WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence unanimously approved the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. The bill authorizes funding for programs and activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The legislation authorizes funds for the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other Intelligence Community entities.
The Act contains a number of key provisions. First, the bill clarifies Director of Central Intelligence authorities for personnel under non-traditional cover by providing enhanced security for intelligence operations and relieving associated administrative burdens. Second, the bill takes an important step forward in improving oversight of the Intelligence Community by eliminating term limits for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Third, the bill amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to enable the employment of FISA techniques against non-U.S. persons who are suspected of acting as so-called “lone wolf” terrorists. This provision incorporates the text of S. 113 as passed by the full Senate last year.
In report language accompanying the Act, the Intelligence Committee states its intent to commence an Intelligence Community reform effort during the present session of Congress. “The Committee will undertake a deliberate and comprehensive review of the full range of options for modernizing the Intelligence Community. We strongly believe that all options are on the table.”
Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the Committee Chairman, stated in connection with today’s Committee action: "I am pleased with the unanimous support for the bill. The vote reflects our desire to maintain a strong intelligence capability while recognizing the need to begin considering reform. It is clear to me that change is needed. This Committee, however, must ensure that we do not make changes just for the sake of change. Instead, our actions should be directed at identified problems which lend themselves to legislative solutions. While there is general agreement that the time for significant change has come, we are all very cognizant of the necessity to first do no harm. After we release publicly our initial report on prewar intelligence on Iraq’s WMD programs, we will turn our attention to Intelligence Community reform.”
Senator Jay Rockefeller, (D-WVa.), the Committee Vice Chairman, stated: “There are two major themes in our bill: putting more resources toward the evolving Global War on Terrorism and the need to reform the Intelligence Community.”
“While the Intelligence Community’s budget has received sizeable increases since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Administration’s spending priorities have not always reflected what is needed to properly fund the war on terrorism, America’s top national security priority,” Senator Rockefeller said. “In several important programs, the Committee has increased funding above the Administration’s request to bolster our counter-terrorism efforts.”
“On the issue of reforming the Intelligence Community,” Senator Rockefeller said, “I am pleased to join the Chairman and other members of the Committee in seeking a bipartisan legislative package of reform measures this year. In the months ahead, we will hold open hearings and carefully consider the relative merits of a variety of proposals. Given what I see as a growing consensus both in and outside government in support of reform, we can’t allow this opportunity to slip by.”