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                                                      Calendar No. 158
116th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {       116-59
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

 

                    COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISORY BOARD 
                              ACT OF 2019

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                 S. 411

 TO ESTABLISH A COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISORY BOARD, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES









[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]










                 July 22, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                   ______
		 
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
		 
89-010                    WASHINGTON : 2019                 



















        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
JOSH HAWLEY, Missouri

                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                  Joseph C. Folio, III, Chief Counsel
 Michelle D. Woods, Co-Director and Chief Policy Advisor for Homeland 
                                Security
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
    Subhasri Ramanathan, Minority Senior Counsel for Technology and 
                               Innovation
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk




















                                                      Calendar No. 158
116th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {       116-59

======================================================================



 
              COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISORY BOARD ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

                 July 22, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 411]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 411) to establish a 
Counterterrorism Advisory Board, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and an amendment to 
the title and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................5
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................6
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............7

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 411, the Counter Threats Advisory Board 
Act of 2019, is to establish within the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS or the Department) a Counter Threats Advisory 
Board (CTAB) to coordinate the Department's intelligence 
activities, policy, and information related to the mission and 
functions of the Department that counter threats. The bill 
requires the CTAB to meet on a regular basis to discuss 
intelligence and coordinate the Department's threat mitigation 
efforts. In addition, the bill requires the CTAB to focus on 
the current threat environment and advise the Secretary on the 
issuance of Terror Alerts. The CTAB is required to report to 
Congress its activities, and the Secretary must provide written 
notification and a briefing on any changes to or new mechanisms 
to coordinate threats across the Department. The CTAB 
terminates two years after enactment of this bill.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    In November 2010, DHS established the Counterterrorism 
Advisory Board (the Board) in response to the attempted bombing 
of Northwest Flight 253 on December 25, 2009.\1\ The mission of 
the Board is to ``further improve coordination on 
counterterrorism activities for the Department and components'' 
and ``prevent terrorist attacks and enhance security.''\2\ This 
bill codifies the activities of the Counterterrorism Advisory 
Board, and renames it the Counter Threats Advisory Board to 
ensure that the activities undertaken by the Board position the 
Department to coordinate and respond to ever-changing security 
threats and vulnerabilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Ten Years After 9/11: Can Terrorists Still Exploit Our Visa 
System?: Hearing Before Subcomm. on Border & Mar. Sec. of the H. Comm. 
on Homeland Sec., 112th Cong. (2011) (statement of John Cohen, 
Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of 
Homeland Security), https://www.dhs.gov/news/2011/09/12/statement-john-
cohen-principal-deputy-coordinator-counterterrorism-house-homeland.
    \2\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On December 25, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian 
national, boarded flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, 
Michigan.\3\ While on board, Mr. Abdulmutallab attempted to 
detonate an explosive device located in his underwear.\4\ The 
device did not explode, but did ignite injuring Mr. 
Abdulmutallab and two additional passengers.\5\ Mr. 
Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by the U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection and subsequently questioned by the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation.\6\ In the immediate aftermath of the 
incident, the Federal Government determined that while Mr. 
Abdulmutallab was known to the U.S. intelligence community and 
was in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (a 
database of known or appropriately suspected terrorists), he 
was not on the terrorist watchlist which may have prevented him 
from boarding the flight to the United States.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Press Release, The White House Office, White House Review 
Summary Regarding 12/25/2009 Attempted Terrorist Attack (Jan. 7, 2010), 
https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/realitycheck/the-press-office/
white-house-review-summary-regarding-12252009-attempted-terrorist-
attack.
    \4\Id.
    \5\Id.
    \6\Id.
    \7\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This incident prompted the White House to conduct a 
preliminary assessment of the events that led to the attempted 
attack. In January 2010, the White House released the findings 
of its review of the terrorist watchlisting system and 
intelligence community's actions preceding and following the 
attempted terrorist attack.\8\ The review found that ``human 
errors and a series of systematic breakdowns failed to stop Mr. 
Abdulmutallab before he was able to detonate an explosive 
device on board flight 253.''\9\ Specifically, the review 
found, among other things, that the counterterrorism community 
(of which DHS is a member) failed to ``connect the dots'' by 
identifying, correlating, and fusing together information 
relating to the terrorist plot; assign responsibility within 
the counterterrorism community for following up on high 
priority threat streams; and identify intelligence information 
that would have placed Mr. Abdulmutallab on the watchlist.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Id.
    \9\Id.
    \10\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the 111th Congress, the Committee held hearings on 
the lessons learned and implications of the attempted 2009 
Christmas Day terrorist attack against Northwest Airlines 
Flight 253, also known as the ``Underwear Bomber'' 
incident.\11\ In January 2010, Mr. Michael E. Leiter, then-
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, testified 
about the counterterrorism system's failure to prevent the 
attack:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Intelligence Reform: The Lessons and Implications of the 
Christmas Day Attack-Part 1: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Homeland 
Sec. and Governmental Affairs, 111th Cong. (2010), available at https:/
/fas.org/irp/congress/2010_hr/reform.pdf.

