Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement today concerning the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland: "In hindsight, we should have concentrated our efforts on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan from the beginning. We missed an important opportunity when Bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora.

      "Now, four years later, we find ourselves facing a resurgent Al Qaeda while our forces are tied down in Iraq. As the House voted last week, we must responsibly redeploy our troops out of Iraq, handing responsibility for security over to the Iraqis and leaving only those forces required for limited missions. This will allow us to concentrate our efforts on Afghanistan and the Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.

      "In the days ahead, the House Armed Services Committee plans to hold a joint hearing with the House Intelligence Committee on the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the threat that poses to the United States, and I hope that the Administration will cooperate in this effort. Together, we must ensure that our nation maintains its focus on the real war against terrorists in Afghanistan."