WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced two bills to ensure the United States is better prepared to identify the origin of a future pandemic or biological threat and analyze intelligence about emerging threats.
The Biological Intelligence Organization and Attribution (BIO Attribution) Act will help the United States government identify the origins of new diseases and make informed decisions about responding to emerging epidemics and pandemics. The Biological Intelligence Oversight Report (BIO Reporting) Act, will ensure the Intelligence Community uses every available tool to protect the United States against future biological threats.
“Knowledge is power during a pandemic,” said Swalwell. “We must ensure the government and intelligence community can leverage all their resources to streamline disease intelligence and identify the origin of any new biological threat. When a new disease threatens national security, the White House must be certain that it has reliable data and intelligence on the disease’s origin—where it emerged and whether it occurred naturally, was the result of an accidental release, or was intentionally released by an adversary—so the United States can adequately respond.”
Swalwell’s bills would address the biological attribution and information sharing issues exposed by COVID-19. The bills would also help protect the United States from biological threats by leveraging resources from the Intelligence Community and the federal government to streamline disease intelligence, identify existing federal policies that involve disease attribution, develop a report on how federal agencies and departments investigate the origins of new diseases, and establish an interagency task force to support disease attribution efforts across government. The bills also would ensure the United States is prepared to identify the source of biological events that emerge in the future—whether naturally, intentionally, or accidentally.
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