Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment No. 16 offered by Mr. McCollum:
At the end of title III, insert the following new section:
SEC. 306. SEEKING ENFORCEMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT TO PROTECT THE IDENTITIES OF UNDERCOVER INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS, AGENTS, INFORMANTS, AND SOURCES.
It is the sense of the Congress that title VI of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 421 et seq.) (relating to protection of the identities of undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources) should be enforced by the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that the gentleman from New Mexico [Mr. Richardson] plans shortly to offer an amendment that would apparently expand the rights of journalists and protect some of their interests under this act. I am at the same time of the belief, which is why I am offering this amendment, that we should have a reminder in this bill that with constitutional rights also comes some serious responsibilities, not only for journalists but for all public officials.
Mr. Chairman, simply stated, my amendment seeks to remind Members of this body as well as senior law enforcement officials in the executive branch that the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which has been in effect for nearly 14 years, demands more aggressive enforcement measures.
In the 1970's, former CIA officer Philip Agee and others opposed to U.S. intelligence activities embarked on a campaign to expose the identities of CIA officers. In publications such as `Counterspy' and `Covert Action Information Bulletin' they revealed not only the methodologies employed by the CIA to establish cover but also identities of scores of officers serving overseas.
The Congressional response to this problem was the enactment in 1982 of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, 50 U.S.C. 421 et seq. sections 421(a) and 421(b) of the act make it an offense for persons who have had authorized access to classified information that either identifies a covert officer or through which such activities can be learned to disclose identifying information to an individual not authorized to receive classified information. The Government must prove that the disclosure was made with the knowledge that the information identifies the covert officer and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal the covert officer's intelligence relationship.
Section 421(c) does not require that the offender had authorized access to classified information. It is aimed at the Agee-style exposure of covert identities and proves as follows:
Whoever in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States discloses any information that identifies an individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individual's classified intelligence relationship to the United States shall be fined not more than $150,000 or imprisoned not more than three years or both * * *
Section 421(c) places particular emphasis on a discloser's `pattern of activities' which could include seeking unauthorized access to classified information counterintelligence activities such as physical or electronic surveillance or the systematic collection of information `for the purpose of identifying the names of agents.' Section 421(c) also requires that the government prove that the discloser had reason to believe that the activities in which he was engaged would impair U.S. foreign intelligence activities.
Having summarized the relevant provisions of the act, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my concern about the apparent unwillingness of the Justice Department to enforce this particular law in several recent cases involving public officials and journalists. Because of the obvious sensitivity involved in naming names of intelligence officers, I will refrain from providing details on the security investigations and potential cases that have been set aside for a variety of reasons by the Justice Department. Nevertheless, I am most concerned that a significant number of unauthorized disclosures of U.S. intelligence agents and assets in the U.S. media during the past year or so have resulted in significant and measurable damage to our intelligence capabilities in Latin America and Europe. A more aggressive enforcement posture by the Department of Justice would do much to reassure our allies and restore the confidence of our public servants who are serving as intelligence officers in often hazardous assignments.
Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge a `yes' vote in favor of this amendment as a signal from the House that enforcement of this act will be a national security priority, and that we intend to oversee in that the Justice Department vigorously enforce this act. It must be enforced, and I urge a yes vote on the sense of the Congress resolution that is encompassed in this amendment.
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to rise and say the gentleman from Florida [Mr. McCollum] is a very valuable member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the Committee on the Judiciary. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort in a consent of Congress, and would certainly be willing to accept the amendment.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. COMBEST. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I wanted to compliment the chairman and the gentleman from Florida [Mr. McCollum]. I believe that all of our laws should be properly enforced, and in that spirit we will accept the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida [Mr. McCollum].
The amendment was agreed to.