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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chairman, the Eshoo amendment cuts right to the heart of our constitutional authority: Congressional oversight of matters, in this case, within the intelligence community--basic functions, financial management, acquisitions, information technology--a fundamental prerogative of this body, a prerogative that should not be limited to the intelligence committees.

Bottom line, GAO plays a critical role in helping the committees examine day-to-day functions of government agencies within their jurisdiction, and its expertise needs to be brought to bear on the intelligence community. This is particularly true after the 2004 reforms that established the ODNI. There is no community that has undergone more bureaucratic overhaul and tumult, any agency within the Federal Government, than within the intelligence community.

The notion that committees of appropriate jurisdiction are blocked from investigating areas within their domain for oversight purposes, having nothing to do--we clearly exempt the sources and methods issues from this oversight--makes no sense. It is an insult to the prerogatives of the Congress. And to the extent that the administration argues this should be solely within their prerogative, they don't fully understand our institutional role in Congress.

I don't understand how anyone in this body who is interested in dealing with waste, with fraud, with duplication would want to limit the GAO's authority to go into appropriate areas within the intelligence community.

I urge an "aye'' vote.

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