(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today during hearings of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee pressed the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and FBI Director James Comey on steps necessary to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) at home and abroad. Blumenthal reiterated the need for a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF), and pressed for a coordinated counterterrorism effort that includes closing the terror gap and approving Blumenthal’s No Check, No Sale bill that would require that a background check be completed before a firearm can be purchased.
At the SASC hearing, Blumenthal said to Sec. Carter: “Clearly, the strategy for confronting that threat of terror has to be coordinated and targeted to what poses the danger to our nation, and my feeling is, I agree with you, the reality is, we are at war. That’s the stark, irrefutable reality more needs to be done, more aggressively, more intensely and more effectively in using our special operators, in advising local forces, supplying and equipping them, providing them with intelligence, intercepting communications of our adversaries and cutting off the flow of money, which is their lifeblood.”
“I would like to see our strategy become more aggressive and intensify in combatting this threat abroad in the theater where we confront ISIL and at home where we confront terror in our neighborhoods and streets and where the adversary is just as real, and potentially growing, just as alarmingly.”
“…the efforts need to be aligned, and in fact, better aligned more seamless than they are now in terms of intelligence sharing and intelligence gathering, but also working with our partners in the region because our troops on the ground need to be local.”
At the Judiciary Committee hearing, Blumenthal questioned FBI Director Comey about extremism within the United States and the FBI’s strong relationship with the Muslim community to help combat and identify potential threats, stating, “I know that you’ve responded about the importance of cooperation in terms of information and other kinds of assistance that is provided by members of the Muslim community, just as cooperation and support is essential from nations that have a majority of Muslims abroad in our fight against ISIS and ISIL, they are our natural allies and friends and partners in this fight against extremist terrorism and violence abroad… Muslims who live in our nation are fellow Americans, many of them equally interested in preventing threats and violence as anyone of any religion.”
Video of the Senator’s questioning at the SASC hearing can be seen here.
Video of the Senator's question at the Judiciary hearing can be seen here.