Senate Approves Casey’s Measures to Combat Fentanyl and Protect Ports from Cyber Threats

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has approved key provisions advanced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) aimed at stopping the flow of fentanyl into the United States and protecting American ports from cybersecurity threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). These measures are included in the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2024, which now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Senator Casey’s initiatives address two pressing issues: the opioid crisis fueled by fentanyl and the security risks associated with Chinese technology in critical infrastructure.

“Our Nation is faced with serious threats from abroad, from the flow of fentanyl across our border and into our communities or the Chinese Community Party evading our laws and compromising our supply chains and infrastructure,” said Senator Casey. “I fought to ensure this year’s intelligence package includes vital provisions to neutralize these threats and keep American families and communities safe.”

The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2024 includes several provisions championed by Casey:

1. Secure Smartports Act: This provision directs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) to develop a plan to protect port systems from cybersecurity risks posed by Chinese technology. The CCP could use such technology to spy on and potentially control critical U.S. infrastructure and supply chains.

2. Stopping Fentanyl at the Border: Another provision mandates increased intelligence sharing between agencies like the DEA and DHS to prevent fentanyl from entering the U.S. This aligns with Casey’s efforts through the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act and the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in tackling the opioid crisis.

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3. Reporting on Chinese Evasion of Export Controls: This measure requires ODNI to report to Congress on how the CCP attempts to bypass U.S. export controls and regulations. This follows the bipartisan Outbound Investment Transparency Act passed in 2023, which aims to provide the U.S. with insight into the risks posed when China accesses American technology in sectors critical to national security.

Protecting National Security and Public Health: Senator Casey’s Strategic Measures for a Safer America

These provisions reflect Casey’s commitment to addressing significant threats to national security and public health.

Combatting Fentanyl: The opioid crisis continues to ravage communities across the country, with fentanyl being a major contributor to overdose deaths. By enhancing coordination among intelligence and enforcement agencies, Casey’s measures aim to stem the tide of fentanyl entering the U.S. This is crucial as fentanyl is often trafficked in small quantities but has a high potency, making it deadly even in minute amounts.

Securing Ports: U.S. ports are vital for international trade and national security. The growing use of Chinese technology in port systems poses a risk of espionage and sabotage. The Secure Smartports Act seeks to mitigate these threats by ensuring that port systems are equipped to defend against cyberattacks. Such safeguards are essential for maintaining the integrity of the nation’s infrastructure and supply chains.

Monitoring Chinese Technology Theft: China’s efforts to acquire American technology pose long-term risks to U.S. economic and national security. By requiring ODNI to monitor and report on these activities, the legislation aims to enhance transparency and prevent technological advantages from being transferred to rival powers. This is particularly important in high-tech sectors where American innovation leads the global market.

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In a broader context, these measures signify a strategic approach to safeguarding American interests both domestically and internationally. They highlight the need for vigilance and proactive policies to counteract external threats. As the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2024 progresses, its potential to strengthen national security and public health remains a focal point for lawmakers.

Senator Casey’s advocacy highlights the urgency of addressing these multifaceted challenges. By integrating these provisions into the intelligence framework, the legislation not only aims to protect American lives but also to reinforce the stability and security of the country’s critical infrastructures.

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