Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s appointment of Tom Perriello of Virginia as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan. Warner and Kaine have consistently pressed the Administration to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan to coordinate and lead diplomatic efforts to negotiate an end to the horrific violence and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 4.8 million people have been internally displaced due to the conflict in Sudan—resulting in one of the largest internal displacement crises in the world. An estimated 10,000 civilians have been killed, and approximately 25 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

“The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan has left millions of civilians in need of urgent assistance. I am glad to see the Biden Administration appoint my friend Tom Perriello as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan,” said Sen. Warner. “I know that Tom’s diplomatic experience will better our efforts in the region to deliver immediate humanitarian aid and prioritize the safety of civilians who have been displaced by incessant violence. Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role and I look forward to working with him to continue our efforts to support the Sudanese people.” 

“The rapidly worsening crisis in Sudan urgently necessitates the delivery of humanitarian assistance and meaningful steps to protect civilians. I’m pleased President Biden appointed Tom Perriello as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan to help see those priorities through,” said Sen. Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). “Tom has the experience and skills needed to lead our strong diplomatic efforts in Sudan. Virginia is home to a large Sudanese diaspora, and I expect he will bring these perspectives with him in this new role. I look forward to working closely with him.”

In December, Warner and Kaine sent a letter urging the Administration to avoid further delays in the appointment of a Special Envoy for Sudan. Since the drastic rise in violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) last year, Warner and Kaine have led efforts to increase assistance and protect civilians in the region. Immediately following the outbreak of violence, the senators called for increased humanitarian access and assistance. They also applauded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) December announcement that it will extend the re-registration period for Temporary Protected Status for migrants from Sudan, which they urged in May. Last year, Warner spoke out about the violence in Sudan and hosted a virtual town hall for Sudanese Americans. Kaine pushed the Administration to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Sudan and urged both sides to commit to a permanent ceasefire. He held an event in Richmond with members of Virginia’s Sudanese American community to hear their concerns and discuss ways he can be helpful to address the conflict.

Perriello was appointed as U.S. Special Representative for the State Department’s second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review by President Barack Obama. He also served as Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He previously worked for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone and at the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kosovo, Darfur, and Afghanistan.

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine:

“Over the past two years, Ukrainians have displayed remarkable courage, resolve, and strength as they fend off Russia’s brutal invasion. While Putin naively expected that Kyiv would fall in a matter of days, Ukraine has instead displayed tremendous willingness and ability to fight and decimated Russia’s military capabilities for some time to come. For most of the past two years, the United States and our NATO allies have come together in a powerful display of unity to provide Ukraine with indispensable support. 

“We now face a pivotal moment. After a pointless and painful delay, the Senate made good on our word and renewed a robust aid package to Ukraine, but the House must act on it. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Ukrainians sorely need this aid to continue fighting, and our partners as well as authoritarian leaders around the globe alike are closely watching to see if America’s word can be trusted. Walking away now would be a mistake of historic proportions.

“Two years in, it is my most fervent hope that we get this crucial aid package done so Ukraine can continue their fight for democracy over autocracy and preserve the path to a peaceful resolution of this conflict that will maintain the sovereignty of a free Ukrainian nation.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock (both D-GA) in urging the Biden Administration to continue U.S. diplomatic efforts to secure the immediate release of hostages, stop the violence in Gaza, provide access for desperately needed humanitarian assistance, and deescalate tensions across the Middle East.

“Since the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, in which Hamas abducted more than 200 civilians — including babies, young children, and the elderly — the United States has played a vital leading role in efforts to secure the release of Americans and Israelis held in Gaza,” the senators wrote to President Biden.

“On November 24th, an agreement brokered with your leadership by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt secured the release of 105 hostages — all women and children — in tandem with a seven-day ceasefire. … Now 130 days since the October 7th massacre, two million Gazan civilians remain displaced in extreme danger and deprivation while hostages held by Hamas remain in life-threatening captivity,” the senators continued. “We therefore write to express our urgent support for your Administration’s ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages in tandem with a restored mutual ceasefire in Gaza.

“We recognize that it is in Israel’s vital national interest that Hamas — a brutal terrorist organization — be removed from power in Gaza. We continue to support Israel’s pursuit of that objective,” the senators affirmed. “We also recognize that without a break in the fighting, humanitarian conditions for civilians in Gaza will become even more catastrophic and thousands more innocents — including many children — will die.”

The senators acknowledged, “such a diplomatic achievement will require the agreement of the warring parties, and that its terms remain under negotiation… In our judgment, it is in our urgent national interest – and the urgent humanitarian interest of millions of innocent civilians — that these negotiations succeed.”

In addition to Sens. Warner, Kaine, Ossoff, and Warnock, the letter was cosigned by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Mr. President,

Since the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, in which Hamas abducted more than 200 civilians — including babies, young children, and the elderly — the United States has played a vital leading role in efforts to secure the release of Americans and Israelis held in Gaza.

U.S. diplomacy has also been essential to efforts to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid and to reaching a pause in hostilities in November of last year.

On November 24th, an agreement brokered with your leadership by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt secured the release of 105 hostages — all women and children — in tandem with a seven-day ceasefire. The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas provided a vital window for humanitarian aid to reach nearly two million Gazan civilians displaced by the war, while the return to safety of those hostages — including a four-year-old American girl, Abigail Idan — gave hope to the families of others abducted by Hamas that strong U.S.-led diplomacy could secure their freedom.

Now 130 days since the October 7th massacre, two million Gazan civilians remain displaced in extreme danger and deprivation while hostages held by Hamas remain in life-threatening captivity.

We therefore write to express our urgent support for your Administration’s ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages in tandem with a restored mutual ceasefire in Gaza.

We recognize that such a diplomatic achievement will require the agreement of the warring parties, and that its terms remain under negotiation. In our judgment, it is in our urgent national interest – and the urgent humanitarian interest of millions of innocent civilians — that these negotiations succeed.

We recognize that it is in Israel’s vital national interest that Hamas — a brutal terrorist organization — be removed from power in Gaza. We continue to support Israel’s pursuit of that objective.

We also recognize that without a break in the fighting, humanitarian conditions for civilians in Gaza will become even more catastrophic and thousands more innocents — including many children — will die.

Without an agreement that secures their release, the prospects are dim for the survival of hostages who remain alive.

Without the space created for regional diplomacy by a restored ceasefire, the political conditions for durable peace and security will remain unreachable, and escalating regional conflict will continue to threaten U.S. national security.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on Senate passage of a supplemental aid package to support Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and the Indo-Pacific:

“After months of reckless delays, I’m glad that the Senate has finally passed aid to our partners abroad. Without the loss of a single American or NATO soldier, Ukraine has been able to hold the line in the fight for democracy over autocracy and significantly damage Russia’s military capabilities. Today, we took a major step forward to support that historic effort, prove that America stands by its promises, and put authoritarian leaders across the globe on notice.

“It never had to be this way or take this long. I remain profoundly disappointed that some of my colleagues made every attempt to lead us towards historic failure by reneging on our commitments abroad. Despite these efforts, today’s vote shows that we can maintain our commitments to Ukraine and Israel, deliver sorely needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, and deter Chinese aggression by supporting partners across the Indo-Pacific. Getting this across the finish line is one of the most critical strategic imperatives I have witnessed in my time in government – I strongly urge my colleagues in the House to get this done as soon as possible.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote on the bipartisan legislation to provide needed funding for Ukraine and address the situation at the U.S. southern border:

“Today’s vote begs the question: are there any serious Republican legislators left? It is preposterous that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would vote against bipartisan legislation to address the situation at the southern border – the very issue they’ve obsessed over for months. Congress must find a way to come back to this important issue, to repair our deeply broken immigration system and address the dysfunction at the border. However, in light of this vote, I am glad to see Leader Schumer announce that he will move forward with a vote to pass standalone national security legislation.

“As Ukraine presses forward with its fight against Russian authoritarianism, I implore my colleagues to look beyond one election cycle, to consider the decades-long ramifications of allowing Vladimir Putin to prevail in his annexation of Ukraine and his goal of exporting his ruthless authoritarian ideology beyond Russia. Ukraine has demonstrated that it is willing and able to fight – it has done so without a single drop of American blood. As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I will be voting to move forward with this national security legislation to renew our commitment to Ukraine, deliver humanitarian aid for Gaza, support Israel, and show our allies abroad that the U.S. stands by its promises.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Drone Evaluation to Eliminate Cyber Threats Act of 2024 (DETECT Act), legislation directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop cybersecurity guidelines for the federal government’s use of drones.

