Newly signed bill adds requirements for intelligence community

Monday - 1/9/2012, 12:58pm EST

Ellen McCarthy, president, Intelligence and National Security Alliance

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Last week, the President signed the 2012 authorization bill for the intelligence community. It calls on the I.C. to report on what happens to detainees once they've left the Guantanamo Bay detention center. It absolves the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) from having to submit an audited financial statement. And is requires the DNI inspector general to establish a public website.

"All in all, I think it was a good bill, or a good law now," said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA photo)

"Some of the personnel aspects of the authorization act are very important," McCarthy told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin on Monday. "It enables the DNI specifically to increase the ceiling for hiring personnel. That doesn't necessarily mean that the I.C. is going to hire more personnel, but it gives the DNI flexibility to bring on the experts they need to do the very important job of intelligence."

Since the budget is classified, it's difficult to get an accurate picture of how much money the intelligence community is receiving. However, McCarthy said signs are that some reductions have been made. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, indicated that approximately $1 billion has been cut from the intelligence budget.

"There are reductions and there will be continued reductions over the next 10 years," McCarthy said. "I do believe the DNI [James Clapper] has been doing just a fantastic job, ensuring that Congress understands what the needs of the intelligence community are."

The new law calls on the intelligence community to report on what happens to detainees once they've left the Guantanamo Bay detention center. "That is something that's new," McCarthy said. "But that is something that I understand the Executive Branch and the Hill came to agreement on. That's the one piece that actually could have held this bill up."

The new law also requires the DNI inspector general to establish a public website, where non-classified information would be available for the public to review.

An example of the type of information available on the website could be the discussions between the Executive Branch and Congress about the Guantanamo Bay detainees. "It will really provide more transparency," McCarthy said.