Yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee passed H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, by a nearly unanimous vote of 17-1. The legislation, which was introduced Wednesday by Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), with the support and cosponsorship of a bipartisan group of 28 House members, would provide for sharing of certain classified cyber threat intelligence and information between the U.S. Government’s intelligence community and approved private sector companies and organizations. During the Committee’s markup of the bill, two amendments were approved by voice vote; the first, introduced by Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) enhances the privacy protections in the bill by restricting the government’s use of information provided to it from private parties, and the second, introduced by Mike Thompson (D-CA) would require an annual report to Congress from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community on information voluntarily provided by the private sector to the government to ensure it was shared for cybersecurity purposes. These reports will aid the Intelligence Committee in exercising proper Congressional oversight of the program going forward.
Regarding the Committee vote, Chairman Rogers said, “The decisiveness of the vote shows the tremendous bipartisan support for this bill. Through hard work and compromise we have struck a delicate balance that provides strong protections for privacy and civil liberties, while still enabling effective cyber threat sharing and providing clear authority for the private sector to defend its own networks.” Ranking Member Ruppersberger echoed that sentiment as well, stating, “This has been an extraordinary bipartisan effort. I am proud of the compromise this bill represents and look forward to all stakeholders continuing to work together throughout the legislative process.” The bill will now head to the House floor and the Committee’s leadership is looking forward to working with House leadership to advance it through the chamber.