Secrecy News

White House Threatens Veto of Intelligence Bill

The White House expressed strong opposition (pdf) to the Fiscal Year 2009 Intelligence Authorization Act that is pending before the House of Representatives today, in part because it includes provisions for increased disclosure of classified information to the congressional intelligence oversight committees.

One of the provisions, the White House complained, “would withhold 75 percent of requested funding for covert action programs until the Administration provides much greater access to highly sensitive national security information to all members of the congressional intelligence committees.”

“Such a provision is inconsistent with the statute that expressly authorizes limited notice to Congress in exceptional cases and would undermine the fundamental compact between the Congress and the President on reporting highly sensitive intelligence matters — an arrangement that for decades has balanced congressional oversight responsibility with the need to protect intelligence information,” the White House said.

The President’s advisors would recommend a veto if “any” of the objectionable provisions were adopted, today’s statement said. See “Statement of Administration Policy on Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2009,” July 16.

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