House Turns to FY2012 Intelligence Authorization Act

09.08.11 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The House Intelligence Committee issued its report on the FY2012 intelligence authorization act on September 2, and the bill is expected to go to the House floor on September 9.

The White House issued a veto threat against the bill yesterday based on its opposition to two provisions:  a requirement to produce State Department cables relating to Guantanamo detainees, and a requirement that the Director of the National Security Agency be confirmed by the Senate.

Somewhat oddly, those provisions, which originated in the Senate version of the bill, did not appear in the version reported by the House Intelligence Committee.  Rather, they were included in a “pre-conferenced” version of the bill (pdf) that was intended to expedite handling of the bill by incorporating some Senate provisions and which was provided to the House Rules Committee.  But Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Mike Rogers told the Rules Committee yesterday that he would offer a manager’s amendment on the House floor to remove the provisions that are opposed by the White House, mitigating or eliminating the veto threat.

The most significant features of the pending intelligence bill are contained in a classified annex that is not publicly available.  Among its less significant features, the unclassified bill would require the CIA to prepare a classified official report on the killing of Osama bin Laden (as first reported by Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg News).

“For years to come, Americans will look back at this event as a defining point in the history of the United States,” the House Committee believes, referring to the bin Laden killing.  “It is vitally important that the United States memorialize all the events that led to the raid so that future generations will have an official record of the events that transpired before, during, and as a result of the operation,” the Committee report said.

The House bill would also specify that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, rather than the Department of Homeland Security as a whole, is a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Coincidentally, in an investigation published this week the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis “has fallen far short of its mission and done little to improve the accuracy and quality of the nation’s intelligence data.”  See “Homeland security office creates ‘intelligence spam,’ insiders claim” by Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, America’s War Within, September 5.

The House Intelligence Committee report is silent regarding the Office’s performance.