ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
The next presumptive chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Peter King, R-New York, says some of his top priorities for the committee next Congress include improving oversight of Department of Homeland Security, stopping President Obama’s plans to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the United States, and holding hearings to investigate the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas last year.
King expressed concern over the measured increase in terrorist plots coming from individuals already in the United States. He says that Congress must pass a comprehensive Department of Homeland Security authorization bill to provide the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies with the tools necessary to identify and combat domestic radicalization.
“The terror threat has evolved and in many ways is more challenging now than at any time since 9/11. We are seeing an increasing number of attacks and plots resulting from radicalization of individuals already residing in the country,” King said in a statement this morning. “The terror threat to our homeland has not waned; our diligence in fighting the terrorists must not wane.”
King, the current ranking member of the committee, said he would be “honored to serve again” as chairman and work with the presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Republicans to protect America from future attacks. The New York lawmaker previously served as chairman of the committee from 2005 until 2007.
King says the committee will also work during the next Congress to improve screening of cargo entering the United States on commercial and cargo aircraft, a timely issue these days after improvised explosive devices hidden in stripped-out printer cartridges were intercepted from Yemen late last month.
“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda continues its quest to kill Americans here at home. Recently, we have seen al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-linked terrorists attempt to blow up cargo planes; set off a car bomb in Times Square; attempt to blow up Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day; kill soldiers at Fort Hood; and plot to blow up subways in New York City and Washington, DC and federal buildings in Dallas and Springfield, Ill,” King said. “On 9/11, al-Qaeda killed more than 150 of my friends and constituents. Their memories are what drive me in my work to ensure that our federal government protects all Americans from terrorism.”
King, who was just reelected to his 10th term in the House of Representatives, says he would like to strengthen the “Securing the Cities Initiative,” in order to protect more Americans from radiological and nuclear devices. He also called on Congress to enact legislation to bolster cybersecurity and provide additional border security to combat illegal immigration.