Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) said on Fox News Sunday that it’s dangerous to politicize national security in the wake of two failed terrorist attacks.
Political analysts have said the failed Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner and the failed Times Square car bomb plot could have spelled political disaster for the Obama Administration. Reyes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was joined by Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the ranking Republican in the same committee.
Their appearance on Fox News came moments after Attorney General Eric Holder said the latest intelligence indicated Faisal Shazad was not a ‘lone wolf,’ rather a Taliban-trained terrorist. Shazad was arrested late Monday aboard a plane that almost left the country bound for Dubai.
Federal prosecutors have charged Shazad, a naturalized American citizen originally from Pakistan, in connection to the failed plot. It failed when a T-shirt vendor noticed smoke in the small SUV allegedly left behind by Shazad.
Hoekstra said the failed attacks that targeted innocent people in Times Square and those aboard the airliner on Christmas Day are examples of an intelligence breakdown. “We need to be in the business of prevention,” said Hoekstra, “failures in the intelligence have allowed us to get so much closer to a successful terrorist attack on our soil.”
Reyes fired back, saying the quick arrest of Shazad proved that communication between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies is improving. “It’s an election year and you’ve got the Republican side trying to make Democrats look weak on national security,” said Reyes, “when Peter talks about failures, I’m assuming he’s talking about 9/11 because arresting Shazad in 53 hours is pretty significant.”
Hoekstra later said last year’s deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas and the two recent failed attacks show there is more work that needs to be done. “The system failed,” said Hoekstra, who later added the stakes are now higher than ever as the U.S. now has to worry about dangerous “homegrown” terrorists in addition to Al-Qaida and the Taliban.
“The solution is to continue to work together. I don’t think that politicizing national security in any way is an answer,” countered Reyes.