Press Release of Intelligence Committee
Lauren Claffey (Chambliss), (202) 224-3423
Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) today praised Senate passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.
The measure, which passed by voice vote Wednesday evening, will now go to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be passed in its current form and sent to the president for enactment.
Senator Feinstein said: “This marks the fifth consecutive year the Senate has adopted legislation exercising strong oversight of the U.S. intelligence community. I am proud that after a tumultuous year in intelligence, the Senate has been able to come together on a bipartisan basis to pass this important piece of legislation.”
Senator Chambliss said: “This bill will enhance the intelligence community’s ability to provide critical intelligence to our nation’s leaders while making important changes to how the intelligence community operates. It builds on the committee’s previous efforts to improve intelligence collection that enhances our security and protects our nation.”
The bill authorizes funding for the U.S. intelligence community and provides numerous legal authorities and requirements. Of note, the bill:
· Authorizes funding for counterterrorism; counterproliferation; intelligence collection on critical threats; advanced information technology infrastructure to improve analysis and information sharing; and improvements to security measures to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
· Requires the general counsel of each intelligence agency to notify the congressional intelligence committees of any significant legal interpretation of the Constitution or federal law affecting intelligence activities conducted by the agency, to include any significant interpretations resulting from opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).
· Requires the attorney general to establish a process for the regular review for official publication of significant OLC opinions that have been provided to an element of the intelligence community. The bill further requires that any OLC opinion that would be made public, but for its classification, shall be provided to Congress.
· Requires Senate confirmation for the directors and inspectors general of the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office.
· Includes far-reaching whistleblower protections for intelligence personnel. The bill prohibits firings, demotions or other personnel actions against intelligence community employees as a reprisal for legitimate whistleblower activities. It also prevents intelligence agency managers from revoking an employee’s security clearance as a reprisal for legitimate whistleblower activities and creates an appeals procedure for employees who believe they have faced such reprisal.
· Protects the identities of intelligence community employees who provide information to the inspector general of the intelligence community from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act.
· Improves management of the intelligence community by authorizing the director of national intelligence (DNI) to establish “functional managers” for intelligence disciplines that are performed by multiple agencies, including signals intelligence, human intelligence and geospatial intelligence.
· Provides the DNI with enhanced management flexibility to shift and increase personnel to meet the nation’s most urgent priorities.
· Continues Congress’ push for financial auditability within the intelligence community by requiring key agencies to undergo full financial audits, beginning with their fiscal year 2014 financial statements and to take all reasonable steps to achieve an unqualified opinion on financial statements by fiscal year 2016.
· Requires intelligence contractors to notify the government of any successful unauthorized penetration of their computer networks.
· Makes permanent a requirement, previously set to sunset, to require government officials to notify the congressional intelligence committees of authorized disclosures of intelligence information.
· Requires that the president prepare a plan to respond to the unauthorized public disclosure of any covert action.
· Requires a declassification review of documents collected in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the mission that killed Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011.
· Reauthorizes the Public Interest Declassification Board to December 31, 2018. The Board’s current authorization would otherwise expire at the end of 2014.
· Requires the DNI to set standards to improve security background investigations through continuous evaluation of intelligence employees and contractors.
· Charges the DNI to evaluate and improve the process for investigations for security clearance determinations, to include improved use of technology.