In a new op-ed for the Dayton Daily News, Senator Portman, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, outlined the evolving threats to U.S. homeland security 20 years after 9/11.
Portman highlighted how the catastrophic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan leaving the Taliban in charge, with United Nations blacklisted terrorists serving in its highest ranks, has increased the threat to the United States. Portman also reiterated his support for the resettlement of Afghans who stood in battle with the United States over the last 20 years and all Afghan evacuees who pass rigorous vetting.
In addition, Portman discusses the ongoing crisis at the southern border due to the Biden administration’s decision to dismantle the previous administration’s border policies with no replacement or consideration of the consequences, which has resulted in a historic surge of unlawful migrants, unaccompanied children, and deadly narcotics like fentanyl coming into our country.
Finally, Portman detailed how the United States has experienced an increase of large-scale cyberattacks from nation-states criminals. Portman also outlined how China poses a threat to our homeland as it continues to recruit U.S.-based scientists and researchers to transfer U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property for China’s military and economic gain.
Excerpts of the op-ed can be found below and the full op-ed can be found here.
Evolving Threats to American Homeland Security 20 Years After 9/11
Dayton Daily News
Senator Rob Portman
September 29, 2021
As we mark 20 years since 9/11, it’s important to note how the threats to our nation have evolved. In 2001, it was the Taliban who provided a safe haven for al Qaeda in Afghanistan to launch a devastating attack on our homeland, killing nearly 3,000 people. As our nation became all too aware, we needed to take the fight to the terrorists overseas so they could not bring their fight here ever again. We needed a new security architecture to keep us safe – which included the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
To a large degree, we have been successful. We have not had a mass casualty foreign terrorist attack on American soil during those intervening 20 years. The reason for that success is not because the terrorists have stopped trying. It is thanks to our armed forces, intelligence community, and law enforcement that we have succeeded in stopping those terrorists. However, on August 31, the last American troops withdrew hastily from Afghanistan and the Taliban, once again, took back the government of Afghanistan.
The catastrophic way the Biden administration withdrew from Afghanistan, surprising our NATO allies, and abandoning our Afghan allies, has left us without eyes and ears on the ground. It has also signaled to the world that the United States is an unreliable partner.
I believe we have a moral responsibility to welcome the Afghan evacuees who have stood by us and who have had to flee their country because of threats from the Taliban. We also have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of American citizens by doing the proper vetting so we are not releasing the wrong people into our communities.
I am disappointed that the administration has not been transparent about their vetting procedures, even as we are told that evacuees are being resettled in our states. We cannot do proper oversight without basic information.
Further, we cannot ignore the ongoing crisis at the southern border. President Biden’s decision to dismantle the previous administration’s policies with no consideration of the consequences, and putting nothing in its place, has resulted in a historic surge of unlawful migrants, unaccompanied children, and deadly narcotics like fentanyl coming into our country. And make no mistake, the Mexican drug cartels are benefitting from this and gaining strength on both sides of the border. The trafficking of dangerous drugs across our border has helped fuel an addiction epidemic that has hit communities like Dayton particularly hard with overdose deaths increasing over the last year after we had made so much progress in saving lives before the pandemic.
As the lead Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, I will continue to insist that the Biden administration takes the necessary steps to protect our homeland by confronting the many national security threats we face.