Press Release of Intelligence Committee
In its provisions, the bill addresses policy and resource constraints that limit information sharing and intelligence analysis. The need to improve government information sharing was one of the principal findings of the Joint Inquiry into the events leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. It also lays the basis for more fundamental reforms by requiring the Executive Branch to review and report to Congress on issues such as the need to revise Executive Orders and security policies consistent with improved information sharing in the computer age. Other provisions assist the Director of Central Intelligence by providing additional management flexibility for personnel and construction issues and by eliminating a number of recurring and burdensome Congressionally directed reports.
Specifically, the bill provides the funding necessary to establish a single government-wide terrorist watch list. It also provides increased funding to standardize databases to facilitate access to information.
In order to achieve all source fusion of data, the bill requires the Director of Central Intelligence to conduct a pilot program to determine the feasibility and advisability of permitting intelligence analysts access to raw intelligence from the databases of other elements of the community.
It relieves the Director of Central Intelligence of notification obligations for certain construction projects. The Director asked for these authorities to expedite construction projects which might be necessary to protect U.S. interests.
The bill authorizes $8 million to the Community Management Staff to establish an ROTC like program to encourage college students to pursue careers as intelligence analysts.
The bill permits Defense Department intelligence agencies to award personal services contracts to acquire, on short notice, critically needed personnel such as linguists and weapons of mass destruction experts.
The bill also requires a report on intelligence lessons learned in Iraq.
Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the Committee Chairman, stated, "I am pleased that Committee members of both parties supported this bill. This nation has been and remains at war and I believe that this bill reflects that reality. We have tried to correct some problems without unduly interfering with the Intelligence Community's ability to prosecute the war in Iraq or the war on terrorism. I am especially pleased that in our provisions and funding priorities the Committee has emphasized information sharing and the restoration of the Community's analytical capability. One thing which was clear from last year's Joint Inquiry into the intelligence breakdown prior September 11th is that collected intelligence is only as good as this nation's ability to properly analyze, fuse and disseminate it. We are better than we were on 9/11, but we still have a long way to go. I think this bill moves the intelligence community in the right direction."
Senator Jay Rockefeller, (D-WVa.), the Committee Vice Chairman, stated, "This legislation is a bipartisan effort to support the needs of the Intelligence Community, while pressing it to move forward on important reforms. My goal with this bill is to take the first step in improving information sharing, collaboration, and domestic intelligence. And, through funding, oversight, and language in the bill, I believe this goal was achieved."