Hoekstra: Yemen Terror Threat 'Unique'

Sunday, 03 Jan 2010 04:13 PM

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Rep. Peter Hoekstra warned Sunday that terrorists in Yemen represent a unique threat to the United States because they are primarily former detainees at the U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“This is a real threat,” the Michigan Republican said on ABC's “This Week." “This is an imminent threat that is coming from the al-Qaida Arabian Peninsula area. … “We've learned is that this is kind of a unique threat coming from this group. Why is it unique? It's unique because the core group of al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula is formed by former Gitmo detainees. These are people that were held in Gitmo, have been returned, and have now gone back to the battlefield.

“The other element there is the influence of a charismatic, American radical imam. So you've put the Gitmo folks together. You put [Anwar al] Awlaki together. These people have moved an attack on the U.S. homeland to their – to the top of their priority list. So that is the root cause of why we saw the attack at Fort Hood, why we saw the attack on [Northwest] Flight 253.

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“The final thing is that, you know, the Yemeni government has limited capacity to deal with returning members from – from Gitmo and the indigenous al-Qaida element in the country. I think that the increased assistance that we are providing to Yemen is absolutely essential. We need this connection between Yemen and America and the Brits if we're going to contain this threat. ...

“The pressing issue that's going to be coming up over the next few months is, how do we deal with Americans who have joined al-Qaida and are now part of the machine that wants to attack the United States?”

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