Washington—The top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today announced Congressional passage of the 2011 Intelligence Authorization Act. The Senate took up the House bill, HR 754 and last night passed the bill unanimously.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Ranking Member C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said the bill authorizes funding for fiscal year 2011 for the 16 different agencies across the U.S. government that makeup the Intelligence Community.
Unlike the fiscal year 2010 bill (enacted last October) the legislation that passed both chambers contains a classified annex, which is the main mechanism the Intelligence Committee uses to direct the level and type of intelligence spending.
The bill adds hundreds of millions of dollars above the President’s request for intelligence activities for fiscal year 2011, and takes some initial steps to prepare the Intelligence Community for smaller budgets and personnel decreases in the coming years.
Chairman Feinstein said: "The Fiscal Year 2011 Intelligence Authorization bill marks the second straight year that Congress has enacted an intelligence bill after six years without one. Passing this legislation restores the Committees’ ability to conduct serious oversight and play a meaningful role in shaping the Intelligence Community’s funding and activities. I thank Vice Chairman Chambliss and Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger for their efforts in getting this legislation passed and look forward to continuing our close working relationship to pass important legislative provisions for fiscal year 2012."
Vice Chairman Chambliss said: “I'm pleased that Congress seems to be back on track with intelligence authorization bills. As our nation faces not only increased threats, but rising deficits, it is essential that we exercise clear oversight over the Intelligence Community's activities and budgets.”
Chairman Rogers said: “The passage of this bill marks an important step in the Intelligence Committees’ effort to reestablish vigorous and effective oversight of U.S. intelligence activities,” Chairman Rogers said. “This bill not only provides our men and women on the front lines in the Intelligence Community with the tools and capabilities they need to do their jobs and protect our national security, but also ensures the American people that intelligence activities are funded wisely and conducted in a manner consistent with our values. I urge the President to sign this bill into law without delay.”
Ranking Member Ruppersberger said: “The FY 2011 Intelligence Authorization has received overwhelming bi-partisan support. It gives our intelligence professionals the resources, capabilities and authorities they need to keep our country safe. For the second year in a row, the Intelligence Committee has exercised proper oversight of the intelligence community by passing an intelligence budget. I look forward to doing it again for FY 2012,” said Ranking Member C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger.
The bill includes a number of legislative provisions, including:
• A section requiring the Intelligence Community to prevent another security disaster, such as the recent leak of classified information to Wikileaks, through the implementation of automated information technology threat detection programs that must be fully operational by the end of 2013.
• A provision improving the ability of government agencies to detail personnel to needed areas of the Intelligence Community.
• A commendation of Intelligence Community personnel for their role in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice and reaffirming the commitment of the Congress to use the capabilities of the Intelligence Community to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and affiliated organizations.