Text: H.R.4261 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (12/10/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 4261


To amend the National Security Act of 1947 to provide additional procedures for congressional oversight.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 10, 2009

Mr. Thornberry introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Select Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), and in addition to the Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To amend the National Security Act of 1947 to provide additional procedures for congressional oversight.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Congressional oversight of intelligence activities.

(a) General congressional oversight.—Section 501(a) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 413(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(3) In carrying out paragraph (1), the President shall provide to the congressional intelligence committees all information necessary to assess the lawfulness, effectiveness, cost, benefit, intelligence gain, budgetary authority, and risk of an intelligence activity.”.

(b) Reporting on activities other than covert actions.—Section 502 of such Act (50 U.S.C. 413a) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(d) Distribution of information.—

“(1) REQUEST.—Information or material provided in accordance with subsection (a) shall be made available to each member of the congressional intelligence committees, unless the President requests that access to the information or material be limited after determining that limiting such access is essential to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States. A request under this paragraph and the extraordinary circumstances referred to in this paragraph shall be detailed in writing to the Chair and ranking minority member of the congressional intelligence committees.

“(2) DISTRIBUTION.—If the President submits a request under paragraph (1), the Chair and ranking minority member of each congressional intelligence committee may jointly determine whether and how to limit access to the information or material within such committee. If the Chair and ranking minority member of such committee are unable to agree on whether or how to limit such access, access to the information or material shall be limited as requested by the President. Any information or material to which access is limited shall subsequently be made fully available to each member of the congressional intelligence committees at the earliest possible time and shall include a detailed statement of the reasons for not providing prior access.”.

(c) Covert actions.—Section 503 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 413b) is amended—

(1) in subsection (c)—

(A) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following new paragraph:

“(2)(A) A finding reported in accordance with paragraph (1) shall be made available to each member of the congressional intelligence committees, unless the President requests that access to the finding be limited after determining that limiting such access is essential to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States. A request under this subparagraph and the extraordinary circumstances referred to in this paragraph shall be detailed in writing to the Chair and ranking minority member of the congressional intelligence committees.

“(B) If the President submits a request under subparagraph (A), the Chair and ranking minority member of each congressional intelligence committee may jointly determine whether and how to limit access to the finding within such committee. If the Chair and ranking minority member of such committee are unable to agree on whether or how to limit such access, access to the finding shall be limited as requested by the President. A finding to which access is limited shall subsequently be made fully available to each member of the congressional intelligence committees at the earliest possible time and shall include a detailed statement of the reasons for not providing prior access.”; and

(B) in paragraph (4), by striking the second sentence; and

(2) in subsection (d)—

(A) by striking “(d) The President” and inserting “(d)(1) The President”;

(B) in paragraph (1), as designated by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, by striking “the Members of Congress specified in subsection (c)(2)” and inserting “the Members of Congress to which access to a finding is limited in accordance with subsection (c)(2)”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(2) For purposes of this subsection, an activity shall constitute a ‘significant undertaking’ if the activity—

“(A) involves the potential for loss of life;

“(B) requires an expansion of existing authorities, including authorities relating to research, development, or operations;

“(C) results in the expenditure of significant funds or other resources;

“(D) requires notification under section 504;

“(E) gives rise to a significant risk of disclosing intelligence sources or methods; or

“(F) could cause serious damage to the diplomatic relations of the United States if such activity were disclosed without authorization.”.