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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Sens. Rubio, Coons introduce airport counterterrorism screening bill

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced this week the Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act, which aims to strengthen national security by coordinating with foreign partners to identify international airport vulnerabilities that could allow a potential terrorist to travel undetected.

A companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Kyrsten Sinema
(D-AZ).

If enacted, the bill would give the President 180 days to submit a plan of initiatives and programs to enhance partner-country capacity to interdict terrorist and foreign fighter travel. It would also require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department to expedite the delivery of U.S. Customs and Border Protection security and screening systems to countries deemed to be at greatest risk potential terrorist travel.

The legislation would require the State Department, in coordination with DHS, to submit an annual report to Congress that assesses partner-country security efforts over the previous 12 months to meet minimum standards and to identify areas for improvement.

“In recent years, too many radicalized individuals have been able to travel back and forth without being detected or interdicted by authorities,” Rubio said. “This bipartisan legislation would address that vulnerability, enabling the United States, in cooperation with foreign partners, to close loopholes in international airport security, better track these terrorists, and prevent them from traveling internationally.”