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Congressional and Public Backlash

By the mid-1970s the retirement of first-generation CIA professionals, the government-wide personnel cutbacks, and the widely publicized revelations over past CIA covert actions, most notably those of the Church committee, served to reduce the level of covert operations.[32] However, congressional criticism was restrained in comparison with attacks by the media. The airing of past operations served, at least temporarily, to reduce public support for covert activities, although that did not lead to their elimination.[33]

Reforms enacted in the 1970s established greater accountability and intergovernmental review of covert actions, but the changes did not last. The results of the Rockefeller Commission report and the later Church committee hearing included a comprehensive public charter, Executive Order 11905, issued by President Gerald Ford on February 18, 1978. This charter provided a new command structure for foreign- intelligence agencies, forbade peacetime assassinations, required the CIA's inspector general and legal office to be upgraded and become involved in the internal oversight process, and created a standing Senate committee on intelligence.