Representative Swallwell introduces bills to improve intelligence gathering and response to biological threats
With two new bills this week, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) sought to improve the federal government’s ability to investigate and respond to the origins of diseases, as well as to ensure the analysis and action of its intelligence community.
“Knowledge is power during a pandemic,” Swalwell said. “We need to ensure that the government and the intelligence community can leverage all their resources to streamline disease intelligence and identify the source of any new biological threats. When a new disease threatens national security, the White House must be certain it has reliable data and intelligence on the origin of the disease – where it appeared and whether it occurred naturally, was the result of an accidental release or was intentionally released by an adversary. – so that the United States can respond appropriately. ”
Swallwell’s concerns were manifested in the Biological Intelligence Organization and Attribution Act (BIO Assignment) (HR 5406) and the Biological Intelligence Watch Report (BIO Report) Act (HR 5405) . The Bio Attribution Act would require the development of a plan for an interagency biodefense task force to support disease attribution efforts. Separately, the BIO Reporting Act directs the National Intelligence Director to report every two years on the activities and duties of biodefense within the intelligence community.
Taken together, the bills seek to use the collective resources of the federal government to streamline disease intelligence and make it easier – and more possible – to identify the source of biological threats.