Press Releases

ICYMI: Congressman Brad Wenstrup Leads Panel Discussion at the American Enterprise Institute About AI and Biosecurity

  • 5.6.24 Wenstrup AEI Beyond the SCIF

Click here to watch the full panel discussion.

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, led the latest installment of the House Intelligence Committee’s “Beyond the SCIF” series for the 118th Congress with his panel “A Conversation on AI and Biosecurity” in collaboration with the American Enterprise Institute.

What Was Discussed

  • How policymakers can combat the threats posed by evolving technologies
  • The various steps Congress can take to secure the AI and biotechnology fields

“Dr. Wenstrup, both from his background and his work in Congress, has really fashioned leadership as a space for himself.

“Dr. Wenstrup has been a leader in our committee. When someone is a member of our committee and has unique capabilities, they have the ability to take the Intelligence Community down farther in a discussion.

“We’re very sorry that Dr. Wenstrup is going to be retiring this year from Congress. But because of his expertise and the work he’s done, we’re looking for him to remain active in the public discussion.” – Chairman Mike Turner

Notable Quotes

“It has been important that we open ourselves up to the public...We are trying to engage subject matter experts as best as we can when we do this. So, we like opportunities like this where we can engage with the public as well. As legislators, we want to hear from experts and stakeholders and get feedback from those who are out there in the trenches every day. So, this is our opportunity.” – Congressman Brad Wenstrup

“We’re delighted at American Enterprise Institute to host this part of the series, ‘Beyond the SCIF,’ which is a very important effort undertaken by the House Intelligence Committee to engage with foreign policy and national security communities outside the SCIF on leading edge threats to the U.S. national and economic and health security. We’re thrilled to have Chairman Turner here with us, who will say a few things momentarily, and Congressman Brad Wenstrup, who’s really a leading figure in the biodefense and health world.” – Dan Blumenthal

“Think about AI. Where was AI five years ago, and where is it today? And how many people know about AI or at least talk about it as if they know about it as opposed to five years ago? Just take the word ‘AI’ out and put the word ‘biotech’ in. National security isn’t just about the DoD or the IC. It goes across the board, both in terms of all-of-government activities such as dealing with COVID or in terms of the threat, which is across the board too.” – Dov Zakheim

“A key with us is going to be competition with China. China has a plan and a goal, and it’s been really interesting to watch that unfold over the last two-plus decades. It’s made biodefense a priority. It’s put in place the building blocks to build out that technology area…Those building blocks, in a lot of ways, create dependencies.” – Anna Puglisi

“When you think about an Ebola outbreak in Africa, that’s very different from even the SARS-1 outbreak, which China again also tried to hide and was shamed into saying that it was happening. And then the SARS-2, which is COVID-19, which they also hid...There’s a difference between cooperating countries and non-cooperating countries. And as a policy debate and an academic debate, we really haven’t had that conversation of how the U.S. will approach those different kinds of countries.” – Anthony Ruggiero

“We know with the democratization of the knowledge that’s coming with AI, there’s an increasing threat of misuse and abuse and even people trying to create bioweapons to harm us…This isn’t a new challenge. I think the democratization of data has been occurring for decades. So, it’s really important, at this moment, as we’re just on the verge of the AI and life sciences revolution, to think about ways that we can mitigate the threat.” – Ken Staley

Panel Speakers:

  • Congressman Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M.(R-OH),Discussion Moderator
  • Dan Blumenthal, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Dov Zakheim, Commissioner, National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology
  • Anna Puglisi, Founder, Puglisi Ventures
  • Anthony Ruggiero, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Ken Staley, Senior Counselor, Palantir