Senator Collins’ provisions would require presidential campaigns to report certain foreign contacts, prevent the politicization of security clearances
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (IAA) on a bipartisan 14 - 1 vote. The bill authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community. The legislation included two provisions co-authored by Senator Collins.
“The brave men and women in our Intelligence Community work unceasingly to counteract threats facing our nation and keep Americans safe,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill provides crucial resources and support to members of the Intelligence Community so that they can continue their important mission. In addition, it includes provisions I co-authored that will help thwart attempts by foreign nations to interfere in our elections as well as uphold the integrity of the security clearance process.”
Two provisions that Senators Collins and Mark Warner (D-VA) authored were included in the final bill:
- The Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections (FIRE) Act would require presidential campaigns to notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation of foreign nationals who are attempting to make campaign donations or otherwise coordinate with the campaign.
- The Integrity in Security Clearance Determinations Act would ensure that the security clearance process is fair, objective, transparent, and accountable by requiring decisions to grant, deny, or revoke clearances to be based on published criteria. It would explicitly prohibit the executive branch from revoking security clearances based on the exercise of constitutional rights, such as the right to freely express political views, or for purposes of political retaliation. It would also ban agencies from using security clearances to punish whistleblowers or discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, religion, age, handicap, or national origin.
The IAA for Fiscal Year 2021 ensures that the Intelligence Community can continue its critical work for our country while Congress continues its oversight, including in the following key areas:
- Confronting our adversaries’ attempts to compromise telecommunications and cybersecurity technology;
- Development and deployment of secure 5G networks based in open-standards to compete with our adversaries;
- Identifying corruption, influence operations, and information suppression by the Chinese government, in particular in this critical time for the people of Hong Kong;
- Uncovering Russian and Eastern European oligarchs’ corruption and illegal activities;
- Protecting against foreign influence threats and election interference on social media platforms;
- Creating Intelligence Community-wide policies to facilitate sharing cleared contractor information with private companies to enhance the effectiveness of insider threat programs;
- Requiring the publication of guidelines for granting, denying, or revoking a security clearance and preventing the revocation or denial of a clearance for reasons of discrimination, political beliefs, or retaliation; and
- Advancing Intelligence Community hiring flexibilities, student loan repayment programs, and child care for IC personnel.