Drones have the ability to collect sensitive information, and as they become more common, the security of this technology is of increasing importance. The DETECT Act would address cybersecurity concerns by directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a set of guidelines. Following an implementation period, these guidelines would be binding on the federal government’s use of civilian drones, the private sector may voluntarily use these guidelines in their own operations.

“Drones and unmanned systems have the capability to transform the way we do business, manage our infrastructure, and deliver life-saving medicine, and as drones become a larger part of our society, it’s crucial that we ensure their safety and security,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation will establish sensible cybersecurity guidelines for drones used by the federal government to ensure that sensitive information is protected while we continue to invest in this new technology.” 

“As the capabilities of drones continue to evolve and be utilized by both the federal government and the private sector, it’s critically important that they operate securely,” said Sen. Thune. “This common-sense legislation would require the federal government to follow stringent cybersecurity guidelines and protocols for drones and unmanned systems.”

Specifically, The DETECT Act:

  •  Directs NIST to develop guidelines covering cybersecurity for civilian drones;
  • Directs OMB to test the guidelines by requiring one federal agency to implement them on a pilot basis;
  • Directs OMB, after the conclusion of the test period described above, to require every agency with civilian drones to implement politics and principles based on the NIST guidelines;
  • Directs OMB to issue guidance to agencies governing the reporting of security vulnerabilities discovered in drones used by the agencies;
  • Requires contactors who supply civilian drones or drone-related services to the federal government to report any security vulnerabilities discovered;
  • Directs the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to promulgate any necessary regulation to carry the forgoing contractor requirements into effect;
  • Forbids agencies from acquiring drones that do not meet the guidelines referenced above, subject to a waiver process under certain circumstances.

Sens. Warner and Thune have been strong supporters of the domestic production of unmanned systems, including driverless cars, drones, and unmanned maritime vehicles, and have taken steps to ensure that domestic production of drones is both safe and keeping up with global competitors. Last year, the senators introduced the Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act, legislation that would clear the way for drones to be used for commercial transport of goods across the country. Sen. Warner also championed legislation to prohibit federal dollars from being used to procure or operate drones from countries or companies identified as posing a national security threat, which was ultimately included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2024.

"As the use of drones for multiple types of important operations –critical infrastructure inspection, public safety, agriculture, drone delivery, and more– has grown significantly in recent years, the need for cybersecurity standards for these critical mission tools has become evident,” said Michael Robbins, Chief Advocacy Officer of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International. “To ensure safety and security, the U.S. must lead in this area. AUVSI thanks Senators Warner and Thune for their leadership in protecting our nation from cyber risks and supporting American leadership in advanced aviation.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs National Security and International Trade and Finance Subcomittee, wrote to Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury, questioning the Department’s failure to implement appropriate sanctions enforcement as major technology firms such as Alphabet and Meta repeatedly flout U.S. sanctions rules through provision of digital advertising services. In his letter, Sen. Warner highlighted reports that tech companies continue to provide adtech services to sanctioned companies that have deep ties to our foreign adversaries, including Russia and Iran.

“[P]ublic reports in November 2023 indicated that Google served ads – and provided publisher monetization and search solutions – to a range of sanctioned Iranian and Russian companies,” Sen. Warner wrote. “Even if, as Google has claimed, these relationships did not result in ad payments to sanctioned entities, Google’s provision of web services to these sanctioned companies suggests a troubling inattention to compliance, particularly given the company’s long track record of ignoring fraud within the online ad ecosystem and of accusations of skirting U.S. sanctions laws.”

As Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner outlined the negative impact that these transactions have on U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and the need for the Treasury Department to enforce the sanctions in place.

“[R]eports suggest that Meta (parent of Facebook) flaunts U.S. sanctions rules, with recent reporting suggesting that the sanctioned Russian oligarch, Ilan Shor, has continued to use Facebook advertising for malign influence activity targeting Moldovan elections,” Sen. Warner continued. “My staff first inquired of the Department about apparent violations by Facebook in February 2023, when prior reports of Shor’s Facebook activity surfaced. This example is especially concerning  given the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s extensive efforts to publicize the ways in which Russian influence actors exploited social media platforms like Facebook to target U.S. elections. Nearly one year later, Facebook has continued to ignore U.S. sanctions laws – reportedly running hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements that, on their face (and in the recorded payment information), clearly indicated connection to the sanctioned oligarch.”

 As the 2024 elections ramp up, Sen. Warner stressed the need to combat efforts of foreign malign actors to influence and subvert elections.

He concluded, “This year, the world’s democracies will hold an unprecedented number of elections. In the wake of Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections in 2016, malign actors worldwide have increasingly embraced social media and online advertising tools as vectors for election influence. Given the centrality of U.S. firms to online advertising and social media markets worldwide, it is vital that the Department enforce American technology company compliance with U.S. sanctions.”  

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Yellen,

I write with concern over the Department of Treasury’s (the Department) failure to ensure sanctions compliance in digital advertising markets. In multiple instances in the previous two years, my staff has alerted the Department of instances of apparent sanctions violations by U.S. technology firms. Despite these repeated notifications, United States firms such as Alphabet and Meta continue to flout U.S. sanctions rules.

Various sanctions issued by the U.S. government bar corporations from certain transactions with sanctioned entities. Treasury already gives significant latitude to U.S. technology firms through the issuance of general licenses exempting “internet-based communications.” These exemptions ensure that internet users in foreign countries can continue to access certain basic communications services, particularly in the context of repressive regimes under U.S. sanction. However, these exemptions are not meant to continue facilitation of sanctioned activity, or financially benefit sanctioned entities, and in response to inquiries from my staff the Department acknowledged that online advertising services are not covered by these general licenses. Notwithstanding this acknowledgement, however, the Department has continued to ignore repeated instances of non-compliance by U.S. technology firms.

For instance, public reports in November 2023 indicated that Google served ads – and provided publisher monetization and search solutions – to a range of sanctioned Iranian and Russian companies.  Even if, as Google has claimed, these relationships did not result in ad payments to sanctioned entities, Google’s provision of web services to these sanctioned companies suggests a troubling inattention to compliance, particularly given the company’s long track-record of ignoring fraud within the online ad ecosystem and of accusations of skirting U.S. sanctions laws.  Notably, Google’s facilitation of ad delivery in countries under U.S. sanctions regimes has been a longstanding concern. In 2019, Wired reported that Google appeared to be exposing advertising clients to ad waste and potential sanctions violations.  Similarly, ProPublica has reported on instances of Google ostensibly ignoring U.S. sanctions by monetizing a Serbian media outlet that has sought to promote separatist violence.  ProPublica has also noted that Google’s provision of ad services to sanctioned companies has enabled them to harvest user data  – potentially enabling Russian surveillance and influence activity.

Even more recently, reports suggest that Meta (parent of Facebook) flaunts U.S. sanctions rules, with recent reporting suggesting that the sanctioned Russian oligarch, Ilan Shor, has continued to use Facebook advertising for malign influence activity targeting Moldovan elections.  My staff first inquired of the Department about apparent violations by Facebook in February 2023, when prior reports of Shor’s Facebook activity surfaced. This example is especially concerning given the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s extensive efforts to publicize the ways in which Russian influence actors exploited social media platforms like Facebook to target U.S. elections. Nearly one year later, Facebook has continued to ignore U.S. sanctions laws – reportedly running hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements that, on their face (and in the recorded payment information), clearly indicated connection to the sanctioned oligarch. And, notably, this is not the only instance in which Facebook has been accused of profiting from sanctions non-compliance. A pair of whistleblower complaints in 2022 similarly accused the company of enabling influence activity by Russian-linked, sanctioned separatist leaders. 

This year, the world’s democracies will hold an unprecedented number of elections. In the wake of Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections in 2016, malign actors worldwide have increasingly embraced social media and online advertising tools as vectors for election influence. Given the centrality of U.S. firms to online advertising and social media markets worldwide, it is vital that the Department enforce compliance with U.S. sanctions.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON – With the 2024 election season already underway, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote to Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), pushing the agency to recommit to addressing foreign malign influence in our elections. In his letter, Sen. Warner cited a recently declassified intelligence assessment emphasizing the continuing threat of foreign election influence.

