Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., is leading a bipartisan House delegation on an educational trip to Europe and the Middle East this week to see how each region carries out national security and law enforcement operations at its busiest transportation hubs.
The congressional delegation includes Democrats Filemon Vela of Texas and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, and Republicans Ron Estes of Kansas and Gus Bilirakis of Florida. Three of the four members sit on the House Homeland Security Committee.
The group spent Monday and Tuesday meeting with officials from various law enforcement agencies and government officials in Holland and the European Union.
They toured Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, and met with Executive Director Rob Wainwright about how the U.S. shares information related to terrorism, international organized crime, and cybercrime.
The group then toured Schiphol Airport, located in the Netherlands' capital, Amsterdam. The airport is the third busiest European hub in terms of passenger and cargo volume, and lawmakers were shown how security officers use new technology developments to detect threats.
"Our delegation saw firsthand the investment our Dutch partners have made to enhance airport passenger and employee screening as Europe continues to face an unprecedented threat landscape. Our meetings at Europol and the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security emphasized the need to enhance information exchanges among EU member states to better combat terror," said Katko, chairman of House Homeland Security's Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee.
At the Port of Rotterdam, the deputy harbormaster showed lawmakers how U.S.-bound maritime cargo is pre-screened before being approved for travel over the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security and U.S. government officials at the American consulate in Amsterdam each met with the group to talk about improving cooperation between the countries as it relates to mitigating terror threats.
The delegation is headed to other parts of Europe and the Middle East later this week.