Challenges No Country Can Tackle Alone

The visit of the Austrian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Intelligence in Washington, DC and New York City.

Members of the Austrian Standing Committee on Intelligence visited Washington, DC from January 27 to 30, 2019, to discuss parliamentary oversight of security and intelligence agencies with their U.S. counterparts.

Led by their chairman Werner Amon, representatives of all five parties in the Austrian Parliament had tightly scheduled meetings with a number of Members of Congress, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as well as former Chairman and present ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA22).

Austrian delegation with Senator Dianne Feinstein from California (third from left)

Austrian delegation with Senator Dianne Feinstein from California (third from left)

With Devin Nunes (fourth from left), Congressman from California

With Devin Nunes (fourth from left), Congressman from California

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from left: Peter Gridling (Director of the Austrian Office for Protection of the Constitution and the Fight Against Terrorism), Angela Lueger (Chairperson of the Committee on Home Affairs, SPÖ), Dr. Alma Zadic (JETZT), U.S. Representative Michael Conaway (R-TX11), Werner Amon (Chairman of the Standing Committee on Intelligence, ÖVP), Hans-Jörg Jenewein (FPÖ), Dr. Stephanie Krisper (NEOS), and Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner

from left: Peter Gridling (Director of the Austrian Office for Protection of the Constitution and the Fight Against Terrorism), Angela Lueger (Chairperson of the Committee on Home Affairs, SPÖ), Dr. Alma Zadic (JETZT), U.S. Representative Michael Conaway (R-TX11), Werner Amon (Chairman of the Standing Committee on Intelligence, ÖVP), Hans-Jörg Jenewein (FPÖ), Dr. Stephanie Krisper (NEOS), and Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner

Following their meeting, Senator Feinstein invited the delegation to attend the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence welcomed the Austrian delegation during the hearing:

“I want to acknowledge that we have a distinguished group with us, joining us this morning from Austria who come from their government (…) and we are delighted to have them with us, being part of the United States Senate today.”

The Director of the Austrian Office for Protection of the Constitution and the Fight Against Terrorism Peter Gridling, traveling with the delegation, personally observed the proceedings. The Austrian delegation gained further insights meeting with the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.

In order to prepare the delegation for their marathon on Capitol Hill, the leaders of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group and the Congressional Institute had kindly made themselves available to brief the Austrian Parliamentarians on trade, migration and security policies of the U.S.

First from left: Dr. Walid Phares, Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group

First from left: Dr. Walid Phares, Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group

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With Sean Duffy (fourth from left), Congressman from Wisconsin

With Sean Duffy (fourth from left), Congressman from Wisconsin

With Mark Strand (third from right), President of the Congressional Institute

With Mark Strand (third from right), President of the Congressional Institute

With Brad Wenstrup (fifth from left), Congressman from Ohio

With Brad Wenstrup (fifth from left), Congressman from Ohio

With Chris Stewart (third from left), Congressman from Utah

With Chris Stewart (third from left), Congressman from Utah

Bumping into Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (c) Lucas Weigerstorfer

Bumping into Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
(c) Lucas Weigerstorfer

At the Lincoln Memorial, a visitor favorite, at the west end of the National Mall

At the Lincoln Memorial, a visitor favorite, at the west end of the National Mall

After their meetings in Congress, the delegation travelled to New York City for meetings at the New York Police Department and at the United Nations. At the latter, they held a talk with the USG for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov to discuss practical cooperation initiatives with Austria, also in the framework of Vienna-based international organizations like OSCE and UN programs like UNODC.

Before heading home, the delegation paid a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.