          The counterterrorism system collectively failed . . . 
        [l]et me be clear again. Had all of the information the 
        United States had available been linked together, his 
        name undoubtedly would have been watchlisted, and, 
        thus, he would have been on the visa screening list and 
        the border inspection list. And whether he would have 
        been placed on the No Fly or Selectee List then, would 
        have been based on the existing strength of the 
        analytic judgments at the time.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Id. at 6.

    Similarly, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet 
Napolitano testified that ``. . . Umar Abdulmutallab should 
have never been allowed to board this U.S.-bound plane with 
explosives.'' She outlined improvements to the Department's 
aviation security screening processes and efforts to enhance 
coordination with its interagency partners ``to reevaluate and 
modify the way the terrorist watchlist is created, including . 
. . how names are added to the No Fly and Selectee Lists.''\13\ 
Secretary Napolitano later established the position of 
Counterterrorism Advisor and subsequently the Counterterrorism 
Advisory Board to improve coordination of the Department's 
counterterrorism activities. The mission of the Board aligns 
with the Department's central mission--to prevent terrorist 
attacks and enhance security.\14\ The Board is composed of 
senior representatives of operational and headquarters 
components, and aims to facilitate coordinated operational 
response to deter and disrupt terrorist operations.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Id. at 10.
    \14\Ten Years After 9/11'' Can Terrorists Still Exploit Our Visa 
System?, supra note 1.
    \15\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the years since the Board's creation, DHS has been 
inundated by new, persistent, and emerging threats far beyond 
those posed by international terrorist organizations that 
executed the September 11 and Christmas Day attacks. Today's 
threats to the homeland can be best characterized by pervasive 
and relentless threats from transnational criminal 
organizations, cybercriminals, and nation-state actors. In 
March 2019, Kirstjen Nielsen, then-Secretary of Homeland 
Security remarked on the current state of homeland security:

          Today, I am more worried about the ability of bad 
        guys to hijack our networks than their ability to 
        hijack our flights. And I am concerned about them 
        holding our infrastructure hostage . . . stealing our 
        money and secrets . . . exploiting children online . . 
        . and even hacking our democracy.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Press Release, Dep't of Homeland Sec., Sec'y Nielsen Remarks on 
the State of Homeland Sec.: As Prepared for Delivery (Mar. 18, 2019), 
https://www.dhs.gov/news/2019/03/18/secretary-nielsen-remarks-state-
homeland-security-prepared-delivery.

    In May 2018, then-Secretary Nielsen testified before the 
Committee about DHS's need for additional authorities to 
counter emerging threats such as those posed by malicious 
unmanned aircraft systems, or drones.\17\ Ms. Nielsen noted 
that, ``We have already seen transnational criminals adopt this 
technology to move drugs across the border. Terrorist groups 
overseas have used drones to conduct attacks on the battlefield 
and have plotted to use them in terrorist attacks 
elsewhere.''\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\Authorities and Resources Needed to protect and Secure the 
United States: Hearing Before S. Comm. on Homeland Sec. and 
Governmental Affairs, 115th Cong. (2018) (statement of Kirstjen M. 
Nielsen, Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Sec.), https://
www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/authorities-and-resources-needed-to-
protect-and-secure-the-united-states.
    \18\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 411 codifies the Counterterrorism Advisory Board and 
renames it the Counter Threats Advisory Board to better 
position the Department's leadership and its components to 
address new and emerging threats. The legislation sets 
requirements for the membership of the CTAB, frequency of 
meetings to discuss intelligence and coordinate ongoing threat 
mitigation efforts and departmental activities, and directs the 
CTAB to focus on the current threat environment. The 
legislation requires a report to Congress on the status and 
activities of the CTAB, which will facilitate stakeholders' 
understanding of any new mechanisms DHS may develop to 
coordinate threats across the Department.

                        III. Legislative History

    Senators Marco Rubio and Margaret Wood Hassan introduced S. 
411 on February 7, 2019, and the bill was referred to the 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered S. 411 at a business meeting on 
May 15, 2019. During the business meeting, two amendments by 
Senator Margaret Wood Hassan were offered and adopted. The 
amendments made minor technical corrections and changed the 
bill's title. The Committee ordered the bill, as modified by 
the two amendments, reported favorably by voice vote en bloc. 
Senators present for the vote were: Johnson, Paul, Lankford, 
Scott, Peters, Carper, Hassan, and Rosen. For the record only, 
Senators Portman, Romney, Hawley, and Sinema later asked to be 
recorded as ``yes'' by unanimous consent.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the short title of the bill, the 
``Counter Threats Advisory Board Act of 2019.''

