Cybersecurity

House Intel panel, White House spar over new cyber agency

Shutterstock image: the White House.

The White House and the House Intelligence Committee are sparring over the resources and responsibilities allotted to a cyber intelligence agency the White House announced in February.

The White House intends the fledgling Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to be modeled after the National Counterterrorism Center so that it helps “connect the dots” to give federal agencies a clearer view of cyber-threat patterns.

The fiscal 2016 intelligence authorization bill approved by the House panel this week defines the CTIIC’s mandate more broadly, saying it should be “the primary organization within the federal government for analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired by the United States pertaining to cyber threats.”

The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy worrying that the House bill would expand the CTIIC’s responsibilities and give the agency “certain intelligence mission management functions already assigned elsewhere” in the intelligence community. For the White House, the bill would not only unduly expand the CTIIC’s responsibilities, but also leave the agency under-resourced.

“The limits this bill would place on CTIIC’s resources, and the expansive approach the bill would take with regard to CTIIC’s missions, are unnecessary and unwise, and would risk the CTIIC being unable to fully perform the core functions assigned to it in the bill,” the White House said in the statement, which strongly suggested a veto would be in the offing.

The bill would cap the number of permanent CTIIC staff at 50 and limit the agency’s ability to hire contractors.  

“The CTIIC’s mission was crafted to ensure that the new center would not duplicate existing ODNI cyber efforts,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. “The CTIIC mission also mirrors the statutory mission of other successful ODNI centers like the National Counterproliferation Center.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to unveil its authorization bill. A spokesperson for Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), declined to comment.

This isn’t the first time the House Intelligence Committee and the White House have clashed over the CTIIC. The White House gave the committee little-to-no notice before announcing the agency, and lawmakers were not pleased, Politico reported in February.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is a former FCW staff writer.

Featured

  • Management
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    Where does the TMF Board go from here?

    With a $1 billion cash infusion, relaxed repayment guidelines and a surge in proposals from federal agencies, questions have been raised about whether the board overseeing the Technology Modernization Fund has been scaled to cope with its newfound popularity.

  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

Stay Connected