Committee on Homeland Security

Michael McCaul

The Hill: Key Republican says cyber bill has 80 percent chance of passage

2014/10/21

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) says his cyber information sharing bill has an 80 percent chance of becoming law during Congress’s lame-duck session.

“It might be the one bill that passes this Congress and gets signed into law,” he said Tuesday at a Bloomberg Government event.

McCaul’s bill, which would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and private sector to share cyber threat information, has the administration’s backing and passed the House in July. At a Monday briefing, McCaul was told Senate discussions on the bill were going well.

“It is so important to our national security on so many levels,” he said. “Eighty to 85 percent of the threat information is in the private sector.”

McCaul’s high hopes for the bill don’t necessarily bode well for more controversial legislation approved by the House in April.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would facilitate cyber threat information sharing between the private sector and the National Security Agency (NSA). 

Privacy advocates have backed McCaul’s bill, but urged the White House to veto CISPA if it passes the Senate.

“I don’t know what the fate of CISPA’s going to be,” McCaul said. “DHS is not a military organization like NSA, it is a civilian entity.” That difference made it easier to “garner so much support not only from industry, but from privacy groups” for his bill.

McCaul also praised DHS for a significant turnaround in the last year, particularly on cyber. 

Jeh Johnson replaced Janet Napolitano as DHS secretary in December 2013. 

He worked “in very short order” to fill agency vacancies and heighten attention to cybersecurity, McCaul said.

“I think if anything, morale has improved under his leadership. I give him high marks I would not have given his predecessor,” he said.

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/221388-key-republican-says-cyber-bill-has-80-percent-chance-of-passage 

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McCaul Statement on DHS’s New Travel Restrictions

2014/10/21

Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement on new travel restrictions for flights originating from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. These flights will now be routed through New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago airports and are subject to secondary screening and added protocols before they can be admitted into the United States:

“Putting in place travel restrictions and additional screening measures at our airports is a commonsense proposal, and I am pleased to see DHS make this announcement. In addition to requiring all travelers from at-risk countries to fly through airports with enhanced screening measures in place, I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.”

Chairman McCaul previously urged Secretary Johnson and Secretary Kerry to temporary suspend visas issued to individuals from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea and recommended that any diagnosed patients should be treated at one of the four U.S. biocontainment units.

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McCaul Op-Ed: Securing the border to keep Americans safe

2014/10/19

The Washington Times - by Michael McCaul 

There’s still no control of the Southern border, and that’s unacceptable.

Over the past few months, Americans have witnessed the many threats the United States faces. It is my job as the chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee to help keep these threats out of the country. That is why securing our border is so important to me.

This summer, the American people saw a glimpse of what Texans have been witnessing for decades: our nation’s inability to stop people from coming across the southern border. The surge of unaccompanied children being led into the United States by coyotes and drug cartels highlighted one of our nation’s greatest weaknesses. If we cannot control who or what is coming into our country, how can we hope to keep the American people safe?

The potential for more sinister individuals to cross our borders is certainly on the radar of government officials. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said, “Terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even quite easily bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.”

We must remain vigilant and we must also do more to protect ourselves from this threat. This will require the Department of Homeland Security to finally develop a comprehensive strategy to secure the border.

For more than 25 years, the federal government has increased border security resources only to see illegal crossings and criminal enterprises continue to operate by shifting to other less secure areas of the border. At last count, only 44 percent of the border was under “operational control” — an unacceptable outcome by any objective standard.

Today, the border is not secure, but it can be. It is my responsibility to ensure Secretary Jeh Johnson and the Department of Homeland Security are making real progress to gain operational control at the border. As such, I recently outlined my vision of a secure southern border.

Homeland Security needs a new approach to secure the border, one that emphasizes the smart application of resources, defined goals and quantifiable results to tangibly show that the border is secure. The No. 1 objective is to allow the Border Patrol to gain complete visibility of our borders. Once we identify the threat, we must have the ability to communicate it to law enforcement. Finally, we need the capabilities to quickly respond.

