Week ending May 27, 2016
H.R.5077 Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
The bill authorizes funds for intelligence and related activities, the community management account, and the CIA Retirement and Disability System. The bill also authorizes funding for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). Most of the bill spending is classified.
The purpose of H.R. 5077 is to authorize the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2017. These activities enhance the national security of the United States, support and assist the armed forces of the United States, and support the President in the execution of the foreign policy of the United States.
The bill calls for declassification of information on past terrorist activities of detainees transferred from United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after signing of Executive Order 13492; Intelligence community reporting to Congress on foreign fighter flows; Report on information relating to academic programs, scholarships, fellowships, and internships sponsored, administered, or used by the intelligence community; and report on cybersecurity threats to seaports of the United States and maritime shipping.
More reporting is required on reprisals against contractors of the intelligence community.
(Full text of H.R. 5077 at congress.gov)
Sponsor: Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-22] (introduced 4/27/2016) Cosponsors (1)
Status: Passed House /
VOTES and FLOOR ACTION
On Passage: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 371 – 35, 1 Present (Roll no. 235).
Motion to recommit:
Text of the motion:
COST AND IMPACT
Cost to the taxpayers: The Fiscal Year 2017 authorization is very slightly above the President’s budget request level and includes authorization for a full-year of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). CBO does not provide estimates for classified programs; therefore, this estimate addresses only the unclassified aspects of the bill. On that limited basis, CBO estimates that implementing the unclassified provisions of the bill would cost $521 million over the 2017-2021 period, subject to appropriation of the specified amounts.
Pay-as-you-go requirements: In addition, enacting the bill also would affect direct spending and revenues by allowing the Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to designate certain employees as law enforcement officers; therefore, pay-as-you procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that those effects would not be significant over the 2017-2026 period.
Regulatory and Other Impact:
Dynamic Scoring: CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5077 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
Duplication of programs: H.R. 5077 does not duplicate or reauthorize an established program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal program
Direct Rule-Making: H.R. 5077 does not specifically direct any rule makings within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.
Advisory Committee Statement:
Constitutional Authority: Assumed.
The Intelligence Committee advanced the bipartisan Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 by unanimous voice vote.
The annual IAA ensures that the programs and activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), including Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence elements, are authorized in law and optimally resourced to protect the nation from threats at home and abroad. Equally important, this critical piece of legislation also ensures rigorous congressional oversight of the IC, including over its most sensitive aspects.
This year’s IAA is comprehensive, detailed, and thoughtfully-considered. It authorizes intelligence funding in the Base budget at a level nearly equal to the FY17 President’s Budget request, which is approximately the same as the FY16 enacted budget level. The Overseas Contingency Operations authorization is roughly 1.5% above the request.
The bill provides substantial and appropriate oversight of the IC by trimming unnecessary funding and reprioritizing resource allocation; adding money to underfunded programs; and providing congressional direction to improve processes, gain efficiencies, and ensure greater transparency and accountability within the IC. It also fences significant amounts of funding to better ensure continuous IC accountability throughout the year.
Specifically, the FY17 IAA:
a. Emphasizes the need to focus on long-term threats, such as those from an increasingly aggressive China, Russia, and North Korea, while maintaining focus on the immediate threats posed by terrorism and the security challenges in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia;
b. Protects our most vital capabilities, whether in space, cyberspace, on land or at sea, as well as our most invaluable resources–our IC professionals–against growing threats across domains;
c. Leverages and promotes commercial capabilities, while investing in the most advanced technologies that do not yet have commercial application;
d. Promotes greater capacity-building among key partners and allies to further leverage shared resources and competencies, and advances more strategic approaches to these efforts;
e. Emphasizes the importance of recruiting, developing, and retaining the most effective and diverse workforce to answer the increasingly complex challenges facing the IC and the defense intelligence enterprise;
f. Continues to support HUMINT, a critical intelligence mission;
g. Promotes, through resources and direction, enhanced cyber security for our nation’s most critical systems; and
h. Ensures thorough oversight of surveillance capabilities.
In light of whistleblower allegations that intelligence was inappropriately influenced or distorted at CENTCOM, this year’s bill also includes provisions aimed at better ensuring the integrity of DoD intelligence analysis. Additionally, this year’s IAA improves the procedure for IC whistleblowers to report complaints to Congress.
