In a heated debate April 16, the Senate failed to achieve cloture on the FY2007 Intelligence Authorization Act, leaving it open for further amendment today.
One of the points that now seems beyond debate, however, is the need to disclose the total intelligence budget figure.
“The chairman [Sen. Rockefeller] and I have agreed it makes sense … to declassify the top line number of the intelligence budget,” said Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I have talked with leaders in the intelligence community and I said: Does that cause you any problems? They said: No. It is only when you get below that. Were you to go down the slippery slope of disclosing amounts going into particular units or particular programs of the intelligence community, you give away vital secrets,” Sen. Bond said on the Senate floor.
“This body has twice gone on record and was stated by the chairman and the 9/11 Commission has recommended disclosing the overall number so that the people of America will know whether we are continuing to support the intelligence community adequately, whether we are supporting it with the kinds of resources needed,” he said.
“In our [proposed] managers’ amendment, we took out a [requirement for a] study that would purport to look at the possibility of declassifying further details, other than the top line. We both agreed that should be out,” Sen. Bond said.
See the full debate and the list of pending or proposed amendments to the FY 2007 Intelligence Authorization Act here.
Despite the intelligence community acquiescence noted by Senator Bond, the White House remains opposed to any disclosure of intelligence budget information, according to an April 12 policy statement (pdf).