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In The News

August 13, 2016

Keeping the Vote Cybersafe

by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security

To the Editor: In "U.S. Seeking Ways to Keep Hackers Out of Ballot Box" (news article, Aug. 4), Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says the Obama administration is discussing giving extra protections to the nation's electoral system. This change may be necessary and should be considered immediately. The diverse nature of the cyberthreat, and the recent revelation that outside actors, possibly nation-states, have an increased interest in influencing our elections, make it imperative that … Continue Reading

July 19, 2016

American Red Cross Clueless About Racial Diversity

by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

When I saw the American Red Cross' "Be Cool, Follow the Rules" swimming pool safety poster in the news last month, I knew the drawing was developed by minds with no understanding of the sordid history of African Americans and public swimming facilities. I knew the poster - just as sinister as it was simple - was created and approved by people that did not comprehend the impact of characterizing children of color as troublemakers. I knew the poster was created and approved by an organization … Continue Reading

June 30, 2016

Anti-government militias pose a significant threat

by Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)

As we saw during the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014 and earlier this year at a wildlife refuge in Oregon, violent extremism is not limited to war-torn countries thousands of miles away from the United States. Armed militias have expanded in size and sophistication and now present a threat to public safety and national security. These homegrown militias threaten our public lands, the American people who want to enjoy them, and the public servants who manage them. Although much of the news … Continue Reading

March 11, 2016

Secret Service agents deserve their day in court

by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security

The March 8 Fed Page article "Black Secret Service agent seeks hearing on bias suit" brought to light a situation that demands prompt resolution. It is shameful that for 16 years, brave men and women of the Secret Service have been denied their day in court. I learned of this matter more than a decade ago and have raised it with successive leaders of the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the Secret Service. Throughout the litigation, the Secret Service has been … Continue Reading

August 28, 2015

Miss. rebounding after Katrina but more work to be done

by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

(WASHINGTON) - Please see Congressman Bennie G. Thompson's op-ed in today's Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger: Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall here in Mississippi and our lives changed overnight. At its peak, the storm surge reached 28 feet along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, completely destroying Waveland, Pass Christian, and Bay St. Louis and devastating our neighbors in Alabama and Louisiana. When storm finally dissipated, it claimed the lives of over 1,800 Gulf Coast … Continue Reading

July 08, 2015

South Carolina shooting must be labeled domestic terrorism

by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

On June 17 a gunman shot and killed nine black Christians in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. "Mother Emanuel" as the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) has come to be affectionately known, was built by slaves and is the oldest AME congregation in the South. Given the stature of the church, along with the races of the victims and the perpetrator, very soon after the shooting, state, local, and federal officials and the media … Continue Reading

October 28, 2014

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month an opportunity to educate and protect

by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Most Americans are constantly connected to cyberspace in one way or another. From surfing the worldwide web to storing electronic records, most Americans have a footprint in cyberspace. Simply stated-online systems are part of our daily lives. Today, criminal groups and hostile nations look to cyberspace to attack American interests here at home and around the world. America's banks, energy sector, and intellectual property are routinely … Continue Reading

August 11, 2014

Compassion Needed in Addressing Nation's Immigration Woes

by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Filemon Vela (D-TX)

Each day, waves of children ranging from toddlers to teenagers flee terrible violence and economic desperation in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and arrive in this country in search of safe haven. They are being sent alone, unaccompanied by their families. This fiscal year alone, Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children at our Southwest border, a sharp increase over previous fiscal years. The surge of unaccompanied minors is an acute humanitarian … Continue Reading

September 18, 2013

Terrorism Insurance Still Necessary to Foster Resilience

by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Last week, we commemorated the twelve year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. One of the tough lessons of that day was that our Nation was not as resilient as it could be. In the weeks and months that followed, as Americans began coming to terms with the resulting loss of life and destruction, our economy sputtered. The Dow experienced its worst one-day drop ever (600 points), our civil aviation system teetered on economic collapse, and over 125,000 American workers … Continue Reading

June 25, 2013

Intelligence, privacy and liberties

by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

In the wake of the recent media disclosure of surveillance programs that have broad implications for the privacy rights of American citizens, there is a renewed interest in oversight of the intelligence community in general and the National Security Agency in particular. This has revived interest in the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board - a useful tool in our federal government created to openly debate these very issues. The PCLOB's mission is to ensure that concerns with respect to … Continue Reading

August 02, 2012

Recovery After Cyber-Attack More Costly Than Prevention

by Rep. Yvette Clarke

Never before in the history of our nation has there been such an exponential growth in technology and innovation within the span of a generation. The Internet and its offshoots are now the foundation and backbone for our work, communications, commerce and entertainment. The Internet is not impermeable. The proliferation of cyber-crime, as well as any prospect of excessive government surveillance, could weaken the public's confidence in the use of the Internet for commerce and in their … Continue Reading

June 26, 2012

Cargo, the Terrorists’ Trojan Horse

by Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Jerrold L. Nadler (D-NY), & Edward J. Markey (D-MA)

MILLIONS of cargo containers are unloaded from ships each year at American seaports, providing countless opportunities for terrorists to smuggle and unleash a nuclear bomb or weapon of mass destruction on our shores. To counter this threat, Congress passed a law five years ago mandating that by July 2012, all maritime cargo bound for the United States must be scanned before it is loaded on ships. But the Obama administration will miss this deadline, and it is not clear to us, as the authors … Continue Reading

September 09, 2011

Reflecting on 9/11 — Improvements and Shortcomings

by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

As we come upon the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, we are all reminded of that tragic day and how it forever changed this great nation. We will never forget those that we lost that Tuesday morning, nor will we forget the heroism of the first responders, law enforcement personnel and ordinary citizens who responded to the call for help. That day also inherently changed how our government functions — from how we secure civil liberties to how we respond and recover … Continue Reading

September 09, 2011

Progress, but more to do

by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Between 2004 and 2010, the Department of Homeland Security has spent nearly $300 billion to secure our nation. Several initiatives have improved our security and eliminated many vulnerabilities we once faced. Increases in the number of Border Patrol officers, the establishment of Secure Flight and US VISIT, the revitalization of FEMA and the new attention to securing chemical and biological materials have all improved our security. All of these have been good and necessary, but as we … Continue Reading

June 13, 2011

Deep cuts to homeland security grants put our communities at risk

by Congressman Hansen Clarke (D-MI)

Each community in the U.S. faces its own challenges and the local responders are the best prepared to address and handle a disaster response. As the Representative of the 13th district of Michigan, I represent the city of Detroit, which has one of our nation's busiest border crossings. Like Tampa, we have our own waterway, our own extreme weather conditions (floods and sub-zero temperatures), and our own infrastructure needs. We cannot afford to shortchange those responsible for addressing … Continue Reading

April 12, 2011

Protecting our electric grid

by Reps. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) & Trent Frank (D-AZ)

Our advanced electric infrastructure - which includes our electric grid, satellites, transportation, water, information technology and communications systems - is at risk. The increasingly likely threat of a major electromagnetic pulse, whether man-made or natural, striking our largely unprotected electrical infrastructure could well cause long-term, widespread damage -perhaps even its destruction. This could undermine American way of life as we know it. Our electric infrastructure touches … Continue Reading

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