Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) is establishing a bipartisan task force to investigate and report on travel by foreign extremists.
“In the current threat environment, stopping terrorists will continue to be a top committee priority,” said McCaul, a former federal prosecutor and a senior official in President George W. Bush’s Department of Justice.
“Closing gaps in our counterterrorism screening and vetting procedures is especially important in the face of continuing global instability and the desire of ISIS and other terrorist groups to strike the West,” he said on Friday.
McCaul’s new panel, the “Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States,” consists of five Republicans and three Democrats from the committee. Work is expected to begin in March with its final report due before the end of the calendar year.
In addition to tracking the travel patterns and methods of hostile foreigners in the United States, McCaul charged the task force to determine gaps in the federal government’s information sharing and vetting procedures.
The chairman said fixing potential weaknesses in these systems will go a long way towards improving America’s defenses against terrorism.
“Task force members have a difficult mission ahead of them, but the threat is real and we must act in close coordination with the Administration to best protect Americans from those who wish us harm,” McCaul said.
Also in the committee, Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.), the chairman of the committee’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee, hosts a hearing Tuesday “The Future of Counterterrorism: Addressing the Evolving Threat to Domestic Security,” examining multiple terrorist networks actively plot attacks against the United States, and American interests, or encourage adherents to conduct inspired attacks inside the U.S. homeland without specific direction.
Watch Tuesday’s hearing here: