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Public Statements

Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. NUNES. I would like to say thank you to Chairman Rogers and to Ranking Member Ruppersberger for really taking the Intelligence Committee and establishing its relevance back in the House. I know we've had some disagreements in the past, but Chairman Rogers, along with a lot of new members on the committee, have been working closely with the Democrats in a bipartisan way to, I believe, make a real difference in Congress' role in the intelligence community. I want to commend both of them for their honest and hard work. It's never easy because, as I'm learning now since being on the committee, it takes a lot of hours, and it's a lot of hours on behalf of the members that they have to commit to this committee; so having a chairman and a ranking member to really lead us in that effort makes a big difference.

Mr. Chairman, let me speak to the issue at hand, which is that it is very concerning that Congress has not completed an authorization bill in 6 years
even though the terrorist threat has not lessened since September 11, 2001. This has limited an important oversight responsibility of the Congress. The world is too dangerous for Congress not to be more engaged in overseeing 16 intelligence agencies. We simply cannot maintain the status quo of the 111th Congress and ignore laws that require congressional oversight and the authorization of intelligence operations by the House Intelligence Committee.

Congress must meet its responsibilities and again begin to pass annual intelligence authorization bills, which are vital to ensuring, among other things, that the men and women who really risk their lives to be part of this intelligence community are properly funded to carry out their critical mission of defending our country, such as the mission we just saw a couple of weeks ago, that of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

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Mr. NUNES. Congress can no longer avoid its responsibilities when our counterintelligence operations provide critical support to our combat units in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and in other important places across the world or when our intelligence agencies require new, cutting-edge technology or during a time of unprecedented unrest in the Middle East, Southeast Asia or in other parts of Central and South America.

This does not mention the ever-growing threat that we face in the cyber community, with cyberspace, which is an area that this committee, I believe, will have to spend some significant time on.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has again expired.

Mr. ROGERS of Michigan. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. NUNES. It also doesn't mention the time that we will have to spend on some foreign countries that are quickly gaining access to minerals that are very hard to come by. So many foreign nations are investing a lot of time, energy and effort into locating not only these minerals, oil, and natural gas all over the world, but they're coming together and working outside the interests of the United States. We have to have intelligence in these areas.

This isn't your typical authorization bill, but it funds 17 intelligence agencies which are critical to the defense of our country. Each agency has a unique perspective on the world, and Congress should be bipartisan in its partnering in these missions throughout the authorization and oversight processes. I look forward to voting ``yes'' on the 11th bill and to working in a bipartisan way on the 12th bill.

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