WASHINGTON - Today, Wednesday, January 15, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, addressed the growing threat of the financing of domestic terrorism, extremism, white supremacists, and anti-Semitism during a subcommittee hearing, which included Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) Jared Maples as a witness.

 

Gottheimer highlighted his legislation, the FASTER Act — the Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act, currently being considered as a discussion draft within the committee.

 

“I’ve proposed bipartisan legislation called the FASTER Act, to help law enforcement freeze the assets of ISIS-inspired, lone-wolf terrorists or other extremists on our soil, to prevent these funds from being used to carry out another attack by friends, family, or unknown accomplices operating in a small cell. It also calls for a National Homegrown Terrorism Incident Clearinghouse, for law enforcement to collect and share information on incidents to help investigate and thwart future attacks,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) during today’s hearing.

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“My Office assessed that many organized domestic extremist activities are funded through criminal enterprises such as the illicit sale of counterfeit goods, drug and weapon trafficking, cigarette smuggling, and various fundraising methods,” said Jared M. Maples, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. “It is an honor to share the intelligence gathered by NJOHSP with Congressman Gottheimer, a champion of law enforcement, and the rest of the subcommittee, regarding sources of domestic terrorism funding, with a focus on prevention.”

 

The FASTER Act will take two actions: (1) give law enforcement the capability to freeze the assets of all domestic terrorists or those who provide material support to terrorists when a suspect is arrested by, or turned over to federal law enforcement, to stop funds from being used by friends, family, or unknown accomplices operating in a small cell, and (2) create a one-of-a-kind, state of the art National Homegrown Terrorism Incident Clearinghouse for all levels of law enforcement to collect and share information on incidents of ISIS-inspired, homegrown, lone-wolf terrorism and violent extremism, to help investigate and thwart future attacks.

 

Gottheimer also highlighted his bipartisan legislation, H.R.4942 — the Darren Drake Act,  cosponsored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), to help stop ISIS-inspired terrorists from using trucks and other vehicles as weapons of mass destruction. The legislation is named in memory of New Milford, NJ, resident Darren Drake, a victim of the October 2017 New York City terrorist truck attack.

 

Watch Gottheimer’s questioning at today’s hearing HERE.

 

Gottheimer remarks formally introducing Director Maples during today’s hearing as prepared for delivery are below.

 

Thank you, Chairman Cleaver, for affording me the opportunity to introduce Mr. Jared M. Maples, the Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), and thank you, Chairwoman Waters for your leadership to help combat domestic terror.

 

Prior to joining the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Director Maples spent more than a decade at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in several leadership roles, and previously worked at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He leads an office on the front lines of the effort to protect New Jersey residents from a range of threats, and especially threats against our state’s diverse religious communities. According to NJOHSP’s annual reporting, homegrown violent extremists inspired by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorists remain the number one threat to New Jersey – and in recent years, his office has ranked white supremacists as one of the high threats.

 

In recognition of his extraordinary leadership against domestic terror, white supremacists, and anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey, awarded Director Maples with its 2018 ADL Making a Difference Award, noting, “Director Maples has made great strides in connecting communities of faith with each other and with law enforcement, bridging gaps in communication before emergency situations happen so that the New Jersey community can work together instead of individually before calamity strikes.”

 

On many occasions, including recently after the attack in Jersey City, and in far too many incidents of hate in my District, Director Maples, our first responders, and I have stood together -- and worked closely with each other -- to make sure our synagogues, churches, mosques, and communities have what it takes to protect against the next terrorist attack. We are very lucky to benefit from his expertise and leadership, and I look forward to hearing from him today on this issue that affects all Americans -- Democrat and Republican.