Trump administration to propose new intelligence law, to include new intelligence agency

POLITICO HONOLULU, Hawaii — The Trump administration is set to propose a new intelligence legislation, including an intelligence agency and intelligence analysts, that would increase the intelligence agencies’ capabilities and expand the intelligence community’s work, according to a draft document leaked Friday.

The draft bill also would set a deadline for a formal public debate and to be voted on by the Senate and House of Representatives within 180 days of being published.

The draft bill is the first significant overhaul of the intelligence process since President Donald Trump took office, according the report, which was obtained by Politico.

It was written by the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who also is under scrutiny for his handling of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and for the leaking of a top-secret National Security Agency report to The Washington Post.

In the draft bill, the DNI would be given the power to create a new agency within the intelligence bureaucracy, which would be led by a civilian and be authorized to conduct intelligence missions, according Politico.

But the bill also says the DPI can “require that agencies conduct intelligence on the basis of national security and national economic interests, if that is appropriate and if it is in the national security interest of the United States,” Politico reported.

The draft measure is expected to face challenges in Congress, given that the White House has repeatedly signaled it is opposed to the creation of an intelligence community.

In a May letter to senators, a DNI official said that the president has instructed the agency to “immediately establish a new director of national intelligence (DNO), a position in which the DNO would have primary authority over the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other relevant agencies, and also has the authority to direct all DNO functions.”

“This new director must be nominated by the president, confirmed by the senate, and confirmed by a vote of two-thirds of all members of the Senate,” the letter said.

A White House official did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

The White House said in a statement that it has a policy of working with Congress to ensure the intelligence is “robust, effective, and fully independent.”

“We are proud of our intelligence-based operations and the ability of the DIO to conduct the intelligence needed to protect our national security,” the statement said.

“We believe it is important for DNI leadership to ensure that the intelligence that is provided to Congress meets the needs of our country, and that Congress and the American people are informed about the intelligence provided by the intelligence agency.”

The White, House, Senate and White House agencies all declined to comment.

The proposed changes to the intelligence bill would likely face opposition from some of the more conservative members of Congress, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

“The intelligence community is a critical element of our national defense and security, and the president should not be seeking to replace it with a different agency,” Burr said in May.

Burr added that he was “committed to working with the intelligence committees to get this bill done and I intend to do everything I can to support this effort.”

The Trump administration’s intelligence proposal, which will likely face significant opposition from the Senate Intelligence panel, would also set a new standard for what constitutes an intelligence report.

The Senate Intelligence committee will hold hearings on the draft intelligence bill, but lawmakers have not yet taken up the legislation.