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Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RUPPERSBERGER. Madam Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Before us today is the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013. It's a good, bipartisan bill that gives our intelligence professionals the resources, capabilities, and authorities they need to keep us safe. And I also want to acknowledge the leadership of Chairman Rogers. His bipartisan leadership has helped us make the Intelligence Committee a committee that provides oversight to our intelligence agencies and gives them the resources that they need to protect our country. I also want to acknowledge the staff on both sides of the aisle who worked very closely to put this bill together.

When Chairman Rogers and I took over leadership of the Intelligence Committee, we made a commitment to bipartisanship. We believe politics has no place in national security. The stakes are just too high. We also made a commitment to passing intelligence budgets that provide oversight to the intelligence community and give it important financial direction. Chairman Rogers and I also work closely with Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and vice chair Saxby Chambliss of the Senate Intelligence Committee, our counterparts in the Senate, so we can get things done.

If this bill becomes law, it will be the third budget bill in a row passed since we took over leadership in January, 2011--a big change from the previous 6 years when we only passed one budget bill. This was an open, bipartisan process where we reached agreement on issues that will make this country safer and intelligence processes more efficient.

We know we are facing tough economic times. This budget is slightly below the enacted levels of FY 2012. We made cuts where appropriate, eliminated redundancies, and pushed programs to come in on time and on budget.

People ask me what keeps me up at night. Besides spicy food, I say weapons of mass destruction and a catastrophic cyberattack that shuts down our banking system, water supply, power grids or worse.

This bill continues a substantial investment in cybersecurity that must be made to keep up with the cyberthreats of today and tomorrow. We also believe we must protect privacy and civil liberties when it comes to cybersecurity.

Another priority is space. The bill promotes the commercial space industry by enhancing the government use of commercial imagery and commercial communications services. It requires the government to use commercial imagery to the maximum extent practicable.

I believe competition is important to ensure we get high quality products while keeping costs down. It drives innovation and provides a much-needed insurance policy in case there are problems with other programs. And it does create jobs.

The bill expanded our counterterrorism efforts to continue the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates around the world. The bill also makes counterintelligence the priority it is. It makes strategic additions across the intelligence community. This will pay for surveillance, better supply chain security, and the counterintelligence analysts we need.

The bill added resources to the intelligence community's global coverage initiatives to ensure the United States is capable and ready to address threats from any location around the world, especially in areas of strategic interest.

It authorizes the Department of Defense's new defense clandestine service to reorganize its human intelligence collection. It will be a part of the CIA's national clandestine service. The bill directed the Director of national intelligence to develop a centralized cloud for the entire intelligence community; advancing collaboration and further promoting efficiency; and it required the President to develop a strategy for security clearance, reciprocity, and a report on how to better protect our information technology across the global supply chain.

I urge my colleagues to support the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2012. When this bill was before the House in May, it passed by a bipartisan margin of 386-28. It's a good bipartisan bill that gives our intelligence professionals what they need to do their jobs and protect our Nation.


Mr. RUPPERSBERGER. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

First, I do want to acknowledge the work that has been done by Dennis Kucinich as a Member of Congress. DENNIS and I don't always philosophically agree, but I respect that he has a good point of view. That's the whole process here in Congress--that we have different points of view, that we come together, that we debate, and that we can make decisions.

So, DENNIS, we are going to miss you. Good luck to you and your family in the future, and I'm glad that one of the last things you're going to do is come here and talk about our bill today.

In just acknowledging what the chairman said, there is an aggressive legal process that is undertaken as far as drones are concerned that goes to the highest levels of our government before strikes are taken. In everything that I have reviewed, if there are children or innocent victims there, the strike does not take place. So there is a process. Unfortunately, there are some casualties--very minor. I would also agree with the chairman as far as this is concerned: in that what you read in the media is usually not what the facts are.

It is part of what we do. Why do we have the Intelligence Committee? We have it because there is classified information that if it got out would hurt the national security of our country. It's part of our role and our committee's role to take this classified information and work with the agencies to which we provide oversight so we will continue to work through that process.

Mr. Kucinich, I'm glad that you did raise that as an issue, as we all should.

Madam Speaker, for the third time in 3 years, Chairman Rogers and I have stood on the floor of the House encouraging our colleagues to support our intelligence budget bill. Today, we both rise in support of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The bill gives our intelligence professionals the resources, capabilities, and authorities they need to protect America and American interests.

We crafted a bill that addresses our core needs, including space, cybersecurity, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism. We are also keeping an eye on the bottom line. The bill is slightly below last year's budget and holds personnel at last year's levels. In a very strong bipartisan way, the Intelligence Committee came together as Democrats and Republicans to do what is right for our country and for the intelligence community.

I thank the staff again for what it has done, and I thank the chairman for his leadership in helping to provide this bill in a very fair, bipartisan way.

I would also like to acknowledge two Democratic Members who will be leaving us at the end of this session--Congressman Dan Boren of Oklahoma and Congressman Ben Chandler of Kentucky. Both Members will be greatly missed, and I appreciate their service on the Intelligence Committee.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2013, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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