Washington, D.C.-House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement responding to the White House review of the Christmas Day terrorist attempt.
Ranking Member Smith: “The best way to prevent a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is to stop terrorists before they reach the U.S. Even the President said that airport screening measures are not foolproof. The first line of defense against foreign terrorists is our visa process-which clearly broke down in the Christmas Day plot and almost cost the lives of 290 innocent individuals.
“But the Christmas Day attack is not the first time terrorists have obtained U.S. visas. Several of the 9/11 hijackers did so as well. The Christmas Day terrorist attack is a grim reminder that the terrorist threat is alive and well, and that our work is not yet done.
“To keep the American people safe, we must address any loopholes in our visa process immediately. The American people must be reassured that dangerous terrorists like Abdulmutallab cannot exploit our immigration process by obtaining visas that allow them to travel into the U.S. Congress and the Administration have a solemn responsibility to immediately address this failure in process and protect the American people.”
On January 6, Ranking Member Smith joined other top Republicans in sending a letter to President Obama outlining steps to help keep Americans secure. As part of the recommendations, the members called for the immediate cessation of Gitmo transfers to Yemen and other countries with governments unable to detain, rehabilitate or monitor returned detainees.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon reported that the recidivism rate of released Gitmo detainees has increased from 14% to 20%.