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House Passes Walker’s Legislation to Help Communities Combat Terrorist Attacks

April 1, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the Ranking Member for the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, today released the following statement after the House passed his legislation, H.R. 1589, the CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2019, with overwhelming bipartisan support:

“Terrorists continue to try to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials in their attacks on our homeland. Because some of these materials are readily available, it is critical that we ensure the federal government shares information with our local officials to keep our communities safe. Combatting terrorism – both foreign and domestic – takes international, national, and most importantly, local coordination.”

The legislation requires the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), within the Department of Homeland Security, to conduct analysis of terrorist capabilities related to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials, as well as threats to the homeland from global infectious disease. The bill further directs I&A to consider how to leverage intelligence information to improve CBRN prevention and recovery programs and requires the agency to share threat information with state and local entities as well as appropriate stakeholders. 

“Strengthening and improving DHS programs is a key priority of Homeland Security Committee Republicans and these bills each make important contributions toward achieving that goal,” Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said. “Today’s floor action marks an important step on the way to their passage into law and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take them up in short order. I commend Reps. Walker and Guest for their continued leadership.”

Terrorist groups have long strived to employ CBRN materials in their attacks.  Osama bin Laden saw it as an Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and security experts believe this goal has remained a top priority for al Qaeda. As recently as February, terrorist supporters online were promoting the use of poisons and chemicals in lone wolf attacks.

Read the full text of the CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2019 here.