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FAS Note: Following are excerpts from the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the FY 1998 intelligence authorization bill. Click here for a copy of the full report.


                                                        Calendar No. 74
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 1st Session                                                     105-24
_______________________________________________________________________


 
 AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 FOR THE INTELLIGENCE 
ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE 
     AGENCY RETIREMENT AND DISABILITY SYSTEM AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

	[excerpts on classification and related issues]
                                _______
                                

                  June 9, 1997.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


 Mr. Shelby, from the Select Committee on Intelligence, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 858]

[...]

Providing intelligence to the warfighter: The Khamisiyah experience

    The Khamisiyah experience revealed the need for the 
Intelligence and Defense Communities to improve the provision, 
handling, and use of intelligence information during a crisis 
situation. The Select Committee on Intelligence has undertaken 
an investigation into Intelligence Community warnings to the 
U.S. Army about chemical warfare agents at Khamisiyah, Iraq, in 
1991 and suspicions that U.S. forces conducting demolition 
activities to the site may have been exposed to Chemical 
Weapons (CW) agents. Our preliminary review indicates 
substantial mismanagement and lack of communication among 
elements of the military and the Intelligence Community 
regarding information and warnings provided on Iraqi CW 
facilities, including Khamisiyah, as well as in the use made of 
this information. Intelligence support associated with 
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, particularly in the 
area of information distribution and analysis, was often 
spotty, inconsistent, and slow. In addition, there were 
problems with multiple databases; inconsistent foreign language 
place names; limited sharing of sensitive but vital 
information; and incomplete searches of files in preparing 
lists of known or suspect CW facilities in Iraq. The Committee 
addresses the problem of inconsistent place names in Section 
308 by directing the Director of Central Intelligence to issue 
guidelines to ensure the use of uniform spelling of foreign 
names and places and the uniform use of geographic coordinates. 
This should alleviate the problem of locating geographic places 
when searching intelligence reports, products, and databases in 
the future.
    The Committee directs the Director of Central Intelligence 
to submit to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the 
Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Defense 
Subcommittee on Appropriations, no later than March 1, 1998, a 
report that identifies the specific actions that have been 
taken or are being taken to enhance cooperation between 
Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community by 
improving the provision, handling, and use of intelligence 
information in preparation for, during, and after battle. Such 
a report shall include those steps that intelligence agencies 
are undertaking to reconcile information in databases in order 
to eliminate confusion over potential targets (facilities and 
other sites). It shall also include a review of how 
intelligence components handle sensitive information and of 
their procedures for deciding how and what vital information to 
share with others. Further, the report shall contain an 
enumeration of those steps that intelligence agencies are 
undertaking to ensure that information searches are more 
thorough in order to provide military commanders on the ground 
with complete and timely information.

[...]

 Ensuring flow of information to congress, policymakers, and the public

    The most effective intelligence capability in the world is 
worthless if the information collected is not provided to the 
people who need it. Consumers of intelligence include not only 
the warfighters and policymakers, but also the Congress and the 
American public. A key issue in this regard is the handling of 
classified information. The Committee is concerned that 
insufficient priority is attached to ensuring a thorough review 
of intelligence so that families concerned about the murder of 
a loved one overseas and the general public receive information 
the disclosure of which no longer threatens national security. 
There is also a risk that over-classification or undue 
restrictions on dissemination of intelligence information 
within the executive branch could prevent information from 
reaching the policymakers who need it to reach informed 
decisions. In addition, the Committee is concerned about the 
impact of classification on Congress' ability to learn from 
federal employees about wrongdoing within executive agencies 
and departments.
    The Committee is reviewing the findings and recommendations 
of the report by the Commission on Protecting and Reducing 
Government Secrecy released in March 1997. The twelve person 
bi-partisan Commission spent two years investigating how the 
U.S. Government classifies and declassifies national security 
information, grants security clearances, and protects 
information on automated systems. The Committee will examine 
the feasibility of implementing the Commission's 
recommendations in the Intelligence Community and intends to 
play an important role in the Senate's consideration of 
legislation regarding this issue.

