As a member of both the House Foreign Affairs and House Homeland Security Committee, Bill has direct oversight over our nation’s most urgent security concerns. He serves as the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, where he continues to monitor threats at home and abroad – from ISIS and the flow of foreign fighters to illicit terrorist financing.
Bill has traveled to Europe, Russia, and the Middle East on fact-finding missions and to see the complex situation on the ground firsthand. He participated in the prestigious Munich Security Conference and the Transatlantic Legislator’s Dialogue, in advance of the Ukraine Crisis and renewed Iraq conflict, to make educated decisions on various funding measures on these topics while also promoting our district’s value to European counterparts.
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING
Bill watched in horror alongside the American public as the attacks unfolded at the Boston Marathon in April 2013. As the only member of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation on the Homeland Security Committee, he was uniquely situated to lead the investigation into the attack and assess the response that followed.
In addition to two fact-finding trips to Russia, Bill has taken numerous steps and introduced legislative provisions to improve information-sharing lapses discovered in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing. He has also traveled to the Middle East and Europe and met with his foreign counterparts in his attempt to have EU countries strengthen their information sharing, something that has a direct impact on American security.
Bill has had a three-prong legislative approach to strengthening our national security. First, he investigated lapses in information-sharing. Through legislation and a series of Congressional Hearings held by the Homeland Security Committee, a Congressional report was produced highlighting challenges to be addressed and changes to be made. The second phase involved oversight of federal agencies as they made changes recommended in the official report. The last phase is ensuring that these changes become permanent requirements.
He began implementing the necessary changes to our homeland security last year. Bill’sfirst marathon provision, the Keating MOU Provision, was included in the FY2015 Intelligence Authorization, which was signed into law, and compelled the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a thorough assessment on the Memoranda of Understanding signed between federal, state, and local law enforcement entities, including fusion centers.
The second provision, the Keating Progress Provision, was successfully included in the FY2016 Intelligence Authorization and restores a reporting requirement on the progress of the FBI in implementing information-sharing principles.
In November 2015, the House passed the Fusion Center Enhancement Act of 2015 to provide direction and coordination to the National Network of Fusion Centers, including a Keating amendment codifying the Homeland Security Committee’s recommendations. His third provision,the Keating Fusion Center Provision, strengthens information-sharing between the Department of Homeland Security and state and local governments.
The FY2016 Intelligence Authorization also includes a Keating provision that will produce critical understanding of the flow of foreign fighters to and from Iraq, Syria, and the European Union and NATO countries. Right now, every country is conducting their own investigations into foreign fighters. The Keating Foreign Fighters Provision aims to uncover lapses to our coordinated effort to track foreign fighters.
Bill authored the Prevent Trafficking in Cultural Property Act, which would improve U.S. enforcement against illegal trade in cultural property and, as a result, would help prevent terrorists such as ISIL from profiting from the looting and trafficking of antiquities. This bipartisan bill would enhance coordination between Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in stopping stolen antiquities and other illegally imported cultural objects from entering the United States, and investigating and supporting the prosecution of persons engaged in this trafficking. We know that groups like ISIL are looting and selling cultural properties – in particular from areas such as Iraq and Syria – to fund their terrorist activities. Bill believes that by preventing stolen antiquities from being sold on the black market, we will be hitting ISIL where it hurts the most – their pockets.
With the emergence of sophisticated encryption software and the increasing use of social media to radicalize people around the world, Bill believes our cybersecurity must be strengthened so that American businesses and citizens do not fall victim to cyber threats.