Washington, DC -- Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced today that the Committee has completed work on the Fiscal Year 2009 Intelligence Authorization bill. The bill passed with bipartisan support on a vote of 10-5. The annual authorization bill provides policy guidance and sets funding levels for the 16 agencies that comprise the U.S. Intelligence Community.
“The President’s decision to veto the 2008 Authorization Bill once again undermined the important national security efforts of our Intelligence Community. Not only did the President reject efforts to require all government agencies to abide by the Army Field Manual, he also deprived the Director of National Intelligence of authorities and flexibility he had specifically requested,” Rockefeller said. “The bill we passed today is absolutely necessary to restore the credibility of the United States and to improve the management and oversight of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”
Rockefeller also noted that, “The bill increases the President’s request for classified counterterrorism programs designed to locate, disrupt, and attack al Qaida operatives around the globe. I encourage the President to join with the majority of Congress and to sign this important bill into law.”
Related to one of the higher profile issues – interrogation – once again the Committee voted to include a provision that would require all U.S. interrogation programs to operate within the law and abide by the Army Field Manual.
In addition, the Committee adopted amendments to bar the use of contractors in the CIA interrogation programs and to require the Red Cross be made aware of, and given access to, anyone detained by any element of the Intelligence Community.
“Taken together, these provisions will go a long way toward repairing the damage done to our counterterrorism efforts by the last six years of the President’s misguided policies,” Rockefeller added.
Other key provisions include efforts to:
Ø Create a strong, independent Inspector General for the Intelligence Community confirmed by the Senate within the office of the DNI, and establishing statutory Inspectors General at the NSA, NRO, DIA and NGA;
Ø Require Senate confirmation of the directors of the NSA, NRO and NGA;
Ø Establish the position of Chief Financial Officer of the Intelligence Community and require more detailed future budget projections;
Ø Require a vulnerability assessment for all major acquisition programs and curb 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;
Ø Enhance the effectiveness of the DNI by increasing his flexibility to manage personnel and granting him authority to conduct accountability reviews across the Intelligence Community.
Finally, the bill is accompanied by a classified annex that provides detailed spending authority for all of the National Intelligence Program. The specific amounts are classified but the spending authority includes a substantial increase for funding for the improvement of human intelligence collection and training our intelligence officers, and for advanced research and development programs, areas the Committee believes have been under-funded.
The Committee expects to make the bill and report publicly available next week.