The Minority remains committed to a strong counterterrorism posture, but also to a more transparent one. Accordingly, the Minority reiterates the need for the release of substantial data on the total number of combatants and noncombatant civilians who may have been killed or injured as a result of counterterrorism action. Ranking Member Schiff continues to highlight this issue within the Committee and to the Administration.
The Minority is pleased that the IAA fully funds and, for the first time, specifically authorizes the activities of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an entity tasked with ensuring that U.S. counterterrorism programs advance national security while appropriately safeguarding civil liberties. However, the Minority will remain vigilant to ensure that the Committee does not seek to constrain PCLOB authorities in the future–particularly in light of last year’s provision to curtail its jurisdiction over U.S. Covert Action programs, which this year Representative Himes tried to reverse through an amendment. The Minority continues to demonstrate its strong support for this important and independent body, and to oppose efforts to limit is role in overseeing counterterrorism activities.
Unlike last year’s IAA, this year’s bill omits odious transfer restrictions from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This year’s IAA, however, calls for a declassification review of certain intelligence products regarding terrorist acts committed by transferred detainees before their arrival at Guantanamo Bay. The only detainees covered by the declassification provision, however, are those transferred since President Obama took office, disregarding the roughly 500 detainees transferred or released by the prior administration–detainees whose recidivism rates generally remain far higher than any transferred or released under President Obama.
Additionally, this year’s IAA unfortunately does not fund the President’s request to enhance intelligence analysis on the serious national security implications of climate change. Food and water scarcity, and vast population displacement, are inevitable features of unchecked climate change and therefore will prove to be tremendous drivers of global instability, which the IC needs to better anticipate and understand.
Despite these specific weaknesses, the House Intelligence Committee reached bipartisan agreement on this year’s IAA, which includes several key provisions championed by Minority Members, including:
a. Mr. Himes’s provision to improve the timeliness and fairness of the prepublication review process throughout the IC, by calling for uniform guidance to ensure that reviews only block publication of appropriately classified material, and that employees at each IC element receive impartial and expeditious reviews of their works;
b. Ms. Sewell’s language on investment in `Centers of Academic Excellence’ programs, helping to guarantee that a diverse array of students can take part in IC internships, and her requirement to collect data to evaluate the IC’s federally-funded academic programs;
c. Mr. Carson’s provision requiring the IC to publish insignia commonly associated with terrorist organizations to assist public and private entities in swiftly removing terrorist content online; his provision on cooperation and de-confliction between the departments of Homeland Security and State regarding countering violent extremism programs; and his requirement to have the Committee receive information on the operational impacts of foreign investment in the United States;
d. Ms. Speier’s provisions to: (a) standardize declassification photocopying fees across the IC to promote increased availability of information and enhance transparency; (b) expand access to graduate education programs at the Defense Intelligence Agency, (c) obtain information on the mental health resilience programs available to IC civilians returning from tours in combat zones; and (d) study reprisals taken against IC contractors who make disclosures that would be legally protected if made by IC employees;
e. Mr. Quigley’s language to continue support to security services in Ukraine;
f. Mr. Swalwell’s provision to track foreign fighters, his requirement to analyze the status of loan forgiveness and debt counseling programs in the IC, and his provision to better understand how the departments of Homeland Security and Energy take advantage of the expertise resident at our National Labs; and
g. Mr. Murphy’s provisions to: (a) provide a report detailing cybersecurity threats to, or vulnerabilities in, systems employed by seaports and transshipment hubs, including efforts to improve our preparedness and response to a cyber attack; (b) improve intelligence reporting with respect to Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; and (c) requires a report on the security threats emanating from maritime smuggling routes and ways to better cooperate with other nations to mitigate these threats.
The Minority strongly supports this year’s Intelligence Authorization Act. It will further ensure that the IC, including DoD‘s intelligence components, are appropriately resourced and authorized to address an increasingly complex security environment, while safeguarding civil liberties and privacy.
ADAM B. SCHIFF,
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ.
JAMES A. HIMES.
TERRI A. SEWELL.
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