Providing information to victims and victims' families

    The Committee recently heard from the families of several 
Marines who were murdered in a terrorist attack in Zona Rosa, 
El Salvador, in 1985. A common refrain in their testimony was 
concern about how little information they received from their 
government regarding the attack and its perpetrators. It was 
from network television, for example, that at least one family 
first learned of the attack. Several families learned, years 
later from a television broadcast, that the likely mastermind 
of the attack had been brought into this country through 
official U.S. Government (USG) channels. The Committee has 
pressed the executive branch to provide these families with as 
much information as possible, but eleven years is a long time 
to wait. Similar frustration was expressed when the Committee 
heard during the last Congress from Americans who had lost 
their loved ones to violence in Guatemala. Subsequently, the 
Administration did establish a focal point on the Guatemala 
issues and this proved helpful to the families trying to 
negotiate through the maze of bureaucracies in search of 
relevant information.
    The Committee believes it is in the national interests of 
the United States to provide information regarding the murder 
or kidnaping of U.S. persons abroad to the families of the 
victims. Moreover, given the difficulty inherent in identifying 
all relevant information that might be held by disparate 
elements of the government, and the likely resistance to 
providing information that is currently classified, the 
Committee believes this important responsibility must 
ultimately be vested in a cabinet-level official.Therefore, the 
Committee has adopted a provision requiring the Secretary of State to 
ensure that all appropriate actions are taken within the USG to 
identify promptly all relevant information and to make it available to 
families to the maximum extent possible without seriously jeopardizing 
sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other vital national 
security interests. It is the Committee's expectation that the 
Secretary of State will act as an advocate for the families in the 
inevitable interagency debates regarding how much information can be 
disclosed.
    In order to improve the process for handling classified 
information in such a way that declassification can be 
accommodated efficiently, the Committee is providing additional 
funds to support the CIA's Declassification Factor (CDF). The 
Committee directs the DCI to review the current 
declassification polices and programs within the Intelligence 
Community and recommend measures to consolidate programs, 
evaluate agency performance, prioritize efforts, and provide 
adequate personnel and financial resources. The DCI's findings 
and recommendations should be provided to the intelligence 
oversight committees no later than September 1, 1997.

Standardizing information control systems and markings

    The Committee commends the steps the CIA has taken to 
improve classification management practices, including efforts 
to make classifiers more accountable for their actions. Another 
important aspect of classification policies and procedures is 
information control systems and markings. Efforts to ensure 
that intelligence is appropriately disseminated and that 
information vital to the Nation's security is kept secure and 
all other information is ultimately released to the public will 
be enhanced by standardizing information control systems and 
markings. The Controlled Access Program Oversight Committee 
(CAPOC), as a part of the Community Management Staff, is 
leading an interagency project jointly with the Security Policy 
Board and the Intelligence System Secretariat to standardize 
guidance for the principle Sensitive Compartmented Information 
control systems and related classification and security 
markings. This project should result in improved consistency of 
compartmentation and classification management across 
intelligence disciplines and make an important contribution to 
interoperability among automated information systems in the 
Intelligence Community. The Committee urges the DCI to assign 
resources and priority attention to completion of updated 
classification guides and a unified list of compatible 
markings. In addition, the Committee encourages the DCI to 
incorporate into this effort other CIA collection disciplines. 
The Committee commends the efforts of the CAPOC to keep the 
Committee informed of its activities. The DCI is directed to 
review the activities and recommendations of the CAPOC and 
notify the Congressional Intelligence Committees if legislation 
is necessary to further standardization and enhance oversight 
of these controlled access programs.

Disclosures of classified information to Congress

    The Committee is also concerned that executive branch 
policies on classified information could interfere with its 
ability to learn of wrongdoing within the elements over which 
it has oversight responsibility. The Committee's concern has 
been heightened by its review of executive branch opinions in 
this area, most recently articulated in a December 5, 1996 
letter from the Director of Central Intelligence informing a 
State Department employee who was accused of having revealed 
sensitive classified information to a Member of Congress of the 
decision to deny him access to Sensitive Compartmental 
Information. The letter stated that "[n]either a security 
clearance, nor access to SCI give an individual the right or 
authority to make unilateral decisions to disclose classified 
information to others, including to cleared Members of 
Congress.'' Without addressing the merits of that particular 
decision or attempting to resolve the factual disputes in that 
case, the Committee noted in a letter to the Acting DCI on 
January 3, 1997, that it was troubled by the reasoning 
underlying the decision because of its potential impact on the 
ability of the intelligence oversight committees to ensure they 
are informed of possible wrongdoing.
    The Committee is particularly concerned that federal 
employees may view the decision or other relevant statements by 
elements of the Executive Branch, including opinions from the 
Department of Justice, to mean that there are no circumstances 
under which they can bring information to Congress that they 
believe evidences wrongdoing if to do so requires disclosure to 
Congress of classified information.
    The Committee fully appreciates the need to carefully 
protect national security information, particularly information 
the disclosure of which might reveal sensitive intelligence 
sources or methods. Indeed, the select committees for oversight 
of intelligence were established in part to balance that need 
for protection with the equally compelling need for Congress to 
have access to information necessary for effective oversight. 
Moreover the Committee has worked closely with the Intelligence 
Community to establish appropriate procedures for the routine 
provision of intelligence information to the committees. 
However, it is essential that where these standard procedures 
fail to get the necessary information to Congress, for example, 
because the wrongdoing involves the very individuals who would 
have to authorize the disclosure or the authorization is not 
forthcoming, then employees must have an alternative.
    The Committee has included in this bill a provision 
designed to ensure that Congress receives information necessary 
to fulfill its constitutional oversight responsibilities. The 
bill directs the President to issue guidance for all executive 
branch employees making it clear that disclosures of classified 
information to appropriate oversight committees or the 
employee's own Congressional representative is not prohibited 
by any law, executive order, regulation, or policy if the 
employee reasonably believes that such information evidences a 
violation of any law, rule, or regulation; a false statement to 
Congress on an issue of material fact; or gross mismanagement, 
a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial 
and specific danger to public health or safety.
    Disclosure to an appropriate oversight committee means 
disclosure to cleared staff or a member of the committee with 
responsibility for the agency involved in the wrongdoing in 
their capacity as staff or committee member. Committee staff or 
members who receive such information from an employee are 
presumed to have received it in their capacity as members or 
staff of the appropriate oversight committee and are 
responsible for ensuring that the information is protected and 
brought to the attention of the leadership of the committee or 
its staff directors.
    Executive branch opinions note that Executive Order 12356 
on classification requires that classified information be 
disclosed only to a person with the appropriate clearance and a 
"need to know.'' Members of Congress are cleared by virtue of 
the election to office. This provision recognizes that, at a 
minimum, the committee with primary oversight jurisdiction over 
the elements allegedly engaged in wrongdoing and the member of 
Congress representing the employee have a need to know the 
information and such disclosure is consistent with the 
Executive Order.

