In an all but unnoticed footnote to the Iran-contra scandal, Congress is surrendering to the Administration in a long-running battle for covert operations. Last year, President Bush vetoed an intelligence bill that ordered the White House to tell Congress of covert operations within two days of their authorization and to consult with Capitol Hill before enlisting third-country support for secret missions. Senate negotiators have effectively thrown in the towel by narrowing the definition of "covert activity." The new language gives the President leeway to decide which actions must be reported.

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