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Schiff Statement on HPSCI Passing Intelligence Authorization Act Out of Committee

Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announced that the Committee voted to approve the Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 by a unanimous voice vote.

“This year’s IAA helps ensure that the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense intelligence components have the resources, authorities and capabilities necessary to protect our nation, while ensuring continuous and vigorous congressional oversight,” said Schiff. “This bill builds upon the work of our Committee in past years, and moves us along technical and other pathways to meet head on the many challenges on the horizon. I’m proud that the Committee has worked in a bipartisan manner to reach agreement on this bill, which provides greater transparency to the Congress and the American people about foreign attacks on our elections, something that has been a special priority for this Committee.”

This year’s IAA authorizes intelligence funding in the base budget at roughly 1.9% above the President’s FY19 budget request and funds Overseas Contingency Operations at roughly the President’s request. The combined 2018 and 2019 IAA includes provisions: 

  • Rebalancing IC resources and priorities to hard target countries such as Russia, China and North Korea, while also maintaining focus on counterterrorism and vulnerable or fractured states;
  • Better protecting the IC from supply chain risks;
  • Ensuring that IC elements appropriately compensate IC professionals with STEM and cyber expertise;
  • Ensuring that the IC furthers important U.S. policy objectives through certain covert action activities;
  • Increasing the effectiveness of pipelines meant to bring in new and diverse talent to the IC;
  • Ensuring the IC pursues parental leave and student loan repayment policies to the greatest extent possible; and
  • Investing in next generation technologies and space assets.

Specifically, the bill includes many new Minority priorities:

  • First, the IAA seeks to bolster the nation’s ability to understand and respond to foreign attacks on democratic elections. The legislation requires that the IC provide briefings to key Congressional leaders and committees if the United States faces a significant foreign cyber-attack or active measures campaign directed at a federal election. One goal of these briefings is to provide transparency to the fullest extent possible, including by providing officials an opportunity to determine whether, and in what form, to provide the public with information about such a campaign or intrusion.

  • The legislation also requires the DNI to publicly post an advisory report on foreign counterintelligence and cybersecurity threats to federal election campaigns. Committee report language also directs the FBI to provide detailed, quarterly briefings to the Intelligence Committees regarding the activities of the Foreign Influence Task Force, including its progress and significant challenges. Regarding foreign  elections, the bill requires the DNI to submit a report to Congress on the most significant Russian influence campaigns against such elections conducted in the past three years, as well as Russian campaigns that might be planned or already underway.

  • Second, the IAA would permit the compensation of employees and their dependents, in the event of injury incurred during “war, insurgency, hostile act, or terrorist activity.”

  • Third, the IAA includes significant provisions that ensure greater transparency. One Minority-authored provision would reauthorize the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) for ten years to ensure that IC records of historical significance are declassified to the fullest extent possible, consistent with national security and in accordance with executive branch policy.

  • Fourth, the report accompanying the IAA criticizes a statute that requires the FBI current headquarters building to be named for J. Edgar Hoover, whose civil rights record was abysmal, and who was responsible for COINTELPRO. The report expresses the Committee’s belief that Congress should reconsider the law and that a new name for the building be selected.

  • Fifth, the IAA makes permanent an expiring provision, which confers enhanced authority on the IC to manage risks to its supply chain, and establishes, for the first time, a standing board of outside experts to advise the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration, possibly as soon as the week of July 9, 2018.