Washington, DC -- Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced today that Senate and House negotiators reached agreement last night on the Fiscal Year 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill which sets funding levels and direction for the 16 agencies that comprise the U.S. Intelligence Community.
During the debate, members adopted a provision that would require all elements of the Intelligence Community to comply with the Army Field Manual standards for interrogating detainees. A similar amendment, also supported by Chairman Rockefeller, was narrowly defeated in May when the Committee first considered its FY ‘08 authorization bill.
“When it comes to the nation’s interrogation policies, two things are absolutely critical – does it produce reliable intelligence and is it legal and humane,” Rockefeller said. “Our Committee has wrestled with this issue for a long time, and finally, a majority has agreed that we should no longer have two systems – one for CIA interrogators and one for the military. It is in our national interest to adhere to one, and only one, clearly defined and effective standard of treatment.
“Interrogation can and should be carried out using techniques that have been used with success by military and law enforcement interrogators for decades. A separate program shrouded in secrecy, however well intentioned, plays into the hands of our enemies.
“Interrogation experts have told the Committee that enhanced techniques are not necessary to get critical and reliable intelligence, and in fact, they can result in bad information.”
The full measure will now be sent to the House and Senate for final passage before going to the President for signature.
The final agreement advanced the Senate’s goals of: providing greater flexibility and authority to the Director of National Intelligence; requiring greater accountability from the Intelligence Community and its managers; improving the mechanisms for conducting oversight of intelligence programs; and reforming acquisition procedures.
Among the key provisions are:
Ø Creating a strong, independent Inspector General for the Intelligence Community confirmed by the Senate within the office of the DNI, and establishing statutory Inspectors General at the NSA, NRO, DIA and NGA;
Ø Requiring Senate confirmation of the directors of the NSA and NRO;
Ø Requiring a vulnerability assessment for all major acquisition programs; and
Ø Curbing cost overruns and schedule delays by creating an annual reporting system on all major Intelligence Community acquisitions similar to the Nunn-McCurdy statute for defense acquisitions.