WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04), ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, made the following statement after voting for the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017: 

“In my role on the Intelligence Committee, I always strive to put the security of the American people above any partisan disagreements. The safety of our families is dependent on Congress adequately funding and supporting our intelligence and covert apparatuses, which monitor, seek out and destroy threats to the homeland. I believe that this bill, which has bipartisan support from the Committee, achieves that goal.

“Because of the sensitive and often classified nature of intelligence work, much of this bill cannot be openly shared, but there are several areas of importance to the American public. One of the most timely and necessary is the creation of a new committee, made up of members from various intelligence agencies, dedicated to countering active measures by Russia to exert covert influence across the globe. That includes media manipulation, funding front groups, and spreading disinformation. The threat posed to global security is real, and we must treat it with a high level of seriousness.

“As ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity subcommittee, I know the potential threats our country and our infrastructure face from cyberattack. This bill commissions a report on cybersecurity threats to seaports and shipping in the United States, areas that may be targets in the future, and will help us lay the groundwork to better protect ourselves.  The bill also authorizes special outreach to recruit intelligence employees with science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) experience, which are some of the most important in combatting future threats and are the new backbone of our cybersecurity efforts.

“Protecting the rights and privacy of the American people is also a serious concern. I am pleased that this bill authorizes more that $10 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which provides additional review of covert actions to help ensure that rights are protected. I believe that security and privacy are not mutually exclusive, so will continue to fight to ensure that our government is able to keep its citizens safe without unnecessary infringement on rights.

“I thank Chairman Nunes, Ranking Member Schiff and all the Committee members for their work on this bill. I urge the Senate to pass it quickly and President Obama to sign it into law.”