WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday released the following statements on the indictments of Salah Osman Ahmed and Abdifatah Yusuf Issee by a federal grand jury in Minneapolis:

“The indictments unsealed yesterday reinforce the findings of our committee’s two-year investigation that homegrown American terrorism is a significant threat to our homeland security, which federal, state, and local governments must counter aggressively,” Lieberman said. “Many of these 20 Somali-Americans are travelling on U.S. passports, and they could seek to return to the United States at any time – fully radicalized and trained to bring to our cities the suicide bombings and car bombings we have so far escaped. This Minneapolis case is a wake-up warning that violent Islamist extremism is now spreading in America.  We must work together to stop its spread.”

 “The alleged recruitment of young Somali Americans by a terrorist group, which arranged for their training and travel to Somalia, is a tragic illustration of our worst fears,” Collins said.  “One of the men, Burhan Hassan, who may have been slain by terrorists in Somalia, was the nephew of a witness who testified in March before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  At the hearing, Hassan’s uncle and other witnesses made clear that we must root out all covert recruiters operating in the United States.  To do this would require help from patriotic members of the Somali-American community, along with support from federal, state and local law enforcement officials and our intelligence agencies.  With these federal indictments, it is my hope that justice will be served and that we will be able, through this investigation, to expose and eliminate any domestic support for this violent Islamist extremist group.”

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing, “Violence Islamist Extremism: Al-Shabaab Recruitment in America,” in March.  Members of the committee heard testimony from federal intelligence officers, family members of the missing youth, and other members of the Somali-American community about the radicalization and recruitment Ahmed and Issee are accused of taking part in.  The hearing was the most recent in a series of eight hearings the Committee has held on the topic of homegrown extremism over the past two years.  In May 2008, the Committee released a report, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat.