President Eisenhower created the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities in 1956, after concluding that he needed an outside body of highly respected and accomplished Americans to give him unfettered and candid appraisals of US intelligence activities. President Kennedy renamed it the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) in 1961, and it has served every President except for President Carter, who abolished the Board in 1977. President Reagan re-instituted the PFIAB in 1981, and in 2008 President Bush renamed it the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board to reflect the fact that national intelligence doesn’t begin or end at our nation’s borders.
The Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) was created in 1976 by President Ford in response to recommendations made by the Rockefeller Commission calling for a Presidential-level body with specific oversight responsibilities for the legality and propriety of US intelligence activities. In September 1993, President Clinton established the IOB as a standing committee of the PIAB, with the Chairman of the IOB reporting through the Chairman of the PIAB. Prior to that date, the PIAB and IOB were separate White House entities.
Throughout its history, the Board has closely guarded its special status and tradition of non-partisan independence by making every effort to ensure the strict confidentiality of its deliberations and communications, and the unimpeachable objectivity of its advice. Throughout its fifty-plus year history, the PIAB has had immense and long-lasting impact on the structure, management, and operations of US intelligence.