WASHINGTON, DC—The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Susan Collins and Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman, today held a hearing to examine homeland security over the next five years. Witnesses included Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; the Honorable Leroy Baca of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department; Richard Falkenrath, PhD, Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism for the New York City Police Department; Steve Simon, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies for the Council on Foreign Relations; and Daniel Prieto, Senior Fellow and Director of the Homeland Security Center, Reform Institute.
Secretary Chertoff and the other witnesses listed the threat of weapons of mass destruction; threats caused by terrorists, including “homegrown” terrorists; and the continuing threat of Al Qaeda among areas of serious vulnerability that must be addressed over the coming years.
Chairman Collins noted that the threat of homegrown terrorist and radicalization in America’s prisons will be the topic of an upcoming Committee hearing.
Chairman Collins said, “As the terrorist activities evolve, their overall objective remains the same—to cause loss of innocent lives, damage to our economy, and to defeat our resolve. As they adapt to our strengthened defenses, the terrorists continue to pursue ever more spectacular and devastating attacks. In addition, to identifying the most likely threats, we must constantly assess and improve our efforts to counter them. While our efforts over the past five years have been substantial, they are not a task accomplished, but one under way. The emerging threats compel us to ask the hard questions about how well what we have done in the past prepares us for the future.”