Hoekstra: Napolitano Makes 'Major Blunders'

Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009 02:31 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Barack Obama seem intent on denying that foreign terrorism is a threat to the United States while taking half-measures that leave our borders undefended, says Michigan Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra.

Newsmax.TV asked the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence whether Napolitano is the right person to be Homeland Security secretary, in light of her belated admission that her massive bureau failed to prevent a man whose name appeared in a terrorism database to board a U.S.-bound flight from Amsterdam.


See Video: Rep. Pete Hoekstra slams Obama’s half-hearted war on terrorism - Click Here Now

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“I think that she has done some things which really cause me great concern,” Hoekstra replied. “When I heard that statement that the security system worked, it was total disbelief. It’s not a success when you have a bomb on board a plane that almost detonates. That is failure.

“She made some other major blunders when she said we were not to use the word terrorist anymore — and use the term man-made disaster,” he told Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter. “What in the world does that mean coming from one of our highest ranking government officials?

“And then earlier this year, she also released a report that seemed to imply that veterans, pro-life individuals, and people like that pose a great, if not a greater threat to our homeland security than radicals,” he concluded. “That’s not the kind of leadership that we need when we faced the kind of threat that we face today.”

The lawmaker also made it clear that he did not feel the president’s response to the latest attack is strong enough – reviewing watch lists and screening procedures.

“It does not satisfy me,” he said. “We need the president to take a strong stand, identify this as a threat, and indicate that we are going to do everything that we can to defeat this threat.

“The president has made some very, very serious blunders as far as I am concerned. The decision to move KSM’s [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] trial to New York City, the decision to close Gitmo, where he may end up sending 80 to 90 detainees from Gitmo to Yemen, is just a very, very bad decision.

Also making Hoekstra's blunder list for the president: “moving Gitmo to Northern Illinois; saying that he may prosecute the CIA folks who did enhanced interrogations; letting the prosecution of the Navy Seals go forward where al-Qaida has alleged they punched one of their members in the stomach.

“We have to send a clear and consistent message that we will do everything we can to defeat al-Qaida,” he insisted.

“The president right now is sending contradictory and inconsistent messages to our law enforcement community and to our intelligence community as to what he will allow and how serious this problem is.”

Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the plot to blow up the airliner bound for Detroit, which elicited this observation from Hoekstra: “I am not all surprised. Al-Qaida is still a force to be reckoned with.”

As to whether the nation’s self-declared war on terrorism is working, his response was guarded.

“We’ve had a number of successes this year where we have prevented attacks on the Homeland,” he said.

“We have been very successful in taking out top al-Qaida leadership around the world. But in our business, we have to be right one hundred percent of the time to stop every kind of attack. That is a great goal. It is a very, very difficult standard to reach. So, you are going to have some of these things sometimes fall through the cracks. We are going to have to indentify why they went through the cracks and how we can prevent that from happening in the future.”

As to whether Yemen is becoming the new headquarters for al-Qaida, the outspoken Hoekstra said: “It is a country that has large areas of population or large geographic areas that are ungoverned areas. It has a weak central government. It is the home of bin Laden. It is the home of the USS Cole. So there are lots of reasons why we need to continue to be concerned about what’s going on in Yemen.

“We need a strong partnership with the Yemeni government. And once again we are looking for a government — just like in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq — that will stand up and face radical jihadists and will work with us to defeat this threat.”

With U.S. Special Forces already training local military in Yemen, he was asked whether it is high time to send more troops to that volatile country.

“I am not a position right now to say if the resources that we have given to the Yemeni government are sufficient or not to of vision or not, but clearly we need to address the problem in Yemen,” he said.

“They need the equipment, the resources and the trained people to confront these individuals. So, Jihadists will wake up every morning worrying about how to make it through the day — not having enough time to plan their next attack against the United States,” he added.

In light of the attack at Fort Hood, Texas, and the unexploded bomb on the aircraft headed for the United States, is President Obama doing the nation a disservice by shying away from the term terrorist, Walter asked.

“He needs to call it what it is,” he said. “The attack at Fort Hood was a terrorist attack. The incident on the plane was an attack. It wasn’t successful, but it was a terrorist attack and we have to recognize it as such.”

Why is it that security measures — eight years after 9/11 — can’t keep makeshift bombs off airliners?

“Al-Qaida is very, very creative,” he said. “Every time we put in procedures to help keep Americas and our airlines safe, they find a way around it. What we need to do is to continue to be very, very creative — upgrade our technology, upgrade our screening procedures so that we are anticipating what al-Qaida will do in the future, not responding to what they have done in the past.”

See Video: Rep. Pete Hoekstra slams Obama’s half-hearted war on terrorism - Click Here Now

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