Counterterrorism, Iran and More

“It is critical that our intelligence community and homeland security agencies have the tools they need to keep Americans safe and free.” 

-House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Just like last year, House Republicans are focused on the American people’s priorities, including keeping our country safe and free. That’s why, to kick off this year, we’re tackling a series of bills that will help bolster our national security and provide you some peace of mind.

Tackling Security through Counterterrorism Information Sharing

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, the House passed legislation that will allow the U.S. to prioritize every opportunity to identify and deter individuals associated with terrorist organizations.

The Counterterrorism Information Sharing Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 4569) ensures that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has access to biographic and biometric data collected by the U.S. government on individuals of particular concern (i.e. ISIS affiliates). Previously, information sharing challenges among U.S. agencies prevented valuable information from becoming available for frontline screening and vetting. With the passing of H.R. 4569, we are eliminating some key bureaucratic, legal, and technical hurdles when it comes to identifying dangerous actors

Along these same lines, House Republicans also passed the Screening and Vetting Passenger Exchange Act of 2017 (H.R. 4581), which develops best practices for utilizing passenger information and data for counterterrorism screening operations.

Simply put, when passenger information is collected and shared, DHS can confirm the identities and travel patterns of individuals before they enter the U.S. This type of information sharing and processing is vital to our counterterrorism efforts.

And that’s not all.

House Republicans’ first and foremost concern is the safety and security of the American people. As we focus on this goal, we stand in solidarity with all who seek the same freedoms around the world.

Today, House Republicans passed legislation that supports the people of Iran, who are currently engaged in peaceful and legitimate protests against their own oppressive and corrupt regime.

These protesters have expressed grievances over the economy, corruption, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran. Since their start in late December, more than 1,000 Iranians have been arrest and two dozen have been killed in connection with the protests.

Our resolve and our hope is that the people of Iran can one day enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities we have here at home. So long as the Iranian regime continues with its vast human rights abuses, corruption, and destabilizing activities, we cannot and will not back down. For the sake of the Iranian people, and for the sake of our own security.

Tackling Security Elsewhere

These bills were just three of the many this week  that focus on the safety and security of everyday Americans. We’ve highlighted a few below:

H.R. 4555, DHS Interagency Counterterrorism Task Force Act of 2017

Adds additional authorities for the DHS Secretary to coordinate with other federal departments and agencies by assigning DHS personnel to overseas counterterrorism task forces.

H.R. 4559, Global Aviation System Security Reform Act of 2017

Directs the TSA Administrator to conduct a global aviation security review to improve aviation security standards and establish best practices.

H.R. 4561, SAFE TECH Act

Directs the TSA Administrator to establish a program and framework for enabling third party testing for advanced security screening technologies in order to alleviate existing bureaucratic hurdles in TSA’s testing and evaluation process.

H.R. 4564, Post-Caliphate Threat Assessment Act of 2017

Directs the DHS Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence, to conduct a threat assessment of current foreign terrorist fighter activity, including new travel and trends, as well as activity in Iraq and Syria.

H.R. 4567, DHS Overseas Personnel Enhancement Act of 2017

Seeks to build on existing requirements for an updated strategy for Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) overseas footprint, while identifying barriers to information sharing and collaboration among DHS components and other partner entities.

One of our most crucial and constitutionally mandated authorities is to provide for the common defense of the American people.

And we are doing exactly that.