This can be done immediately by strategically deploying more technology and capabilities to close known gaps in our defenses and using these resources to develop better intelligence. My plan includes a sector-by-sector allocation of assets that will enable us to achieve Step 1: complete visibility.

In fact, this resource allocation has already begun. I previously traveled to Afghanistan and met with Gen. John Allen about securing Department of Defense surveillance assets proven to work on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border so they could be used on our borders once they were no longer needed overseas. Today we have five aerostats — tethered airships for surveillance — in the Rio Grande Valley and another 16 are available to the Homeland Security Department. However, more can and should be done.

Moreover, any plan to secure the border must also establish outcome-based means to measure security between and at ports of entry and along the maritime border. This data will facilitate a clearer vision of the effectiveness of the total border security effort and better resource allocation planning, and will answer the question: Is the border secure?

Earlier this month, Mr. Johnson delivered a speech in Washington, D.C. on the security of our southern border. I was disappointed to hear him double down on the belief that our border is more secure than ever. However, I am glad to know that Homeland Security will finally be heeding my calls for a department-wide strategy with metrics and risk-based deployment of technology for intelligence gathering and surveillance at our borders.

The American people deserve to have secure borders. As we face new and growing threats to our national security, this administration needs the will and vision to make it happen. This is the constitutional role of the federal government, and we have an obligation to our citizens to make this a reality.

Michael McCaul, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

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McCaul Statement on President's Appointment of Ebola Coordinator

2014/10/17

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on President Obama’s appointment of Ron Klain as coordinator for the U.S. response to the Ebola virus:

"While it is an important and necessary step to name an Ebola coordinator, prior administrations had permanent leaders on a range of bio-threats, including Ebola, with strong medical credentials. Specifically, both the Bush and Clinton administrations had a Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense Policy to focus all federal efforts on the range of biological threats we face, including disease outbreaks like Ebola. While the president’s pick may have the ear of the White House and experience from the campaign trail, I am concerned he doesn't have significant relationships in the medical community that are imperative during this current biological emergency. I urge the president to rethink his political choice, and re-establish this permanent position as I have previously recommended."

Chairman McCaul previously urged President Obama to reestablish the position of Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense Policy.

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McCaul Statement on Resignation of TSA Administrator Pistole

2014/10/16

Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the resignation of John S. Pistole, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):

"I commend Administrator Pistole for the outstanding job he has done as head of the Transportation Security Administration. Mr. Pistole shared my goal of refining TSA to better serve travelers' needs, while still providing safe mass transit. With more than 30 years with the FBI and TSA, he has shown a dedication to the security of his country few can match. I wish him and his family all the best in his future endeavors."

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House Homeland Security Chairs Call on DHS, State Department to Suspend Visas from Ebola-Affected Countries

2014/10/15

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, called on the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and State to temporarily suspend the visas of individuals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone until the outbreak of the Ebola virus is under control within these countries.

Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairmen U.S. Rep. Peter T. King, R-NY; U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-MI; U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-SC; U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC; and U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-IN, joined in the letter sent to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The signed letter is available HERE

The text of the letter follows: 

October 15, 2014

The Honorable Jeh Johnson Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Nebraska Avenue Center Washington, DC 20528

The Honorable John Kerry Secretary U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretaries Johnson and Kerry:

We write today concerning the urgent need to contain the Ebola Virus. While we understand significant efforts are underway to screen travelers at the point of exit leaving West Africa, as well as recently established procedures established at five ports of entry in the United States, we believe additional steps should be considered to curtail the potential spread of Ebola to the United States.

Last week, the Committee on Homeland Security held a field hearing in Dallas, Texas, where we received testimony from Federal, State and local officials on the government’s current response to the recent Ebola cases in Texas.  While we remain confident in CBP’s ability to adequately screen individuals with overt signs of disease, given the virus’s long incubation period of up to 21 days, individuals carrying the virus may not show symptoms when they leave West Africa or upon entry in the United States.  As was the case with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola case in Dallas, symptoms manifested days after he arrived.

