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Senator Hassan Discusses Growing Threats to Homeland Security at Southern New Hampshire University

HOOKSETT – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, delivered remarks yesterday at Southern New Hampshire University on the growing threats to homeland security. Senator Hassan focused specifically on three major threats that she is working to address as a member of the committee: the threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations to the United States and our allies, the threat posed by homegrown and domestic terrorists, and the threat posed by cyber-attacks on our critical infrastructure and other institutions.

Senator Hassan also discussed bipartisan strategies needed to confront those threats, including legislation she has worked on such as the Stop Terrorists’ Operational Resources and Money or STORM Act that would penalize foreign governments who fail to shut down terrorist financiers and facilitators, and the Hack DHS Act that she introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and has now been signed into law to bolster cybersecurity efforts at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   

See below for coverage highlights:

Union Leader: Sen. Hassan talks terrorism and security at SNHU

By Travis Morin

In a conversation on growing threats to the American homeland, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, outlined a set of pressing national security concerns that she believes the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security is failing to adequately address.

Speaking on Tuesday to an assembly of Southern New Hampshire University students and staff about foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism and cyber security, the junior senator from New Hampshire expressed repeated frustration with a DHS that she says is absent of steady guidance from the upper echelons of the agency.

[...] Hassan applauded U.S.-led efforts by NATO to eliminate the last of the Islamic State’s stronghold’s in Syria, but said the administration needs to beef up the DHS Visa Security Program, which helps to perform security screenings of anyone applying for a visa.

She said Visa Security Teams need to be placed at every U.S. embassy and consulate in order to “ensure that ISIS foreign fighters returning to Europe and countries around the world can never reach American soil.”

[…] “I am concerned and have been asking DHS to explain why they have taken away what were really modest resources to help communities deal with extremism at home,” said Hassan in an interview with the Union Leader.

“Because we know that there are programs that have helped pull people out of violent extremist groups, we know that there are programs that can prevent recruitment into them and those efforts have now been defunded. So, it’s a line of questioning I’ve continued to pursue. I frankly haven’t gotten a good answer for it yet.”

When it comes to cyber security, Hassan cited cyber attacks by Russia, China and North Korea as evidence for why DHS should work more closely with stakeholders in high-value industries as well as state and local governments in order to share information that both prevents attacks and mitigates the damage from attacks that may occur.

She went on to point to a 2017 attack on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and the subsequent disruption of vital healthcare services as evidence that vigilant cyber security defenses were vital to ensuring that the technological disruptions of digital attacks did not spill over into “actual physical harm” to the American people.

AP: Hassan speaks on threats to homeland security

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan is speaking up about what she calls a growing number of threats to America's homeland.

Hassan, a Democrat, spoke Tuesday at Southern New Hampshire University. She highlighted three major threats she is focused on as a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: foreign terrorist organizations, domestic terrorists and cyberattacks on critical infrastructure.

She described several bipartisan bills to confront those threats, including one that would penalize foreign governments that fail to shut down terrorist financiers and facilitators. Another measure, which was recently signed into law, would bolster cybersecurity efforts at the Department of Homeland Security.

Hassan says threats from armies and weapons that can be seen and tracked haven't dissipated, but they've been joined by increasingly complex and evasive security challenges.

WMUR (Video)


[…] Jennifer Vaughn: In a speech at Southern New Hampshire University, [Senator Hassan] questioned budget cuts to the office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships. The Senator serves on the Homeland Security Committee. Hassan also says she's concerned the Administration will not move quickly to nominate a new Secretary of DHS.

Senator Hassan: The void at the top of DHS is a real concern right now. The last thing we need there is the kind of turnover and turmoil that they're experiencing.