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MARK. WARNER FINANCE BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS Wnited States Senate su00e WASHINGTON, DC 20610-4606 IvTELUGENCE RULES AND ADMINISTRATION October 4, 2019 ‘The Honorable William P. Barr ‘The Attorney General United States Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW ‘Washington, D.C., 20530 Dear Attorney General Barr: Over nine months ago, President Trump signed the Ashanti Alert Act (P.L.115-401) into law. 1 write to you for a third time about delayed efforts by the Department of Justice to get this crucial system implemented in a timely manner. This week marks two years since 19-year-old Ashanti Billie was found murdered ~ 11 days after she was initially reported missing. Because of Ashanti’s age, she did not qualify for AMBER or Silver Alerts and thus critical resources were not used to locate her whereabouts. This bipartisan bill passed with support from numerous organizations including the National Association of Police Organizations and the National Association to PROTECT Children. The delayed implementation of this critical public safety program is costing lives. On July 29%, I met Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katherine Sullivan, who is also serving as the Ashanti Alert Coordinator, to express my concern about the delay and talk to her about next steps. I sent her a follow-up letter in early August memorializing our conversation, and agreed upon next steps. In our meeting, Ms. Sullivan had shared with me a ‘number of concrete steps she would be taking to speed up implementation, and relayed she understood the importance of getting this alert system up and running in each state. However, in the two months since that meeting, there has been little progress on any of the items we spoke about. As well, the Department has subsequently failed to provide my office with any tangible ‘updates or information in follow up emails. ‘One of my major concems is that despite my urging, there has been no outreach to relevant officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia, who successfully helped implement a Virginia Ashanti Alert system in only three months. Delaying these key conversations regarding best practices will only slow implementation of this life-saving system. Below, for your information is a short timeline of the follow-up my staff has done, and the relevant responses my staff has received: © On August 6, 2019, my staff emailed the Department to share contacts with the Virginia State Police who would be happy to talk with the Department about how to best work with states to implement the Ashanti Alert nationwide, My staff also requested an update ona meeting with the CTIA The Wireless Association, and asked if there had been further conversations with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Both are topics about which Ms. Sullivan and I spoke. On August 22, 2019, my staff once again asked for updates on the CTIA and COPS ‘meetings, as well as whether the Department had spoken with the Virginia State Police to utilize its expertise. Additionally, we asked for a contact at the Department to share with another state interested in setting up a system similar to the Ashanti Alert. On August 29, 2019, my staffed asked yet again for the above information. On September 10, 2019, more than one month after my meeting with Ms. Sullivan, my staff asked a fourth time for the above items about which Ms. Sullivan and I spoke, We also requested an update on the Ashanti Alert implementation status. On September 24, 2019 and September 30, 2019, my staff requested these answers for a fifth and sixth time. We have since received the Department contacts as well as information that the CTIA meeting was replaced with a meeting with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The lack of movement on implementing this critical alert system, and the lack of communication with my office is unacceptable. Thus, I am asking for a response from the Department regarding next steps, Please respond to my office no later than Thursday, October 11, 2019 with details on the following questions: Are there any further updates on the Ashanti Alert implementation efforts? If so, please provide a detailed update on these efforts. Has the Department contacted relevant Virginia officials to discuss how the Commonwealth successfully implemented an Ashanti Act system? If so, please provide a detailed update on these conversations. If not, please explain the delay. Are there any further updates regarding the Ashanti Act implementation meeting(s) between the Department and the FCC? If'so, please provide a detailed update on these meetings. Finally, I would like a firm deadline for the national launch of the Ashanti Alert system. Further delay of this critical public safety program will only cost lives, Thank you for your time and I look forward to your expeditious response. Enel. Sincerely, Mk. K Never MARK R. WARNER, United States Senator MARK R. WARNER FINANCE BANKING, HOUSING, AND TURBAN AFFAIRS Wnited States Senate suocer WASHINGTON, D¢ 20810-4606 prrassemecn ULES AND ADMINISTRATION August 6, 2019 Ms. Katherine Sullivan Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, D.C., 20530 Dear Ms. Sullivan: | appreciated our meeting on July 29, 2019 regarding the implementation status of the Ashanti Alert Act. As I stated during our conversation, I remain strongly committed to monitoring its implementation and ensuring that the network can start saving lives soon. It was heartening to hear that as designated national coordinator, you are committed to swifily implementing this potentially lifesaving system by working in collaboration with states to ensure that Ashanti Alert systems are established across the country with proper network guidelines. As L emphasized in our meeting, it has been almost eight months since President Trump signed the bill into law. I have been disappointed that the Department’s efforts thus far have made little progress on the alert system and I must reiterate that delayed implementation will only cost lives. Last year, Virginia successfully established its own Ashanti Alert system in only three months, Since then, the Commonwealth has sent out a number of alerts, some of which have helped find missing or endangered adults alive in under 24 hours. As we discussed, I believe that the officials in Virginia could provide valuable guidance to you and other states, so I urge you to seek out their guidance regarding this matter. was glad to hear that you have already thought about some actionable ideas on implementation, including your suggestion to include an Ashanti Alert workshop in the next national Amber Alert symposium. However, I continue to expect the Department to identify additional avenues and strategies to speed up the implementation process, while consulting with law enforcement agencies, stakeholders, and other relevant entities who played roles during the adoption of the Amber and Silver alerts | look forward to your timely updates on implementation efforts. Thank you for prioritizing the implementation of the Ashanti Alert Act and fully leveraging this opportunity to transform the lives and safety of Americans, Sincerely, Mok. R Merve, Mark R. Warner United States Senator nate. gow