The Week in Intelligence

on December 16 | in Oversight

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Here is what caught out eye this week in intelligence:

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report (available here) of the CIA’s Interrogation Program last week. The response from Senate Republicans, many of whom strongly objected to the report’s conclusions,  can be found here. CIA Director John Brennan’s response struck a difficult balance between acknowledging error and defended his agency; his response can be seen here. Also, be sure to check out our own response to the report and the overall reaction. We argued that the country should use the report’s publication as a pivot point to address current, nurse pressing intelligence challenges.

 A bill intended to “codify the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity role” recently passed the House and Senate and now awaits the President’s final signature. The most significant aspect of the bill is the creation of a cybersecurity sharing center known as the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). The center will serve as a repository for cyber information from multiple government and industry sources.

 Another bill soon to land on President Obama’s desk is the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA), which will, according to Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), “modernize our outdated federal network security laws.” It does this by authorizing the Office of Management and Budget to set policies involving government information security, and then to direct the DHS in implementing these policies.

 Republican representative Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the special House committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, ignored requests to abandon his inquiry. Some critics claim that all the questions involving the incident have been answered, and with the recent release of the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Benghazi no further investigation is necessary. However, Gowdy apparently believes much more is left to be done and has said, in regards to further investigation; “We may risk answering a question twice.” Or three times. Or four times.

 The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation authorizing the use of military force against ISIS. Ground troops would only be allowed under special circumstances. Despite approval from the Senate Committee, the measure faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Secretary of State Kerry appeared before the committee and urged members not to rule out the use of ground troops and to considering extending the duration of the measure, which would sunset in three years.

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