Homeland Security Subcommittee Passes Counterterrorism and Intelligence Legislation
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Washington, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence passed, by voice vote, H.R. 2764, the “WMD Intelligence and information Sharing Act of 2011,” and H.R. 3140, the “Mass Transit Intelligence Prioritization Act.”
The bipartisan H.R. 2764, introduced by the Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify important and existing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) intelligence and information-sharing practices of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The bill requires that DHS coordinate with others in the Intelligence Community in its efforts, and that information analyzed by DHS be shared with State, local, and tribal partners.
Chairman Meehan said: “As the former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, I prosecuted terrorism cases that required real time, critical intelligence. I understand the value of intelligence sharing. By promoting effective sharing, this common sense legislation aids in our effort to protect against a potential WMD attack, ensuring that intelligence analysis and dissemination regarding dangerous weapons — specifically chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear — continue to be a priority for our nation.”
Specifically, H.R. 2764 aims to ensure maintenance of adequate WMD technical expertise in DHS’ intelligence division and sufficient intelligence sharing among homeland security organizations in regard to terrorists with plans to conduct attacks containing nuclear, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials. The bill also supports homeland security intelligence that focuses on global infectious disease, public health, food, agricultural and veterinary issues. Sustained and effective intelligence sharing will better support the State, local, and tribal authorities as well as other stakeholders in security matters dealing with weapons of mass destruction.
The legislation stipulates that the Office of Intelligence and Analysis should work together with other leading homeland security resources to successfully gather the most accurate intelligence sharing techniques and information regarding (WMD).
This provision was included in both “The Weapons of Mass Destruction Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2011” (H.R. 2356), co-sponsored by Meehan and Full Committee Chairman Peter T. King, and the “Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2012” (H.R. 3116), passed by the Committee by a bipartisan vote on October 13.
H.R. 3140, introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the assignment of officers and analysts to certain State and urban area fusion centers to enhance the security of mass transit systems.
H.R. 2764 and H.R. 3140 will be sent to the Full Committee for consideration.
For more information on today’s markup, visit the Committee on Homeland Security website.