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Lawmakers Pass Counterterrorism Measures in Wake of Orlando Shooting; Department of Homeland Security Issues New Terrorism Advisory; President Obama Travels to Orlando

Legislative Activity

Lawmakers Pass Counterterrorism Measures in Wake of Orlando Shooting

On Thursday, June 16, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5471, the Counter Terrorist Radicalization Act, which combines three previously-passed bills to counter terrorist recruitment and extremism, by a vote of 402 to 15.  House leaders repackaged the measures – H.R. 4401, the ALERT Act of 2016; H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act of 2016; and H.R. 4407, the Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act of 2016 – in hopes of that the Senate could act quickly to pass the measures following the Orlando shooting attack on June 12.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) lauded the chamber’s action in a joint statement, saying “Our city streets have become the frontlines in the war against radical Islamist terror. To honor the memory of the victims in Orlando, we must rededicate ourselves to preventing terrorists from gaining a foothold in our communities. . . . Make no mistake, after this latest attack in our homeland, our resolve is strengthened and we are more determined than ever to take the fight to the enemy, no matter where they emerge.”

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, June 21, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Ideology of ISIS.”

  • On Tuesday, June 21, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Preparedness, Response, and Communications will hold a hearing titled “Protecting our Passengers: Perspectives on Securing Transportation in New Jersey and New York.”

  • On Tuesday, June 21, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Subcommittee on Government Operations will hold a joint hearing titled “Radicalization in the U.S. and the Rise of Terrorism.”

  • On Wednesday, June 22, the House Appropriations Committee will mark up its Fiscal Year 2017 Homeland Security Bill.

  • On Wednesday, June 22, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation will hold a hearing titled “Part II: Flying Blind: What Are The Security Risks of Resuming U.S. Commercial Air Service to Cuba?”

  • On Wednesday, June 22, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Renewing Communities and Providing Opportunities Through Innovative Solutions to Poverty.”

  • On Wednesday, June 22, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Oversight of the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

  • On Thursday, June 23, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Terrorism and Intelligence will hold a hearing titled “Counterintelligence and Insider Threats: How Prepared Is the Department of Homeland Security?”

Executive Branch Activity

On June 15, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new terrorism advisory to address the threat of homegrown terrorism and update a previous bulletin issued in December 2015 set to expire this month. The new advisory will expire November 15 of this year.

The December bulletin described the ever-increasing risk of terrorist-inspired attacks on U.S. territory as the global terrorism landscape continues to evolve. This sentiment was reflected in the new update, which states that “In this environment, we are particularly concerned about homegrown violent extremists who could strike with little or no notice. The tragic events of Orlando several days ago reinforce this. Accordingly, increased public vigilance and awareness continue to be of utmost importance.”

Citing recent violence in San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels, and Orlando, this latest update to the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) describes the possibility of terrorist-inspired attacks on a wide and diverse selection of targets across the United States.  It also discusses the U.S. government’s current counterterrorism efforts and explains how the public can help with, be prepared for, and stay informed about emerging threats on the homeland.

Additionally, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Orlando this week to visit with survivors and the families of victims in the aftermath of the shooting. The President delivered remarks calling the attack an act of terror and hate and continued to highlight the need for gun control reform, citing the shooter’s use of a high-powered assault rifle to carry out the attack. He stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, is engaged in an ongoing investigation of the event and that there is currently no credible knowledge of other potential attacks in the U.S.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP


About this Author

Ludmilla L. Savelieff, Policy Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm

Ludmilla Savelieff draws on her experience in both domestic and international policy to assist clients on a variety of regulatory, legislative, and legal matters.

Prior to law school, Ms. Savelieff was the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she gained first-hand experience in the daily operations of the Executive Branch. While at the Council, she worked closely with the Chairman and his team of policy advisors in the development and management of significant Administration policies and...

Clark Kent Ervin government investigations partner Squire Patton Boggs Lawyer

As a member of the Government Investigations & White Collar Practice Group, Clark K. Ervin helps clients under investigation, or facing the prospect of investigation, by federal Offices of Inspector General, to craft, coordinate and implement strategic defenses. An integral member of the firm’s Homeland Security, Defense and Technology Transfer team, as well as our International Policy Practice, Clark also provides invaluable counsel to clients, both corporations and foreign sovereigns, on issues of national security and foreign policy.

Having served as Inspector General of three federal agencies during the administration of President George W. Bush, Clark brings extensive experience and notable expertise to the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Practice. From 2003 to 2004, he served as the very first Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and from 2001 to 2002, as the Inspector General of the Department of State (State) and, simultaneously, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the global media arm of the United States government.

In addition to counseling clients facing Inspector General-led investigations, Clark’s work focuses on other executive branch, congressional and internal corporate investigations, and he plays an active role in the firm’s dealings with State Attorneys General, applying knowledge gained while he served the State of Texas as Assistant Secretary of State and a Deputy Attorney General during then Governor George W. Bush’s administration. In this capacity, he represents clients being investigated by State Attorneys General and he also advocates clients’ policy positions to State Attorneys General. Finally, drawing on his experience at State and DHS, Clark counsels clients on cybersecurity matters and immigration-related matters, including the EB-5 Program.

Clark also has considerable expertise in monitorships. In May 2016, the US Department of Education approved Zenith Education Group’s (Zenith) selection of the firm, with Clark leading the team, as the Monitor with respect to certain provisions the department required Zenith to comply with as a condition of its approval of Zenith’s acquisition of some formerly for-profit colleges owned by the now defunct Corinthian Colleges. In July 2016, the US Department of Justice and the City of Ferguson selected the firm, with Clark leading the team, as the Monitor with respect to the Ferguson Police Department’s and the city’s municipal court system’s compliance with the terms of a consent decree. He also counsels companies on compliance-related matters.

In 2008, Clark served as the co-chairman of then President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team for DHS, adding to the experience he gained while previously serving as the department’s first Inspector General. From its inception in 2008 to its expiration in September 2011, Clark, an appointee of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, served as one of the eight members of the independent, bipartisan congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Clark’s government experience is complemented by his policy expertise. Since leaving DHS in 2004, Clark has been affiliated with the Aspen Institute, where he founded and chairs the Homeland Security Program. In this capacity, Clark convenes policymakers and thought leaders in homeland security and counterterrorism with a view to helping shape the policy debate.