Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt) is proposing legislation to open up spy agencies' financial books -- at least a little.
Currently only total spending figures for all intelligence programs are publicly available. Rep. Welch wants each of the 16 agencies budget requests to be made available. Disclosures leaked by Edward Snowden did color in some of those details. Welch says unlimited funding and non-existent oversight are not a good combination. "It has led to dubious policies, wasted money and questionable effectiveness. Requiring a public disclosure of a budget request of our intelligence agencies is an essential first step in assuring that our taxpayers and our national security interests are well-served," he said.
Welch said he supports all of the suggestions for reforming the intelligence community contained within a presidential commission report. The president is expected to enact some but not all of the recommendations.
Sen. Patrick Leahy is preparing to grill National Security Administrators Tuesday. The Senate's judiciary committee -- led by Leahy -- will convene a panel including former spy agency officials and researchers. They will cover the 46 recommendations made by President Obama's review panel to overhaul intelligence gathering rules.
Leahy has been quite critical of the NSA but also condemned leaker Edward Snowden. Leahy will resume public hearings on ths issue Tuesday with a focus on the National Security Administration.