Last updated on: 5/30/2008 8:55:00 AM PST
Which classified intelligence information products are routinely shared with Congress and which ones are not?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Alfred Cumming, Specialist in Intelligence and National Security for the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the Congressional Researcher Service, wrote the following in a Dec. 14, 2005 Memorandum to Senator Dianne Feinstien (D-CA) on the subject of "Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information" :

"Classified Intelligence Products Which Generally Are Routinely Shared With Congress

[From the National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs)]
National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) express the coordinated judgments of the Intelligence Community, and thus represent the most authoritative assessment of the DNI with respect to a particular national security issue. NIEs are considered to be 'estimative' intelligence products, in that they present what intelligence analysts estimate (not predict) may be the course of future events. Coordination of NIEs involves not only trying to resolve any interagency differences, but also assigning confidence levels to the key judgments and rigorously evaluating the sourcing for them. Each NIE is reviewed and approved for dissemination by the National Intelligence Board (NIB), which is comprised of the DNI and other senior Intelligence Community leaders within the Intelligence Community.

Intelligence Community Assessments (ICAs) are research papers 20-30-pages or more in length that provide a detailed data logic trail on key national security issues. They differ from NIEs in that they are less 'estimative.' National Intelligence Officers are expected to coordinate ICAs with other Community analysts, noting any disagreements in analytic judgements. Thus, ICAs are Community-coordinated, and are disseminated only after NIC Chairman approval.

Intelligence Community Briefs (ICBs) are estimative intelligence products that are formatted as six-page, quick-turn-around, analytic papers focusing on particular issues. Before ICBs are disseminated to intelligence consumers, National Intelligence Officers overseeing their drafting and coordination are expected either to resolve any analytic disagreements or note any such continuing disagreement between Intelligence Community analysts. Thus this product is classified to be 'Community-coordinated.'

Sense of Community Memos are one-page memoranda that evaluate current or day-to-day events. They are Community-coordinated and approved by the NIC chairman for dissemination.

Conference Reports are memoranda-for-the-record of conferences that the NIC sponsors on various topics. In addition to Intelligence Community personnel, participants can include experts from outside the Community.

[From the CIA Directorate of Intelligence]
The Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB), known for decades as the National Intelligence Daily and viewed by the CIA as one of its flagship products, is a daily publication containing six to eight relatively short articles or briefs covering an array of topics. The SEIB's format and content, although generally similar to that of the President's Daily Brief, usually contains less information in order to protect intelligence sources and methods. It is disseminated to several hundred senior executive branch policymakers and to the congressional oversight committees, and although prepared by the CIA, the SEIB is produced in coordination with other Intelligence Community producers. It is viewed as a current intelligence product in that it focuses on the events of the past day or two, or on issues expected to arise over the next few days.

Serial Fliers (SFs) are short and concise memorandum-style products, generally a few pages in length, on a discrete topic of current relevance. SFs generally do not contain summaries, but may contain graphics or maps.

Intelligence Assessments (IAs) are the primary vehicle for in-depth research, and can focus on larger analytic questions or provide great detail on a more narrow, but complex issue. IAs generally are from 5 to 25 pages or more in length; they always contain a 'Key Findings' or 'Summary' section and often include graphics, maps and other supporting material.

Strategic Perspective Series (SPSs), like IAs, are based on extensive research, but are focused on a key strategic issue - frequently at the direction of the Directorate of Intelligence leadership. SPS papers often cut across analytic disciplines or regions. Examples include Muslims in the EU: Reshaping Islam and Transforming Europe, and China's Global Strategic Ambitions. SPSs use an IA format, but carry the SPS moniker. SPS papers a 'Key Findings' or 'Summary,' and may include graphics, maps and other supporting material.

Research Projects/Papers (RPs) are the primary vehicle used to explore new analytic research areas and to develop the Directorate of Intelligence's corporate knowledge of a given issue. A research project may culminate in a SF, IA or SPS - or, depending upon the results, may be disseminated only within the Intelligence Directorate and Intelligence Community, serving as a 'capital-building' research paper.

Leadership Profiles (LPs) are biographic assessments of foreign leaders, generally 1-2 pages in length. They often are tailored for a particular meeting or event. Whenever possible, LPs contain a photo of the leader being assessed.

Situation Reports are short reports that comment on current, fast-breaking events. Up to two or three situation reports can be issued daily, if warranted.

[From the Department of Defense]
Military Intelligence Digest (MID) is produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency and is seen as a military-oriented counterpart to the SEIB. It is viewed as a current intelligence product in that it focuses on the events of the past day or two, or on issues expected to arise over the next few days. The MID can include analysis of topic covered in the SEIB, but it also includes articles of particular interest to the defense department, and can provide a different analytic perspective. It is principally prepared for the use of defense department policymakers, but is circulated elsewhere in the executive branch and provided to the congressional intelligence committees."

"Classified Intelligence Products Which Generally Are Not Routinely Shared With Congress

The President's Daily Brief (PDB) is a written intelligence product which is briefed daily to the President orally by a small cadre of senior Intelligence Community analysts. As previously mentioned, it consists of six to eight relatively short articles or briefs covering a broad array of topics and is viewed as a current intelligence product, in that it focuses on the events of the past day or two, or on issues expected to arise over the next few days. The PDB is viewed as highly sensitive, in part, because it can contain sensitive intelligence source and operational information. Thus its dissemination is limited to the President and a small number of presidentially-designated senior administration policymakers.

Presidential Daily Brief Memoranda are products containing responses to questions posed by the President and any of the small number of designated senior policymakers who receive the PDB. After briefing the handful of designated policymakers, members of the analytic briefing team return to CIA each morning, and task Intelligence Community personnel to provide answers to the various inquiries posed during the each briefing session.

Senior Executive Memoranda are tailored analytic products that also can be produced in response to policymaker questions arising from PDB briefings.

National Terrorism Brief (NTB) is prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, is appended to the daily PDB, and is briefed to the President by the DNI.

The Director's Daily Report is prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is used by the FBI Director to verbally brief the President.

Red Cell analyses are products that are speculative in nature and sometimes take a position at odds with the conventional wisdom.

Raw intelligence is unevaluated intelligence.

TDs (Telephonic Disseminations) are raw intelligence reports disseminated by the CIA's Directorate of Operations. TDs are slightly finished intelligence, in that they contain some commentary as to the credibility of the source providing the intelligence.

Chief of Station (COS) Reports are reports prepared by the CIA's chief representative in a particular country and contain the COS's views of the current situation. The COS can share his reports with the resident ambassador for comment, but is under no obligation to incorporate any comments by the ambassador into his final report."


Dec. 14, 2005 - Alfred Cumming