Congressional Record: April 26, 2006 (Senate)
Page S3591-S3598               

      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN:
  S. 2660. A bill to amend the National Security Act of 1947 to require 
notice to Congress of certain declassifications of intelligence 
information, and for other purposes; to the Select Committee on 
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I introduce today legislation to 
require the White House to notify Congress when it declassifies 
information. This bill will both enhance Congress's oversight abilities 
and ensure that intelligence is not used for political gain.
  This legislation recognizes that as the head of the executive branch, 
the President has the authority to declassify any information he so 
chooses. It does not place any conditions or procedures on that 
declassification process, it only requires that the Congress be 
provided with notice so that it can meet its own constitutional 
  Information is usually declassified because the public's need to know 
outweighs the security risks to intelligence sources and methods. In 
such cases, it is important for the Congress to be informed so that 
Senators and Representatives can discuss the issues with the American 
  And if the President declassifies information so that his 
subordinates can discuss intelligence with reporters, Congress should 
be alerted so that the intelligence committees can ensure that national 
secrets are not being used for political purposes.
  According to court filings and media reports, the Vice President's 
chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, acting on the direction and 
authorization of the President and Vice President, disclosed 
information in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's 
weapons of mass destruction to select journalists. This was not done to 
provide the American people with a fuller understanding of the pre-Iraq 
war intelligence; the Estimate was fully and publicly declassified 
shortly afterwards in a more appropriate manner. Rather, the selective 
declassification and leak was intended to stem a tide of bad press and 
discredit an administration critic through a subtle campaign of media 
  According to the prosecutor in Mr. Libby's case, Libby provided 
information on Iraq's purchase of uranium from Niger to New York Times 
reporter Judith Miller. The Niger claim was not a ``key judgment'' of 
the NIE, meaning that it was not deemed by the intelligence community 
to be a priority. It was included in the body of the report ``for 
completeness,'' according to the primary author. At the time, the 
Department of State's intelligence office found the Niger uranium claim 
to be ``highly dubious,'' and the intelligence community downplayed the 
Niger connection afterwards:
  The CIA had deleted a reference to Niger from the President's October 
7, 2002 speech in Cincinnati;
  Two senior intelligence officials had downplayed the assessment in 
testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee;
  The International Atomic Energy Agency had denounced the claim as 
being based on forged documents; and
  The intelligence community had retracted the intelligence.
  Let me say that again: the intelligence community had retracted this 
piece of intelligence. None of this additional information, apparently, 
was provided by Mr. Libby.
  Had the Senate and House intelligence committees been informed of 
this declassification, as would be required by this legislation, 
Members could have corrected the public record.

[[Page S3598]]

I would hope that with this reporting requirement, administrations of 
both political parties will be deterred from improper use of 
  In addition to stemming the politicization of intelligence, the bill 
I introduce today also notes the importance of keeping the full 
intelligence community informed of declassifications. If the President 
chooses, for whatever reason, to declassify information, the 
intelligence agency that had been responsible for those secrets has to 
take steps to protect intelligence sources and methods.
  Similarly, the National Archives are to be informed upon a 
Presidential declassification so the Nation's records can be 
appropriately maintained. As has been highlighted again today with the 
release of the Archives audit over the reclassification of 
intelligence, the Archives play an important role in providing 
declassified intelligence to the public. To do so, it must be informed 
when information enters the public domain.
  It should be made clear that there are more traditional procedures by 
which individual intelligence agencies declassify information on a 
regular basis, when the release of that information is seen as no 
longer damaging the national security. This is done thousands of times 
a week throughout the intelligence community.
  It is important that the public have access to as much information on 
its government's activities as possible. To that end, I look forward, 
through this legislation and otherwise, to working with my colleagues 
and the executive branch to ensure that declassification is done as 
extensively and as quickly as possible without risking our national 
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 2660

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (a) Notice Required.--
       (1) In general.--Title V of the National Security Act of 
     1947 (50 U.S.C. 413 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end 
     the following new section:

   ``notice to congress on certain declassifications of intelligence

       ``Sec. 508. (a) Notice Required.--Not later than 15 days 
     after the date of the declassification of any intelligence by 
     the President, or Vice President if authorized by Executive 
     Order or other delegation of authority from the President, 
     the President shall submit to the congressional intelligence 
     committees notice on the declassification of such 
       ``(b) Sense of Congress on Additional Notice.--It is the 
     sense of Congress that, in furtherance of the protection of 
     intelligence sources and methods and to ensure appropriate 
     handling and dissemination of intelligence, any notice 
     submitted to the congressional intelligence committees under 
     subsection (a) should also be submitted to--
       ``(1) the Director of National Intelligence;
       ``(2) the Archivist of the United States; and
       ``(3) the heads of applicable elements of the intelligence 
       ``(c) Exception.--This section does not apply to the 
     declassification of intelligence done as part of the 
     mandatory or systematic declassification of information as 
     described by section 3 of Executive Order No. 13292, of March 
     25, 2003, or any successor Executive Order.''.
       (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of contents for that Act 
     is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 
     507 the following new item:

``Sec. 508. Notice to Congress on certain declassifications of 

       (b) Reports to Congress on Certain Officials Authorized To 
     Declassify Information.--
       (1) Initial report.--Not later than 15 days after the date 
     of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to 
     the congressional intelligence committees a report setting 
     forth a current list of each official of the Executive Office 
     of the President, other than the President, who is authorized 
     to declassify information other than information originally 
     classified by such official.
       (2) Updates.--Not later than 15 days after adding or 
     removing an official from the list required by paragraph (1), 
     the President shall submit to the congressional intelligence 
     committees an update of the list and a notice of the addition 
     or removal of such official from the list.
       (3) Congressional intelligence committees defined.--In this 
     subsection, the term ``congressional intelligence 
     committees'' means--
       (A) the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate; and
       (B) the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the 
     House of Representatives.