Washington, D.C. – In response to the White House’s review of the December 25, 2009 attempted terrorist attack, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement.
“President Obama is showing strong leadership by quickly undertaking a comprehensive review and taking full responsibility for our nation’s security. Efforts to strengthen passenger screening and reform the watch-lists are urgently needed. But we cannot let up. We must make sure that the right information is highlighted, investigated, and disseminated. In addition, we must ensure that we have the right criteria for our watch lists, and that we are working to improve detection technology and screening at airports.
“Finally, we have to properly allocate resources today to respond to tomorrow’s threats. For years, we were diverted by a war in Iraq. This year the focus has been on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which pose a real threat to U.S. national security because they harbor groups that mean to do us harm. However, focusing on one area of the world is misleading. The conflict, corruption and poverty in Yemen has made it another country that can be exploited by Al Qaeda. While the President’s foreign policy team has been reviewing the situation in Yemen, we do not have a comprehensive civilian-military program.
“In recent hearings and briefings about Afghanistan, I have asked what prevents Al Qaeda from moving its base to Yemen or Somalia. While I heard good answers about why Afghanistan is unique, I did not hear a satisfactory answer regarding what we are doing about Yemen or future Yemens.”