The House Intelligence Committee, Explained

The committee currently investigating the whistleblower scandal also crafts legislation and funds US intelligence efforts.
Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., joined at the right by the ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., talk to reporters about their investigation Russian influence on the American presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March, 15, 2017 - Nunes was chairman at the time this photo was taken, so the caption reflects their post-midterm titles (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., joined at the right by the ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., talk to reporters about their investigation Russian influence on the American presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March, 15, 2017 – Nunes was chairman at the time this photo was taken, so the caption reflects their post-midterm titles (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What Is The House Intelligence Committee?

The House Intelligence Committee, also called The United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is the principal body responsible for oversight of the United States Intelligence Community. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff currently chairs the committee and Republican Congressman Devin Nunes is the current ranking member.

The House Intelligence also has four subcommittees:

  • Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) Subcommittee
  • Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation (C3) Subcommittee
  • Intelligence Modernization and Readiness (INMAR) Subcommittee
  • Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support (DIWS) Subcommittee

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What Is The Intelligence Committee Responsible For?

The committee performs oversight of matters intelligence for all US agencies and Departments. It has jurisdiction over the following:

  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • National Reconnaissance Office
  • National Security Agency
  • Office of Naval Intelligence
  • Twenty-Fifth Air Force
  • US Army Intelligence and Security Command
  • US Coast Guard Intelligence and Marine Corps intelligence.
The committee is also responsible for additional intelligence activities related to the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, Energy, State, and Treasury.

How The House Intelligence Committee Works

The committee reviews and considers all proposed Congressional legislation related to intelligence matters, including funding initiatives and department or agency reorganizations. Conversely, the committee is also required to report the “nature” and “extent” of US government agency and department intelligence activities to the US House of Representatives.

The committee has a public interest responsibility that requires it to release unclassified and declassified information when deemed appropriate and necessary. In the event the committee intends to release classified information received from the Executive Branch, the committee is required to notify the President. If the President objects to the disclosure, the Committee must put the matter before the House of Representatives for consideration.

Who Is The Current Chairman?

Congressman Adam Schiff is the current chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff took up the committee gavel in January 2019 just after Democrats won back the House in the 2018 midterm elections. In his first year as chairman Schiff has overseen a whistleblower investigation into President Trump’s interactions with a foreign leader, hearings about Volume One of the Mueller Report and an investigation into the national security implications of climate change.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, the former committee chair won reelection in 2018 and now serves as the ranking member on the committee. In 2018 Nunes led a controversial investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election. At the time, Schiff served as the ranking member.

Each subcommittee also has a chairman. Representative Jim Hines leads the STAR Subcommittee. Representative Andre Carson chairs the C3 Subcommittee. Congressman Eric Swalwell runs the INMAR Subcommittee and Representative Terri Sewell chairs the DIWS Subcommittee.

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Who Are The Members Of The House Intelligence Committee?

Currently, the House Intelligence Committee has 22 members, 13 Democrats and nine Republicans.

Democratic Members

Adam Schiff, CA-28
Jim Hines, CT-4
Terri Sewell, AL-7
Andre Carson, IN-7
Jackie Speier, CA-14
Mike Quigley, IL-5
Eric Swalwell, CA-15
Joaquin Castro, TX-20
Denny Heck, WA-10
Peter Welch, Vermont at-large
Sean Patrick Maloney, NY-18
Val Demings, FL-10
Raja Krishnamoorthi, IL-8

Republican Members

Devin Nunes, CA-22
Mike Conaway, TX-11
Michael Turner, OH-10
Brad Wenstrup, OH-2
Chris Stewart, UT-2
Rick Crawford, AR-1
Elise Stefanik, NY-21
Will Hurd, TX-23
John Ratcliffe, TX-4

History of the House Intelligence Committee

On July 14th, 1977 the US House of Representatives passed a resolution creating the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee was born out of recommendations from a 1975 Congressional panel established to investigate alleged illegal activities by the FBI and CIA.

The panel, originally called the Select Committee on Intelligence was later referred to as the Pike Committee. Democratic, New York Congressman Otis Pike chaired the committee. Congressional members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, disallowed publishing of the committee’s final report. Leaked portions of the report were published in The Village Voice.

Past Committee Chairmen include:

  • Adam Schiff, Democrat – 2019 to present
  • Devin Nunes, Republican – 2015 to 2019
  • Mike Rogers, Republican – 2011 to 2015
  • Silvestre Reyes, Democrat – 2007 to 2011
  • Pete Hoekstra, Republican – 2004 to 2007
  • Porter Gross, Republican – 1997 to 2004
  • Larry Combest, Republican – 1995 to 1997
  • Dan Glickman, Democrat – 1993 to 1995
  • David K. McCurdy, Democrat – 1991 to 1993
  • Anthony C. Beilenson, Democrat – 1989 to 1991
  • Louis Stokes, Democrat – 1987 to 1989
  • Lee H. Hamilton, Democrat – 1985 to 1987
  • Edward P. Boland, Democrat – 1977 to 1985

The Rantt Rundown

The House Intelligence Committee, established in 1977, provides oversight for intelligence activities of all US agencies and departments. In 2019 the committee is controlled by Democratic members of the US House of Representatives. Since the committee’s inception, chairmen from both major parties have held the panel’s gavel. The committee drafts and/or reviews all intelligence-related legislation, is responsible for funding intelligence efforts, and investigates alleged wrongdoing by members of the intelligence community.

Congress // Adam Schiff / Devin Nunes / House Intelligence Committee