WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate yesterday passed legislation introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan that will help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) better identify potential terrorist threats.
Currently, agencies within the Department of Homeland Security – such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Secret Service – use many different data systems that contain information on individuals who could pose threats. The DHS Data Framework Act, introduced in the House of Representatives by Republican Representative Will Hurd of Texas, would ensure that analysts at DHS can quickly and efficiently access data from any of the Department’s agencies. A version of the bill has also passed the House of Representatives.
“The current system for accessing threat information is fractured and creates obstacles for the hard-working men and women at the Department of Homeland Security who are trying to identify potential terror threats and secure our homeland,” Senator Hassan said. “This commonsense legislation will help streamline the process to identify terrorist threats and better equip our counterterrorism analysts at agencies, including the Secret Service and TSA, to quickly and efficiently access data across the entire Department.”
The DHS Data Framework Act would require DHS to establish a central data framework to help cut down on the processing time of data searches. The bill would also instruct DHS to ensure that only DHS analysts with appropriate clearances may use the system and that DHS analysts using the data framework are appropriately trained in safeguarding sensitive and personal information and are fully briefed on DHS’s civil rights and civil liberties policies. The bill also allows DHS to exclude any information that would jeopardize sources and methods, compromise a criminal or national security investigation, or would not serve a clear operational purpose. For more information, click here.