Sen. Warner specifically highlighted the need for CISA to lead efforts to shore up our nation’s defenses, both through physical and technical protections of election systems and electoral processes, and by serving as a liaison between the intelligence community, the private sector, and state and local institutions in order to facilitate information sharing to combat malign influence.

“CISA’s commitment to leading the federal government’s engagement on physical security and cybersecurity ahead of each federal election is crucial,” wrote Sen. Warner. “Since the designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in 2017, CISA has led a collaborative effort to assist state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and private sector partners in protecting election systems from cyber threats. The complex and often highly varied election processes and systems across the U.S. are markedly more secure today as a result of CISA’s important efforts.”

The role of CISA in combatting election threats has never been more important, as the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on Murthy v. Missouri, a case that has the potential to severely limit the role that government officials can play in communicating with private social media companies when it comes to countering foreign disinformation campaigns.

“With the heightened possibility that the FBI may (through internal policy or court decision) be hamstrung in its ability to share threat information with impacted parties outside the federal government, it will be incumbent upon CISA to fill this vacuum – engaging and serving as an interlocutor between private sector entities, the intelligence community and law enforcement, and state and local officials,” concluded Sen. Warner.

Earlier this month, Sen. Warner filed an amicus brief urging the Court to reverse the dangerous decision of the Fifth Circuit that would prevent voluntary information sharing between government agencies and private social media companies in order to better protect against foreign threats. 

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Director Easterly,

With less than 11 months before the 2024 U.S. Presidential election, and the first primary already underway, I write with growing concern about the Administration’s posture to combat foreign election threats. As the recently declassified Intelligence Community Assessment on Foreign Threats to the 2022 US Elections illustrates, a range of foreign adversaries continue to target our nation’s democratic processes, with the goals of promoting greater social divisions, undermining confidence in electoral processes, and in some cases seeking to shape election outcomes. While the section of that Assessment that provides a prospective assessment for the 2024 elections remains classified, the IC has noted that foreign election influence activity tends to be elevated during presidential election years. Notwithstanding this persistent threat to our democracy, recent litigation by hyper-partisan actors has sought to stymie federal efforts to counter these threats.

The work of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been pivotal in shoring up the nation’s defenses since 2016. This includes not just CISA’s vital work to assist state and local election administrators in protecting physical and technical aspects of election systems and electoral processes, but also CISA’s efforts to serve as a nexus between the intelligence community, the private sector, and state and local institutions.

CISA’s commitment to leading the federal government’s engagement on physical security and cybersecurity ahead of each federal election is crucial. Since the designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in 2017, CISA has led a collaborative effort to assist state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and private sector partners in protecting election systems from cyber threats. The complex and often highly varied election processes and systems across the U.S. are markedly more secure today as a result of CISA’s important efforts. However, recent elections have demonstrated the proclivity of foreign adversaries to pursue blended operations, which highlights the need to address election security holistically, encompassing both election interference  and election influence  threats. As the 2022 US Elections ICA highlighted, for instance, Iran impersonated a U.S. violent extremist organization to send emails seeking to intimidate voters, as well as creating a website with death threats to US election officials. Similarly, in 2016 we saw Russia embrace hacking and dissemination operations (which included targeting political parties’ networks and probing election systems), combined with social media-based election influence operations.

In hearings the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held in 2018, the Senate heard first-hand from senior social media executives how pivotal the Department of Homeland Security’s election security efforts – in conjunction with those of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Foreign Influence Task Force – have been.  Efforts by hyper-partisan litigants and media personalities to rewrite that history – and to falsely characterize these efforts, as part of an outlandish conspiracy theory, as somehow involving efforts by federal officials sought to suppress Americans’ voices – should not intimidate your organization from maintaining this vital role.

The federal government has made substantial – if uneven – progress since being caught flat-footed in the face of sustained efforts by a foreign adversary to interference in our democratic processes in 2016. Far from receding, these election threats have only grown – with a wider array of foreign actors, a larger number of social media platforms suitable for influence activity (and a combination of ownership and management changes reducing the private sector resources devoted to countering foreign election threats), and heightened incentives of many adversaries to shape election outcomes in pursuit of specific geopolitical objectives.

With the heightened possibility that the FBI may (through internal policy or court decision) be hamstrung in its ability to share threat information with impacted parties outside the federal government, it will be incumbent upon CISA to fill this vacuum – engaging and serving as an interlocutor between private sector entities, the intelligence community and law enforcement, and state and local officials.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, submitted an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse a dangerous injunction that would limit the government’s ability to communicate with social media companies regarding foreign threats on their platforms ahead of the 2024 election. The brief was submitted following the decision of the Court to hear arguments in Murthy v. Missouri, a case that will decide the role that government officials can play in communicating with private social media companies when it comes to countering foreign disinformation campaigns.

In his capacity as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner stressed the need for continuing communication between social media platforms and the federal government, on a voluntary basis, in order to prevent foreign adversaries, including Russia, Iran, and China, from using these sites to carry out campaigns threatening our national security.

“The best way to combat foreign malign influence is cooperation between the public and private sectors,” Sen. Warner wrote in his brief. “Threat sharing allows the government and social media companies to combine disparate data sets and share appropriate information.”

“[T]he U.S. government has long relied on threat sharing including defensive briefings—to alert unwitting U.S. persons and organizations to efforts by foreign adversaries and intelligence services to target, exploit, or infiltrate them. That information sharing is crucial in the information security context due to the increasing sophistication and organization of the attackers,” he wrote.

“Threat sharing not only allows organizations to leverage collective knowledge and capabilities to identify and increase awareness of certain threats, but it also permits those organizations to improve their systems and minimize susceptibility to threats going forward,” Sen. Warner continued.  

Since the 2016 election, the Intelligence Community (IC) has regularly engaged social media companies on a voluntary basis, including Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Twitter (now X), and YouTube to help identify foreign accounts operating with the purpose of misleading the American public, sowing dissent among users, intimidating minority groups, threatening election officials, and even seeking to incite violence between Americans.

Sen. Warner’s brief underscores the importance of this work, noting that social companies have expressly communicated with government officials their willingness to work together to combat the coordinated influence campaigns by adversaries taking place on their platforms – noting his experience in 2017 in jointly leading a bipartisan investigation into Russia’s influence activity targeting the 2016 election.

“Social media platforms share the Intelligence Committee’s concern regarding foreign malign influence. They categorically do not want to be a vector or facilitate these campaigns. To that end, they proactively share intelligence information with the government and request that government agencies and officials share knowledge with them too,” Sen. Warner continued.

Sen. Warner argues that the current Fifth Circuit ruling has severely limited the federal government’s ability to engage with social media companies on a voluntary basis over threats that have been identified on their platforms, and would cause lasting repercussions if not reversed. With less than a year before the presidential election, and with a recently-declassified intelligence assessment emphasizing the continuing threat of foreign election influence, a Supreme Court ruling that preserved or expanded the Fifth Circuit’s injunction could have lasting damage.

“Any injunction here would prevent or limit the government’s ability to communicate with social media companies and would leave the United States vulnerable to attack. Foreign malign influence campaigns have grown in number, scope, and sophistication since 2016, and any progress gained through improved threat sharing processes may be entirely lost if the injunction is not lifted.” Sen. Warner stated.

Sen. Warner concludes by asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth circuit decision, writing: “There is no substitute for real time threat sharing between the government and social media companies when it comes to combating foreign malign information campaigns. The government and social media companies have access to different types of information and benefit form exchanging such information where appropriate. It is essential to our national security that the government can communicate freely with social media companies about threats that foreign malign influence campaigns pose to their platforms and users. To preserve America’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to foreign malign influence campaigns that target our national security and elections, this Court should reverse the judgement of the Fifth Circuit in relevant part and direct that the preliminary injunction be vacated in its entirety.”

The full amicus brief is available here.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, led Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE) Jack Reed (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in sounding the alarm about the economic deterioration in the West Bank and the troubling rise in violent acts perpetrated by extremist Israeli settlers. In a letter to President Biden, the lawmakers stressed the need for Israel to take steps to address the growing instability in the West Bank, including by ensuring that the Palestinian Security Forces are able to ward off violence against innocent Palestinian civilians and prevent further destabilization, which could open an additional front to the conflict.

This letter follows a decision by Israel to withhold a significant portion of tax revenues that its government collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA). These revenues – meant to be collected and transferred based on longstanding agreement – are critical for the PA’s civil administration and security purposes.

