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America faces more threats to our national security than at any other point in history.  As Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, and Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, I am focused on making sure our nation has the proper capabilities and strategies to counter these threats.

Like a business, terrorist organizations need money to operate.  If we can intercept terrorism financing as it moves through the global financial system and other transfer means, we can deal terrorist organizations a serious blow.  Law enforcement must have appropriate data sharing capabilities to track illicit financing, and we must leverage our status as a world leader to compel other countries to legislate and enforce terror finance laws.

In 2017, President Trump signed my anti-terrorism financing legislation into law.  The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (H.R. 3364) includes my legislation to:

  • Require an updated national strategy to counter terrorist group financing (the current strategy hasn’t been updated since 2007).
  • Improve and strengthen the roles of Treasury Department anti-money laundering attachés stationed at American embassies.
  • Strengthen the role of the Treasury Department on the National Security Council.

North Korea is another major threat to America’s national security.  In July 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved my amendment to crack down on international businesses that support North Korean cyberattacks.  As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810), my amendment

  • Directs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to create a list of telecom firms who provide essential services or who have been otherwise complicit in enabling North Korean cyberattacks. 
  • The Department of Defense would be prohibited from contracting with these firms. 

A serious but less obvious national security threat comes from strategic foreign investment in critical American assets and businesses.  Chinese companies closely controlled-by or affiliated-with China’s communist government have frequently and aggressively been involved in business transactions that could subvert our national interest. 

A clear example of this is Chinese telecom firm ZTE selling embargoed technology to an Iranian government-controlled entity.  In response, I wrote a bipartisan letter to the Commerce Department urging action, which led to a record-breaking $1 billion fine.  Another example was an attempted Chinese takeover of the Chicago Stock Exchange, which would have given the world’s number one government sponsor of cyber espionage direct access into the U.S. financial system.

As a result, I have been working in partnership with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to introduce legislation strengthening the process for reviewing and approving foreign takeovers of U.S. businesses.  The current process hasn’t been substantially updated since the Cold War, and we live in a very different world.

In the summer of 2017, I hosted my 8th Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum in Latvia, where we gathered over 100 Members of Parliament and other officials from over 60 countries to discuss terrorism, terrorism financing, cyberwar, and other relevant security concerns.  Over the past four years, I have hosted over 650 Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, and other officials to discuss joint efforts on Intelligence, terrorism financing, privacy, oversight, and cybersecurity issues with House Leadership, Federal Government Agency officials, terror finance specialists, and relevant experts from the private sector. 

In conjunction with these forums, I am proposing the Financial Institution Security Act, which would increase appropriate information sharing, along with privacy enhancements, to assist banks in identifying potential terrorist finance activity.

Radical Islamic jihadists don’t want world peace, sensitivity training, or understanding.  They want us dead, and they want to eradicate our freedoms and way of life.  This is why I provide leadership on efforts to cut off the flow of money used for financing terrorist acts of evil, and work to strengthen international collaboration in the fight against terrorism. 

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