House of Representatives passes updated intelligence authorization bill
On December 1, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Intelligence Authorization Act (HR 4127) on a bipartisan 364-58 vote.
The House had previously approved an Intelligence Authorization Act in June. The new version, updated to include measures in the bill reported out by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, provides the Intelligence Community the authorization needed to protect and defend the United States.
It supports critical national security programs such as those protecting Americans against terrorism and cyberattacks. The total funding authorized by the bill is consistent with the Budget Resolution and the Bipartisan Budget Act, balancing fiscal discipline and national security.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said, “Our enemies are rapidly improving their ability to launch devastating cyber-attacks and deadly terror strikes. Amid these elevated threat levels, it’s crucial that our intelligence professionals receive the resources they need to keep Americans safe. This bill will authorize those resources while ensuring full Congressional oversight of the Intelligence Community. I look forward to swift passage of the bill in the Senate so we can quickly get this legislation to the President’s desk.”
Among other things, the legislation:
- Sustains critical capabilities to fight terrorism and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- Funds efforts to recover from unauthorized disclosures of intelligence capabilities.
- Sustains activities in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to continue the fight against ISIL, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.
- Employs Guantanamo Bay closure restrictions which reflect restrictions in the recently signed FY16 National Defense Authorization Act.
- Invests in the resiliency of our national security space architecture.
- Provides policy direction on sensitive intelligence operations.
- Promotes intelligence integration and sharing through investment in Intelligence Community-wide information technology enterprises.
- Enhances investments in military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft.
- Funds initiatives to thwart cyberattacks and insider threats.
Ranking Member Adam Schiff said, “The recent Paris attacks drive home how vigilant we need to be, and the bill before us provides urgent resources for the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda. At the same time, we must never let our focus on any one threat or terror group distract us from the other challenges we face, like those from Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. This bill strikes the right balance by providing the necessary means to counter the wide-ranging threats from state and non-state actors, particularly in cyberspace, outer space and the undersea environment. The bill also takes critical steps to shore up our counter-intelligence capabilities—particularly important in light of the devastating OPM breach. I remain strongly opposed to any restrictions on closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but as these provisions reflect what is currently in law, I support the larger bill. Especially with what happened in Paris, we need to act now to fund and enable our intelligence agencies.”
The unclassified bill text and additional information is available here.