LEADING ON ISSUES OF NATIONAL SECURITY
In the wake of the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon, Bill reaffirmed his role as one of the Commonwealth’s premier experts on national security and the fight against terror. When our own government agencies refused to provide answers about the suspects and information sharing between first responders, Bill held those agencies’ feet to the fire and called for more accountability. He used his position as Ranking Member of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as his position on the Homeland Security Committee, to travel to Russia to get the answers that he – and the public – were demanding. And when every Democrat on his own Committee refused to join with the Republicans to publish a report on the bombings, he not only crossed the aisle and offered several of his own findings to make the report more comprehensive; he also led the investigation from the Democrats’ side. Bill believes your party should never come before your country.
As Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Oversight Subcommittee, Bill has been credited with bringing a renewed interest in our airport security in the decade since 9/11. Bill has forged a strong bipartisan partnership with the current Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, allowing him to advance his initiatives on urgent matters of security. Notably, Bill questioned Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about breaches in perimeter security and weaknesses in Advanced Imaging Technologies to screen passengers. He also played an active role in the debate on cybersecurity by promoting academia and research facilities through public-private partnerships.
In all of his work on national security, Bill not only demands answers, he fights for changes to the status quo by introducing critical pieces of legislation designed to keep our country safe and equip our first responders with the tools necessary to do so.
- Only Democrat in Congress to push for and conduct a Congressional investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings. This investigation produced a comprehensive report on lessons learned and forced federal entities to open lines of communication with local law enforcement agencies. Bill is currently drafting legislation that would standardize these procedures.
- Authored, introduced, and passed legislation to the FY12 Intelligence Authorization that, in accordance with the 9/11 Commission Report’s recommendations, would encourage intelligence sharing amongst federal agencies and local law enforcement, while supplying adequate resources to local law enforcement.
- Authored a crucial intelligence-sharing amendment to the FY15 Intelligence Authorization, which was the only bipartisan amendment to pass the House floor.
- Highlighted the issue of perimeter security through a field hearing in September 2011 at Logan Airport, where TSA officials and airport security experts discussed existing holes in airport perimeter security. Bill then introduced legislation to the DHS Reauthorization to hold TSA accountable for perimeter security breaches.
- Successfully fought to update all reports on perimeter security at airports. In 2014, the GAO agreed to go forward with this new study.