Schiff Works to Broaden Intelligence Oversight

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) joined Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in introducing the Intelligence Oversight Act (H.R. 5954) – a bill to strengthen the process by which information regarding classified intelligence programs is made available to Members of Congress. 

“Members of Congress are entrusted with the responsibility to do vigorous oversight to ensure Americans' safety and to guarantee our freedom,” Schiff said.  “We should not have to rely on the morning paper to learn about secret government programs, particularly when we sit on committees that are charged with overseeing such programs.  Members of Congress must not remain in the dark, unwilling or unable to perform their Constitutional duties.”

The Intelligence Oversight Act ensures that the requirements of the National Security Act are followed and that information regarding specific intelligence activities or programs is shared with those congressional committees that are charged with oversight. 

Yesterday, Schiff testified in support of the “NSA Oversight Act” – legislation he introduced in March to address the NSA’s domestic surveillance program – at a hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  During his testimony, Schiff pointed out that most Members of Congress have still received no information on the NSA program outside of newspaper reports, including almost every member of the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over wiretap statutes, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), terrorism, and civil liberties.  The Intelligence Oversight Act aims to address this problem. 

Reps. Schiff and Flake have previously teamed up to protect the civil liberties of Americans while ensuring that our national security needs are met.  Last year, the two secured passage of an amendment to the Patriot Act to provide additional safeguards for library and bookstore records.

Congressman Schiff is a former federal prosecutor and the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security.  He serves on both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees.  He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.