EXPLANATORY STATEMENT ON THE INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2024
The following is the Explanatory Statement to accompany the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (“the Act”), which has been included as Division G of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024. The Explanatory Statement reflects the result of negotiations between the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (together, “the Committees”). The Explanatory Statement shall have the same effect with respect to the implementation of the Act as if it were a joint explanatory statement of a conference committee.
The classified nature of U.S. intelligence activities prevents the Committees from publicly disclosing many details concerning their final decisions regarding funding levels and policy direction. Therefore, the Committees have prepared a classified annex — referred to here and within the annex itself as “the Agreement” — that contains a classified Schedule of Authorizations and that describes in detail the scope and intent of the Committees’ actions.
The Agreement authorizes the Intelligence Community to obligate and expend funds as requested in the President’s budget and as modified by the classified Schedule of Authorizations, subject to applicable reprogramming procedures.
The classified Schedule of Authorizations is incorporated into the Act pursuant to Section 7102 of the Act. It has the status of law. The Agreement supplements and adds detail to clarify the authorization levels found in the Act and in the classified Schedule of Authorizations.
This Explanatory Statement incorporates by reference, and the Executive Branch shall comply with, all direction contained in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report to accompany the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (S. Rept. 118-59) and in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Report to accompany the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (H. Rept. 118-162). The Agreement supersedes all classified direction related to programs and activities authorized by the Schedule of Authorization.
The Executive Branch is further directed as follows:
Inspector General Review of Dissemination by Federal Bureau of Investigation Richmond, Virginia, Field Office of Certain Document.
The Committees are committed to ensuring full transparency in the FBI’s actions implicating the rights of the American people to the free exercise of religion and speech. Therefore, the Committees direct that, not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall conduct and submit to the congressional intelligence committees, the Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, a review of the actions and events that served as a basis for the January 23, 2023, dissemination by the field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation located in Richmond, Virginia, of a document titled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.” The review shall cover any orders or direction regarding the document from any official in any field office concerning purported proximate links between any religion, any political affiliation, or the intent of this report.
The Committees further direct that, not later than 10 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall submit to the same committees identified above the unredacted August 22, 2023, Inspection Division report associated with the Richmond Domain Perspective.
Funding Limitations Relating to Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.
Section 7343 of the Act provides for funding limitations relating to unidentified anomalous phenomena because of perceptions of insufficient transparency in this area. Section 7343 is also intended to avoid technology and security stovepipes and expand awareness regarding any historical exotic technology antecedents previously provided by the Federal Government for research and development purposes if they are shown to exist.
Section 7343 further provides a limitation regarding independent research and development funding to ensure that certain indirect expenses are prohibited. That provision is intended to be interpreted consistent with Department of Defense Instruction Number 3204.01 (dated August 20, 2014, incorporating change 2, dated July 9, 2020; relating to Department policy for oversight of independent research and development), or any successor instruction.
Screening and Vetting of Visitors or Assignees from Sensitive Countries at the National Laboratories.
The Committees are concerned that the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the Department of Energy (DOE-IN) does not require the comprehensive screening and vetting of foreign visitors or assignees from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba who work or otherwise collaborate with scientists in our National Laboratories. United States Government-funded research carried out at National Laboratories is incredibly important and sensitive. Whether a laboratory supports a science mission or is oriented toward supporting national security, it is critical that all foreign visitors and assignees from countries of concern receive appropriate vetting in order to mitigate counterintelligence risks. In fiscal year 2023, more than 7,000 nationals from the PRC visited 16 National Laboratories. Russian visitors numbered more than 3,700. The Committees understand that international cooperation on matters of basic, fundamental science helps maintain the United States’ technological edge. At the same time, we need to protect both the classified research as well as unclassified research that result in technologies with dual-use applications, and which can be adapted for military or economic gain, from getting into our adversaries’ hands.
The Committees therefore direct that DOE-IN require a robust effort to screen and vet visitors or assignees to our National Laboratories from the PRC, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. The Committees also direct DOE-IN to ensure appropriate oversight over such screening and vetting to ensure that counterintelligence threat information related to potential assignees or visitors is appropriately identified and tracked. The Committees further direct that, not fewer than twice per year, the Director of DOE-IN shall submit to the Committees a report noting each instance in which a visitor or assignee from the PRC, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or Cuba, identified as a significant counterintelligence risk was permitted access to a National Laboratory.
Briefing Relating to Certain Intelligence and Counterintelligence Activities of the Coast Guard.
Section 416 of H.R. 3932 provided the Commandant of the Coast Guard with enhanced authority to obligate and expend amounts made available under the National Intelligence Program for intelligence and counterintelligence activities if the object of the activity is of a confidential, extraordinary, or emergency nature.
Therefore, the Committees direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard, no later than March 31, 2024, to brief the congressional intelligence committees, the congressional defense committees, the congressional appropriations committees, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology on why this authority is necessary and appropriate.
Director of National Intelligence Notice to Congress Before Establishing New National Intelligence Center or Assigning Significant New Function to Existing Center.
The Committees direct the Director of National Intelligence to provide reasonable notice to the congressional intelligence committees before the Director establishes a new national intelligence center or assigns a significant new function to an existing national intelligence center.
Briefing Relating to Confidential Human Source Program of Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Committees direct the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, no later than March 31, 2024, to brief the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional judiciary committees on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s management of confidential human sources, specifically pertaining to the current notification requirements and program review processes in the event that an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reasonable grounds to believe that a confidential human source, or any immediate family member of such a source, has engaged in unauthorized criminal activity, including any misdemeanor or felony crime.
Enhanced Personnel Security Review with Respect to Social Media.
The Committees are of the view that –
(1) A trusted national security and Intelligence Community workforce is paramount to the protection of our nation’s security and to reduce the risk of unauthorized disclosures of classified and other sensitive information;
(2) the increased global availability and use of social media accounts, including by members of the national security workforce of the United States, increase the risk of unauthorized disclosures of classified national security information, which can endanger the United States and its partners and allies, and empower foreign adversaries;
(3) to maintain trust in and the protection of the national security and Intelligence Community workforce of the United States, the Intelligence Community must fully and continuously use available vetting resources and all authorities prescribed by law, while guaranteeing all constitutional protections of such workforce;
(4) the Intelligence Community must maintain high-quality vetting processes and ensure appropriate and necessary measures are taken to thoroughly and in a timely manner investigate and adjudicate prospective applicants for sensitive national security positions within the Intelligence Community; and,
(5) the Intelligence Community should use existing authorities to ensure robust continuous vetting for continued eligibility for access to classified information and carefully manage the speed and accuracy of the security clearance adjudication process at both the initial investigation process and throughout the career of personnel serving in positions within the Intelligence Community.
Matters Pertaining to United States Economic and Emerging Technology Competition with United States Adversaries.
The Committees support the National Intelligence Strategy of 2023 goal of leveraging emerging technologies and their adoption at scale. Sections 7502 through 7506 of the Act further advance this objective, and the Committees expect the Intelligence Community to implement these provisions faithfully and expeditiously.
Intelligence Community Counterintelligence Office at the Department of Agriculture.
Section 7318 establishes a counterintelligence office located within the Department of Agriculture. Accordingly, the Committees direct the Director of National Intelligence to submit the report required in section 7318(f)(2) to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Agriculture of the House, at the same time that the Director submits the report to the congressional intelligence and appropriations committees.