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Local lawmaker touts Intelligence Authorization Act

The threat posed to global security is real and being treated with a high level of seriousness in a new bill, according to a local lawmaker.  4th District Congressman Jim Himes is a ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee. 


He says the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 funds protection measures. Himes believes that this bipartisan bill achieves that goal, but because of the sensitive and often classified nature of intelligence work, much of the bill cannot be openly shared. 


One aspect of the bill creates a new committee dedicated to countering active measures by Russia to exert covert influence across the globe.  This bill commissions a report on cybersecurity threats to infrastructure, seaports and shipping in the United States.  The bill also authorizes special outreach to recruit intelligence employees with science, technology, engineering or math experience to help combat future threats. 


To balance the intelligence portion of the bill with privacy protection, Himes says the bill also authorizes more that $10 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.  The Board provides additional review of covert actions to help ensure that rights are protected. Himes believes that security and privacy are not mutually exclusive, and he wants to ensure that the government is able to keep citizens safe without unnecessary infringement on rights.