“A range of factors since October 7 – including a loss of wages for the thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank whose work permits Israel revoked – have contributed to an economic situation that has shuttered thousands of West Bank businesses and reduced the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) revenues by roughly 80 percent. Those revenues support a range of critical functions for the PA, including paying public-worker salaries as well as the salaries of members of the Palestinian Security Forces, whose local law enforcement and security efforts are critical to maintaining stability in the West Bank,” wrote the Senators. “A significant source of the PA’s revenue derives from Palestinian import tax revenues, which according to long-standing agreement, the Israeli government collects on behalf of, and then transfers to, the PA. We are concerned that the Israeli government’s decision following the October 7 attacks to withhold a significant portion of these revenues, and the PA’s decision to not accept the reduced sum, is dramatically exacerbating the economic volatility in the West Bank.”

“In addition to harming the well-being of Palestinians, the current lack of revenue transfers directly threatens the economic standing of the security services in the West Bank. Absent these funds, salaries for the more than 30,000 members of the Palestinian Security Forces cannot be paid in full. The possibility of these forces declining to serve, absent pay – and the possibility of militant groups attempting to step in and financially coerce these services – represents a significant security threat, risking the opening of a new front to this conflict to the detriment of Israeli and regional security,” they continued. “We urge you and senior members of your Administration to continue to prioritize the resumption of these transfers in any conversations with the Israeli government as well as Palestinian Authority officials. A commitment by Israel to immediately transfer the full allotment of Palestinian Authority revenues is vital to staving off a significant rise in instability, and would represent a crucial step by Israel towards deescalating tensions in the West Bank.”

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear President Biden,

We write with ongoing concern about the alarming conditions in the West Bank. As Israel continues to address the lethal and ongoing threat posed by Hamas following the terrorist group’s horrific October 7 attacks, Israel must take steps to address growing instability in the West Bank. Israeli settlers’ violence and deteriorating economic conditions are compromising the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians and threaten further destabilization. We are concerned that these conditions risk opening an additional front to the conflict, to the significant detriment of Israeli and regional security.

Members of Congress have joined you in voicing concerns about the alarming rise in violent acts perpetrated by extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank over the past two months. We believe the Israeli government must address these attacks against Palestinians, and we applaud your Administration’s recent actions – including visa bans – targeting those carrying out these attacks.

We are also concerned about the conflict’s economic impact in the West Bank, and the risk it poses for further violence. A range of factors since October 7 – including a loss of wages for the thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank whose work permits Israel revoked – have contributed to an economic situation that has shuttered thousands of West Bank businesses and reduced the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) revenues by roughly 80 percent. Those revenues support a range of critical functions for the PA, including paying public-worker salaries as well as the salaries of members of the Palestinian Security Forces, whose local law enforcement and security efforts are critical to maintaining stability in the West Bank.

A significant source of the PA’s revenue derives from Palestinian import tax revenues, which according to long-standing agreement, the Israeli government collects on behalf of, and then transfers to, the PA. We are concerned that the Israeli government’s decision following the October 7 attacks to withhold a significant portion of these revenues, and the PA’s decision to not accept the reduced sum, is dramatically exacerbating the economic volatility in the West Bank.

In addition to harming the well-being of Palestinians, the current lack of revenue transfers directly threatens the economic standing of the security services in the West Bank. Absent these funds, salaries for the more than 30,000 members of the Palestinian Security Forces cannot be paid in full. The possibility of these forces declining to serve, absent pay – and the possibility of militant groups attempting to step in and financially coerce these services – represents a significant security threat, risking the opening of a new front to this conflict to the detriment of Israeli and regional security.

We acknowledge the need for a number of reforms related to PA governance, including those that would address corruption concerns, as well as its martyr and prisoner payment system. These reforms remain important, alongside supporting near-term stability and security.

In recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Secretary of State Blinken testified that the PA is “vastly under resourced,” and that import tax revenues have indeed been a topic of negotiation with the Israeli government. We urge you and senior members of your Administration to continue to prioritize the resumption of these transfers in any conversations with the Israeli government as well as Palestinian Authority officials. A commitment by Israel to immediately transfer the full allotment of Palestinian Authority revenues is vital to staving off a significant rise in instability, and would represent a crucial step by Israel towards deescalating tensions in the West Bank.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine urged the Administration to avoid further delays in the appointment of a Special Envoy for Sudan. Nearly 4.8 million people have been internally displaced since the war in Sudan began in April 2023—resulting in one of the largest internal displacement crises in the world. It’s estimated that there have been 10,000 civilian casualties, and approximately 24 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. In their letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the senators emphasize the crucial role a Special Envoy would play in coordinating and leading U.S. diplomatic efforts to address this crisis and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“At the onset of this conflict in April 2023, we strongly advocated for U.S. leadership in coordinating a robust international diplomatic response, the safe and swift delivery of humanitarian assistance, the protection of civilians, and, crucially, that a special envoy be appointed to provide a single address within the U.S. government, as well as a clear U.S. lead for foreign parties when participating in direct negotiations with the Rapid Support Forces, Sudanese Armed Forces, and regional partners,” wrote the senators. “Although we welcome the progress to-date in facilitating humanitarian action to meet the urgent needs of civilians, we once again reaffirm our request that you immediately appoint a special envoy to manage the Sudan crisis.”

They continued, “We are concerned that the lack of a dedicated special envoy, who would report directly to the Secretary of State and who would internally coordinate and lead U.S. government efforts, and who may serve as a focal point and driver for international diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, is severely inhibiting the United States’ ability to engage most forcefully towards a resolution to the crisis.”

“To ensure a prosperous future for Sudan, the U.S. government must serve as a lead negotiator in peace discussions via a special envoy for Sudan,” the senators concluded. “We would welcome additional information, whether via a briefing to our staff or in a written response, regarding the rationale for why our request for the appointment of a Special Envoy for Sudan remains unmet.”

Warner and Kaine have been longtime advocates for the Sudanese community in Virginia. Last week, Warner and Kaine applauded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement that it will extend the re-registration period for Temporary Protected Status for migrants from Sudan, which they urged in May. Earlier this year, Warner spoke out about the violence in Sudan and hosted a virtual town hall for Sudanese Americans. Kaine has pushed the Administration to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Sudan and urged both sides to commit to a permanent ceasefire. He held an event in Richmond with members of Virginia’s Sudanese American community to hear their perspectives on the conflict and discuss ways he can be helpful.

Full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Secretary Blinken,

The destructive conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has been raging for eight months. It has resulted in 4.8 million people internally displaced, 1.2 million fleeing to neighboring countries and regions, 10,000 civilian casualties, and approximately 24 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Sudan’s health systems have reached their breaking point, and the country is plagued with widespread sexual violence, looting, and killing.

At the onset of this conflict in April 2023, we strongly advocated for U.S. leadership in coordinating a robust international diplomatic response, the safe and swift delivery of humanitarian assistance, the protection of civilians, and, crucially, that a special envoy be appointed to provide a single address within the U.S. government, as well as a clear U.S. lead for foreign parties when participating in direct negotiations with the RSF, SAF, and regional partners. Although we welcome the progress to-date in facilitating humanitarian action to meet the urgent needs of civilians, we once again reaffirm our request that you immediately appoint a special envoy to manage the Sudan crisis.

We are grateful for the efforts from you, Assistant Secretary Molly Phee, Ambassador John Godfrey, Ambassador Daniel Rubinstein, and Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer have put into facilitating negotiations between the RSF, SAF, and global partners in Jeddah. We also welcome your December 6 atrocities determination for the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing conducted by the SAF and RSF. However, much more needs to be done to end this brutal conflict, and the need is urgent. We are concerned that the lack of a dedicated special envoy, who would report directly to the Secretary of State and who would internally coordinate and lead U.S. government efforts, and who may serve as a focal point and driver for international diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, is severely inhibiting the United States’ ability to engage most forcefully towards a resolution to the crisis. We are pleased that the negotiation talks between the SAF and RSF in Jeddah have resumed, but a stronger and more cohesive U.S. diplomatic effort is long overdue. The tally of Sudanese lives taken by this conflict is mounting by the day.

