WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Kit Bond (R-Mo.), vice chairman of the committee, today announced that the panel has unanimously approved a revised Intelligence Authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2010.
An earlier version of the legislation, which provides authorities for the funding, operation and management of the intelligence community, was approved by the full Senate last September. Since then, the Committee has worked diligently with the House Intelligence Committee, the Intelligence Community, and the White House to reach agreement on this legislation. The House of Representatives has not taken action to seek a conference or otherwise complete this legislation.
“We hope that the unanimous vote to report this important legislation will lead to its swift passage through both the Senate and the House, and that President Obama will sign into law an intelligence authorization for the first time in five years. The bill both helps the Intelligence Community perform its national security mission and the Congress perform its vital oversight role,” Senators Feinstein and Bond said.
The bill, approved by the Committee on Thursday, will improve congressional oversight of the Intelligence Community by:
- Addressing some of the recent failures to adequately notify Congress, including by amending the National Security Act to require that notifications are provided in writing; ensuring that the Intelligence Community explain the legal basis for the actions it is taking or intends to take; and providing more clarity on when the Intelligence Community must provide additional information about “significant undertakings” under existing covert action programs;
- Requiring proper record keeping in cases of briefings provided only to House and Senate leadership and their respective intelligence committees;
- Requiring each intelligence agency head to provide annual affirmative certification that the agency has fully complied with its obligations under the National Security Act to keep Congress fully informed;
- Requiring the DNI to report how the Intelligence Community complies with laws, international obligations, and executive orders on the detention and interrogation activities of the Intelligence Community;
- Strengthening and expanding the responsibilities for the Inspector General in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to enhance that position’s ability to conduct internal oversight over the Intelligence Community. The bill also strengthens the independence of the IG at the Central Intelligence Agency and adds the IGs at the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, and National Security Agency to the list of statutory IGs in the Inspector General Act of 1978;
- Making several improvements to the Intelligence Community’s acquisition and management processes to prevent misuse of funds and major cost overruns on intelligence programs; and
- Improving oversight and privacy protections relating to the government cyber security initiative.