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house Bill H.R. 4239

Should Intelligence Agencies Report to Congress About Foreign Fighters in Terror Groups?

Argument in favor

The intelligence community needs to track American citizens and other foreign fighters that go to terrorist safe havens to prevent them from carrying out attacks on the U.S.

BTSundra's Opinion
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12/16/2015
This seems like something that should have even done a while ago.
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Cary's Opinion
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12/16/2015
Additional information from the intelligence community about the flow of foreign fighters to the congressional intelligence committee is vital to making sound decisions. This bill seems like common sense.
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Wes's Opinion
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12/17/2015
Ok folks. If this is being debated, or hasn't already been policy for decades, then our Congress is a group of inept, incompetent, corrupt idiots and should be replaced adapt.
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Argument opposed

There is no need for this bill because intelligence agencies already routinely compile reports on the number of American citizens and foreign fighters working with terror groups.

Steven's Opinion
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12/16/2015
I'm retired military intelligence and I can say from first hand experience that this is too far down in the weeds for congress to concern themselves with. With multiple organizations in multiple countries the shear numbers of people congress would have to keep straight would be overwhelming. Imagine having the police report to congress about the whereabouts and activities of every street level drug dealer on every corner in the country now multiply that number buy all the countries in the world! Even if it was the only responsibility they had, and as Congressman it won't be! Then, what would they do with this information? It would still fall on the Military or one of the 3 letter organizations (CIA, DIA, etc.) to do something about any potential threats. Which is what they're already doing now! They don't need politicians peeking over their shoulder and second guessing them! This bill has STUPID, written all over it! Not just no but hell no!
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David's Opinion
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12/17/2015
Congress can't keep secrets. Also they shouldn't try to be in law enforcement--that job is part of the Presidents duties.
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Lesia's Opinion
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12/16/2015
Once AGAIN aren't u already doing this? If not, why not? We're not tracking terrorists? WTH????
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What is House Bill H.R. 4239?

This bill would require the intelligence community to provide the congressional intelligence committees with a report on foreign fighter flows to and from overseas safe havens. The initial report would be delivered within 60 days of this bill’s enactment, and would be updated every 180 days thereafter.

For each area designated as a terrorist safe haven in the report, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) would include the following information about foreign fighters in those areas:

  • The total number of foreign fighters who have traveled or are suspected of having traveled to the terrorist safe haven since 2011, including the foreign fighters’ country of origin;

  • The total number of U.S. citizens present in the terrorist safe haven;

  • The total number of foreign fighters who have left the terrorist safe haven or whose whereabouts are unknown.

The requirement to submit these reports would expire two years after this bill’s enactment, so unless Congress extends the requirement it would sunset on that date.

Impact

U.S. citizens that fight for terrorist groups and other foreign fighters, the intelligence community, and relevant congressional committees.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4239

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) introduced this bill to ensure that Congress is provided with periodic reports on the issue of American citizens and other foreign fighters joining terrorist groups like ISIS:

“To fully combat the threat of terrorism, we must have a clear assessment of the number of terrorists being trained in safe havens across the globe so that our strategic counterterrorism efforts can succeed. Furthermore, in order to prevent future attacks like San Bernardino, we must know if U.S. citizens are being radicalized to bring terrorism to our shores. The legislation Ranking Member Swalwell and I have introduced will give Congress a more accurate picture of the threats we face and how our national security agencies are combating them.”

This bill has six cosponsors in the House, including one Democrat and five Republicans.


Of Note: According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) more than 200 Americans had tried to join ISIS as of July 2015. It has been estimated that as many as 30,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Iraq and Syria since 2011.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user slag heap)

AKA

Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act

Official Title

To require intelligence community reporting on foreign fighter flows to and from terrorist safe havens abroad, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Select Committee on Intelligence
  • The house Passed December 16th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 423 Yea / 0 Nay
    IntroducedDecember 11th, 2015

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    This seems like something that should have even done a while ago.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm retired military intelligence and I can say from first hand experience that this is too far down in the weeds for congress to concern themselves with. With multiple organizations in multiple countries the shear numbers of people congress would have to keep straight would be overwhelming. Imagine having the police report to congress about the whereabouts and activities of every street level drug dealer on every corner in the country now multiply that number buy all the countries in the world! Even if it was the only responsibility they had, and as Congressman it won't be! Then, what would they do with this information? It would still fall on the Military or one of the 3 letter organizations (CIA, DIA, etc.) to do something about any potential threats. Which is what they're already doing now! They don't need politicians peeking over their shoulder and second guessing them! This bill has STUPID, written all over it! Not just no but hell no!
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    Additional information from the intelligence community about the flow of foreign fighters to the congressional intelligence committee is vital to making sound decisions. This bill seems like common sense.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress can't keep secrets. Also they shouldn't try to be in law enforcement--that job is part of the Presidents duties.
    Like (3)
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    Only if they play it on C-Span...
    Like (3)
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    Reports are currently being made about this very issue, we don't need this "special" report, when it's already being produced.
    Like (2)
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    It's hard to sit here and support this with out knowing the cost to implement. Especially, with the expediency to which it would take place.
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    No more surveillance.
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    Once AGAIN aren't u already doing this? If not, why not? We're not tracking terrorists? WTH????
    Like (2)
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    Congress cannot be trusted. They are political hacks who leaked information.
    Like (1)
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    No! Let these agencies do their job. Don't need the PC police, (Congress) meddling. And, if you can't give a cost estimate you can't budget for it!
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    Loud-mouthed, publicity-seeking politicians cannot be trusted to keep national security information quiet.
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    Yes Congress needs to know!
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    Yes, the Federal Agencies receive direction from the Congress. Therefore Congress should be informed even if POTUS disagrees.
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    Why shouldn't we?
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    Anyone affiliated in these acts are not looking that far down the road. at the snail's pace the government works, the info will be outdated before effective.
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    Ok folks. If this is being debated, or hasn't already been policy for decades, then our Congress is a group of inept, incompetent, corrupt idiots and should be replaced adapt.
    Like (1)
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    This bill implies that this doesn't already happen... Seems like an attempt to skirt some checks and balances to me.
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    No. The military should manage our threats with our elected officials
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    Definitely!
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