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house Bill H.R. 677

Sharing Terror Threat Info Between DHS, the Intelligence Community, and Local Agencies

Argument in favor

DHS, the intelligence community, and local authorities need to be in regular communication about the threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terror attacks. This bill provides greater oversight into that process.

kbondee's Opinion
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01/30/2017
My only question is concerning this clause in the bill:* share information and provide focused analytical support on these threats to state, local, and tribal authorities, plus other national biosecurity and non-defense stakeholders. What/ who exactly are these non-defense stakeholders? Why are they "holding-stakes" in this bill (what do non-defense stakeholders benefit from this bill passing)? Do "tribal authorities" mean native Americans? Please clarify.
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DonNoah's Opinion
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01/30/2017
As an ex Intel analyst for the military, it is beyond difficult to get info from other agencies. They need to be told to share instead of try to be the best so they can justify better funding.
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Leo's Opinion
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01/30/2017
Turf wars often impede the flow of critical information to the relevant authorities. This may help alleviate some of that.
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Argument opposed

Federal and local law enforcement agencies learned their lesson about the consequences of failing to share information after September 11th — they can be trusted to do so in the future without Congress looking over their shoulder.

Alex's Opinion
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01/30/2017
I'm concerned at how this will be combined with current executive overreach
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Sherri's Opinion
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01/31/2017
I need more information. Bannon in office. Don't trust him with any intelligence
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Jesse's Opinion
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01/30/2017
The federal and local branches must have separate means of power. Anymore, I cannot trust the ethical behavior of our federal government. We live in extraordinarily times, unfortunately, and should limit the amount of information handed over to law enforcement branches that can no longer be trusted to act accordingly toward justice for all.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 31st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 677?

This bill would direct the Dept. of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) to take actions aimed at improving information sharing between homeland security intelligence agencies to prevent chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attacks.

Specifically, it would call on them to:
  • Support homeland security-focused intelligence analysis of terrorists. That includes terrorist claims, and plans  for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attacks against the U.S.

  • Support homeland security-focused risk analysis and risk assessments of hazards by offering relevant quantitative and non-quantitative threat information.

  • Use homeland security intelligence capabilities and structures to enhance prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts following an attack using CBRN materials.

  • Share information and provide focused analytical support on these threats to state, local, and tribal authorities, plus other national biosecurity and non-defense stakeholders.

The OIA would coordinate with other DHS divisions, the intelligence community, and federal, state, local, and tribal authorities so those entities to give recommendations on information sharing mechanisms with DHS.

DHS would be required to ensure that homeland security information it analyzes concerning terrorist threats is provided to state, local, and private entities and the public.

Impact

Residents of the U.S., targets for terrorist attacks, terrorist groups, local authorities, DHS, the Intelligence Community, Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 677

The CBO estimated in the last Congress that enacting this bill wouldn't significantly affect spending by DHS.

More Information

Of Note: The threat of terrorist attacks involving the use of biological or chemical weapons has been a concern for U.S. national security strategists for years.

America suffered its largest biological terror attack in 1984, when a series of deliberate salmonella poisonings infected more than 750 people in Oregon. In the aftermath of September 11th there were several anthrax attacks that killed five people. More recently, it was discovered that ISIS has been attempting to weaponize the bubonic plague for use in terror attacks.

New York Times article revealed that between 2004 and 2011, U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq located stockpiles of chemical weapons, some of which were located in areas ISIS now controls. ISIS is alleged to have used chemical weapons against the Kurds in Iraq and Syria.

Radiological attacks are not likely to cause a large number of casualties, but could incite mass panic and cause lingering damage to local economies, while also requiring an expensive decontamination process. This is in stark contrast to nuclear attacks -- which could result in mass casualties, cause many billions of dollars in damage, and require an even more extensive decontamination effort than a radiological attack.


