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Bill to Audit the US Intelligence Community


Bill to Audit the Intelligence Community Introduced

February 9, 2007 (WASHINGTON) - Today, Representatives Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Henry Cueller (D-TX) and Christopher Carney (D-PA) introduced the "Intelligence Community Audit Act of 2007." This legislation reaffirms the authority of the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct for Congress audits and evaluations of the intelligence community - including audits and evaluations pertaining to financial transactions, programs, and information sharing and other activities. It also prescribes the security procedures that GAO must follow in conducting audits for congressional intelligence oversight committees of intelligence sources and methods, or covert actions.

With passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the federal government now encompasses 19 distinct components that have intelligence responsibilities. Ensuring that these components - which range from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Treasury - are cooperating and performing their missions effectively is critical to our national security and winning the war on terrorism.

This risk to oversight became apparent last year shortly after GAO released a report on federal government policies relating to the sharing of terrorism-related and sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information (GAO-06-385). Specifically, the DNI declined to comment on a draft version of the report because it considered GAO's work in this non-sensitive area a "review of intelligence activities" that was "beyond GAO's purview."

"I was greatly disturbed by the Director of National Intelligence's (DNI) refusal to contribute its fair share to the GAO report," Rep. Thompson stated. "This bill makes clear that the DNI cannot evade Congressional oversight by lumping the sharing of unclassified information and other non-sensitive matters together with the kinds of intelligence activities that understandably must be held to a stricter standard."

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United States House of Representatives
Committee on Homeland Security
H2-176, Ford House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 226-2616 | Fax: (202) 226-4499

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