Press Release of Intelligence Committee
The bill reflects the Committee's attention to four priority areas to enhance the role of intelligence in our national security strategy: (1) revitalization of the National Security Agency (NSA); (2) correcting deficiencies in human intelligence; (3) addressing the imbalance between intelligence collection and analysis; and (4) rebuilding a robust research and development program for the Intelligence Community. The budget approved by the Committee today reflects an emphasis on these priority areas.
Chairman Graham said, "The funding increase for intelligence contained in this bill represents what must be the first installment of a multi-year effort to correct serious deficiencies that have developed over the past decade in the Intelligence Community. While the end of the Cold War warranted a reordering of national priorities, the continued decline in funding has left us with a diminished ability to address the emerging threats and technological challenges of the 21st Century. The Intelligence Community is our nation's vital early warning system and we must support its mission to the fullest extent possible."
Vice Chairman Shelby stated, "I am pleased that the Committee unanimously supported the President's request for intelligence spending. There is no question we must place our ability to collect intelligence around the world at the very top of our national security priorities. I believe that this legislation continues this Committee's commitment to improving our ability to detect and defeat threats to our people and interests at home and abroad.
I am also pleased that the Committee unanimously supported the repeal of a provision contained in the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (21 U.S.C.§1904(f)) that took away an American citizen's right to challenge the government's decision to take their property. Last year, I argued strongly that not only may Congress not preclude judicial review of constitutional claims, but it should not enact a blanket restriction that is both unnecessary and inconsistent with current sanctions regimes including the Colombian counternarcotics sanctions program on which the Kingpin Act is based. I also believe that the prospect of judicial scrutiny will cause government officials to exercise a much higher degree of care before they freeze an American citizen's bank accounts. The Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control made this their first recommendation and I am very pleased that the Committee took action to adopt it. The bottom line is that when the government takes your property, you deserve your day in court."
The bill, as marked-up by the Committee, also contains a provision requiring further study about the problem of leaks of classified information. Because the Attorney General requested that the Committee not take any legislative action on the issue of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information until the Administration can conduct a thorough interagency review of this matter, the bill contains a provision codifying the Attorney General's proposal, and requiring the Attorney General to submit the unclassified results of this review to Congress no later than May 1, 2002. The report of the Attorney General's review shall include, among other things, an assessment of the efficacy and adequacy of current laws and regulations against the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, including whether or not modifications of such laws or regulations, or additional laws or regulations, are advisable in order to further protect against the unauthorized disclosure of such information.
"I respect the Administration's desire to more thoroughly study this complex issue and I look forward to examining the results of the Attorney General's review," said Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL). "The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious and legitimate national security concern. I applaud Senator Shelby's leadership in bringing this important issue to the forefront."
Committee Vice Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) said, "The Committee also endorsed the Attorney General's plan to establish an interagency working group to examine fully the continuing problem of unauthorized disclosures of classified information. Leaks of classified information continue virtually unabated and they are doing significant harm to our nation's security. There is almost universal agreement that this is a serious problem that deserves our collective attention. I look forward to working with the Department of Justice as it conducts its review."