Reps. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) have introduced a bill that would make it more difficult to travel to a terror zone and then return to the U.S.
The bill, the Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act, or H.R. 1196, is in response to recent terror attacks in Europe by European citizens who have traveled to Syria or Libya before executing their attack, and instances of American citizens who also were trained abroad.
For Pittenger, it’s close to home.
“A teenager from York County has twice been arrested for attempting to join ISIS,” Pittenger said. “A teenager from Morganton was arrested after plotting to kill hundreds of innocent people in support of ISIS.”
“Both men could have traveled to Syria or Libya for training and then returned home to carry out a terrorist attack,” Pittenger said. “The threat is real, and we must enhance capabilities for monitoring and intercepting terrorists attempting to travel to the United States.”
The new legislation would, according to Pittenger’s press release:
- Require a “report card” to help identify weak spots in the border security efforts of foreign governments
- Accelerates delivery of border security technology to partner countries with the greatest risk for foreign fighter or terrorist travel.
- Allow the Secretary of State to suspend all non-humanitarian, non-trade foreign assistance to any country which doesn’t meet minimum border security standards.
“ISIS is a global threat, and therefore we must partner with foreign governments to identify and intercept terrorists as they attempt to travel between training centers and their homeland,” said Pittenger, who is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, and vice chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance.
The suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester, England last month had met in Libya with members of the Islamic State linked to the November 2015 Paris terrorist attack, the New York Times reported on Saturday, citing “current and retired intelligence officials.”
“On visits to Tripoli as well as to the coastal Libyan town of Sabratha, Mr. Abedi met with operatives of the Katibat al-Battar al-Libi, a core Islamic State unit that was headquartered in Syria before some of its members dispersed to Libya,” the New York Times reported.