WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the statement below at a press conference with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), and Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-N.C.) on the success in the fight against terrorists:
“Thank you all for coming today. Over the past few days, thanks to the vigilance of New York’s residents and the collaboration of local and federal law enforcement officials, we were able to successfully prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil and track down and detain a suspect.
“This is just one of many examples of success we have seen since President Obama took office and stepped up the fight against terrorists—both here and abroad.
“Yesterday the Armed Services Committee met to examine the progress in Afghanistan under the President’s new counterinsurgency strategy. We are all so proud of the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day to keep our nation safe, and I was very pleased to hear the witnesses at our hearing talk about the signs of success there.
“Afghanistan is an epicenter of terrorism and the genesis of multiple attacks against our country. For far too long, our conflict there was the Forgotten War. However, President Obama adopted a smart new counter-insurgency strategy to address the dramatic shortfalls of the previous administration. He has tripled the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and strengthened our strategic partnerships with countries like Pakistan and Yemen.
“The signs of success are clear. We are capturing or killing terrorist leaders every week, and the new strategy recently helped lead to the capture the Taliban’s second-in-command by Pakistani forces. This was the most significant capture since the start of the war.
“This success is not just limited to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two weeks ago, a joint raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces killed two top terrorist leaders, including al Qaeda in Iraq’s #1. General Odierno, the top military commander in Iraq, identified this as ‘potentially the most significant blow to al Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency.’
“Importantly, we are not just focusing on capturing and killing terrorists. Protecting our nation requires a comprehensive strategy. We cannot effectively destroy terrorist cells unless we take them out by the roots, cutting off the supply of recruits that feeds them. So, we are also placing a greater emphasis on taking the necessary measures to prevent the recruitment of violent extremists.
“With the responsible new steps being taken by our Commander in Chief, the outstanding leadership by our military commanders on the ground, and the unrivaled dedication and courage of all of our men and women in uniform, I have no doubt that our nation is safer today than it was two years ago.
“This Administration, and this Congress, will continue to step up the fight against terrorists to keep American families safe from threats both here and abroad. I now turn things over to my friend and colleague Congressman Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, who will speak about the improvements in interagency coordination and preparedness and response to threats on our homeland.”