As global stability is threatened by multiple destructive conflicts, we cannot forget about the people of Sudan. To ensure a prosperous future for Sudan, the U.S. government must serve as a lead negotiator in peace discussions via a Special Envoy for Sudan. We would welcome additional information, whether via a briefing to our staff or in a written response, regarding the rationale for why our request for the appointment of a Special Envoy for Sudan remains unmet. Thank you for your time and attention to this request.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin, and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) wrote to President Biden requesting that the administration include at least $30 million in their FY25 budget request for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to specifically address the agency’s operational costs related to national security and counterterrorism. This request comes as WMATA faces a $750 million budget shortfall that threatens safety and services starting next summer.

In their letter, the senators stress that WMATA, more than other transit authorities, shoulders a heavy security burden because of its role in federal government operations and national security activities. The agency estimates that it spends between $30 and $33 million annually on operations relating to its national security and counterterrorism mission.

“Given this sui generis role played by WMATA, it should come as no surprise that the agency shoulders some burdens that are unique among transit providers. Perhaps most important of these burdens is WMATA’s responsibility to prevent terrorism targeting our Nation’s capital—a responsibility far out of proportion to the size of the system,” the senators wrote.

They continued, “Unfortunately, this responsibility is more than hypothetical. In 2010, an anti-government extremist opened fire at the Pentagon station. A year later, a man was convicted in connection with the targeting of four WMATA stations in a terrorist bomb plot.  And let us not forget that it was a Metro Transit Police officer who, while assisting Capitol Police, discovered the bomb planted at the Democratic National Committee on January 6, 2021.”

Sens. Warner, Kaine, Cardin, and Van Hollen have long been active supporters of WMATA, working to secure critical funding, expand service, and improve safety.  

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear President Biden:

We write today to respectfully request that the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2025 include at least $30 million for transfer to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for the agency’s operational costs associated with national security activities and countering terrorism on the system.

WMATA’s operations are critical to the functioning of the federal government in the National Capital Region. A majority of WMATA’s 19.6 million riders are federal workers.  Over one-third of all Metrorail stations are located on federal property, serving federal facilities. Two stations on Capitol Hill serve Members of Congress and their staffs. Federal facilities served by WMATA include our most sensitive national security installations, like the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. Pentagon Station, for example, provides convenient rail access to the global headquarters of our Nation’s Department of Defense and uniformed services.

Given this sui generis role played by WMATA, it should come as no surprise that the agency shoulders some burdens that are unique among transit providers. Perhaps most important of these burdens is WMATA’s responsibility to prevent terrorism targeting our Nation’s capital—a responsibility far out of proportion to the size of the system. Unfortunately, this responsibility is more than hypothetical. In 2010, an anti-government extremist opened fire at the Pentagon station. A year later, a man was convicted in connection with the targeting of four WMATA stations in a terrorist bomb plot. And let us not forget that it was a Metro Transit Police officer who, while assisting Capitol Police, discovered the bomb planted at the Democratic National Committee on January 6, 2021.

WMATA estimates that it spends between $30 and $33 million on operations relating to its national security and counterterrorism mission. Similar to the Federal Payment for Emergency Planning and Security Costs for the District of Columbia, these costs are directly attributable to the unique role WMATA plays in ensuring the safety and smooth operation of our Nation’s federal government. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the federal government provide funding to WMATA for these expenses. Therefore, we respectfully request that the President’s budget for FY25 include at least $30 million to support WMATA’s national security operational expenses necessary to keep the system and the National Capital Region safe.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), applauded congressional passage of the nation’s annual defense bill, which includes key priorities for Virginia and a series of measures championed and backed by Sen. Warner. 

“Despite all the current chaos in Congress, I’m encouraged that we were finally able to pass this annual defense spending bill that strengthens our military, provides support for our troops, bolsters our nation’s defense capabilities, and delivers for Virginia. Once signed by the president, this legislation will ensure that our military and Department of Defense have what they need to safeguard our national security interests and continue to keep Americans safe. I hope that my colleagues in both the House and the Senate will look to this deal, realize that bipartisan agreement is within reach, and reach the consensus needed to fund the government and fulfill our commitment to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.”  

The legislation supports $886.3 billion in funding for our nation’s defense, and includes crucial measures supported by Sen. Warner.

Servicemembers and the civilian defense workforce:

  • Authorizes a 5.2 percent pay raise for military servicemembers and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workforce – the largest raise in two decades.
  • Improves living conditions for enlisted servicemembers by greenlighting improvements to the quality and oversight of barracks. This provision specifically authorizes the replacement of substandard barracks and establishes new requirements that enlisted housing meet the same basic standards as all other military housing.
  • Improves living conditions for junior Navy Sailors whose vessels are undergoing an extended maintenance overhaul. This legislation authorizes basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments that allow these servicemembers to live in commercial housing, rather than aboard the ship.
  • Supports more equitable housing rates in markets with limited housing inventory by modifying the calculation of basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates.
  • Allows for additional financial support for servicemembers, by reducing the threshold used to determine high cost-of-living areas for the purpose of providing a cost-of-living allowance to servicemembers assigned to locations in the continental United States.
  • Takes a number of steps to address critical childcare shortages and improve availability for military families. To help address the overwhelming demand for childcare, last year Sen. Warner was able to secure $3.5 million in planning & design funding to support two new child development centers at Hampton Roads installations. This bill authorizes $104 million to fund two Child Development Centers, one at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story and one at Naval Station Norfolk.

Strengthening our nation’s defense and cyber defense capabilities:

  • Authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) through inclusion of the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 – legislation authored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Warner.
  • Authorizes $16.7 billion for military construction projects, including $570 million for 20 military construction projects in Virginia. This includes $104 million to fund two Child Development Centers, one at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story and one at Naval Station Norfolk. It also includes authorization for $20 million for a replacement hanger and additional airfield infrastructure in Sandston for the Virginia National Guard, and $4 million in planning and design funding for a new Army Reserve training center in Richmond.
  • Authorizes the Navy to enter into one or more contracts for the multiyear procurement of the next block of 13 Virginia-class submarines.
  • Requires the development of a regional cybersecurity strategy to support the operations of each geographic combatant command.
  • Requires the establishment of a dedicated cyber intelligence capability to support information-sharing on technology developments, capabilities, operations, and intentions of actors who pose cyber threats.
  • Directs DoD to support institutions of higher education on cyber workforce education and development efforts in the fields of cybersecurity, intelligence, data science, information security management, and quantum information science.
  • Increases transparency surrounding the DoD’s investments in Artificial Intelligence by requiring DoD to provide information to Congress by mid-June of 2024 detailing the applications of AI technologies and their respective investment amounts, and an analysis of how these investments align with the Department’s stated objectives regarding AI. This provision stems from an amendment led by Sen. Warner.
  • Takes steps towards securing the nation’s supply of domestic energy by establishing a Nuclear Fuel Security Program to boost domestic uranium mining, production, and enrichment for the types of nuclear fuel used in commercial reactors and anticipated for next-generation reactors, including small modular reactors (SMRs). Sen. Warner was an original cosponsor of this legislation.

Countering aggression by adversaries like Russia and China:

  • Prohibits the purchase of drones from countries like China that pose a national security concern. This provision, championed in part by Warner, prohibits federal dollars from being used to procure or operate drones from countries or companies identified as posing a national security threat. 
  • Authorizes the full budget request for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI).
  • Underscores the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a unified response to the Russian Federation’s unjust war in Ukraine. Sen. Warner has been a strong supporter of NATO, which conducts crucial work in Virginia at NATO Allied Command Transformation in Hampton Roads.
  • Supports Ukraine in its fight against Russian attacks and aggression by extending the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) through 2026 and authorizing $300 million in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The USAI is one of the main tools used by the U.S. in support of Ukraine’s defensive needs. This legislation also extends waivers for the streamlined acquisition of defense stocks related to Ukraine and authorizes additional munitions eligible for multiyear procurement contracts.
  • Supports advancement of the AUKUS Partnership between the U.S., Australia, and the UK, including through additional funding and authorizations to operationalize the agreement, and support close engagement between these three nations – which has a particular relevance to Virginia’s naval and industrial base infrastructure.
  • Provides support to Taiwan by establishing a comprehensive training, advising, and institutional capacity-building program for the military forces of Taiwan.

Now that it’s been passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, this legislation will head to President Biden’s desk for his signature. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s meeting with senators:

“For nearly two years, President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have defended their country against Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion. I am proud that the United States has led the world in support of Ukraine’s efforts to push back against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, and today’s meeting highlighted the importance of continuing this support. The time to act is now. We must honor our commitments and pass a security package before the year ends.” 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) today introduced bipartisan legislation to crack down on terrorist organizations like Hamas by applying sanctions to foreign parties that facilitate financial transactions with terrorists.

