May 26, 2006

Wyden Wins Approval of Two Key Measures in Intelligence Funding Bill

Senate Intelligence Committee includes two Wyden amendments to limit leaks,improve accountability in FY '07 Intelligence Authorization legislation

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today announced that the FY 2007 Intelligence Authorization legislation approved by the Committee includes two key provisions that would strengthen U.S. intelligence efforts and improve accountability over intelligence activities. The first Wyden provision will increase the criminal penalties for knowingly and intentionally revealing the identity of a covert intelligence agent from 5-10 years to 10-15 years. The increase in penalties only applies to persons with authorized access to information, and who could therefore knowingly reveal such information, and does not apply to those who do not have such access. "Given the numerous recent concerns about leaks and disclosures of sensitive intelligence information, it's important that Congress send a clear message to our intelligence agents that we're serious about protecting their identities and preserving their ability to carry out their missions, and this provision does just that." The second Wyden provision will declassify the top line of the U.S. intelligence budget, to make public the total amount of taxpayer money spent annually on U.S. intelligence activities. Under Wyden's provision, this figure would be made public every year upon the enactment of this year's intelligence authorization legislation. "American taxpayers deserve the right to account for how their tax dollars are being spent," said Wyden. "Declassifying the total budget number will not aid America's enemies, but will make the government more accountable, and its activities more transparent, to the people." The FY 2007 Intelligence Authorization measure must now be considered by the full Senate.