Friday, December 18, 2009

The House Intelligence Committee Adopted Several Other Covert Action-Related Measures as Part of FY2010 Intelligence Bill

The House Intelligence Committee adopted several additional statutory changes with regard to
covert action notifications. One such change would require that the information or material
concerning covert actions include any information or material relating to the legal authority under
which a covert action is being or was conducted, and any information or material relating to legal
issues upon which guidance was sought in carrying out or planning the covert action, including
dissenting legal views.46

Another change would require that the President provide Members who are not notified of a
particular covert action, pursuant to the procedures established by the each of the committees,
with general information on the content of the covert action.47

The Committee also adopted a provision that would permit a member who objects to a particular
covert action that has been notified to submit an objection to the Director of National Intelligence.
The DNI is required to notify the President of the objection no later than 48 hours after the
objection has been submitted.48

Finally, the committee approved covert action-related provisions that would:

• require that the CIA inspector general audit each covert action every three

• require that the President maintain a record of the Members of Congress notified
of a covert action and to provide such record within 30 days after the notification
is provided;50 and

• define the current statutory phrase “significant undertaking” to mean an activity
involving the potential for loss of life; requiring an expansion of existing
authorities, including authorities relating to research, development, or operations;
resulting in the expenditure of significant funds or other resources; requiring
notification under section 504; giving rise to a significant risk of disclosing
intelligence sources or methods; or possibly causing serious damage to the
diplomatic relations if the activity were to be disclosed without authorization.51


46 See H.R. 2701, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Sec. 321 (d).

47 Ibid, (g) (2).

48 Ibid, (g) (1).

49 Ibid, Sec. 411.

50 Ibid, Sec. 321 (g) (3).

51 Ibid, Sec. 321 (d) (2).

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