House Intel Committee passes FY18 Intelligence Authorization Bill

On July 14, by a unanimous voice vote, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence reported the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 3180) to the full House of Representatives.

According to the committee, this legislation provides the Intelligence Community (IC) the necessary resources and authorities to ensure they remain capable of protecting and defending the United States.

The bill supports critical national security programs, particularly those focused on countering terrorism and cyberattacks. The total funding levels authorized by the bill are slightly below the president’s budget, balancing fiscal discipline and national security. This legislation:

  • Focuses the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on core missions by eliminating several DIA components and functions or realigning them to other IC elements;
  • Defends against foreign threats to elections by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to electronically publish an unclassified advisory report on foreign counterintelligence and cybersecurity threats to election campaigns for federal offices;
  • Bolsters intelligence oversight by ensuring that IC contractors can meet freely with Congress; and
  • Improves IC accountability to Congress by requiring the IC to provide reports on:
  1. Investigations of leaks of classified information;
  2. Security clearance processing timelines;
  3. The process for reviewing information about computer vulnerabilities for retention or potential release; and
  4. Russian influence campaigns directed at foreign elections and threat finance activities.

The Act makes no changes to any surveillance authorities, including those set to expire later this year, which will be addressed in separate legislation.

Chairman Devin Nunes said: “At a time when our nation faces major national security challenges from terrorist groups as well as nation states, it’s crucial that the Intelligence Community receive all the resources it needs to do its job while Congress has the necessary tools to carry out rigorous oversight of its work. This bill will ensure that our intelligence professionals have the biggest chance of success in thwarting foreign threats.”

Ranking Member Adam Schiff said: “Our nation faces a diverse and growing array of threats, and it is more important than ever that we provide the intelligence agencies with the resources, authorities and capabilities they need to protect our nation, while also ensuring we protect our privacy and civil liberties. This bill is the product of months of oversight and examination and a bipartisan commitment to the nation’s security. I look forward to taking the bill up on the House floor and to its eventual passage.”

For more information on the bill, click here.