Summary: H.R.261 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.261. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (01/15/1979)

Omnibus Intelligence Community Reorganization and Reform Act of 1979 - Title I: Foreign Intelligence Community - Establishes within the National Security Council (NSC) the Committee on Foreign Intelligence to assist the Director of Central Intelligence (an office established by this Act) and the Foreign Activities Committee (established by this Act) in advising the President with respect to sensitive intelligence collection activities of intelligence agencies. Requires all new sensitive intelligence collection activities to be submitted to the Foreign Activities Committee for approval. Establishes within the NSC the Counterintelligence Committee to coordinate all counterintelligence activities of the United States and assure that they are legally conducted.

Establishes as an independent establishment in the executive branch the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence to coordinate and oversee the entire foreign intelligence community of the United States. Establishes within such Office the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to investigate any misconduct by any intelligence agency and report any such misconduct to the Attorney General. Creates within such Office a National Intelligence Board to advise the Director of Central Intelligence with respect to the supervision and control of intelligence agencies and to review finished intelligence estimates. Gives the Secretary of Defense authority over all foreign intelligence operations and activities in time of war.

Places the Central Intelligence Agency under the NSC and the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence. Changes the name of the head of such Agency to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Repeals provisions permitting the selection of the Director of such Agency from the ranks of commissioned officers of the armed forces. Limits the functions of the Agency to conducting a counterintelligence activities outside the United States. Prohibits collection of information concerning an American except at the request of the Department of Justice to assist in a criminal investigation or in the investigation of an employee of the Agency who may have violated security. Establishes within the Central Intelligence Agency a General Counsel to report any illegal action of the Agency.

Creates under the NSC and the Director of Central Intelligence an Intelligence Research and Analysis Agency to assume the functions of the Central Intelligence Agency with respect to production, analysis, and dissemination of foreign intelligence.

Removes the National Security Agency from the Department of Defense and makes it an independent establishment in the executive branch. Transfers the powers and duties of the Secretary of Defense with respect to such Agency to the Director of the National Security Agency. States that the Agency shall protect from unauthorized access official communications of the United States transmitted by electronic or mechanical means and collect intelligence from foreign communications transmitted by any electronic or mechanical device. Prohibits the monitoring of domestic communications or accepting records of such communications from any commercial carrier.

Authorizes the Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, upon reasonable suspicion that a breach of security has occurred, to conduct a surveillance of the employee involved for not more than 15 days. Requires the fruits of such surveillance to be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) if there is reason to believe that a crime has been committed.

Abolishes the Defense Intelligence Agency. Limits the intelligence components of the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces to conducting foreign counterintelligence activities for the protection of military installations and personnel.

Prohibits the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence by human beings through espionage or other covert techniques except in time of war. Restricts liaison with foreign intelligence services and domestic police. Prohibits the use of clergy, journalists, and persons who promote the arts, humanities, or cultural affairs to obtain intelligence information. Requires an annual report to the President and the appropriate congressional committee with respect to all commercial organizations owned in whole or in part by any intelligence agency. Prohibits the transfer of funds between intelligence agencies, the reprogramming of funds within agencies, and the expenditure of contingency funds in connection with any intelligence collection activity.

Permits the General Accounting Office to conduct full and complete management and financial audits of any intelligence agency.

Title II: Domestic Intelligence Activities - Prohibits surveillance which is political in nature or designed to interfere with the first amendment activity of any person. Restricts the FBI to investigating incidents in which there exist reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a specific act which violates a Federal criminal statute. Prohibits criminal investigations which are not authorized by the Director of the FBI and generally limits the length of such investigation to 90 days. Requires the approval of the Attorney General for any investigation which may pose a danger to first amendment rights.

Limits the use of financial records and mail covers. Sets forth warrant procedures and requirements for use of informants and undercover agents. Sets forth warrant requirements and procedures for inspection of records with and without prior notice, and for mail covers.

Specifies the authority of the Attorney General over the FBI. Requires the Attorney General to approve the budget of the FBI and to review its investigative procedures at least annually.

Limits the term of the Director of the FBI to ten years.

Establishes within the FBI the position of Inspector General of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to report any activity of the FBI which appears to have been conducted illegally. Abolishes the Internal Security Branch of the Intelligence Division of the FBI and terminates its functions.

Prohibits the collection by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of any information about any American on behalf of any intelligence agency. Places other restrictions on the collection and dissemination of information collected by the IRS.

Title III: Remedies - Repeals specified provisions of law respecting seditious conspiracy, advocating the overthrow of government, registration of organizations, and activities affecting the armed forces generally. Repeals provisions permitting specified electronic surveillance under color of law. Repeals the provision specifying that unwarranted searches of businesses must be done maliciously to be illegal. Sets penalties for misrepresentation of membership in political groups and assassinations by intelligence personnel. Imposes penalties for the experimental administration of drugs to any person without his or her prior informed consent, and for disciplining any Federal officer or employee for disclosing specified information, refusing to partake in illegal activity, or responding to a congressional request.

Establishes within the Department of Justice an Office of the Special Prosecutor for Intelligence Crimes to exercise exclusive and independent jurisdiction over the investigation and prosecution of all offenses committed by an officer or employee of the United States arising out of an intelligence activity conducted in violation of this Act. Provides for congressional oversight of the activities of the Special Prosecutor.

Permits any individual who has suffered a deprivation of rights by a Federal official acting under color of law to bring a civil suit against such officer and be awarded the greater of actual damages or $250 for each day of each such deprivation up to $2,500. Makes the United States liable to pay such damages but gives the United States the right to subrogate such award against the official whose action gave rise to such damages. Permits such suit to be brought in Federal court irrespective of the amount in controversy. Permits the granting of equitable relief for such activity. Places a two-year statute of limitations on such actions.