Bill gives more in Congress access to secret intelligence

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Washington (CNN) — Congress has sent President Barack Obama a bill that that will significantly increase the number of lawmakers notified about the administration’s most secret intelligence activities.

Final passage of the bill had been held up by a dispute over how to adjust the notification procedure to allow more members of Congress access to information concerning sensitive spy programs.

The new ground rules require that when the so-called Gang of 8 congressional leaders are briefed by the administration on a covert or top secret program, the 37 members of the Senate and House intelligence committees must be notified and be given a general description of the matter being discussed with the leadership. If after 180 days the details of the secret program are still restricted to the Gang of 8, the administration must provide a statement explaining why the limited access must continue.

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