Congressional Record: March 6, 2007 (Senate)
Page S2677-S2678
                   Unanimous-Consent Request--S. 375

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 20, S. 
372, the Intelligence authorization, 2007; that the Rockefeller-Bond 
amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to; that the bill, as 
amended, be read the third time and passed; that the motion to 
reconsider be laid upon the table; that a statement by Senator 
Rockefeller be printed in the Record as if read, without intervening 
action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, on behalf of another Senator--not 
myself--I do object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, let me take this opportunity to 
thank many people but not the particular Senator who is objecting--1 
out of 100. Nevertheless, Senators Reid, Bond, myself, and others have 
worked very hard to move this fiscal year 2007 Intelligence 
authorization bill forward. All parties have been enormously supportive 
in this effort. It is one of the more embarrassing efforts I have been 
associated with in my 24 years in this body. I must express my dismay, 
my absolute dismay. I will hold it to that.
  Despite considerable efforts on the part of the chairman and Vice 
Chairman Bond and extensive efforts and negotiations to get agreement 
on this bill, there is still an objection from one Senator for its 
consideration. Is it just another bill? Not quite. The Senate's failure 
to pass this critical national security legislation for the past 2 
years is remarkably shocking and inexcusable.
  In 2005, the Senate failed, for the first time since the 
establishment of the congressional intelligence committees, to pass an 
annual Intelligence authorization bill. That means for 27 years we 
passed authorization bills for the Intelligence Committee. It is not an 
inconsequential committee. It instructs how intelligence is to be done. 
There are a number of changes that have been agreed to. All of that 
failure was followed by a repeat failure in 2006--in 2005 and then in 

[[Page S2678]]

  So from 1978 through 2004, the Senate had an unbroken 27-year record 
of completing its work on this critical legislation. You cannot move to 
appropriations until you go through authorization, particularly in a 
field such as intelligence authorization that has an unbelievably 
important role. The Intelligence authorization bill has been considered 
must-pass legislation for many years--until recently. Now, in the midst 
of the war on terror, with things going downhill in Iraq, going 
downhill in Afghanistan, and our continued military involvement in both 
places, when good intelligence is not just vital but a matter of life 
and death--and I emphasize the second--we have been prevented from 
passing that bill that provides the legislative roadmap for our 
intelligence programs.
  Similar to the Defense authorization and appropriations bills, the 
Intelligence authorization bill is at the core of our efforts to 
protect America. That is why it is simply incomprehensible, shocking, 
and debasing that we cannot find a way to bring up and pass this 
critical legislation.
  The result of this continued obstruction will be diminished authority 
for intelligence agencies to do their job in protecting America. I hope 
the Senator involved takes satisfaction in that. I am not sure his 
constituents--if it is a he--would. Yes, I am angry.
  The authorization bill contains 16 separate provisions enhancing or 
clarifying the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The 
bill includes major improvements in the way we approach and manage 
human intelligence, information sharing, protection of sources and 
methods, and even the nominations process for key intelligence 
community leaders.
  I came to the floor several times last year to explain those 
provisions in detail. Today, I reiterate how important this legislation 
is to the war on terrorism and to every other aspect of our national 
security, including the ongoing fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. This 
should have happened years ago. Somebody objects and, of course, it 
cannot happen; the rules of the Senate prevail.
  There is no reason the Senate cannot pass this bill quickly, so that 
we can confer with the House before the committee is required to turn 
its attention to drafting and reporting out what will be another 
experiment, the 2008 authorization, which we should already be halfway 
toward completing. If there is objection to passing this bill by 
unanimous consent, we have been--the vice chairman and I, who worked 
very well together--more than willing to negotiate a time agreement and 
quickly debate and pass this long-overdue national security bill.
  It is essential we assist the men and women of the intelligence 
agencies to continue their vital work on the frontlines of Iraq and 
Afghanistan and something called the war on terror.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has used his 5 minutes.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, I conclude by simply saying we need 
this bill.
  I yield the floor.
  Several Senators addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, parliamentary inquiry.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont will state his 
  Mr. LEAHY. Has there been time reserved for the Senator from Vermont?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 13 minutes.
  Mr. LEAHY. Further parliamentary inquiry: Is there an order for 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is not.
  Mr. LEAHY. Further parliamentary inquiry: Does anybody else have time 
reserved to them?
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I believe I do for an amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois and the Senator from 
California each have 13 minutes.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, may I just appeal to whatever 
reasoned and reasonable people there may be around here, and that is 
that the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee has something to 
say on this matter which relates to what I said. There is a sequential 
power in that which I think deserves consideration.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I reserve my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, in order for the Senator from Missouri 
to speak, would the Senator from Maine or one of the sponsors have to 
yield time to him?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
  Ms. COLLINS. How much time does the Senator from Maine have 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 6 minutes remaining.
  Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, I yield 4 minutes to the Senator from 
  Mr. BOND. Madam President, I thank the ranking member of the 
  When this committee was formed a long time ago--30 years ago--we 
lacked congressional oversight. Since 9/11, we found that congressional 
oversight had not been as good as it should have been, and one of my 
first acts when I was appointed vice chairman was I suggested to the 
chairman that passing the authorization bill was the top priority. He 
agreed. We have to be able to pass authorization bills if we are to 
have an impact on the intelligence community.
  There are already a number of Rockefeller-Bond amendments on this 9/
11 bill. There will be more.
  There are some who say there is nothing an executive branch agency 
values more than a lack of congressional oversight. But I believe 
congressional oversight can help them do their job better.
  Is this bill perfect? No. But it is largely the same bill as last 
year, and we have changed provisions that were objectionable. On the 
good side, it would ensure that the exemption of Freedom of Information 
Act requirements carries over to operational files. There is a specific 
provision creating, within the Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence, a National Space Intelligence Center.
  In reviewing all these, we worked very closely together to deal with 
problems in the bill. I believe we have taken care of most of the 
problems people raised. What I am afraid of is that people are 
objecting to the bill without knowing what is in the bill, without 
knowing the changes we have made, the accommodations that have been 
made by the chairman and by the vice chairman to make this bill 
  Some have said that the administration has concerns. If the 
administration has concerns, obviously they could exercise those 
concerns in a veto. But if they have concerns, I am not sure they know 
the changes and the provisions we have added to this bill.
  I invite my colleagues who have problems with the bill to talk with 
me or with the chairman about the bill so we can move it. We have 
worked long and hard to help improve the operations of the intelligence 
community. Our bill is the one way we have of providing that guidance 
and sharing with the intelligence community the issues that the 
bipartisan members of this committee believe are important.
  I invite anybody, all people or any person who has a hold on this 
bill, to come forward and find out what is in the bill. Don't judge it 
by what you think it may contain.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.