Monday, December 14, 2009

Congressional Hearings – Week of 12-14-09

As the year winds down signaling the end of the first session of the 111th Congress, our elected representatives seem to be trying to wind things down as well. Some major work remains to be done before year end, but little of it seems to deal directly with chemical security issues. This week there is only one hearing that might be of interest to the chemical security community. The House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment will be holding a hearing to look at “Violent Extremism: How Are People Moved from Constitutionally-Protected Thought to Acts of Terrorism?” The hearing will be held on Tuesday, the 15th, at 10:00 am EST. All of the currently scheduled witnesses are experts from outside of the government. According to the Committee web site:
“The Subcommittee will receive expert testimony on the degree to which efforts to detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorism should attach to the prevention of violent, radical action, as opposed to the prevention of radical, but protected, thought. The Subcommittee will also explore the implications of these limitations in light of current issues in terrorism recruitment.”
Now this is certainly not targeted at the chemical community, but we should pay attention to the increased recruitment of potential terrorists in the US. It is only a matter of time before such recruitment targets personnel working in critical infrastructure positions like the chemical industry. Understanding how that recruitment takes place can aid in preventing such recruitment of chemical industry insiders.

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