House passes intelligence bill with policy guidelines

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a bill authorizing a 7 percent spending increase for intelligence agencies and presses President Barack Obama to produce a strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

The bill, passed Tuesday by a vote of 364 to 58, must be reconciled with a similar measure pending in the Senate.

The bill authorizes spending at a level that is 7 percent higher than the current year’s budget, according to a House fact sheet. Most of the measure is classified. The unclassified portions contain a variety of policy guidance and requirements.

Among other provisions, the bill:

—Restricts the president’s privacy and civil liberties board from obtaining information about covert CIA operations.

—Requires regular reports to Congress describing the number of foreign fighters going to and from Syria and Iraq.

—Requires the president to give Congress a written explanation of his strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

—Requires an assessment on the use of “political assassinations as a form of statecraft,” by Russia since 2000.

—Requires the director of national intelligence to conduct a study of how to measure damage from cyberattacks.

“Our enemies are rapidly improving their ability to launch devastating cyber-attacks and deadly terror strikes,” said Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the intelligence committee. “Amid these elevated threat levels, it’s crucial that our intelligence professionals receive the resources they need to keep Americans safe.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, said the bill “strikes the right balance by providing the necessary means to counter wide-ranging threats we face from state and non-state actors, particularly in cyberspace, outer space and the undersea environment.”

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