Despite the strong public health system in the United States to combat a spread of Ebola, the most recent cases involving the two Dallas health care workers demonstrates the vulnerabilities of our system and steep learning curve public health officials are facing.  In light of these current vulnerabilities, we urge you to consider temporarily suspending visas of individuals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone until the outbreak is under control.  Such a measure would ensure healthcare workers and supplies are able to be transported to impacted areas of West Africa, while also ensuring the public health and safety of the American public.

Taking such action to temporarily suspend some of the 13,500 visas would improve the American public’s confidence of public health officials to limit the spread of Ebola to the United States, while simultaneously permitting a robust effort by the U.S. Government and global health agencies to combat this vicious disease in West Africa. Moreover, we believe that any individuals that are diagnosed with Ebola should go to one of the four hospitals (Emory University Hospital, National Institutes of Health, Nebraska Medical Center, St. Patrick Hospital in Montana) that specialize in the treatment of this disease.

We urge your consideration of these necessary steps to prohibit the spread of this deadly virus.  We thank you for your attention to this grave matter and wish you the best of luck as our nation faces this public health crisis.

Sincerely,

Representative Michael McCaul Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security

Representative Peter King Chairman, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

Representative Candice Miller Chairman, Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security

Representative Jeff Duncan Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency

Representative Richard Hudson Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Security

Representative Susan Brooks Chairman, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications

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NOTE: Last week, Chairman McCaul held a hearing in Dallas, Texas to examine the coordinated federal, state and local response to combating Ebola in the United States. 

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Chairman McCaul Opening Statement at Hearing on Government Coordination to Combat Ebola

2014/10/10

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing entitled “Ebola in the Homeland: The Importance of Effective International, Federal, State and Local Coordination.” Watch LIVE on C-SPAN or online at cspan.org. 

Chairman McCaul’s Remarks as Prepared: “We are here today to discuss the threat to the U.S. homeland from the Ebola virus and what is being done to stop the spread of this terrible disease. The crisis is unfolding at an alarming pace.  Thousands have died in Africa and thousands more have been infected, including four selfless Americans working in Liberia who have been flown home for treatment. Now the virus has begun to spread to other parts of the world, and the American people are rightfully concerned. They are concerned because the Ebola virus is an unseen threat, and it is only a plane-flight away from our shores.  We’ve witnessed that with the recent case here in Dallas—the first fatality from Ebola in the United States. 

“But we must be sure to confront this crisis with the facts.  Blind panic won’t help us stop this disease from spreading, and fear-mongering will only make it harder to do so. That is why we are here today:  to ask the American people’s questions and get answers from our experts.  Americans are seeking assurance that our federal, state, and local officials are doing everything in their power to keep this virus out of the United States. 

“Already, there has been a vigorous international, federal, state, and local response.  We hope to hear more today about exactly what has been done—and what needs to be done going forward. Two weeks ago, Thomas Eric Duncan traveled here from Liberia by way of the Brussels and Dulles airports, fell ill, and presented himself for treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital here in Dallas. Mr. Duncan’s diagnosis set in motion an extensive public health operation involving federal, state, and local officials to identify and assess any individuals with whom he may have had contact, a process called “contact-tracing.”

“That contact-tracing effort continues today, and our prayers are with everyone who is currently being monitored as part of this incident.  We are thankful that, to date, there have been no additional cases of Ebola stemming from this case. Contact-tracing is time consuming and difficult, but it is one of the few ways to contain the disease. Containment also requires swift, coordinated action.  In this Committee’s hearings and investigation on the Boston Marathon bombings, we heard testimony about the importance of the “incident command system.”

“The system is a vital tool for making sure first-responders at all levels engage quickly and decisively, rather than argue over who is in charge.  The importance of such a response mechanism was highlighted in the 9/11 Commission report, and it has since saved countless lives. I was encouraged to learn officials here in Texas instituted this structure.  Today, state and federal officials are co-located in the Dallas County Emergency Operations Center, enabling vital information sharing and coordination. 

