By Jim Kouri
With the recent capture of a U.S. Army soldier — Spc. Naser Jason Abdo — who plotted a bomb attack on a U.S. military base, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee announced that on Wednesday, December 7, they will convene a joint investigative hearing to examine the homegrown terror threat to military communities.
The hearing — “Homegrown Terrorism: The Threat to Military Communities Inside the United States” — will be the first-ever joint hearing convened by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“This critical hearing will follow the three prior hearings that I have convened to examine the serious threat of radicalization within the United States. Thus far, in a series of hearings, my Committee has examined the issue of radicalization within the Muslim-American community generally, focused on the problem of radicalization in U.S. prisons, and investigated the recruiting and radicalization perpetrated in the U.S. by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab,” said Rep. King.
When the Republican leadership on the House of Representatives’s Committee on Homeland Security announced its intention to investigate homegrown Islamic terrorists, the left and some Muslim groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) accused Rep. King and others of being Islamophobic or worse.
However, a recent national poll reveals that 63% of Americans support the Congressman Peter King-led House Homeland Security Committee’s radicalization hearings, while only 20% oppose the series of hearings. King pointed to this Secure America Now poll when he was criticized for his committee’s investigation.
King also said that Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) deserve great credit for their previous hearings examining the threat of domestic radicalization, as well as their investigation into and hearing on the deadly attack at Fort Hood. I welcome their bipartisan cooperation as we move forward in examining this critical matter.
U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan’s attack killing 13 and wounding 32 at Fort Hood, Private First Class Naser Jason Abdo’s plot to emulate Hasan, Carlos Bledsoe’s attack on a military recruiting center in Little Rock, and a number of other cases demonstrate the seriousness of this increasing terror threat to U.S. military communities, according to several homeland security experts.
“The brave men and women who volunteer to serve this country in combat zones overseas should not have to face the same dangerous threats here at home,” said King.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman stated, “Senator Collins and I have examined the phenomenon of homegrown terrorism and violent Islamist extremism since 2006 when we held the first of 13 hearings to examine this emerging threat. When we began our inquiry, just over a dozen homegrown terrorist plots had been uncovered and no one had been killed since 9/11.”
“In the five years subsequently, these type of plots nearly doubled, and 14 innocent Americans have been killed – 13 at the Fort Hood Army base and one at a military recruiting station. Clearly, the threat of homegrown terrorism has increased dramatically, and clearly, members of the Armed services are a high-value target. I look forward to a deeper explanation of these trends and the development of a clear strategy to protect our military from terrorism here at home,” said Lieberman.