Chair of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University
- John Harrison Streicker, a real estate magnate
- Philip Zelikow, a National Security Council staffer during the George H.W. Bush administration
PFIAB chairpersons have been: