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Senate Proceeding on Feb 13th, 2008 :: 0:35:22 to 0:45:08
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Dianne Feinstein

0:18:00 to 0:35:22( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein

0:35:07 to 0:35:22( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: as it is. i thank the chair. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: action on fiscal year 2008 is the authorization bill for intelligence is so long

John Rockefeller

0:35:22 to 0:35:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: overdue i don't even know how to explain it. it's two years and four 1/2 months overdue. it's a very important bill. beginning in 1978 after the congressional committees were established congress

John Rockefeller

0:35:22 to 0:45:08( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Rockefeller

John Rockefeller

0:35:36 to 0:35:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: passed an annual authorization intelligence bill -- doesn't sound interesting but it has a good deal to do with how the intelligence community operates -- and we passed it for 27 consecutive years.

John Rockefeller

0:35:50 to 0:36:04( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: then there was no exception to that. this legislation is one of the very few nonappropriations measures that the congress has always considered "must pass." we have failed to pass it for the last number

John Rockefeller

0:36:04 to 0:36:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: of years and it's a matter of consternation. the importance of our intelligence program to our national security has always been very serious. the importance of strong congressional oversight of intelligence

John Rockefeller

0:36:21 to 0:36:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: committees has been equally obvious although has been spotty in the past. it no longer is. then, in twaif twief and 2005 and 2006 the bills reported were never brought to the senate for consideration.

John Rockefeller

0:36:36 to 0:36:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: now, there are internal reasons for that and i will spare the presiding officer from those matters. it is for longer important. but we've got to do this bill. the intelligence authorization bill is the

John Rockefeller

0:36:54 to 0:37:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: tool the congress uses to provide direction, specific direction and to enforce the oversight that we do do. it involves man of our most sensitive, important national security programs conducted by

John Rockefeller

0:37:07 to 0:37:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the u.s. government. the bill includes provisions to improve for icy of the intelligence community. it is a bland statement but a very important series of parts of the bill. it produces better intelligence.

John Rockefeller

0:37:18 to 0:37:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: we provide flexibility and authority of the d.n.i. we fenced them in too much. we gave them tremendous responsibility and did in the give them enough flexibility to exercise that responsibility. we

John Rockefeller

0:37:33 to 0:37:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: do that in this bill. we require much greater accountability from the intelligence community. that is oversight. that is oversight. we require it. and the managers. we improve mechanisms for countriesing

John Rockefeller

0:37:49 to 0:38:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: oversight of intelligence programs and refollow acquisition procedures. all of that is oversight and reflects sloppy practices in the past where it was languid period until 9/11 and then everything perked

John Rockefeller

0:38:03 to 0:38:17( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: up and still the oversite was not what it should have been because we were in a state of crisis that some things that should have been looked at weren't. many of the provisions were included at the request

John Rockefeller

0:38:17 to 0:38:30( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: of the national intelligence director of this bill. i always believe in reaching out to the professionals in doing this. the d.n.i. position, director of national intelligence, was a result of the most significant

John Rockefeller

0:38:30 to 0:38:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: reform of the intelligence community in 50 years. that is the creation of his position and him, mike mcconnell. he's absolutely superb. the officer of the director of national intelligence has now existed

John Rockefeller

0:38:46 to 0:39:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: 2 1/2 years and we have begun identifying ways to help the d.n.i. to better coordinate the 16 elements of the intelligence community which wander all over our government, some doing a good job, some

John Rockefeller

0:39:01 to 0:39:17( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: underfunded, some not. he is pulling it together and doing it. starting with personnel authority, this bill uses a much more flexible approach to authorize personnel levels. those are very delicate. we also

John Rockefeller

0:39:17 to 0:39:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: give the d.n.i. the ability to exceed ceilings on these matters -- personnel matters -- by as much as 3% because he needs to have that. he's in the process of trying to figure out how to adjust

John Rockefeller

0:39:33 to 0:39:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: this and work it right. he is an honorable man and deserves to have that. it provides additional flexibility to encourage the d.n.i. to convert contractor positions to government employees when appropriate.

John Rockefeller

0:39:47 to 0:40:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: every member knows the real power is the power of the purse. the same with the d.n.i. and this bill changes reprogramming requirements to make it easier to address, as they say "emerging needs." nerds,

John Rockefeller

0:40:02 to 0:40:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: critical situation -- in other words, critil situation crisis. he needs that flexibility and he now has it if we pass this bill. it authorizes the d.n.i. to use interagency funding amongst his agencies

John Rockefeller

0:40:13 to 0:40:30( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: that he oversees to establish national intelligence centers if he so chooses. the bill also allows the d.n.i. to fund information sharing efforts across the intelligence community. that's the whole

John Rockefeller

0:40:30 to 0:40:42( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: point of the 9/11 commission, the whole point of reducing stovepipes. finally, it repeals several unneeded and burdensome reporting requirements. frankly, we can get overly zealous about that and use a lot of people's

John Rockefeller

0:40:42 to 0:41:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: time on something that doesn't make that much sense so we do reduce reporting requirements without in any way compromising accountability because oversight is the whole point of this bill. as it increases

John Rockefeller

0:41:03 to 0:41:17( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the authority of the d.n.i., the bill also imrrves improves oversight in other ways by creating a strong inspector general in the office of the d.n.i. it has to be confirmed by the senate. that's called

John Rockefeller

0:41:17 to 0:41:32( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: oversight and has to report to the committee. accountable to the committee. has to tell us the truth. it does the same thing with inspector generals who can do very difficult things within their

John Rockefeller

0:41:32 to 0:41:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: own departments that maybe some of the leaders won't do. it establishes statutory inspector generals at the national security agency, the n.r.o., the n.g.a. and defense intelligence agency. these are all

John Rockefeller

0:41:46 to 0:41:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: oversight tools that we want. the bill also gives congress more oversight of the major intelligence agencies by requiring senate confirmation, if you can believe this, of the directors of the national

John Rockefeller

0:41:57 to 0:42:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: intelligence agency and the n.r.o. right now we did not have it confirm them. if we did not kon foreign minister them they do not -- confirm them, they do not report to us so we did not have oversite

John Rockefeller

0:42:11 to 0:42:28( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: so we don't like that. so we confirm the c.i.a. but we don't confirm the n.s.a -- you tell me, coming particularly after we passed the fisa bill, how is it possible we would not be able to confirm the

John Rockefeller

0:42:28 to 0:42:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: head of the national security agency? under this bill, we can. which makes him accountable for us so he can report to us so we could do oversight more aggressively. we described in our conference report

John Rockefeller

0:42:47 to 0:43:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: of the need for the national scpiewrt national security agency's authorized agency to use confirmation of the n.s.a. director, we can ensure this staffers to be so depending on one point point of

John Rockefeller

0:43:01 to 0:43:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: view. as we increase the d.n.i. flexibility to manage personnel we require an annual assessment. that sounds boring. no, it isn't, it is very, very important. an annual assessment of personnel levels

John Rockefeller

0:43:14 to 0:43:27( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: across the intelligence community. how are they distributed? are people protecting their turf? the d.n.i. isst charge of is in charge of this and we want this reported to us in our committee so we can

John Rockefeller

0:43:27 to 0:43:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: watch. we also include a statement that those levels are supported by adequate infrastructure, training, funding and a review of the appropriate use of contractors which has become a very interesting

John Rockefeller

0:43:41 to 0:43:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: subject in these months and years. this bill also addresses an issue that is concerned -- has concerned the committee, the lack of accountability for failures and blunders. that is called oversight, mr. president.

John Rockefeller

0:43:52 to 0:44:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: that is called oversight. we want accountability. we want it in front of us. we want our hands on it. the bill gives the d.n.i. the authority to conduct accountability reviews across the intelligence

John Rockefeller

0:44:08 to 0:44:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: community if he dailies it necessary or if we request -- if he deems it necessary or if we request it in our committee. it also improves financial management requiring a variety of actions related to the

John Rockefeller

0:44:18 to 0:44:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: production of audited financial statements. that sounds boring. no it isn't with the intelligence community. when you are with classified numbers. it is very, very important that somebody is watching that

John Rockefeller

0:44:34 to 0:44:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: with oversight over that and we will if this passes. the final major theme in the bill is the reform of the acquisition process. the bill requires vulnerability assessment of all major acquisition

John Rockefeller

0:44:46 to 0:45:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: programs. acquisition is a large word in intelligence and expensive word and we made very big mistakes. we have not been able to correct them. usually that is the fault of the appropriations committee

0:45:08 to 0:45:22( Edit History Discussion )

but, never nevertheless, that is a discussion for another day. so, we have a classified annex for any senator that wants to look what is behind these numbers, they can do that easily and i have other

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