Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approves FY2015 authorization bill

Dianne Feinstein (right) and Saxby Chambliss
Dianne Feinstein (right) and Saxby Chambliss

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) announced on July 29 that the committee had unanimously voted to approve the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.

The bill’s next step will be consideration before the full Senate. The House of Representatives has already passed its fiscal year 2015 bill.

Senator Feinstein said, “This bill continues the committee’s practice of passing strong legislation to authorize and fund the intelligence community while seeking to strengthen management and oversight. We have enacted five straight bills, and I look forward to this bill becoming the sixth. It has been a pleasure to work with Senator Chambliss, the vice chairman of the committee, over the years and I hope to get this legislation to the president’s desk before Senator Chambliss retires.”

Senator Chambliss added, “As our nation continues to face threats from all over the world, it is essential our intelligence collection and analytic capabilities are able to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. This year’s legislation provides clear guidance and appropriate resources to the intelligence community, while enhancing the committee’s oversight of vital intelligence activities. I am proud of the work Dianne and I have done on the final intelligence authorization bill of my career.”

The bill authorizes funding for the U.S. intelligence community and provides numerous legal authorities and requirements:

  • The bill includes a provision requiring every intelligence agency to adopt procedures to ensure that communications of Americans acquired in the course of intelligence activities are destroyed within five years, unless a specific exemption applies. Similar destruction requirements exist in minimization procedures for collection done under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and this provision would extend such requirements to other intelligence activities.
  • The bill also includes provisions calling for stronger management of parts of the intelligence community, including the conduct of financial intelligence and the consolidation of intelligence community lists of cyber threats and malware.
  • The bill strengthens congressional oversight of intelligence agencies, including requiring an annual report of any violations of law or executive order committed by intelligence personnel and requiring a report of intelligence activities conducted within the Department of Homeland Security that fall outside the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
  • The classified annex to the bill authorizes the funding of intelligence activities. The committee supports and increases funding for counterterrorism and counter-proliferation and for intelligence collection around the world.