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Public Statements

Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, among the unfinished business before the Senate is the consideration of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. I am asking today for unanimous consent to approve this legislation with a managers' amendment worked out both with vice chairman Chambliss and the chairman and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in consultation with the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported its Fiscal Year 2013 bill, S. 3454, with its accompanying report, S. Rpt. 112-192, on July 30, 2012 by a vote of 14-1. The bill and report have been publicly available since it was reported. The classified annex reported from the Committee was also available for all Senators to review in the Committee's office.

S. 3454 as reported from our Committee was not without controversy, especially with regard to provisions in the bill that were meant to address the wholly unacceptable and large-scale disclosures of classified information to the media.

Since the bill was reported out, the Committee has received thoughtful comments from our colleagues, media organizations, and from organizations that advocate for greater governmental transparency. As a result of these comments, and technical suggestions received from the Executive Branch, we have decided to remove ten of the twelve sections in the title of the original bill that addressed unauthorized disclosures of classified information so that we might ensure enactment this year of the important other provisions of the bill.

Unfortunately, I am certain that damaging leaks of classified information will continue, and so the Committee will need to continue to look for acceptable ways to address this problem.

Let me briefly describe the managers' amendment and where we have made modifications in what was reported from the Committee.

As always, the intelligence authorization bill has two pieces: the legislative text, which is unclassified, and a classified annex that contains the Committee's authorization of intelligence spending.

The bill contains a number of legislative provisions requested by the Administration to give the intelligence community the authorities and flexibilities it needs to continue protecting the American people and providing policymakers information for foreign policy and security decisions, as well as for the effective and appropriate functioning of our intelligence apparatus.

Among other things, this bill includes:

Repeal of four recurring reporting requirements burdensome to Intelligence Community agencies when the information in such reports is duplicative, or is provided to the Congress through other means. We regularly hear from intelligence officials that they spend so much time writing reports that it interferes with collection, analysis, and management of intelligence activities.

Modification of personnel authorities to facilitate more ``joint duty'' assignments within the Intelligence Community that will create shared knowledge across different elements of the IC.

These provisions, and several others that are mainly technical in nature, were requested by the director of National Intelligence and incorporated into the bill.

Other sections were initiated by the Committee to assist Congressional oversight efforts. These include, for example, a requirement for corrective action plans to be developed to address the issue of improper payments made by intelligence agencies. We also require notification to the congressional intelligence committees under certain circumstances with respect to certain disclosures of national intelligence information.

As this managers' amendment represents the combined efforts of the Senate and House, we have also included three provisions from the House-passed bill which were not in the Committee's original bill. These address security clearance reciprocity, subcontractor business opportunities in the Intelligence Community, and a report on supply chain vulnerabilities.

I am attaching at the end of this statement a section-by-section analysis that describes each of the sections of this managers' amendment.

It is my hope that the provisions in this bill will continue to aid the Intelligence Community as it conducts its missions, ensure better stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and support the thousands of civilians and military employees who work throughout the Intelligence Community.

As I mentioned, this managers' amendment also includes modifications to the classified annex and the Schedule of Authorizations, modified to represent the consensus of both congressional intelligence committees. I am unable to describe in detail the Committee's classified schedule and annex, but it is available to all Senators for their review in the Committee's spaces. The Committee has sought to ensure that funding is authorized to continue and enhance important intelligence collection and analysis programs, covert actions, and counterintelligence. At the same time, we have cut funding for programs that were functioning poorly or at expenditure rates below expectations, and to shift funding from lower priorities to higher ones.

As always, the Committee has held numerous hearings and briefings on the President's spending request. As was announced in late October, intelligence spending decreased slightly in Fiscal Year 2012, and that trend will continue in Fiscal Year 2013. Our annex contains an overall funding level that is very close to the President's request, and we have attempted to find places to reduce spending that will not sacrifice any important work of the intelligence agencies.

I believe we have addressed all of the concerns that have been brought to our attention by our colleagues and the public. I thus urge passage of this managers' amendment and enactment of this important legislation before the end of the session.

I ask unanimous consent that the section by section analysis be printed in the Record.


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