By Jim Kouri
On Friday, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released a list of issues that will be priorities for the Committee during the second session of the 112th Congress.
Kings plans to investigate alleged leaks of classified information regarding sensitive counterterrorism operations to Hollywood and Guantanamo Bay that could endanger the lives of intelligence officers and special operators, their families, and the homeland.
Recently, news stories broke regarding the White House allegedly giving access to classified military and intelligence documents to Oscar-winning motion picture director Kathryn Bigalow for her film project about America’s war against Osama bin Laden.
A number of U.S. lawmakers and counterterrorism officials became angry when it was discovered Bigalow’s film would open in theaters just weeks before the 2012 presidential election. Since then, the movie’s premiere was switched to after the election.
But members of the House Homeland Security Committee still wish to investigate the Bigalow-White House information exchange as well as numerous other subjects.
In addition, copies of classified government documents were discovered in the possession of Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Some observers allege the documents may have been smuggled into the detention center by attorneys representing the prisoners at Gitmo.
King said: “In 2012, we will continue the Committee’s focus on critical counterterrorism issues, just as I promised to do when I was selected as Chairman. The series of radicalization hearings I convened last March has been very productive, and I will definitely continue the hearings in 2012. The Committee will also examine a number of additional homeland security issues and will move legislation necessary to secure our homeland from the terrorists who continue to plot attacks against us.”
King’s priorities will include:
- Continuing to investigate radicalization within the Muslim-American community;
(Note: Beginning last March, the Committee has thus far convened four such hearings. Click HERE for information on the hearings, including archived videos, opening statements, witness testimony, and related reports.)
- Studying the presence and activities in the United States of Iran’s intelligence services, proxies such as Hezbollah, and its ally of convenience, al-Qaeda; and the looming Iranian terror threat to the homeland;
- Probing overseas Islamist money coming into the United States;
- Obtaining for the military victims of the 2009 Islamist terror attacks on the homeland, at Little Rock, Arkansas and Fort Hood, Texas, the Purple Heart Medals they deserve;
- Investigating the possible roles that the deceased al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and his at-large associates, Daoud Chehazeh and Eyad al-Rababah, may have played in facilitating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001;
- Studying security preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London;
- Assessing whether enemy veterans of conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia pose dangers to the homeland;
- Ensuring the protection of U.S. security contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq (many of whom are veterans, reservists, or National Guardsmen) who have been illegally detained by the governments in Kabul and Baghdad;
- Monitoring emerging threats to the homeland;
- Continuing close examination of the Department of Homeland Security’s operations, policies, and programs.
On Wednesday, February 15, the Committee will convene the first Full Committee hearing of 2012, during which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will testify on President Obama’s 2013 budget request.