Secrecy News

Senate Bill Would Require Intelligence Budget Disclosure

(Updated below)

Public disclosure of intelligence budget data would be required under a provision of the 2007 Intelligence Authorization Act that was reported (pdf) by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday and disclosed today.

The total amounts authorized and appropriated for the National Intelligence Program would be publicly disclosed each year starting in 2007, the Senate bill (pdf) states.

After 2007, the bill would also require the President to disclose the aggregate amount requested each year for national intelligence.

The budget disclosure provision was proposed by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and approved yesterday by the Senate Intelligence Committee on a 9-6 vote. All Democrats on the Committee supported the move, as did Republican Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska). Other Republicans, including Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), opposed it.

Beyond aggregate budget disclosure, the bill would also require the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a study on the advisability of disclosing the budget of each individual element of the intelligence community.

The disclosure requirement (Section 107 of S. 3237) generally corresponds to a bipartisan recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. A similar measure was approved by the Senate in October 2004, but opposed by the White House and blocked in the House.

“The public ought to know how much money the government is spending on intelligence activities and the Senate has long sought this sensible reform,” Senator Jay Rockefeller and other Democratic Senators wrote in a Statement appended to the Report.

“We believe declassifying the aggregate amount of money the nation spends on intelligence would not harm the nation’s security.”

The new Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2007 includes numerous other significant and interesting provisions including: a requirement for a DNI report on treatment of detainees (section 313); a requirement for a report on alleged clandestine detention facilities (section 314); establishment of a National Space Intelligence Center (section 410); and quite a bit more.

See the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the FY 2007 Intelligence Authorization Act, Senate Report 109-259, May 25.

The underlying bill is S. 3237.

The intelligence bill has been referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee for a ten day period.

Update: See Panel Requires Annual Disclosure of Intelligence Budget by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, May 28.

Leave a Reply