The CHAIRMAN. Are there further amendments to the bill?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. Richardson: At the end of title III, insert the following new section:
SEC. 306. PROHIBITION ON USING JOURNALISTS AS AGENTS OR ASSETS.
An element of the Intelligence Community may not use as an agent or asset for the purposes of collecting intelligence any individual who--
(1) is authorized by contract or by the issuance of press credentials to represent himself or herself, either in the United States or abroad, as a correspondent of a United States news media organization; or
(2) is officially recognized by a foreign government as a representative of a United States media organization.
Mr. RICHARDSON (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the Record.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New Mexico?
There was no objection.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, on April 28 of this year the Tampa, FL, Tribune published an editorial entitled `Don't Recruit Journalists As Spies.' The editorial argued forcefully that only a blanket prohibition against their use as intelligence agents or assets was likely to minimize the risk to American journalists or representatives of American media organizations who are suspected of being spies by governments or individuals with whom they must deal in dangerous parts of the world. Describing the circumstances in which foreign correspondents must work the Tribune said, `They die in combat. They are killed by governments intent on silencing them. And they are imprisoned and sometimes killed when they are suspected of being spies. That is what happened to our colleague, Tampa Tribune reporter Todd Smith, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1989 while on a working vacation in Peru. Shining Path guerrillas killed him because they didn't believe he was a journalist and thought he was a spy.'
No amendment can guarantee the safety of Americans traveling or working abroad, especially when their work puts them in contact with terrorist groups or representatives of despotic regimes.
The amendment I am offering, however, can enhance the safety of American journalists by removing the suspicion that rather than being reporters gathering information for their newspapers, they are operatives of American intelligence .
Under current CIA regulations, journalists are not to be used as intelligence agents or assets. The regulations do, however, permit the prohibition to be waived when the Director of Central Intelligence determines that national security interests compel that result. My amendment would codify the prohibition without providing the waiver authority. Adoption of the amendment will ensure that neither the independence guaranteed to the press by the Constitution nor the lives of journalists are endangered by blurring the distinction between reporters as commentators on government and reporters as instruments of government. As the New York Times editorialized on March 18, `If the United States Government does not honor that distinction, who anywhere will believe that it really exists?'
Mr. Chairman, current CIA regulations prohibit the use of active Peace Corps volunteers and members of the clergy as intelligence agents. The prohibitions are absolute. They cannot be waived. The prohibitions recognize the risk to the lives of Peace Corps volunteers in some countries if they were believed to be working for the CIA and the constitutional separation of church and state in our country which would be endangered if members of the clergy were seen as Government agents.
Current CIA regulations prohibit the use of journalists as intelligence agents but that prohibition is waivable.
Reporters working overseas are in every bit as much danger, perhaps even more, as Peace Corps volunteers, if they are suspected of being spies.
Mr. Chairman, every journalist, every journalist entity, and editorial board supports this amendment. It is my judgment that the DCI and the intelligence community can use it usefully. I am a strong supporter of the DCI and the CIA. But I think that when it comes to this issue, it is important that we have some clear distinctions.
Why then is there a distinction in CIA regulations between journalists on the one hand and Peace Corps volunteers and members of the clergy on the other? Intelligence officials claim that, while they do not want to use journalists as agents, they need to retain the option for situations so extraordinary that they cannot be described.
A better way to promote the safety of American journalists and preserve their independence is to prohibit their being employed as intelligence agents. Mr. Chairman, at some point I will be prepared to entertain an amendment that I believe achieves our mutual objectives and would enable this provision to be accepted.
Mr. Chairman, this is a good amendment. It is supported by every journalist, every newspaper, every reporter. It is within our constitutional prerogatives. It makes sense. I do not think it would hamper our intelligence objectives overseas. _________________________________________________________
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Mexico [Mr. Richardson] as amended.
The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote, and, pending that, I make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Mexico [Mr. Richardson], as amended, will be postponed.
The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state it.
Mr. DICKS. Does the gentleman have to restate his request for a recorded vote at a later time, or is it going to be an automatic recorded vote?
The CHAIRMAN. The request for a recorded vote will be pending at that time. The vote is not automatically ordered.
Mr. DICKS. I thank the Chair.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there further amendments to the bill?