A Look Ahead: House Committee on Homeland Security

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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced the following Committee events:

Thursday, November 15

Subcommittee Hearing:  “WMD Terrorism: Assessing the Continued Homeland Threat”

10 a.m. on Thursday, November 15 in **210 Cannon House Office Building

Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

Dr. Leonard A. Cole
Program on Terror Medicine and Security
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Mr. Randall J. Larsen
Chief Executive Officer
The WMD Center

Chairman Meehan on the hearing: “Only weeks after the attacks of 9/11, a nationwide anthrax attack sickened 22 people and took five lives.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the economic impacts of what became known as the “Amerithrax” case ultimately exceeded $1 billion.  Had the public health response been delayed, or had the attack been the first wave of a sustained campaign by a terrorist group or hostile nation state, tens of thousands could have been killed.

Now, four years after the Congressionally-mandated Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (“WMD Commission”) released its sobering assessment of the gravity of the WMD threat, the time is ripe for re-analysis to ensure that resources are being targeted wisely.  Al-Qaeda leaders continue to push for the development and deployment of biological weapons. Syria, Iran, and Pakistan all possess active WMD programs that could be leveraged by a hostile government or fall into the hands of terrorist groups.  And rapid advances in biotechnology in the last few years could be leveraged for malicious intent as easily as for their beneficial uses. 

Since 9/11, a host of government agencies and non-governmental organizations have worked diligently on issues related to WMD terrorism, and in many ways our readiness has improved.  But the threat remains.  The Aspen Institute’s WMD Working Group has assessed that WMD terrorism is a continuing and serious threat to the U.S. homeland.  At this hearing, we will hear from the Aspen Institute on where we are and where we need to go.  I look forward to receiving testimony from noted experts about the threat, risks, and what steps are necessary to continue to keep us safe.”

Thursday, November 15

Subcommittee Hearing:  “TSA’s Recent Scanner Shuffle: Real Strategy or Wasteful Smokescreen?”

10 a.m. on Thursday, November 15 in 311 Cannon House Office Building

Subcommittee on Transportation Security

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

Mr. Jonathan Cantor
Acting Chief Privacy Officer
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. John Sanders
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Security Capabilities
Transportation Security Administration
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Chairman Rogers on the hearing: “TSA is about to warehouse 91 body scanners that cost taxpayers $14 million.  Despite initial reports, these scanners, which were removed from large airports, will not be used in small airports, nor will they be updated with privacy software anytime soon.  This raises serious questions about the entire process for developing this technology and how much taxpayer money is at stake.  At this hearing, the Subcommittee will investigate the actions that got us to this point.”

Friday, November 16

Subcommittee Hearing:  “A Line in the Sand: Assessing Dangerous Threats to Our Nation’s Borders”

9 a.m. on Friday, November 16 in 311 Cannon House Office Building

Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

Mr. Frank Cilluffo
Homeland Security Policy Institute
The George Washington University

Ambassador Roger Noriega
Visiting Fellow
American Enterprise Institute

Mr. Douglas Farah
Senior Fellow
International Assessment and Strategy Center

Mr. Marc Rosenblum, Ph.D.
Specialist in Immigration Policy
Congressional Research Service

Chairman McCaul on the hearing:  “Middle East terrorist networks that continue to plot against the United States are expanding their ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, better positioning themselves for a possible attack on our homeland. Our majority Subcommittee report, entitled ‘A Line in the Sand: Confronting Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border,’ documents the increased presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Latin America and addresses the growing concern that terrorist organizations will exploit burgeoning relationships with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the Southwest border undetected.  The Federal government needs to better address this threat, and secure ‘America’s unlocked back door’. In late 2010, DHS reported that it could respond to illegal activity along only 44 percent of the Southwest border, leaving 7,500 border miles inadequately protected. After this abysmal report card, DHS quickly abandoned this metric and has yet to implement another way to measure its progress in securing the border. The purpose of this hearing is to assess these findings and develop potential solutions for the next Administration and Congress to help prevent a breach of our border security and avert the consequences that could result.”

***See www.homeland.house.gov for updates.

***Coverage note: All Committee on Homeland Security proceedings are

webcast live at www.homeland.house.gov/live-video-feed