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LETTER: Intelligence Community Employment

Re: "Agency Under Fire"

To the editors:

I read William Bergstrom’s April 26th article, “Agency Under Fire,” in which he claims my amendment to the intelligence authorization bill would greatly restrict outside employment by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. The author mischaracterizes the nature of my amendment.

First, far from banning large categories of outside employment, my amendment would establish a uniform approval process for such employment.

Second, my amendment does not mention the CIA.

There are 16 agencies in the intelligence community with each having different standards for outside employment.  All federal agencies are required to have conflict of interest guidelines that set limits on employees’ outside employment. These guidelines are developed jointly by the agency and the Office of Government Ethics. However, the Director of National Intelligence has not issued intelligence community-wide policy guidance on conflicts of interest for outside employment.  The lack of consistent guidelines leads to confusion among agency employees about what is permissible.

The amendment would require the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Government Ethics to come up with uniform standards for outside employment that would provide a baseline for all intelligence community agencies.

No one is arguing that federal employees cannot hold second jobs. The guidelines are designed to ensure that those jobs do not pose a conflict of interest to their government work. Intelligence community employees have many valuable skills that can be used in outside employment. My amendment ensures that they do not do so at the expense of the taxpayer.

ANNA G. ESHOO

April 29, 2010

Anna G. Eshoo is a Democratic congresswoman from California’s 14th congressional district.

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