ABC News' Lisa A. Jones and Gregory Simmons Report: Attorney General Eric Holder appeared this morning before the Senate Appropriations Committee to talk budgets. But never underestimate a Senate subcommittee’s ability to get answers on issues they are heated about from an official in the hot seat.
Tension rose at one point in the hearing as Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski, D- Md., teamed up to grill the attorney general on how the attempted Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was able to board a U.S. airliner headed for Dubai and was not stopped until the plane had pulled away from the gate.
Holder responded by citing the new change in TSA policy of reducing the time from 12 hours to two hours that the watch list is checked against the manifest. Holder said during the hearing that he is “never satisfied” with how an investigation unfolds and reviews each incident and how the apprehension of terrorists can be improved.
“I'm never satisfied even with an operation like this, which I think we all have to understand was successful.”
He emphasized a number of times that Shahzad did not get away.
“I was never worried as to whether or not we were going to apprehend him,” Holder said. “And he was apprehended before he left the country.
Holder, however, was quick to point out that success in this case does not guarantee success in the future and promised to be “vigilant” in the future.
“There are going to be other attempts ,” he said. “We have to make sure that we are up to the task.”
Senator Mikulski expressed being “grouchy” about the watch list, stating her belief that one side of law enforcement was effective but that TSA was not.