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House passes intelligence bill

July 12, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to authorize funding for intelligence agencies and support critical national security programs especially targeting Russia, China and North Korea, passed the House on Thursday.

The bill, which passed 363-54, would increase the pay for intelligence employees with cyber skills and defend against foreign threats to federal U.S. elections. It would require intelligence agencies to brief key congressional leaders if the U.S. faces meddling or a cyber intrusion targeting a federal election.

“The bill takes steps to prevent a repeat of the Russian active measures campaign that targeted our 2016 election,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

The 100-page bill calls for setting up a center within the Energy Department to coordinate intelligence on threats to U.S. infrastructure.

It would require intelligence agencies to provide Congress with reports on leaks of classified information; security clearance backlogs; and the use of virtual currencies in assessing financial threats to U.S. national security.

It also would require the national intelligence director to study North Korean finances and trade networks, weapon sales, labor exports and supply chains to help close gaps in economic sanctions as well as Iran’s support of proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon.

The Senate has not yet passed its companion intelligence authorization bill.

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