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Bill includes measures to protect the integrity of the election process, including from Russian threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted to advance the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020. This legislation, which unanimously passed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, authorizes funding for key intelligence priorities, including programs to address threats emanating from Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran, and enhances congressional oversight of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Senator Heinrich authored a provision requiring the Intelligence Community to provide a report to Congress, the public, and Executive Branch agencies assessing foreign election interference following each U.S. election. This provision would codify into law and strengthen current provisions in Executive Order 13848 on foreign election interference, which the administration issued in September 2018.

“The president continues to believe that taking steps to protect against Russian or other interference in future U.S. elections is intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his 2016 victory. As a result, this Administration has made minimal efforts to raise awareness of and defend against threats to the integrity of U.S. elections,” said Sen. Heinrich. “But these threats are very real, and need to be addressed. While the Senate appears to be disinclined to vote on election security reform legislation, we can at least ensure that all Americans understand the risks to our elections and how the threats play out during the course of each U.S. election. My provision in the Intelligence Authorization Act would help provide this transparency.”

In February 2019, Senator Heinrich led a letter signed by all members of the Senate Intelligence Committee calling on the Director of National Intelligence to make the mandated reports on foreign election interference in the 2018 U.S. elections available to all members of the committee.

The bill also includes provisions authored by Senator Heinrich:

  • Requiring regular briefings to Congress from the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community on their respective Artificial Intelligence and machine learning initiatives to ensure coordination and avoid duplication of efforts; and
  • Requiring the Director of National Intelligence to study how to expand the number of opportunities for community college students to take part in Intelligence Community agency academic programs.

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