Remarks to Reporters on Covert Action Procedural Reforms

 

August 7, 1987

 

The President. I'm gratified we meet today in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and agreement about new procedures that govern the approval and notification to Congress concerning sensitive intelligence activities. I know the letter that I'm giving to each of you reflects serious work and intense work by you and my senior advisers, and I'm most grateful for your efforts.

 

The measure of agreement that's reflected in my letter demonstrates the vital importance that I attach to cooperation between the Congress and the executive branch in the intelligence area. And on this, I know we all agree. And I firmly believe that the new procedures we're putting in place will strengthen that cooperation and facilitate the work of your committee in fulfilling its important responsibilities. The procedures address legitimate areas of concern to the Congress and the Executive, and they have my full support. And so saying, I shall deliver the mail.

 

[At this point, the President handed letters to Senator David L. Boren, chairman, and Senator William S. Cohen, vice chairman, of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which expressed his support for the new procedures.]

 

Reporter. Does this mean you're going to notify of all covert actions before they take place, and on a faster basis than you have in the past?

 

The President. Well, they're going to have a press conference back up on the Hill there, and they'll respond there as to all this means.

 

Q. Well, is this an outgrowth of your big mistakes in the Iran scandal -- in not notifying them about the weapons?

 

The President. Well, I haven't called them mistakes yet. [Laughter] But we have to depart.

 

Q.  --  -- the need for Congress to pass any legislation?

 

The President. You were informed, I know, no questions. So, you'll have at them later on.

 

Note: The President spoke at 2:40 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.