What: All Issues : War & Peace : Intelligence Agencies' Oversight : Fiscal 2008 Intelligence Authorization (H.R. 2082)/Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) amendment to limit the number of personnel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the number serving on May 1, 2007
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Fiscal 2008 Intelligence Authorization (H.R. 2082)/Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) amendment to limit the number of personnel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the number serving on May 1, 2007
house Roll Call 338     May 10, 2007
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Conservative

This vote was on an amendment that would limit the number of people working in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the number in the office on May 1, 2007. Proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich,) the measure amended legislation authorizing funding for the intelligence agencies for fiscal 2008.

The impetus behind Roger's amendment was a growing concern in both parties that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was becoming an additional layer of bureaucracy within the intelligence community rather than the small, agile office Congress intended to coordinate activities among the various agencies that do intelligence work when the office was created by the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

Roger's said the office has grown exponentially since its creation "at the expense of analysts and officers in the field, and I think is the wrong direction." I think it's so important that we make this statement to them that enough is enough."

Rogers pointed out that those who were brought into the office came out of the field. "They were doing real work, targeting bad guys, identifying, putting them on lists, trying to get our guys to bring them to justice," Rogers said. "What happened then is they disrupted some of those operations, brought those people in, and started tasking back to the people in the field. That's not value-added; it's just not."

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who cosponsored the amendment, said it sent a message to the Bush administration that "we will not give you a blank check with which you could continue to grow a new bureaucracy before we know what you are doing with what you already have. A bigger bureaucracy does not make better intelligence."

Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) said while he supported the ideas behind the amendment, he thought it would have "unintended consequences."

"For example, though the intent of this amendment is to limit the layers of unnecessary bureaucracy, this cap would actually eliminate large numbers of analysts and planners, with the harshest impact falling on the National Counterterrorism Center, which analyzes terrorism information and plans counterterrorism operations," Reyes said. "In addition, this amendment would force the DNI to fire anyone hired between May 1 and the date of the enactment of this bill, preventing the DNI from increasing capacity in priority areas."

In the end, the amendment passed with significant Democratic support. Only three Republicans voted against it, and 106 Democrats broke with their party leaders in voting for it. Thus, by a vote of 297 to 122, the House voted to freeze the number of people working in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence at the staffing level as of May 1, 2007, and legislation authorizing spending for the intelligence agencies for fiscal 2008 went forward with the provision.

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