David Buckley nominated as new CIA Inspector General; Senate presents its version of intelligence authorisation bill

President Barack Obama has nominated a veteran investigator to be the next CIAinspector general, a crucial position that has remained vacant for more than a year.

David B. Buckley, currently a senior manager for Deloitte Consulting, will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he can fill the watchdog post charged with unearthing abuses inside the spy agency.

The nomination comes after months of congressional frustration with the White House about not putting forth for a candidate for the job. Several candidates had previously been mentioned but none made the cut.

John Helgerson, the agency’s previous inspector, stepped down in March 2009. His former deputy, Patricia A. Lewis, has run the office since then.

In related news, the Senate intelligence committee passed its version of the fiscal-year 2010 intelligence authorization bill, calling for overseers with more power and better accountability over the secret agencies.The Senate’s version of the authorization bill has some measures for oversight. Here’s a summary of what the bill does, according to the Senate intelligence committee:

  • strengthens and expands the responsibilities for the inspector general in the Director of National Intelligence. That position would have power to do internal oversight of the intelligence community
  • makes the inspector general at the Central Intelligence Agency more independent.
  • creates inspectors general positions for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Security Agency.
  • requires more Congressional notifications — some in writing — and more clarity for covert action programs and other intelligence work.
  • provides better record keeping in briefings to House and Senate leadership.
  • makes the Director of National Intelligence report on how the intelligence community complies with laws and executive orders on detention and interrogation activities.
  • improves the intelligence community’s acquisition and management process to prevent “misuse of funds and major cost overruns on intelligence programs.
  • improves oversight and privacy protections in the government’s cyber security work.

Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement after passage, “this bill … [which] improves Congressional oversight and gives the top spy chief more authority, is a critical first step.”

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