The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Homeland Security Project (HSP) has been busy with a number of events and publications over the past few months and is preparing for a large public event in September. Details are below.
- On July 23, in an op-ed published by POLITICO, HSP Co-chairs former Governor Thomas Kean and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, called for a national debate on the NSA surveillance program. In late May, they outlined in the Cleveland Plain Dealer the evolution of the terrorist threat to our homeland.
- On Tuesday, August 6, the Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative, a joint effort of both the HSP and BPC’s Energy Project, convened a workshop to educate stakeholders, the media, and the public on the nature of cybersecurity challenges facing the electric sector; to highlight initiatives by industry and federal and state governments to address these challenges; and to identify additional efforts needed to protect the grid. Watch the proceedings here.
- On Monday, September 9, HSP co-chairs and members will release the first in an annual series of reports on the emerging threat facing our nation. The report will provide a comprehensive review of al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as other extremists who may target U.S. interests, and will provide recommendations to lawmakers and government officials on how best to counter the threat and protect the homeland.
- Earlier this summer, the HSP hosted two events. The first convened legal and policy experts to discuss issues surrounding the rule of law and war and the use of drones and targeted killings. The second convened members of the media and leaders in the intelligence community for a conversation about how journalists balance sharing the proper amount of information with the public regarding national issues and events without compromising sources, methods and other sensitive information.
- HSP staff recently briefed both the House and Senate Homeland Security Committee staff and member office staffs on the project’s December 2012 report, Countering Online Radicalization in America. The briefings aim to equip policy makers with a better understanding of how the Internet facilitates radicalization, in particular within the United States; provide staffers with an appreciation of the dilemmas and trade-offs that are involved in countering online radicalization within the United States; and provide ideas and best practices for making the emerging approach and strategy richer and more effective.
Every day, it seems, brings disturbing new revelations about the National Security Agency’s program to collect phone and email metadata, raising serious questions for our country. Reports indicate that the NSA is gathering metadata on millions of people in the United States and around the world, targeting diplomatic missions of both friends and foes.
The NSA’s metadata program was put into place with virtually no public debate, a worrisome precedent made worse by erecting unnecessary barriers to public understanding via denials and misleading statements from senior administration officials.
When the Congress and the courts work in secret; when massive amounts of data are collected from Americans and enterprises; when government’s power of intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens, augmented by the awesome power of advanced technologies, is hugely expanded without public debate or discussion over seven years, then our sense of constitutional process and accountability is deeply offended.
Officials insist that the right balance has been struck between security and privacy. But how would we know, when all the decisions have been made in secret, with almost no oversight?
Read the full op-ed here.
U.S. must adapt, prepare for future terrorist attacks
By Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
May 19, 2013
It’s hard to believe that more than 11 years have passed since the devastating terrorist strike to our homeland on 9/11. Overnight, homeland security became a top priority. Yet, until last month’s Boston Marathon bombings, the issue of terrorism had faded from the front pages. The terrorist threat barely surfaced in the debates leading up to last November’s presidential election. While we have long been warning of it, the tragic events in Boston have jolted others, including those running in today’s Cleveland Marathon, to realize that the threats to our homeland have not disappeared — rather, they have evolved. Our public debate needs to evolve along with them.
Read the full op-ed here.
Save the Date | Monday, September 9, 2013
Report Release: “Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment”
HSP co-chairs and members will release the first in an annual series of reports on the emerging threat facing our nation. The report will provide a comprehensive review of al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as other extremists who may target U.S. interests, and will provide recommendations to lawmakers and government officials on how best to counter the threat and protect the homeland.
Does the Public Need to Know? Journalistic Perspectives on Sharing Intelligence
HSP convened both members of the media and leaders in the intelligence community for a conversation about how information sharing can both be transparent and secure. Panelists evaluated tackling the balance of sharing the proper amount of information with the public regarding national issues and events (such as last year’s attacks in Benghazi) without compromising sources, methods and other secure information. Watch highlights from the discussion and view photos here.
Analyzing the legal and moral implications of U.S. drone policy
HSP hosted an event convening legal and policy experts on the rule of law and war to discuss the use of drones and targeted killings. Panelists evaluated issues like the current frameworks regarding the use of drones, the ramifications of a “drone court,” the targeting of U.S. citizens abroad, and whether Congress should examine what these policies mean for the country. Watch highlights from the discussion and view photos here.