Two congressmen want better cooperation from Intelligence Community to future requests from Comptroller General

Rep. Michael McCaul
Rep. Michael McCaul

The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee have joined forces to sponsor a House bill aimed at squeezing more cooperation out of the nation’s intelligence agencies when they’re being audited or reviewed by the Comptroller General.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the chairman of the homeland security panel, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a member of the intelligence committee, are sponsoring and co-sponsoring, respectively, H.R. 3900, the Intelligence Community Oversight Act of 2014.

The goal of the legislation is to “provide the Comptroller General with timely access to information concerning the programs and activities of the intelligence community for any audit, investigation, program evaluation, report, or review for which the Comptroller General considers such information necessary,” says the text of the bill, which was introduced on January 16 and referred to the intelligence committee.

The bill would require the “head of each element of the intelligence community” to cooperate with the Comptroller General “to the fullest extent possible”; not to categorically deny access to information requested; to consult with the Comptroller General; and to “explore alternative means to accommodate a request for access,” rather than simply denying the request.

If the head of an element of the Intelligence Community determines that he or she cannot comply with a request from the Comptroller General, he or she must submit to the Director of National Intelligence, the Comptroller General and Congress “a written justification for denying such access,” says the text of the legislation.

In turn, the Director of National Intelligence shall submit to Congress semiannually an electronic report describing all instances in which such requests for information were denied. And the Comptroller General must submit within 30 days of receiving such a report from the DNI submit to Congress a report containing any comments the Comptroller General considers appropriate.