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EXCLUSIVE US Lawmakers Call for New Controls on Former Spies Working Abroad

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September 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence community’s budget bill could impose new controls and reporting obligations on former U.S. spies, according to the author of the legislation, which will make them more difficult to work as a contractors for foreign governments following a 2019 Reuters investigation into American mercenary hackers.

“Members of the intelligence community are developing the skills to protect our country from bad foreign actors, and this intellectual property actually belongs to the United States,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, said Thursday. Californian, in an interview with Reuters.

“It should not be used by foreign governments to spy on Americans or to violate the human rights of dissidents,” he said. “We will make sure that does not happen again. “

The bill was passed by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday with bipartisan support. It now goes to the plenary assembly for consideration, before moving on to the Senate, and then possibly to the Presidents’ office for signature.

Although it is not yet on the verge of becoming law, the amendment is remarkable because it is the first of its kind, according to experts.

“This bill names intelligence agencies for some of the most drastic and punitive post-employment restrictions Congress has ever passed,” former US National Security Agency general counsel said , Stewart Baker.

The purpose of this provision is to deter some former spies from providing intelligence-led security services to countries with poor human rights records, said members of Congress familiar with the bill. .

It imposes a requirement that certain former public servants, who held particularly sensitive positions, report to the United States government their employment for foreign governments when providing “national security, intelligence or homeland security” services. He also banned such employment for 30 months after leaving the US intelligence community. This includes working for a foreign government through a private company.

“THE TIME WE ACT”

A Reuters report previously revealed the existence of a secret mercenary hacking unit, staffed by the United Arab Emirates, in the United Arab Emirates known as Project Raven.

These revelations have led to multiple changes in US government policy over the past two years, such as requiring the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to provide a report to Congress on the issue of mercenary spies.

I have to think that the case you (Reuters) discovered is not an isolated one, “said Schiff, who added that they had been seeking this information from the intelligence community for some time and had no good visibility about it. ”I think it does. time we acted.

Reuters reports showed how Project Raven spied on a wide range of targets, from American journalists to Middle Eastern human rights activists and regional political rivals from the United Arab Emirates.

The introduction of the changes comes just two weeks after three Project Raven operatives were indicted by the US Department of Justice for violating US export control and piracy laws. The defendants, all former American intelligence agents, admitted to having hacked American computer networks from Abu Dhabi on behalf of an UAE intelligence agency.

Reporting by Christopher Bing; edited by Edward Tobin

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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