August 10, 2006

Terrorists and Politicians: Three Themes

Terrorists and Politicians: Three Themes

News about terrorists — like a foiled plot or a message from Osama — cracks through American politicians along predictable fault lines. Republicans remind us how safe we are, though the enemy is yet vicious; Democrats remind us what a bad job the administration has been doing keeping us safe.

So there was a scrum this morning, particularly on the heels of Ned Lamont’s Connecticut primary win, to own the morning’s news: yes, in fact, people still want to kill us. After spending time with press releases from both parties and some ranking committee members, three themes emerged.

Theme One: The Terrorists are Evil.

Today’s actions are a stark reminder that the threat is real and that we have a deadly enemy who still wakes every morning thinking of new ways to kill innocent men, women and children, and dreams every night about wreaking the destruction on freedom-loving countries.

United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Remarks, August 10, 2006

The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.

President George W. Bush, Remarks By The President Upon Arrival In Wisconsin, August 10, 2006

The plot today … once again reinforces the fundamental evil of the people we are fighting in this war against terrorism. …we as Americans must understand that the people we are confronting in this war intend to do us harm and they are willing to kill innocent people to accomplish that.

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Gregg Comments on Foiled Terrorist Plot, August 10, 2006

Theme Two: Homeland Security Needs More Funding.

Going forward, we must make sure we are paying appropriate attention to air travel in an effort to make it as safe as possible. I will also continue to advocate for dedicated funding for air cargo screening as well as money to ensure that our citizens are better prepared.

Senator Jim Langevin (D-RI), Langevin Statement on Airline Terror Plot, August 10 2006.

Today’s events underscore once again the need for threat-based funding of homeland security. We have to have the best, most humanly-possible system of security – in our airports, in our transit systems, in our ports, in our borders.

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Reported Terrorist Plot, August 10 2006.

We should take this opportunity not just to remember, but to take stock of what progress has been made to protect Americans and what steps remain unfulfilled…We still have not implemented the bipartisan 9-11 Commission’s recommendations to secure our ports, airports, and chemical plants. The Iraq war has diverted our focus and more than $300 billion in resources from the war on terrorism and has created a rallying cry for international terrorists.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Reid Statement on British Terror Plot, August 10 2006.

Theme Three: Are We Safer?

Today, air traffic is safe.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Remarks, August 10 2006.

As a result of mismanagement and the wrong funding priorities, we are not as safe as we should be.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Reid Statement on British Terror Plot, August 10 2006.

Our force readiness to face another threat elsewhere in the world has been diminished because of our preoccupation with Iraq. Both anger at America around the world and the number of terrorists seeking to do us harm have increased.

Connecticut Democratic Nominee for Senate Ned Lamont, Statement on Terror Alerts, 8/10/06.

This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11….But obviously, we’re still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in.

President George W. Bush, President Bush’s Statement, August 10 2006.
Press Releases in Reaction to London Bombing Plot

President George W. Bush

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow

Senator Hillary Clinton (D, NY)

Senator Joe Lieberman (D, CT)

Senator Harry Reid (D, NV)

Senator Bill Frist (R, TN)

Senator Judd Gregg (R, NH)

Senator John Sununu (R, NH)

Connecticut Democratic Nominee for Senate Ned Lamont

Rep. Jim Langevin (D, RI)

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Assistant Secretary for TSA Kip Hawley

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