“To be clear, the situation here at home is far different than what is happening in West Africa.  We have a strong public health infrastructure in place, particularly here in Texas, which enables us to work to contain this virus more effectively. But Dallas is not the only area that must remain vigilant.  We need to ensure that state and local responders nationwide are prepared to move quickly if the virus is detected anywhere else within our borders. Hospitals are recognizing this and have made nearly 190 inquiries with the CDC about cases they believed could be Ebola. Thankfully, testing was only warranted in about 24 of those cases, and only one case was confirmed as Ebola.

“Public health and medical personnel must remain vigilant, ensure all hospital personnel are informed, follow protocols to identify this virus, and take appropriate quarantine measures.  We must reinforce the importance of taking travel histories and sharing that information with all relevant personnel. Protecting the homeland from the Ebola virus also requires us to put measures in place out our airports.  I am pleased the President announced earlier this week additional entry screening efforts are being launched. Beginning tomorrow, enhanced screening measures will be activated at JFK airport and soon after at Dulles, O’Hare, Newark, and Atlanta.  

“These airports receive more than 94% of all travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.  I look forward to hearing more about these enhanced screening efforts from our witnesses. The Department of Homeland Security has been actively involved in the response, and I commend Secretary Jeh Johnson for his leadership in bringing federal resources to the fight.

“We must also closely monitor the situation overseas and continue our global response efforts. I have spoken with the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco numerous times to ensure our government is doing all that is necessary. We recently discussed exit screening procedures that have been put in place in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea by CDC-trained personnel.  In the past two months, this screening has stopped 77 travelers with Ebola-like symptoms or contact history from boarding planes, out of a total of 36,000 individuals screened.  None of those 77, that we are aware of, has been diagnosed with Ebola. While there have been many positive aspects of this response, there have also been missteps.

“For instance, here in Dallas Mr. Duncan’s travel history was not communicated to all relevant medical personnel when he first sought treatment, which led to his release from the hospital and the potential that additional people were exposed to the virus. There were also problems removing hazardous biomedical waste from the apartment where Mr. Duncan’s family was quarantined.  The soiled materials remained in the home with the quarantined individuals for days after the Ebola diagnosis was confirmed.  

“We must learn from these missteps, and ensure the proper procedures are established and followed should another case arise in the United States. Going forward, we must consider all policy options for stopping the spread of this horrific disease.  I have heard many ideas directly from my fellow Texans—everything from stopping inbound flights from specific countries to additional screenings at home and abroad.  We hope our witnesses will discuss options that are being considered and the tradeoffs we may have to confront.

“We also have to ensure unnecessary government red tape does not slow down the response. I urge the Senate to follow the lead of the House and approve the Pentagon’s request to transfer additional resources to the fight.  The Defense Department is seeking to move $750 million toward response efforts, and we should move swiftly to satisfy that request.

“Now is not the time for politics.  Congress has been loathe to get much done this session, and if there has ever been a time to come together and put pettiness aside, it is now.  We must get this right and make sure that federal protocols are put in place and communicated to our local and state leaders when a situation this critical occurs.  

“My hope today is that we don’t focus on gotcha politics, but instead hear from our panels and focusing on a solutions based hearing. We are in the same boat.  And we need to work hard to make sure that our Nation is protected from this threat. I want to thank the Ranking Member for being here in my home state of Texas in a show of support for this shared goal. 

“Before we begin, I also want to commend the first responders, medical personnel, and public health officials who have responded courageously to the case here in Dallas.  Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families affected by this crisis. I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panel of witnesses today on the recent response efforts and what more can be done to keep America safe.” 

 

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McCaul to Hold Dallas Hearing on Government Coordination to Combat Ebola

2014/10/08

***See important planning note/RSVP requirement for media***

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, will hold a hearing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to examine the coordinated federal, state and local response to the Ebola case in Dallas, Texas.  

