The Intercept reports that the House Intelligence Committee lacks the funding to hire sufficient staff to conduct investigations.
PRIVACY ADVOCATES AND national security wonks have for years argued that the House intelligence committee, a key overseer of spy agencies like the NSA, can’t do its job because it doesn’t have enough money to hire sufficient staff. Now that purported Russian hack attacks are routinely in the news, the committee is poised to get a big funding increase.
The budget for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence would rise 31 percent to $6.1 million under an omnibus resolution approved unanimously by members of the Committee on House Administration earlier this month. The resolution must still be approved by the full House, a process that typically occurs with little debate.
While all permanent House committees are set to get budget boosts under the resolution, the intelligence panel will receive one of the four largest increases. The funding runs through the two-year duration of the 115thCongress.
“Increasing resources for HPSCI is important given the number, complexity, and importance of intelligence issues,” Amy Zegart, the co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, wrote in an email. “Asking tough questions starts with great staff.”
The committee is responsible for policing the U.S.’s 17 different intelligence agencies, giving them oversight over controversial surveillance practices, covert operations, and analysis of hot-button developments with national security implications. It had 33 staff members last year.