WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today cleared the final version of the Intelligence Authorization bill for fiscal 2014, including a provision Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) proposed to improve oversight of the National Security Agency. The bill (S. 1681), which represents the consensus of the House and Senate, now goes to President Obama for his signature.
The bipartisan legislation includes Himes’ proposal to require the President to appoint a Senate-confirmed Inspector General for the NSA. Currently, the IG position is appointed directly by the NSA Director. Overall, the bill authorizes funding for the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA, CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“I am pleased that this bipartisan bill includes my proposal to ensure the next nominee for NSA's Inspector General has a greater level of independence in conducting oversight of the agency’s activities," Himes said. "By making the NSA's Inspector General a presidentially-appointed position that requires Senate confirmation, the legislation strengthens transparency and accountability, which are essential to restoring public trust in the agency. I will keep pushing for additional reforms to ensure the NSA strikes the right balance between respecting the privacy of American citizens and keeping our people safe.”
The House passed a two-year version of the Intelligence bill (H.R. 4681) on May 30 that included Himes' amendment to establish an independent and Senate-confirmed NSA inspector general. The amendment was modeled after the bipartisan NSA Internal Watchdog Act (H.R. 4533) Himes introduced with Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Lamar Smith (R-TX).
The House measure also included a second amendment by Himes to strengthen reporting requirements for violations of law or executive order committed by the intelligence community. That provision was not included in the bill passed Tuesday.