FRIDAY, October 10 at 12:00 p.m. CT

Committee on Homeland Security

Ebola in the Homeland: The Importance of Effective International, Federal, State and Local Coordination

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

In-Transit Lounge, D31, Terminal D

2333 S. International Drive, DFW Airport, Texas, 75261

Witnesses Include:

PANEL I

·         Dr. Toby Merlin, Director, Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infection, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

·         Kathryn Brinsfield, MD, MPH, FACEP, Acting Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer, Office of Health Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         Mr. John P. Wagner, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

PANEL II

·         Dr. David L. Lakey, Commissioner of Health, Texas Department of State Health Services

·         Dr. Brett P. Giroir, Executive Vice President and CEO, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, Director, Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response

·         Hon. Clay Jenkins, Judge, Dallas County, Texas      

·         Catherine L. Troisi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Management, Policy, and Community Health, Center for Infectious Diseases, The University of Texas

Chairman McCaul on the hearing: “With the interconnected nature of our world, threats to the homeland are only a flight away. Effective coordination at all levels of government and with our international partners is vital for all aspects of our security, whether it be working to combat the threat posed by terrorists such as ISIS, addressing the porous Southwest border or the prevention of Ebola reaching our shores. At this hearing key federal and state officials will discuss the efforts that have been taken to respond to the first case of Ebola in the United States. We will also examine ways we can continue to improve our preparedness and capabilities, particularly when it comes to screening passengers entering the country.”

*LIVE video of the hearing will be available here.

***Important planning note/RSVP requirement for media***

All members of the media must RSVP by 5pm on Thursday, October 9 to april.ward@mail.house.gov

Information regarding cabling, parking and other logistics are forthcoming.

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McCaul Releases Blueprint for Southern Border Security

2014/10/06

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released a proposal to secure the border entitled “Blueprint for Southern Border Security.”

"Securing our borders is first and foremost a national security issue,” said McCaul. “We must identify the threats and be able to respond quickly, but we can't do either without seeing the entire border. My proposal matches resources and capabilities to needs on the southern border to allow Border Patrol agents to finally gain complete visibility. This is the first step to providing Americans the secure border they demand and deserve."

The proposal maps out sector-by-sector recommendations on resource allocation and capability improvements to achieve full situational awareness of the border.

In addition to gaining situational awareness, the proposal also calls for:

  • developing outcome-based means to measure border security,
  • bolstering interior enforcement,
  • increasing coordination between federal, state and local efforts,
  • creating a new command and control structure,
  • and engaging our international partners.

Full text of the proposal is available HERE.

An interactive map outlining the sector-by-sector recommendations is available HERE.

 

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McCaul to Hold Dallas Hearing on Government Coordination to Combat Ebola

2014/10/06

This week, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, will hold a hearing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to examine the coordinated federal, state and local response to the Ebola case in Dallas, Texas.  

FRIDAY, October 10 at 12:00 p.m. CT

Committee on Homeland Security

Ebola in the Homeland: The Importance of Effective International, Federal, State and Local Coordination

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

·         Witnesses To Be Announced

Chairman McCaul on the hearing: “With the interconnected nature of our world, threats to the homeland are only a flight away. Effective coordination at all levels of government and with our international partners is vital for all aspects of our security, whether it be working to combat the threat posed by terrorists such as ISIS, addressing the porous Southwest border or the prevention of Ebola reaching our shores. At this hearing key federal and state officials will discuss the efforts that have been taken to respond to the first case of Ebola in the United States. We will also examine ways we can continue to improve our preparedness and capabilities, particularly when it comes to screening passengers entering the country.”

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There is no media available for this committee.

Contact Information

H2-176 Ford HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-8417
Fax 202-226-3399
homeland.house.gov


Membership

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Paul Broun

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Jason Chaffetz

UTAH's 3rd DISTRICT

Steve Daines

MONTANA

Jeff Duncan

SOUTH CAROLINA's 3rd DISTRICT

Richard Hudson

NORTH CAROLINA's 8th DISTRICT

Peter King

NEW YORK's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Mark Sanford

SOUTH CAROLINA's 1st DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Chris Stewart

UTAH's 2nd DISTRICT