WASHINGTON, DC—The House of Representatives today passed an Intelligence authorization bill that includes two amendments sponsored by Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) to improve oversight of the NSA and ensure intelligence agencies are taking Americans’ privacy into consideration. Himes’ amendments to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 4661), which authorizes funding for the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA and NSA, were adopted in the Intelligence Committee and were included in the final bill when it came to the floor.

“I am very pleased that the House passed this authorization bill in a broad bipartisan vote, including my amendments to ensure our intelligence community is considering and protecting our civil liberties and privacy,” said Himes. “As a Member of the Intelligence Committee, it is my job to ensure our federal agencies are respecting our privacy while providing for our national security, and these provisions get us closer to that goal.”

The first amendment, modeled after the bipartisan NSA Internal Watchdog Act Himes introduced with Reps. Cooper and Smith, provides for an independent and Senate confirmed inspector general, which will have the authority to subpoena former employees and contractors. It also establishes a Chief Legal Officer within the IG’s office which will have legal powers and provide legal advice to the independent inspector general. The second amendment closes a reporting loophole by requiring an annual report on violations of law or executive order that were determined by an element of the intelligence community to have occurred.