Although the bill was reported without recorded dissent, we have concerns about some of its provisions, particularly those affecting the National Reconnaissance Program. Those concerns are set forth in detail in the classified annex to this report. We were encouraged by Chairman Combest's assurances at the markup of this bill that issues concerning the direction and composition of our nation's satellite architecture would be explored through extensive hearings prior to conference with the Senate. We expect that those hearings will involve agencies, particularly the Department of Defense, that are affected by the decisions embodied in this legislation regarding our satellite architecture. It is essential that we clearly understand the impact that these decisions will have on our national security as reflected in the ability of battlefield commanders to effectively conduct military operations.
The following discussion is of issues in the unclassified bill and report in which we disagree with positions taken by the majority.
Section 403 prohibits any funds authorized to be appropriated by the bill from being used to implement any intelligence community personnel reform until the congressional intelligence committees are fully briefed about such personnel reform.
On April 23, 1996, the Director of Central Intelligence generally described to the committee a major personnel initiative announced only the day before to employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the period between the Director's appearance before the committee and the date of the markup, substantial additional information about the initiative was provided. While questions remain, the statutory prohibition in section 403 can be read to imply that the Director has refused to provide whatever information on the personnel initiative that the committee might request, or that he intends to implement the initiative without the congressional approvals needed to redirect the use of appropriated funds. Neither implication is supported by the facts.
Further, language in the classified annex accompanying the bill duplicates the stated purpose of section 403 which is to ensure that the committee is fully apprised of personnel reforms within the intelligence community. We believe it is always good practice to ensure that committee members are fully informed in an area as potentially controversial as personnel reform before they are asked to take action on a legislative proposal approving a major change in that area. That result, with respect to the CIA initiative, would be achieved by the language in the classified annex. Section 403 is,
therefore, unnecessary and should be deleted from the bill as the legislative process proceeds.
Implementation of section 3.4 of Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information continues to be an issue of debate in the committee. This executive order, signed April 17, 1995, prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. It is intended to protect information critical to our national security, but recognizes that the nation's democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their government when it is possible to do so. Section 3.4 requires that, unless grounds for an exemption exist, classified information contained in records that are over 25 years old, and of permanent historical value, shall be automatically declassified within five years of the order whether or not the records have been reviewed. Information is exempt from declassification if, among other reasons, its release can be expected to reveal the identity of human sources; impair U.S. cryptologic systems or activities; undermine ongoing diplomatic activities; or assist in the development of weapons of mass destruction.
The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 limited the Director of Central Intelligence to spending no more than $25 million to implement section 3.4 from funds otherwise authorized in the Act. The Act also required the President to submit budget requests for fiscal years 1997 through 2000 which specifically set forth the funds requested for implementation. The conferees also urged the effort be coordinated closely with CIA's Historical Review Program Office to enhance the intellectual coherence of the declassification process.
We commend the program managers of CIA, NSA, NRO and DIA for the significant progress they have made over the last year in planning how they will implement the requirements of section 3.4. The program managers are working cooperatively to facilitate the development of an on-line, virtual analytic environment to speed and simplify the redaction of documents. They are acting jointly to handle documents located at the presidential libraries, and the DCI has made a commitment to bring historical coherence to the process. We do not believe the funding requested for implementation of section 3.4 in fiscal year 1997 was excessive in the context of the overall National Foreign Intelligence Program.
Nevertheless, the bill deletes the specific budget requests found in the Central Intelligence Agency Program, Consolidated Cryptologic Program, National Reconnaissance Program, and General Defense Intelligence Program. Instead, section 104 of the bill authorizes 425 million for FY 1997 to carry out the Executive Order provisions. Section 303 of the bill makes $25 million and annual ceiling on funding through fiscal year 2000 and allows the Director, in his discretion, to draw on this amount for allocation to the agencies within the National Foreign Intelligence Program. Although we would have preferred full funding for this effort in each of the individual programs, the reduction imposed by the bill is relatively minor.
We have noted that the majority may be proposing that a risk-elimination approach be adopted in handling the review of classified documents. It seems to us that the risk management philosophy adopted by the agencies is simply a sensible acknowledgement that resources should be focused on areas of greatest risk; it is not an abdication of responsibility to protect sources and methods. A totally risk adverse approach does not seem to be justified, particularly from the standpoint of cost. We believe the declassification of documents that remain classified for no other reason that inertia can be managed both in resource terms and in the protection of sensitive information.
Section 104 of the bill authorizes funding for the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program (EIAP), formerly the Environmental Task Force, and the MEDEA scientists at $6 million, less than half the President's budget request. While we are heartened the funding for the program was not eliminated, as the original version of this legislation had proposed, we continue to be puzzled why this one program had been singled out among all the analytic efforts in the intelligence community. It is clearly responsive to the needs of national policymakers, brings unique information to our understanding of global environmental challenges, and has proven benefits for the intelligence community's own exploitation of national technical means.
The Environmental Task Force, the initial phase of the EIAP, evaluate data collected by national technical means for their utility for scientific study of the environment. Its recommendations were a factor in the declassification of imagery from the Corona, Argon, and Lanyard systems. The MEDEA scientists who conducted that evaluation have continued to be a source of scientific talent for the intelligence community in addressing significant national questions involving environmental issues.
The EIAP in fiscal year 1997 will continue to implement the "global fiducial" data bank project. Classified digital data on a set of environmentally sensitive points around the globe will be collected by the intelligence community and stored by the civil and military environmental agencies as a legacy for future generations of environmental scientists until such time as these data are declassified. This seems to be a low cost investment that could pay large scientific dividends in the future.
The EIAP has been particularly useful to the U.S. Navy. Admiral J.M. Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations, spelled out the benefits and activities of the EIAP in a recent letter to the Committee's Ranking Democratic Member:
Hon. NORMAN DICKS,
Ranking Minority Member, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR NORM: Thank you for your letter of April 24, 1996 expressing interest in the Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis (MEDEA) and the plans for the FY97 Environmental Intelligence
and Applications Program (EIAP) funding included in the President's budget. As you know, MEDEA is a gathering of prominent American scientists cleared for access to highly classified data. They have been identifying the value of this national source data, and some classified Navy data sets, for use in addressing civil environmental problems. With these data the scientists are making a number of important discoveries, some of which can be applied to military as well as civil challenges.
The Navy sees a number of benefits to the EIAP effort. In addition to developing, emerging technologies and techniques, this project brings together the nation's top civil scientists with our operational and research oceanographers at a highly classified level. Such a close relationship provides Navy with the unique opportunity to apply civil academic talent to problems in Naval oceanography. Furthermore, we expect MEDEA to play a major role in cooperative projects sponsored under the National Oceanographic Partnership Act, introduced into the House on April 23, 1996 by Congressmen Weldon and Kennedy.
You mentioned in your letter the upcoming U.S. Navy-Russian Federation Navy cooperative survey in the Sea of Okhotsk. Interest of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission Environmental Working Group has been a strong catalyst in allowing us to complete our negotiations for this Navy agreement. As a result of the cooperative effort, the U.S. Navy will survey in an area closer to continental Russia than ever before and will get twice as much data as could have been collected unilaterally.
I hope this information has been useful to you and your Committee. Please don't hesitate to contact my staff with any further questions.
J.M. BOORDA, Admiral, U.S. Navy.
We remain hopeful the EIAP can be fully funded in conference.
JULIAN C. DIXON.
RONALD D. COLEMAN.
DAVID E. SKAGGS.