• Iran’s nukesExpert: Iran falsely accusing U.S. of violating nuclear deal to gain more concessions

    Iranian warnings against the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) reflect “a broader strategy” in pursuit of additional sanctions relief, a senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in a policy brief on Saturday. The ISA was originally passed in 1996, targeting Iran’s energy sector and expanding U.S. secondary sanctions. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the act earlier this month. In order to be renewed, the legislation must now pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

  • JASTABritain faces U.S. legal claims as a result of new terror-sponsors law

    Senior British political and military figures have warned that Britain faces a wave of legal claims from U.S. lawyers — and could even be taken to court by victims of ISIS follower Jihadi John. The warning comes in the wake of Congress passing the controversial Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which permits U.S.-based lawyers to sue foreign states for not doing enough to tackle terrorism, and limit terrorist activities by their citizens.

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  • OversightCalls for creating centralized congressional focus on homeland security

    In preparation for the organization of the 115th Congress, the co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense last week delivered a letter to Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chair of the Committee on Rules, asking that special consideration be given to the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Homeland Security. The letter says that current congressional oversight structure is severely fractured, resulting in reactive policymaking that threatens America’s ability to combat biological threats.

  • On the HillTaking stock of the House’s actions to address the threat of Islamist terror

    The House Homeland Security Committee says that we should to take stock of the “work the House of Representatives has done and continues to do to address the persistent threat we face from radical Islamist terrorists.” The House has passed dozens of bills aimed at bolstering U.S. efforts to fight terror at home and abroad, and the House Homeland Security Committee will “continue to lead the charge to do more to protect our homeland and our allies.”

  • On the HillTaking stock of the House’s actions to address the threat of radical Islamist terror

    The House Homeland Security Committee says that we should to take stock of the “work the House of Representatives has done and continues to do to address the persistent threat we face from radical Islamist terrorists.” The House has passed dozens of bills aimed at bolstering U.S. efforts to fight terror at home and abroad, and the House Homeland Security Committee will “continue to lead the charge to do more to protect our homeland and our allies.”

  • Post-JASTAFamilies of Iraqis killed during U.S. invasion, occupation to seek compensation from U.S.

    Representatives of families of Iraqis who were killed in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent 8-year occupation say the families are entitled to seek compensation from the United States for damages they suffered during the war. The representatives asked the Iraqi government to prepare a lawsuit seeking full compensation from the United States over “violations by the U.S. forces.” The request was made after the U.S. Congress last week passed a law — Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) — overriding the principle of sovereign immunity.

  • JASTACongress overrides Obama's veto of law allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia

    The Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill which would allow families of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia, seeking damages for the 9/11 attacks. The Senate voted 97 to 1 to override the president’s veto, and the House voted 348 to 77 to do so. This is the first time Congress has successfully overruled a veto during Obama’s tenure.

  • JASTAJASTA exposes British soldiers, intelligence operatives to prosecution: U.K.

    Britain has expressed concerns to the United States that the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) legislation which President Barack Obama had vetoed but which has become law after Congress on Wednesday overrode his veto, could lead to the prosecution of British military and intelligence personnel in American courts – and by hostile regimes around the world. U.K. intelligence and security agencies, MI6 and MI5, have warned about the ramifications of JASTA, as it exposes British personnel to lawsuits by American lawyers attempting to prove that U.K.-based jihadists have been involved in terror plots against U.S. targets. Even more worrisome is the fact that the weakening of sovereign immunity could result in U.K. military and intelligence personnel facing legal action from hostile states.

  • ZikaHow Congress is failing on Zika

    By Ana Santos Rutschman

    Three times Congress has taken up legislation to fund the continuing response to the Zika outbreak. Three times the bill, which would allocate $1.1 billion to fight the disease, has fallen short of attracting bipartisan support. While Congress delays action on Zika, the number of infected people keeps climbing. As of mid-September, there were over 3,000 reported cases in the fifty states and close to 18,000 when you count in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. One thing the Zika crisis has made clear is that solving emerging disease outbreaks increasingly involves navigating treacherous political waters. Congress’ lack of understanding of the real scope of voucher program – which aims to spur development of new drugs for neglected diseases — compromises efforts to find new ways of encouraging R&D in neglected diseases like Zika. Its inaction when it comes to extending funding for a major outbreak may endanger the health of thousands of Americans.

  • IranSenators supporting Iran nuclear deal urging greater transparency in reporting on Iran’s nuclear program

    Senator Gary Peters ((D-Michigan) on Friday led fourteen of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging the administration to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to encourage additional transparency when reporting on Iran’s nuclear program.

  • EncryptionHouse committee releases encryption report, laying foundation for a national dialogue

    Terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have sparked a public debate on the use of encryption in the United States because the attackers used encrypted communications to evade detection, a phenomenon known as “going dark.” Earlier this week, the Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a new report, titled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate. The summarizes the committee’s findings, based on more than 100 meetings and briefings committee staff and members have held with key stakeholders over the past year.

  • BiodefenseBiodefense Panel welcomes key provision in defense authorization bill

    In October 2015, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense found that insufficient federal coordination on strategy, budgeting, and policy; inadequate collaboration with other levels of government and the private sector; and lagging innovation in areas like biosurveillance and medical countermeasure development make the United States vulnerable to biological attacks and infectious disease outbreaks. The Panel welcomed the passing by the House of the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 4909, which includes a provision addressing one of the Panel’s most important recommendations.

  • 9/11Senate approves bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

    The Senate has approved a bill which would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi officials for damages. A 1976 law granting states sovereign immunity form such law suits has thwarted efforts by the families of 9/11 victims to use the courts, but the bill just approved by the Senate would circumvent the 1976 law by allowing lawsuits against governments of  countries found to be involved in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. President Barack Obama has said he will veto the legislation.

  • European securityLatest European Terror Threat Snapshot released

    Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has the other day released the latest European Terror Threat Snapshot. The product is a periodic Committee assessment of the Islamist terror threat environment across Europe. It supplements the Committee’s monthly Terror Threat Snapshot which examines the broader Islamist terror threat the United States, the West, and the world.

  • EncryptionSen. Wyden said he would filibuster efforts to mandate back doors

    Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a critic of the NSA domestic spying programs, said he would filibuster any attempt by fellow lawmakers to require U.S. technology companies to weaken the encryption systems with which they equip their devices. Referring to Apple fight against a court order requiring the company to relax the encryption of iPhone used by the two San Bernardino terrorists, Wyden said that consumers were asking: “Are these for the privacy rights of the dead terrorist?”