Currently, these sanctions are imposed only in limited circumstances, primarily on the terrorist group Hezbollah following passage of the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act in 2015. The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act introduced today will expand this type of sanctions to cover all U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), including Hamas, and other foreign parties that are controlled by or act on behalf of those FTOs.

“The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act will make sure that the Treasury Department has the tools necessary to enforce our sanctions against Hamas and other terror groups,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m pleased to join Senators Rounds, Reed, and Romney in introducing this bipartisan legislation to improve our national security.”  

“It is critical that the Department of the Treasury has the necessary counter-terrorism tools to combat modern threats,” said Sen. Rounds. “The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act takes commonsense steps toward rooting out terrorism by sanctioning foreign financial institutions and foreign digital asset companies that assist them in committing these heinous acts. Cutting off funding for terrorist organizations at the source will save lives. I am pleased to co-lead this bipartisan legislation that takes decisive action to disrupt terrorist finance networks.”

“It is critical to bolster the Treasury Department’s tools to protect our national and economic security. With this bill, we are forcing foreign financial institutions and foreign crypto firms to choose between doing business with terrorist organizations or maintaining access to the U.S. financial system,” said Sen. Reed. “We must protect the integrity of our financial system from new and emerging threats from terrorist organizations, including Hamas that carried out the despicable attacks on Israel on October 7.”

“The October 7 attacks on Israel perpetrated by Hamas have made it more urgent and necessary for the U.S. to counter the role that cryptocurrency plays in the financing of terrorism. Our legislation would expand financial sanctions to cover all terrorist organizations—including Hamas—and it would equip the Treasury Department with additional resources to counter terrorism and address emerging threats involving digital assets,” said Sen. Romney.

Under the terms of the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is required to identify any foreign bank or foreign digital asset transaction facilitator that knowingly facilitates transactions with an FTO or related party. Once these actors are identified, the bill requires imposition of sanctions on them, restricting either their use of U.S. correspondent bank accounts (in the case of a bank), or barring their digital asset or other transactions with U.S. persons (in the case of a digital asset transaction facilitator). 

The bill also contains a key provision from the Crypto-Asset National Security Enhancement and Enforcement (CANSEE) Act the senators previously introduced, giving FinCEN authority to restrict transactions with “primary money laundering concerns” that do not involve a U.S. correspondent bank account.  This provision will provide FinCEN with appropriate tools to address threats involving digital assets and non-traditional finance networks, just as they currently can where correspondent accounts are involved. 

The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act also authorizes the resources the Treasury Department needs to carry out these programs.

A copy of the full bill text is available here. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued a statement after the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed to move forward on a supplemental spending package to provide crucial aid to aid our allies and protect our national security:

“Vladimir Putin’s hopes for victory rest on the U.S. walking away from Ukraine. In 21 months, Ukraine has succeeded in decimating the military and morale of one of our chief geopolitical adversaries in Vladimir Putin’s Russia without the loss of a single American or NATO soldier. We know from intelligence community assessments that Putin believes Ukraine will fall within just months without renewed U.S. support. Why, at this moment in time, would we prove Putin right?

“I believe Congress can and must pass a supplemental spending package that supports the fight for democracy in Ukraine, supplies our partner Israel, provides much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, and secures our border. But given the urgency of what’s facing the Ukrainians this winter, we cannot afford to wait. Autocrats around the world, including President Xi, are watching.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) have sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget requesting that the FBI headquarters relocation process be paused in order to allow the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to properly investigate the site selection process.

The OIG review comes in response to a November 15 letter penned by the lawmakers, who requested that the Inspector General investigate significant concerns that the GSA site selection process was fouled by political interference and alleged impropriety – a concern echoed by the FBI Director himself.

“It is vital that both GSA and the FBI fully cooperate and provide relevant information to the Inspector General’s review, and that they allow time and space for investigatory efforts to reach a thorough conclusion,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge the Administration to pause efforts to advance this headquarters process, allowing for transparent and fair review.”

They continued, “For more than a decade there has been a clear and shared understanding of the critical nature of this project. The decision bears significant impact on the law enforcement and national security missions of the FBI – GSA’s client agency on this project. All of the parties involved, including GSA and the FBI, had previously stated publicly the need for a process that was fair, transparent, and determined by the merits of the prospective sites. In light of the objections from the FBI, there is concern that this standard was not met. This process must be paused to allow for a fair and transparent review to address these concerns.”

The effort to relocate the FBI spans years of work and multiple presidential administrations. For months, the lawmakers have been making the case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI in part because of its diverse and developed workforce, proximity to critical national security facilities, and easy access to transit. Last month, after a flawed selection process that included last-minute changes to the selection criteria and allegations of political interference, a political appointee overruled the unanimous recommendation of a three-person panel of career experts and selected Greenbelt, Maryland as the site for the new FBI headquarters.

A copy of the letter is available here and text is below.

Dear Director Young,

We write regarding the site selection process for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters, led by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). On November 30, GSA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) confirmed that they were initiating an evaluation of the site selection to “assess [GSA]’s process and procedures for the site selection to relocate the FBI Headquarters.” This review follows a November 15 letter that we sent to OIG outlining our significant concerns with the site selection process, including credible allegations of impropriety and politicization.

The FBI Director, Christopher Wray, has raised strenuous objections to both the process and outcome of the GSA-administered site selection process. These concerns were brought directly and repeatedly to GSA throughout the agencies’ deliberations. As Director Wray noted in a message to FBI personnel on November 9, following GSA’s announced selection, “our concerns about the process remain unresolved.”[2] The nature of these concerns draws into question the integrity of a site selection process that demanded fairness and transparency, and they warrant thorough review.

It is vital that both GSA and the FBI fully cooperate and provide relevant information to the Inspector General’s review, and that they allow time and space for investigatory efforts to reach a thorough conclusion. We urge the Administration to pause efforts to advance this headquarters process, allowing for transparent and fair review.

For more than a decade there has been a clear and shared understanding of the critical nature of this project. The decision bears significant impact on the law enforcement and national security missions of the FBI – GSA’s client agency on this project. All of the parties involved, including GSA and the FBI, had previously stated publicly the need for a process that was fair, transparent, and determined by the merits of the prospective sites. In light of the objections from the FBI, there is concern that this standard was not met. This process must be paused to allow for a fair and transparent review to address these concerns.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) today welcomed the news that the Inspector General (IG) of the General Services Administration (GSA) will initiate an investigation into the site selection to relocate the new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters, issuing the following statement:

“Given the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by politics, we agree that an inspector general investigation is the appropriate next step. We applaud the inspector general for moving quickly and encourage him to move forward to complete a careful and thorough review. In the meantime, the GSA must pause all activities related to the relocation until the IG’s investigation is complete.” 

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WASHINGTON – In response to China’s continued dominance of the critical mineral supply chain, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) led a group of bipartisan colleagues in a call for action to secure supply chains and reduce U.S. reliance on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for minerals that are inputs for critical technologies, including through increased government support to U.S. private sector companies investing and operating in critical mineral projects.

This is the latest step that the Intelligence Committee leaders have taken to counter China’s dominance of this growing industry. Last month, Sens. Warner and Rubio hosted government officials and domestic industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on access to critical minerals

In a letter to the Biden administration, the senators highlighted the exploding demand of critical minerals and their growing importance to U.S. national security, while pointing out the U.S. is falling behind its adversaries in efforts to secure the global critical mineral supply chain.

The senators wrote, “Demand for critical minerals is growing exponentially, yet the U.S. substantially lags behind its adversaries in securing critical mineral supply chains. In fact, in many cases China controls nearly 100 percent of the end-to-end supply chain, and is actively seeking to maintain and increase its control of these resources around the globe.”

Outlining key areas where improvement is needed to expand domestic capabilities, the senators requested that the administration take a series of steps to ensure U.S. support to domestic industry, to strengthen internal coordination across government agencies, and to formulate a strategy for U.S. collaboration with our allies, to combat China’s growing dominance in this space.

They continued, “Focusing the efforts of the U.S. government, in coordination with our allies, upon standing up processing, refining, and metallurgical capacity must be a priority if we are going to succeed in reducing our reliance on China for critical minerals.”

