WASHINGTON – During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing today focused on terrorism threats, Committee Ranking Member Claire McCaskill questioned Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and the National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen.
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After McCaskill raised concerns earlier this year over proposed cuts to counterterrorism programs, McCaskill questioned top officials about funding for these programs. “We know that there are domestic terrorists and foreign terrorists who want to kill Americans, and who want to radicalize Americans here at home to do so,” McCaskill said. “That’s why I am so concerned about some of the budget choices made by this Administration. The President’s budget plans to cut critical TSA and DHS programs at a time that we cannot afford to let up when it comes to security measures.” A recent report from McCaskill’s Committee detailed that the Administration’s budget proposal for FY 2018 cuts $582.8 million from grant programs that support state and local counterterrorism preparedness programs, including Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, which conduct sweeps of airports, train stations, and bus terminals in an effort to safeguard against terrorist attacks.
McCaskill also discussed cybersecurity, the threat posed by violent white supremacy, and concerns over agro-terrorism. “We even have potential threats to agriculture—just last month I had a roundtable in Kansas City to learn what agro-terrorism could do to the nation’s confidence in its food supply,” McCaskill stated. Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill led by McCaskill and Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas to protect the nation’s agriculture industry by addressing the threat of agro-terrorism and mitigating the risks to food put on tables across the country.