Sen. Carper Cites Lessons Learned from Attempted Christmas Day Attack; Calls for Enhanced Cooperation, Tools, and Training for Security Forces to Prevent Future Attacks
WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, participated in a hearing today focused on improving security efforts at our nation’s airports.
The hearing, “The Lessons and Implications of the Christmas Day Attack: Watchlisting and Pre-Screening,”explored the shortcomings in our existing security systems and discussed measures to prevent these types of security lapses from happening in the future.
“We were very fortunate that the attempted terrorist attack last Christmas by Umar Farouk Abdulmutalib was unsuccessful but moving forward we cannot rely on luck to keep us safe,” said Sen. Carper. “The enemy we face is bold and inventive. In order to stay one step ahead of them, our intelligence community must become more agile and innovative. We have to do a better job of facilitating cooperation and communication between our intelligence and law enforcement communities and we need to ensure that the men and women charged with keeping us safe have all the tools and training they need to be successful.”
A copy of Sen. Carper’s statement follows:
I’d like to first begin by thanking each of our witnesses today for taking the time to join us as we explore how we should address the shortcomings that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutalib to board an airplane on December 25, 2009.
As we all know, it is extremely difficult to be right 100 percent of the time when it comes to these matters. And as Secretary Napolitano said during her last appearance before this committee, ‘there is not just one silver bullet’ we can deploy to stop terrorists from trying to enter our country and do us harm. The battle we’re engaged in is not one we can win with guns or tanks alone. It’s probably not one that we can win solely with some of the new screening technology that we’re talking about deploying in more airports. We’ll need to get smarter, adapt as those who wish to do us harm change their tactics and continue the efforts this committee embarked on after 9/11 to improve our intelligence operations and information sharing.
Effective intelligence analysis involves both the use of technology and skilled people to identify threats and know which ones to act on. Our security systems need to be more agile and our intelligence officers, who are on the front lines every day, must be encouraged to share information with each other. We also need to look closely at what our friends around the world are doing to police their airports and pre-screen passengers boarding their airplanes.
In closing, I’d also would like to express the urgency for this Congress to confirm in a timely manner President Obama’s nominee, Major General Robert A. Harding, to lead the Transportation Security Administration. This position has been vacant for over a year now and is too important to our national security to be without a permanent Assistant Secretary. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure that it is filled as soon as possible.