Sens. Warner and Rubio were joined in this letter by U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

In a separate letter to Reta Jo Lewis, Chair of Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), Sens. Warner and Rubio advocated for the prioritization of EXIM’s projects to secure critical mineral supply chains both domestically and in allied and partner nations, in order to reduce dependence on China.

The senators wrote, “Given the national security and economic implications of critical mineral supply chains, U.S. government agencies and institutions – including EXIM – must better align efforts to support the establishment of supply chains that serve our interests and are independent of the influence and control of the PRC.”

In order to ensure that appropriate steps to prioritize critical mineral projects are being taken, the senators requested EXIM seek approval from their board of directors to invest in relevant projects, develop a strategy to coordinate with the private sector engaged in this space, and notify Congress of any additional resources or fixes needed to better support critical mineral projects.

They concluded, “The stakes of our economic struggle with the PRC demands that we reduce our dependence on them in critical technology sectors and for critical goods, especially those with defense and energy applications.”  

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WASHINGTON– Today, members of Virginia’s congressional delegation wrote to the General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to request an investigation into concerns raised by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the site selection process for a new FBI headquarters. The letter was signed by US Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), and Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

“We write to request an immediate investigation into the serious concerns raised by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray, regarding the site selection process for a new FBI headquarters,” wrote the Members. “There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety – one that was repeatedly curated to arrive at a predetermined outcome.”

“In summary, GSA changed the original site selection criteria – which had been developed by GSA experts, in accordance with the agency’s own best practices for site selection – in a way that favored the Greenbelt site, and did so over the objections of the FBI Director,” the Members continued. “Then GSA changed the person tasked with confirming the final site selection from a career official to a political appointee. As identified by the FBI, there existed a potential conflict of interest with that political appointee, tied to the Greenbelt site. The political appointee then overturned the decision of a panel of career officials who unanimously selected Springfield, in part by changing how certain criteria were calculated and how certain factors were considered, contrary to what had been previously outlined to the public and to Congress by GSA. Almost immediately after directing the final site selection to Greenbelt, the political appointee promptly left the federal government, implicating Congress’s ability to engage with this individual in an oversight capacity. In defending the indefensible, GSA has decided to proceed with the selection of Greenbelt over the objections of its client agency, the FBI.”

“These facts, when taken together, paint an ugly picture of a fatally flawed procurement that demands further investigation,” the Members concluded. “We request that your office initiate an immediate investigation into the site selection process for the FBI headquarters.”

Full text of the letter is available here and below. 

Dear Acting Inspector General Erickson,

We write to request an immediate investigation into the serious concerns raised by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray, regarding the site selection process for a new FBI headquarters. There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety – one that was repeatedly curated to arrive at a predetermined outcome.

Throughout the site selection deliberations, GSA suppressed, dismissed, and overrode the judgement and recommendations of career officials from GSA and the FBI. This has led the Director of the FBI to take the extraordinary step of calling into question the “fairness and transparency in the process and GSA’s failure to adhere to its own site selection plan.”

In July 2023, the agency executed a series of changes to significantly alter long-established site selection criteria and scoring rules. The changes made to the criteria were almost exclusively responsive to perceived concerns and direct requests from representatives of the Greenbelt site, meant to tilt the selection process in favor of Greenbelt. GSA made these changes over the objections of the FBI, which wrote to GSA in a June 26, 2023 memo that the original scoring criteria “best balanced the many wide-ranging elements considered for optimal site selection.”

That same month, the agency finalized a plan to unilaterally remove a career official from the position of Site Selection Authority, the person tasked with confirming the recommendation of the site selection panel and certifying a final site selection. The agency, instead, installed a political appointee as the Site Selection Authority. Director Wray, once again, raised serious objections to the change. Additionally, the FBI identified potential conflicts of interest that the appointee had related to the Greenbelt site, and raised concerns about potential impartiality. These concerns were never fully addressed by GSA.

In August 2023, the site selection panel, comprised of two career GSA officials and one career FBI official, reached a unanimous decision to select Springfield, Virginia as the home for the new FBI headquarters. The new Site Selection Authority unilaterally overturned the decision of the panel, including by making changes to the scoring – contrary to GSA’s own site selection plan – which benefited consideration of the Greenbelt site, and hurt the Springfield site. According to the FBI, “the justification offered for those changes have been both varied and insufficient.”

In summary, GSA changed the original site selection criteria – which had been developed by GSA experts, in accordance with the agency’s own best practices for site selection – in a way that favored the Greenbelt site, and did so over the objections of the FBI Director. Then GSA changed the person tasked with confirming the final site selection from a career official to a political appointee. As identified by the FBI, there existed a potential conflict of interest with that political appointee, tied to the Greenbelt site. The political appointee then overturned the decision of a panel of career officials who unanimously selected Springfield, in part by changing how certain criteria were calculated and how certain factors were considered, contrary to what had been previously outlined to the public and to Congress by GSA. Almost immediately after directing the final site selection to Greenbelt, the political appointee promptly left the federal government, implicating Congress’s ability to engage with this individual in an oversight capacity. In defending the indefensible, GSA has decided to proceed with the selection of Greenbelt over the objections of its client agency, the FBI. 

These facts, when taken together, paint an ugly picture of a fatally flawed procurement that demands further investigation. We request that your office initiate an immediate investigation into the site selection process for the FBI headquarters.  

Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), Governor Glenn Youngkin, and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) issued a statement following new reports regarding the selection process run by the General Services Administration (GSA) to determine a location for the new headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):

“We are deeply disturbed to learn that a political appointee at the General Services Administration overruled the unanimous recommendation of a three-person panel comprised of career experts from the GSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluding that Springfield, Virginia is the site best suited for the new FBI headquarters. We have repeatedly condemned political interference in the independent, agency-run site selection process for a new FBI headquarters. Any fair weighing of the criteria points to a selection of Virginia. It is clear that this process has been irrevocably undermined and tainted, and this decision must now be reversed.” 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, (both D-VA) joined U.S. Sens. John Ossoff (D-GA), Jack Reed (D-RI), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in a letter to President Biden regarding increasing violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. On October 29, the United Nations warned of escalations in the West Bank, and since, reports continue to warn about the destabilizing potential of the violence in the region. 

“As Israel confronts the atrocities of the October 7th Hamas attacks, and threats in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is crucial that U.S. and Israeli policy reinforce the stability and security of the West Bank,” the senators wrote. “If additional action to prevent these violent settler activities is not taken, we worry that civilians and U.S. national security interests will suffer grave harm.”

“We are encouraged by recent statements from the White House emphasizing the need to mitigate settler violence. We also note the vital role that the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) is playing to manage risk in the area,” they continued. “However, more must be done. We urge your administration to enhance its diplomatic efforts to prevent further violence and respectfully request a briefing from your administration on current policy to address incidents of extremist settler violence and the forcible displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank.”

Following the October 7th attacks, Sens. Warner and Kaine strongly condemned the assault. In the days following Hamas’s attacks, Sens. Warner and Kaine took a series of steps to ensure that the Biden Administration addresses emergency needs in Gaza, curbs crypto-financed terrorism, and continues supporting the release of American hostages throughout this crisis. Earlier this month, Sens. Warner and Kaine also called for a short-term cessation of violence in order to ensure assistance is reaching Palestinian civilians in Gaza. 

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Mr. President,

We write to express concern about threats to West Bank stability and the risks these threats pose to U.S. national security interests and to civilians. As Israel confronts the atrocities of the October 7th Hamas attacks, and threats in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is crucial that U.S. and Israeli policy reinforce the stability and security of the West Bank. Alarming incidents of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians represent an acute destabilizing risk that must be mitigated to prevent wider conflict in the region. Israeli media has reported that Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, is itself concerned that settler violence could inflame the West Bank.

Moreover, reports from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that Israeli forces at times accompany extremist settlers as they attack Palestinian people, evict them from their homes, and destroy property, are cause for serious concern and must be addressed.

If additional action to prevent these violent attacks is not taken, we worry that civilians and U.S national security interests will suffer grave harm. The situation is likely to exacerbate anger and grievance among the people of the West Bank and across the Arab world, inhibit efforts to cooperate with Arab states against shared threats, and undermine moderate Palestinian leaders who can offer an alternative to Hamas and make peace with Israel. Ultimately, these conditions could provoke widespread violence and a broader conflict.