Notification of Congress

    To conduct effective oversight the Committee must also 
receive notification of intelligence activities in a timely and 
complete fashion. Section 502 of the National Security Act of 
1947 requires that the Committees be informed of all 
intelligence activities including any significant anticipated 
intelligence activity as well as any significant intelligence 
failure. In several cases the Committee has received notice 
well after the fact and follow-up requests for further 
information have not been responded to promptly and completely. 
The Committee reaffirms the requirement that notification occur 
in advance of the activity if it is anticipated or foreseeable. 
Where there is not time to provide written notice in advance, 
or where the event was not foreseeable, immediate verbal notice 
will suffice until written notice is provided; written notice 
should be provided within five business days. Follow-up 
requests from the Committee for additional information and/or 
supporting documentation regarding a notification must be 
addressed promptly and completely.

[...]
 
    Section 306 directs the President to inform all executive 
branch employees that disclosing classified information to an 
appropriate oversight committee or to their Congressional 
representative is not prohibited by any law, executive order, 
regulation, or policy; provided, that the employee reasonably 
believes that the classified information evidences a violation 
of any law, rule, or regulation; a false statement to Congress 
on an issue of material fact; or gross mismanagement, a gross 
waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and 
specific danger to public health or safety. This provision is 
intended to ensure that Congress receives information necessary 
to fulfill its constitutional oversight responsibilities.
    Disclosure to an appropriate oversight committee means 
disclosure to cleared staff or a member of the committee with 
jurisdiction over the agency involved in the wrongdoing in 
their capacity as staff or a committee member. Members or 
Committee staff who receive such information from an employee 
are presumed to have received it in their capacity as members 
or staff of the appropriate oversight committee. Members and 
staff are responsible for ensuring that the information is 
protected and brought to the attention of the leadership of the 
committee or its staff directors.
    The President, by informing executive branch employees as 
directed in this provision, will make it clear that disclosure 
to the appropriate oversight committee or member is authorized, 
thereby recognizing that these committees and members have a 
"need to know'' the information as required by current 
executive branch restrictions on disclosure of classified 
information.
    Section 307 expresses a sense of Congress that it is in the 
national interest of the United States to provide information 
regarding the murder or kidnaping of United States persons 
abroad to the families of the victims. Moreover, Congress 
believes that the responsibility for providing such information 
is sufficiently important that this provision vests it in a 
cabinet-level official. This provision requires the Secretary 
of State to ensure that the United States Government takes all 
appropriate actions to identify promptly all relevant 
unclassified and classified information in the possession of 
the United States Government. The provision further requires 
the Secretary of State to ensure that all unclassified 
information is made available to the victims' families. With 
respect to classified information, this provision directs the 
Secretary of State to work with the Director of Central 
Intelligence to release all relevant information that would not 
jeopardize intelligence sources or methods, or vital national 
security interests. If the Secretary of State and the Director 
of Central Intelligence determine that intelligence sources or 
methods would not be jeopardized and no vital national security 
interest would be compromised by the release of classified 
information, this provision directs the Secretary to release 
that information to the appropriate recipient. The Committee 
realizes that there will be interagency disagreement about what 
should or should not be released under this provision. When 
such disagreements arise, the Committee expects the Secretary 
of State to act as an advocate for the families.
    Section 308 addresses the Committee's concern that 
intelligence reporting and analysis lacks standards for foreign 
names and places. Recent reporting suggests that U.S. troops 
may have received inadequate intelligence warnings in the Gulf 
War because of inconsistent references to locations in Iraq. 
These inconsistencies may have contributed to the possible 
exposure of U.S. military forces to chemical agents released 
during the destruction of Iraqi weapons caches.
    Intelligence databases maintained by various entities 
within the intelligence community are a critical national 
resource. The Intelligence Community must standardize the names 
and places in each database to allow for effective and 
consistent support for war fighters and national security 
policy makers. This provision calls on the DCI to conduct a 
survey of standards currently in place throughout the 
Intelligence Community and to issue guidelines for community-
wide standards. The DCI is further directed to report the 
results of this survey, no later than 90 days after the 
enactment of this Act, and provide a copy of the guidelines to 
the Intelligence Committes no later than 180 days after the 
enactment of this Act.

[...]




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