In-Depth: Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), the bill’s sponsor said that “the threat to our nation from terrorists seeking to attack our homeland is very real. Countering this threat and mitigating the risk requires continuous sharing and analysis of intelligence.” She added that her bill requires DHS to create methods for “homeland security-focused intelligence analysis and information sharing for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.”

This bill was passed by the House on a 420-2 vote during the last Congress, but it wasn't considered by the Senate.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user John Stennis)

AKA

CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear intelligence and information sharing functions of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security and to require dissemination of information analyzed by the Department to entities with responsibilities relating to homeland security, and for other purposes.

    My only question is concerning this clause in the bill:* share information and provide focused analytical support on these threats to state, local, and tribal authorities, plus other national biosecurity and non-defense stakeholders. What/ who exactly are these non-defense stakeholders? Why are they "holding-stakes" in this bill (what do non-defense stakeholders benefit from this bill passing)? Do "tribal authorities" mean native Americans? Please clarify.
    Like (138)
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    I'm concerned at how this will be combined with current executive overreach
    Like (209)
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    A few weeks ago, I would have said yea. Now, I am concerned about who will be implementing these changes and how they can be used in 'alternate' manners.
    Like (265)
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    I need more information. Bannon in office. Don't trust him with any intelligence
    Like (152)
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    The federal and local branches must have separate means of power. Anymore, I cannot trust the ethical behavior of our federal government. We live in extraordinarily times, unfortunately, and should limit the amount of information handed over to law enforcement branches that can no longer be trusted to act accordingly toward justice for all.
    Like (75)
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    I have no faith in the current executive branch to do this effectively or responsibly. It will be used as another means to abuse power.
    Like (43)
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    As an ex Intel analyst for the military, it is beyond difficult to get info from other agencies. They need to be told to share instead of try to be the best so they can justify better funding.
    Like (37)
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    Turf wars often impede the flow of critical information to the relevant authorities. This may help alleviate some of that.
    Like (23)
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    I have no faith or trust in the current executive overreach to support this.
    Like (23)
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    With the sharing of information, comes the very dangerous threat of mishandling information. I do not believe that local state authorities, who do not have proper training outside their jurisdiction, should be involved in handling this work. Additionally, I do not support increasing spending in this area.
    Like (21)
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    With this current administration how can I know this will be executed right????
    Like (15)
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    Sounds like a common sense thing to do!
    Like (13)
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    I do not trust the executive branch right now. It makes it very hard to vote in favor of any more government power until that is sorted out.
    Like (13)
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    Who are the non - defense stakeholders? That sounds suspicious
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    Until this Administration shows any indication of presuming innocence until proven guilty, the concept of evidence before accusations, or respect for due process etc, I don't trust Federal v. Local policies to be any more than a witch hunt or lynching in the hands of these treasonous vermin.
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    The intent is great, my only concern is the oversight and practical action and implementation of this action. Many organizations seem to already have access, but are not actively reviewing disseminated information. Further, the approach of regulating the sharing of information through oversight seems much more like a parent telling their kids to do homework versus reviewing the overall collection, analysis and dissemination capacity at all levels of threat analysis organizations.
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    I am concerned that Trump is preparing to use DHS as his personal military police to enforce his (illegal) Federal laws in states that do not comply with his executive orders.
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    It's not really about a balance of power with this one. It's just because this is pretty confidential information for a good reason. The more people that hold this information increases the likeliness of a leak. If the public finds out, panic will spread. If the enemy finds out, then they can work around our defensive strategies. It's best to keep this information little and between few, just like launch codes. I don't think the "trust" gained by spreading this info is worth a possible leak in defensive information.
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    Why would two separate entities working for the same cause not share information with each other, an obvious yea
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    Gosh, who would have through this is so simple. Of course other departments and security agencies need to communicate. Nature provides clues to this subject. Ground squirrels have lookouts, birds keep their eye(s) open, deer scatters over a strange sounds or motion. Therefore, government security agencies need to keep open channels to transfer intelligence. Locally, when a stranger arrives in town, every busybody is passing the word. Being aware is paramount to survival.
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