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Senators Hassan, Johnson Introduce Bipartisan Counterterrorism Bill

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chair of the Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to create a federal commission to review how terrorist threat information – relating to both domestic and internationally inspired terrorism in the U.S. – is shared between federal agencies and with all levels of government.


See below for coverage highlights of the bill’s introduction:


AP: Bill would set up commission on counterterrorism information


U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have introduced a bill to establish a federal commission to reevaluate counterterrorism information sharing and law enforcement's ability to identify, track, and prevent all terrorist threats in the United States.


Hassan, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday the new commission would focus on both domestic and internationally inspired homegrown terrorism, and would also include the input of state and local law enforcement.


Johnson, a Republican, said the timely sharing of terrorist threat information is a critical part of defending the homeland.


The commission would convene representatives from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Justice, as well as state and local law enforcement. It would review how terrorist threat information is shared between federal agencies and with all levels of government.


The commission would produce a report with recommendations for improving information-sharing to better combat terrorist threats.


The Hill: Opinion: Taking concrete steps to address domestic terrorism


By Javed Ali, a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Formerly, he was senior director for counterterrorism on the Trump Administration's National Security Council from 2017 to 2018.


The recent shootings in New Jersey against a law enforcement officer and kosher market by two individuals espousing an obscure ideology known as Black Hebrew Israelites has already been categorized as an act of domestic terrorism by the Federal Bureau of Investigation — and again highlights this threat in the United States. 


[…] While other countries around the world — especially in Europe, which is dealing with an arguably higher volume and scope of domestic terrorism threats than the United States — have taken a number of steps to address this issue balanced against other priority counterterrorism concerns, progress seems slower here in the United States. That said, there have been some concrete steps that can serve as the foundation for a more holistic approach to curb domestic terrorism at home with the goal of preventing future attacks.


[…] Beyond new initiatives from the Executive Branch, various members of Congress have advocated for increased federal attention on domestic terrorism. In September Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) championed the bipartisan REPORT Act which would require “federal agencies to report to Congress after a terrorist attack with information about exactly what happened and recommendations to prevent future attacks.” In November the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee held hearings that in part focused on this topic, and last week Sen. Hassan and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bill entitled “Interagency United States-Based Terrorism Threat Information-Sharing Commission.” […]If approved by the Senate this bill could compliment existing or planned efforts to heighten awareness about domestic terrorism threats.