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Senator Hassan Introduces Legislation to Help Department of Homeland Security Better Identify Potential Terrorist Threats

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today introduced the DHS Data Framework Act to help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) better identify potential terrorist threats.

Currently, Department of Homeland Security agencies – such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – 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.

“Right now, information on potential threats to our homeland is not easily accessible across different agencies at the Department of Homeland Security, making it harder for our dedicated intelligence analysts to connect the dots and identify terrorist threats,” Senator Hassan said. “With ISIS sustaining loses on the battlefield and their cadre of foreign fighters scattering across the globe, it is all the more important that DHS be able to quickly identify potential terrorist threats in our travel system. This common-sense bill will help ensure that counterterrorism analysts at DHS agencies such as the Secret Service and TSA can quickly and efficiently access data from across the entire department. As today’s evolving threats present new challenges for DHS and other national security agencies, I will continue to work with members of both parties to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our communities safe and secure.”

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.