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Obama signs bipartisan intelligence bill into law

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation that authorizes spending of $564 million over five years for the U.S. intelligence community and expands protections for intelligence agency whistleblowers against retaliation.

The White House said Obama signed the bill Monday. The cost figure does not include classified programs.

President Barack Obama speaks about education during a lunch meeting with teachers, Monday, July 7, 2014, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The bipartisan legislation specifies that employees would be protected when they make disclosures about potential wrongdoing within their agencies, to internal watchdogs or to Congress’ intelligence committees. The legislation adopts and expands whistleblower protection proposals made by Obama in 2012.

The legislation would encourage whistleblowers to voice concerns through channels rather than through unauthorized and potentially damaging leaks, supporters said. The new law, however, does not provide protections to intelligence agency contractors, such as National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

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