Section 2. Department of Homeland Security Counter Threats Advisory 
        Board

    This section authorizes the establishment of a Counter 
Threats Advisory Board within the Department for a period of 
two years following the enactment of this bill, requires the 
CTAB to be composed of senior officials representing the 
Department's operational components and headquarters elements, 
and to coordinate intelligence activities and policy and 
information to counter threats.
    The Department must develop a charter to govern the CTAB's 
structure and mission. The charter will direct the CTAB to 
focus on the current threat environment and aligning the 
departmental activities to counter threats with guidance from 
the Secretary. The charter is to be reviewed and updated as 
appropriate.
    This section also specifies the membership and composition 
of the CTAB. The bill requires the Under Secretary for 
Intelligence and Analysis to serve as the Chair of the CTAB. 
The Secretary is required to appoint senior representatives 
from each of the following operational and headquarters 
components; the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. 
Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast 
Guard, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Secret 
Service, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, 
Office of Operations Coordination, Office of the General 
Counsel, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Office of Policy, 
the Science and Technology Directorate, and the Office for 
State and Local Law Enforcement. At the Secretary's discretion, 
other departmental offices or programs may become members of 
the CTAB.
    The CTAB is required to meet regularly to discuss 
intelligence and coordinate ongoing threat mitigation efforts 
and departmental activities. Coordination efforts are to 
include other Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, and 
private sector partners. The CTAB is required to make 
recommendations to the Secretary for action if required.
    This section requires the CTAB to advise the Secretary on 
the issuance of terrorism alerts, and to provide a report to 
Congress within 90 days of the enactment of this legislation on 
the activities of the CTAB. In addition, the Secretary is 
required to provide written notification to Congress and 
briefings on any changes to or identification of new mechanisms 
to coordinate threats.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 22, 2019.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 411, the Counter 
Threats Advisory Board Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    S. 411 would establish an advisory board in the Department 
of Homeland Security (DHS). The board would consist of senior 
representatives of operational agencies within DHS (such as 
Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard) and offices 
in DHS headquarters, including the Office of Intelligence and 
Analysis. The board would meet on a regular basis to coordinate 
departmental activities to counter threats for two years.
    DHS is currently carrying out activities similar to those 
required by the bill, and thus CBO estimates that implementing 
S. 411 would have no significant effect on DHS spending.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 411 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) * * *
    (b) * * *

Sec. 1. * * *
     * * * * * * *
Sec. 210F. Departmental coordination on counter threats.
     * * * * * * *

TITLE II--INFORMATION ANALYSIS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  Subtitle A--Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure 
Protection; Acess to Information

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 210F. DEPARTMENTAL COORDINATION ON COUNTER THREATS.

    (a) Establishment.--There is authorized in the Department, 
for a period of 2 years beginning after the date of enactment 
of this section, a Counter Threats Advisory Board (in this 
section referred to as the ``Board'') which shall--
          (1) be composed of senior representatives of 
        departmental operational components and headquarters 
        elements; and
          (2) coordinate departmental intelligence activities 
        and policy and information related to the mission and 
        functions of the Department that counter threats.
    (b) Charter.--There shall be a charter to govern the 
structure and mission of the Board, which shall--
          (1) direct the Board to focus on the current threat 
        environment and the importance of aligning departmental 
        activities to counter threats under the guidance of the 
        Secretary; and
          (2) be reviewed and updated as appropriate.
    (c) Members.--
          (1) In general.--The Board shall be composed of 
        senior representatives of departmental operational 
        components and headquarters elements.
          (2) Chair.--The Under Secretary for Intelligence and 
        Analysis shall serve as the Chair of the Board.
          (3) Members.--The Secretary shall appoint additional 
        members of the Board from among the following:
                  (A) The Transportation Security 
                Administration.
                  (B) U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
                  (C) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
                  (D) The Federal Emergency Management Agency.
                  (E) The Coast Guard.
                  (F) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
                Services.
                  (G) The United States Secret Service.
                  (H) The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure 
                Security Agency.
                  (I) The Office of Operations Coordination.
                  (J) The Office of the General Counsel.
                  (K) The Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
                  (L) The Office of Strategy, Policy, and 
                Plans.
                  (M) The Science and Technology Directorate.
                  (N) The Office for State and Local Law 
                Enforcement.
                  (O) The Privacy Office.
                  (P) The Office for Civil Rights and Civil 
                Liberties.
                  (Q) Other departmental offices and programs 
                as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
    (d) Meetings.--The Board shall--
          (1) meet on a regular basis to discuss intelligence 
        and coordinate ongoing threat mitigation efforts and 
        departmental activities, including coordination with 
        other Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, and 
        private sector partners; and
          (2) make recommendations to the Secretary.
    (e) Terrorism Alerts.--The Board shall advise the Secretary 
on the issuance of terrorism alerts under section 203.
    (f) Prohibition on Additional Funds.--No additional funds 
are authorized to carry out this section.

                                  [all]