We are encouraged by recent statements from the White House emphasizing the need to mitigate settler violence. We also note the vital role that the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) is playing to manage risk in the area.

However, more must be done. We urge your administration to enhance its diplomatic efforts to prevent further violence and respectfully request a briefing from your administration on current policy to address incidents of extremist settler violence and the forcible displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Thank you for your timely response to this request.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after reports that the General Services Administration (GSA) decided the FBI’s new headquarters will be in Greenbelt, Maryland:

“We’re deeply disappointed that despite the clear case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI, the Administration went a different direction. It’s especially disappointing that the FBI’s initial criteria for this decision—developed independently by the GSA and affirmed by Congress just last year—were changed at the 11th hour by the Administration following political pressure. We spent years appropriately criticizing the last Administration for politicizing the new FBI headquarters—only for a new Administration to come in and allow politics to taint the selection process. We know from our experience recruiting Hilton, Capital One, Northrop Grumman, Amazon, and many other companies to Virginia that our Commonwealth is the best state for business, and we’ll continue to focus on promoting economic growth and supporting law enforcement in the Commonwealth.”

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, wrote to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm detailing the need for the United States to establish its leadership in the research, development, production and manufacturing of new battery technologies. Currently, the People’s Republic of China dominates end-to-end supply chains, including the mining and refining of critical mineral inputs for lithium-ion batteries, which are used in the U.S. energy grid, electric vehicles, and military weapons and platforms, among other industries.

In October 2023, China restricted exports of raw and synthetic graphite, critical to manufacturing battery anodes. The move followed July 2023 export controls on gallium and germanium, two components used in the manufacturing of semiconductors and other critical technologies.

“The PRC near-monopoly over battery production, and the upstream materials they require, poses substantial defense and economic security vulnerabilities,” the senators wrote.

In recent years, the U.S. has taken steps through the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act to establish and re-shore capabilities related to advanced batteries. However, the U.S. currently lacks the infrastructure needed to test and scale up next-generation battery technologies to reach commercial, “gigafactory” scale. Private sector companies then turn to China for up-scaling facilities – posing significant supply chain risks to the United States.

They continued, “We commend the Department of Energy for continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, but the U.S. must become a leader in manufacturing batteries and battery components, while securing our supply chains for the materials that make up those components. In addition, it is critical that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistries, including by supporting domestic companies developing and producing solid-state electrolytes, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur, and iron-oxide among others.”

In order to ensure that the federal government is adequately investing in domestic battery developments, the senators requested that the Department:

  • Ensure consideration of innovative technologies beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries in the next round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing & Recycling Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA);
  • Consider support for public-private pilot-line manufacturing facilities, focusing on innovative technologies;
  • Coordinate with the Department of Defense and other national security agencies to support procurement of innovative, U.S.-developed energy storage technologies; and
  • Coordinate with federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies to accelerate reviews for domestic mining and processing facilities to secure our supply chains for next-generation battery manufacturing. 

In his capacity as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner has been an active advocate on the need for the U.S. to counter China’s dominance of this growing industry. Last month, Sen. Warner hosted government officials and domestic industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on securing access to critical minerals, including those used in the manufacturing of advanced batteries.

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Granholm:

We write to emphasize the national security imperative in outcompeting our adversaries in the next generation of battery technologies. Experts assess the United States to be ten to twenty years behind Asia in commercialization of battery technology, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) accounting for over three quarters of battery cell production, maintaining a near monopoly on the mining and refining of critical mineral inputs for most batteries.  We provide specific recommendations below to ensure U.S. leadership in this space.

Last year, demand for lithium-ion batteries exceeded 700 GWh globally, and demand is expected to grow over seven times by 2035. These batteries are critical inputs for our electric vehicles, our power grid storage, and our military equipment. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks cautioned in 2021, batteries are “essential to thousands of military systems from handheld radios, to unmanned submersibles and to future capabilities like lasers, directed energy weapons and hybrid electric tactical vehicles.” And that “when it comes to batteries, America needs to lead the world.”  

Yet, the U.S. produced less than 10 percent of these batteries last year. By contrast, the PRC accounted for 70 percent of the global production of lithium-ion batteries. Of the five critical minerals required for most lithium-ion batteries, the PRC controls between 60-100 percent of the mining or refining for these minerals.

The PRC near-monopoly over battery production, and the upstream materials they require, poses substantial defense and economic security vulnerabilities. In October 2023, China restricted exports of graphite, critical to manufacturing battery anodes. This follows China’s proposed export controls on gallium and germanium in July 2023.

We commend the Department of Energy for continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, but the U.S. must become a leader in manufacturing batteries and battery components, while securing our supply chains for the materials that make up those components. In addition, it is critical that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistries, including by supporting domestic companies developing and producing solid-state electrolytes, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur, and iron-oxide among others.

In order to ensure that the U.S. reduces its dependence on adversary-dominated supply chains and capitalizes on innovative domestic battery development, we ask that the Department:

  • Ensure consideration of innovative technologies beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries in the next round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing & Recycling Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Alternative technologies developed and manufactured in the U.S. can help to ensure a more resilient domestic battery market and foster alternatives to supply chains China currently dominates.
  • Consider support for public-private pilot-line manufacturing facilities, focusing on innovative technologies. Such facilities could play a key role in allowing our domestic companies to scale up and compete internationally. Currently, no such shared pilot-scale battery and battery component manufacturing facilities exist in the U.S. forcing many of our innovative companies to seek out such facilities abroad exposing firms to IP theft.
  • Coordinate with the Department of Defense and other national security agencies to support procurement of innovative, U.S.-developed energy storage technologies. The U.S. government must lead in procuring new technologies, which can enhance mission capability while sending an important signal to domestic industry that the government will reward innovative technology produced domestically.
  • Coordinate with federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies to accelerate reviews for domestic mining and processing facilities to secure our supply chains for next-generation battery manufacturing.  For example, several years have passed since the last approval of a major new critical minerals mine on federal lands while at the same time smelters and processing facilities have been closing across the country. This is occurring despite the strong bipartisan consensus that additional mining and processing in the United States is necessary to secure the supply chain for batteries and compete with our adversaries. The Department must ensure that federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies are aware of the urgent nature of this issue.

We ask that your Department within 30 days of receiving this letter brief the Senate Intelligence and Energy and Natural Resources Committees on the initiatives outlined above, and on ongoing research and development of next-generation battery technologies. We also welcome your consideration of how the Intelligence Community can best contribute to, collaborate on, and support these efforts.

With the right support, we are confident that our domestic industry can lead the next generation of battery technology, as it has done in so many of the world’s greatest innovative technologies. We stand ready to assist in that effort.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), together with Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), released the following statement:

“The tragic war in Gaza, initiated by Hamas terrorist attacks on innocent civilians on October 7, is causing heartbreaking suffering among Israelis, Palestinians and citizens of other nations living in the region.

“Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself against Hamas, whose leadership continues to state clearly that their goal is the complete annihilation of Israel. Israel also has the obligation, pursuant to international law, to conduct that defense in such a way as to minimize harm to civilians and allow humanitarian aid to reach those who are suffering. We acknowledge the increased burden that this necessarily places on Israel to accomplish these obligations.

“Hamas’s horrific actions cannot be ascribed to all Palestinians. Indeed, Palestinian residents of Gaza have often been victimized by Hamas.

“As Senators, we have been closely monitoring the war in Gaza and believe that much more must be done to protect civilian life. We have been in ongoing dialogue with government officials in the United States, Israel and other nations in the region. We have communicated extensively with international aid officials doing work in Gaza, including those working together with the U.S. Agency for International Development. And we have talked at length with our own constituents who have family and friends in the region.

“The failure to adequately protect non-combatant civilians risks dramatic escalation of the conflict in the region and imposes severe damage on prospects for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Based on the consensus opinion of U.S. and international aid officials, it is nearly impossible to deliver sufficient humanitarian aid to protect civilian life under current conditions.

“Thus, we join President Biden in his call for a short-term cessation of hostilities that pose high-risk to civilians, aid workers or humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza, in order to accomplish three goals:

  1. Successful delivery of needed humanitarian aid to civilians under strict and necessary oversight
  2. Increased focus on the release of all hostages kidnapped on October 7
  3. Opportunity for broader discussion amongst Israeli and Palestinian leadership, together with regional and global partners, about long-term strategies to reduce decades-long conflict in the region.”

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