Rockefeller releases deal on intelligence budgets

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) released an agreement between himself and four senior appropriators aimed at smoothing out the annual process of drafting intelligence budgets, but the deal lacked the consent of the Intelligence panel’s ranking Republican.

The intelligence deal reflects senators’ intent to conform to recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which proposed moving power to allocate funds for U.S. intelligence agencies to the Intelligence panel from Appropriations. Rockefeller cosigned the statement of intent with Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Appropriations chairman and ranking member, respectively, as well as senior defense appropriators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Under the agreement, staffers from the Appropriations and Intelligence committees with the appropriate clearances will be allowed to attend closed-door markups in both panels. Similarly, cleared staff on either committee will be given access to both panels’ budgets prior to markups. Bond yesterday said he did not sign the agreement because he did not think it went far enough, adding that he had recommended hearings on the issue instead.