Washington, DC - The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, announced today that the Committee has passed its fiscal year 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill.
"Good intelligence is what drives our national security and we must always be looking for ways to improve it. Intelligence Authorization bills are the most important tools we have in Congress to strengthen existing programs and better prepare for the future," Rockefeller said. "This year's authorization bill contains many critical provisions, including specific requests from the DNI, which will significantly improve the work of the Intelligence Community through greater flexibility, increased authority, and more effective oversight."
The Committee emphasized four legislative themes in its bill: providing greater flexibility and authority to the Director of National Intelligence; requiring greater accountability from the Intelligence Community and its managers; improving the mechanisms for conducting oversight of intelligence programs; and reforming acquisition procedures. The bill includes provisions in each area.
It provides flexibility by:
- Changing the way personnel levels are authorized and giving the DNI the ability to exceed those ceilings by as much as five percent;
- Enabling the DNI to fund information sharing efforts that span across Intelligence Community;
- Changing the requirements for reprogramming funds to make it easier to address emerging needs;
- Repealing burdensome reporting requirements;
- Authorizing the DNI to use interagency funding to establish national intelligence centers; and
- Establishing a contingency fund for the DNI to react to emergencies or unforeseen opportunities.
It requires greater accountability by:
- Giving the DNI the authority and responsibility to conduct accountability reviews across the Intelligence Community if he deems it necessary or if requested by Congress;
- Calling for the disclosure of the total amount of funding requested, authorized and appropriated for the National Intelligence Program;
- Increasing the penalty for disclosing the name of a covert agent;
- Requiring the Director of the CIA to make public a declassified version of the executive summary of the CIA Inspector General's accountability report of the events associated with 9/11; and
- Improving financial management by requiring a variety of actions related to the production of auditable financial statements - a standard most intelligence agencies cannot currently meet.
It improves oversight by:
- Creating a strong, independent Inspector General for the Intelligence Community confirmed by the Senate within the office of the DNI, and establishes statutory Inspectors General at the NSA, NRO, DIA and NGA.
- Requiring Senate confirmation of the directors of the NSA, NRO and NGA establishing a Senate confirmed Deputy Director for the CIA;
- Giving the Public Interest Declassification Board the authority to respond to Congressional requests;
- Requiring the DNI to report on the implementation of the Detainee Treatment Act;
- Calling for an annual assessment of personnel levels across the Intelligence Community to include a statement that those levels are supported by adequate infrastructure, training and funding, and a review of the appropriate use of contractors; and
- Improving the way the DNI notifies the intelligence committees to ensure that all members can make informed decisions about intelligence programs.
It reforms the acquisition process by:
- Requiring a vulnerability assessment for all major acquisition programs; and
- Curbing cost overruns and schedule delays by creating an annual reporting system on all major Intelligence Community acquisitions similar to the Nunn-McCurdy statute for defense acquisitions.
While specific budget recommendations are not made public, the classified annex accompanying this bill includes a substantial increase for advanced research and development programs. The annex also includes language directing the Intelligence Community to restructure its strategy for acquiring imagery intelligence systems.
Rockefeller added, "The Congress failed to pass an intelligence authorization bill the past two years. That is unacceptable, and Vice Chairman Bond and I are committed to making sure that it doesn't happen again."