While I did not have the fortune of being able to watch Wednesday’s full hearing of the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee with DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and NCTC Director Michael Leiter, I’ve taken some time to review the submitted testimony of the witnesses as well as some of the news articles covering the hearing.
Their message, given as individual leaders, stand-alone government agencies, and as a collective team was loud and clear.
The risk of smaller scale, more individualized attacks by al Qaeda and its sympathizers within the United States is growing. Period.
There is no wiggle room in the words they offered or in the manner in which they delivered them either. All three of them wanted to make sure the presiding senators and the attending media understood and absorbed what they were saying and initial accounts seem to indicate the message has been heard.
The ultimate metric of our response to their words will be in the information sharing and cooperative vigilance all three of the witnesses, their respective agencies, and other federal, state, local, and tribal governments demonstrate in helping communities and citizens prepare for these incidents WHEN they occur.
As the witnesses detailed, we have all seen enough actions of late by al Qaeda-inspired individuals, either inside the United States or coming into the country, to know the threat is real, and they have not given up on their desire to kill Americans and disrupt our lives.
There should be no more blissful ignorance to our operating environment in America. It can not be afforded. The threat is here, it is now and we as a nation need to stand fast to our principles as we move forward when we encounter it. That’s the only way to defeat the cancer of Islamic extremism and other groups whose ideologies are built upon hate and injustice.
I was proud of the leadership and candor that I saw demonstrated at yesterday’s hearing. It’s all of our fight, and that’s the way it should be.