A "Restored" Intelligence Community
During his 1980 election campaign against Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan pledged to "restore" the intelligence community, arguing that it had been unduly hampered by restrictions and starved of necessary assets. Political hyperbole aside, it was significant that once again the role of intelligence was seen as a proper election issue, even if only a minor one. 85 That intelligence was once more an issue showed, above all, that intelligence activities could not return to normal after the revelations and investigations. It also showed how the politicizing of intelligence had now become the norm.
It was not clear what the new administration meant to do to "restore" intelligence beyond increasing its budget. (Actually, the intelligence budget began to increase during the last year of the Carter administration, as did the defense budget. Given his past stance on these issues, however, Carter's action was seen by many as "too little, too late.") It was also not clear whether the incoming Reagan team fully appreciated the changed climate of oversight and what this meant for how they ran the intelligence community.