Chairman Schiff Applauds Passage of 2022 Intelligence Authorization Act
Washington DC, September 30, 2021
Today, the House Intelligence Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2022 Intelligence Authorization Act through a bipartisan voice vote, authorizing funding for comprehensive congressional oversight of the Intelligence Community. The measure ensures the protection of civil liberties, provides care for our personnel, and authorizes the resources intelligence professionals need to safeguard national security.
“One of our committee’s principal responsibilities is crafting an Intelligence Authorization Act that keeps our country secure while ensuring the Congress’ ability to conduct vigorous oversight, protect civil liberties, care for our personnel, and provide for the resources intelligence professionals need to safeguard national security,” said Schiff. “The bill passed out of the committee today is a strong bipartisan package, and I would like to thank all of our Members and staff on both sides of the aisle for working diligently to contribute to and shape this legislation. I am particularly pleased by the significant progress made within this authorization act to provide improved care for members of the IC, particularly those impacted by anomalous health incidents, to protect against future pandemics and global health threats, and to further our pivot towards hard targets and the great power competition we face from China and Russia. I hope that the full House will be able to take up this legislation soon as we continue the process of enacting these reforms into law.”
This year’s IAA authorizes funding for the IC at roughly 0.5% above the President’s FY 2022 Budget Request.
The legislation advances significant bipartisan Committee priorities, including:
Caring for Victims of Anomalous Health Incidents. The bill includes provisions arising out of HPSCI’s thorough oversight of the Intelligence Community’s response to Anomalous Health Incidents, which have affected numerous IC officers and government employees, their spouses, and children.
Most significantly, the bill contains a provision requiring the president to develop uniform protocols for comprehensive pre-deployment testing of individuals and comprehensive treatment and care of individuals, and their families, following an AHI. The bill also requires the creation of protocols that encourage the reporting of AHIs and for handling complaints or concerns regarding the government’s treatment of employees who report an AHI.
Taken together, these provisions will cause significant improvements throughout the U.S. government in standardizing and ensuring quality care for government officials who experience an anomalous health incident. For the CIA, specifically, the title will ensure that OMS provides the highest standard of care to CIA officers in all of OMS’ activities, including when a CIA officer experiences an AHI.
Getting Ready for the Next Pandemic. The bill takes several steps to put the IC in a stronger position to face the next pandemic. The bill substantially enhances the authorities of the National Counterproliferation Center to address the full spectrum of foreign biological threats and to provide indications and warnings about emerging biological threats. The bill also includes a report assessing the value of adding the Department of Health and Human Services Office of National Security to the Intelligence Community, as well as mandating additional reporting about the IC’s posture against foreign biological threats of all kinds. The classified annex includes several provisions about pandemic preparedness and global health security.
Afghanistan – Looking Forward. The bill requires a National Intelligence Estimate – the IC’s premier analytic product – on threats and opportunities arising out of Afghanistan in the next two years, including relations between the Taliban and China, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, the Taliban’s approach to human rights, and the safety and ability to secure safe transit of Afghan allies of the United States. The bill also requires a detailed report on our current ability to collect intelligence regarding Afghanistan, including detection and prevention of any increased threats to the homeland, and an assessment of how to improve our capabilities following U.S. withdrawal.
China and Counterintelligence. The bill requires the FBI’s counterintelligence division to conduct a security assessment of any Chinese-origin product or service before the FBI procures such product or service. Another provision calls for a report on cooperation between China and the UAE regarding defense, security, technology, and other matters.
Understanding Transnational White Supremacy. The bill includes a detailed provision that addresses intelligence gaps and sharpens America’s focus on transnational white supremacist extremist threats. Specifically, this bill will improve federal intelligence agencies’ ability to prioritize white supremacist extremist threats, including ties to international groups and their finances. It mandates that the National Counterterrorism Center – alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security – explore and analyze more thoroughly the ideology and objectives driving white supremacist groups with transnational connections, including their leadership and operational structure.
Restricting Former Intelligence Officers from Misusing Their Skills. The bill imposes a requirement that certain former intelligence officers, who occupied particularly sensitive positions, report employment with a foreign government related to national security, intelligence, or internal security. It also bars such employment for 30 months after working in the IC. The provision includes criminal penalties for those who do not follow the provision, including violating cooling-off period, failing to report employment with a foreign government, or falsifying their reports. The intention of the provision is to discourage former IC employees from providing intelligence services to adversaries or to countries with poor human rights records.
Promoting Human Rights. Several provisions advance the Committee’s longstanding interest in protecting and promoting human rights. One provision will help the committee understand how the IC prioritizes enforcing human rights sanctions under current law such as the Global Magnitsky Sanctions and the Khashoggi Ban. Another provision requires reports on cyber vulnerabilities acquired by the IC and on certain foreign commercial providers of cyber vulnerabilities whose services can be used to violate human rights.
Detecting and Monitoring Wildfires in the U.S. The bill requires that the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency lead a coordinated, interagency review with the Department of Defense, and the organizations within the National Interagency Fire Center, to assess existing technical capabilities and future opportunities to detect and monitor wildfires. This measure ensures the government is leveraging all possible resources, within existing authorities, to provide timely and accurate information to firefighters fighting wildfires, including those in the Western U.S. Those fires are becoming increasingly common and severe because of climate change.
Great Power Competition in the ‘Gray Zone’. The United States is facing new forms of competition and threats from adversaries using tactics that fall on a spectrum between ordinary statecraft and open warfare. The bill contains a provision mandating a National Intelligence Estimate that uses the IC’s classified reporting to describe how foreign adversaries use gray zone activities to advance their interests and assess what U.S. responses would cause our adversaries to escalate – or deescalate – that activity.
Protecting IC Employees. A provision will seek information on cases in which the DIA inspector general substantiated claims of reprisal or abuse of authority against DIA managers, and how the resulting disciplinary decisions were made. It also reinforces the critical need for IG independence from agency leadership. The effect is to ensure that employees at that agency are having their allegations fully and thoroughly investigated and senior leaders and managers at all levels are held accountable for their actions.
Shining a Light on Saudi Extremism. The bill requires that the Director of National Intelligence prepare a detailed report on the threat of extremist ideologies propagated from Saudi Arabia and the failure of the Government of Saudi Arabia to prevent the propagation of such ideologies.
Persistent Pursuit of Unexplained Aerial Phenomena. Following a bipartisan oversight hearing on Unexplained Aerial Phenomena, the bill is carrying a bicameral provision mandating intelligence sharing with the Department of Defense’s UAP task force. The provision will ensure that the task force will be able to fully draw on all classified reporting about UAPs as they continue to investigate this mysterious threat to U.S. airspace and our military forces.
Click here to read the full legislation.