House Unanimously Approves Swalwell-LoBiondo Bipartisan “Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved the “Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act” (H.R. 4239) which was introduced last week by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence members Eric Swalwell (CA-15) and Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) to ensure greater oversight by Congress over the intelligence agencies. The vote to pass the bill was unanimous.
“Recent events have made it clear that our national security agencies have not had access to all tools needed to fully combat the threat of terrorism. Furthermore, the disclosure to Congress on the exact nature of the threat we face has been inadequate. I applaud my colleagues for recognizing the need for greater Congressional oversight and a clear assessment of the number of terrorists being trained in safe havens across the globe. Only then can our strategic counterterrorism efforts succeed and we prevent future attacks like San Bernardino,” said House CIA Subcommittee Chairman LoBiondo. “I appreciate Ranking Member Swalwell’s partnership in this legislation and urge the Senate to support our bipartisan bill.”
“To defeat ISIL, we must be more coordinated than they are. Today, we are vulnerable to ISIL fighters who travel to terrorist safe havens and then to the United States to carry out attacks against innocent Americans. We must know more about them. This bipartisan legislation makes sure our intelligence community tracks and reports to Congress any individual, across the globe, who travels to terrorist safe havens. To best understand the threats to Americans, we must know who is fighting and/or training in terrorist hot zones and capable of coming to the United States. America's leaders work best to protect Americans when we work together. Today's bipartisan legislation should be a foundation for this Congress to build upon to address America's greatest threat,” said House CIA Subcommittee senior Democrat Swalwell.
As directed by the legislation, every six months the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on foreign fighter flows to and from terrorist safe havens abroad. The reports would be categorized as classified and consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods. An unclassified report would also be provided.
Swalwell and LoBiondo’s legislation instructs the DNI to submit a report on each terrorist safe haven and to include the following:
- Total number of foreign fighters who have traveled or are suspected of having traveled to the terrorist safe haven since 2011, including the countries of origin of such foreign fighters;
- Total number of United States citizens present in the terrorist safe haven; and,
- Total number of foreign fighters who have left the terrorist safe haven or whose whereabouts are unknown.
The full text of the legislation is available here.
Video of Representatives Swalwell and LoBiondo’s remarks on the House Floor today is available here.