Subcommittee votes to enhance intelligence info sharing
The full committee plans to take up the language, along with other freestanding measures, at a markup today and Thursday.
"This legislation is about using information better for prevention" of another terrorist attack, said Homeland Security Chairman Christopher Cox, R-Calif.
The bill would overhaul the color-coded warning system developed under former Homeland Security Secretary Ridge, which had been criticized for providing vague threat information.
The legislation also would require the department to provide specific information to regions, cities and economic sectors, as well as produce and disseminate reports based on information that does not require a national security classification to better inform the public about the nature of terrorist threats.
It would require the department's information analysis division to receive all terrorism-related information and to share intelligence with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure owned by companies.
The measure would clarify the responsibilities of the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division. And to attract intelligence officers, the bill would allow the Homeland Security secretary to issue recruitment bonuses.
The bill also would create a homeland security information requirements board to set standards for collecting and sharing terrorism-related information.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Jane Harman, D-Calif., said she and Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., had concerns with the board, because it is created separately from the new director of national intelligence, whose office oversees all 15 intelligence agencies across the government.
She also said they worried the recruitment bonuses for the IAIP division could "skew" recruiting for other intelligence agencies that do not have a similar policy.
Harman said the provisions were not "deal breakers" and the two panels could work out compromise language before the full Homeland Security Committee markup.