ABC News’ Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports: The killing of Osama bin Laden revealed preliminary planning targeting US railways, drawing a flurry of added concern about security aboard the nation’s trains.
But since then, with Republican House leaders voting to cut $50 million from rail and port security funding, the focus has waned – with potentially dangerous repercussions, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., told us today on ABC’s “Top Line.”
“What the post-mortem [of the bin Laden raid] said that they were still looking to have attacks against the rail systems in our country. And so the evidence is there that it’s really dangerous,” Lautenberg told us.
Republicans in Congress are “really not paying the kind of attention that it needs,” he said. “These areas are susceptible to terrorists’ implementations.”
Lautenberg said it’s important for riders to at least sense security at rail stations: “A presence of security has to be around. People have to believe that there is a camera that there is someone watching what they're doing.”
Lautenberg also attacked Republicans for threatening to hold up a higher debt limit.
“The Republicans are insisting on playing Russian Roulette with the debt ceiling,” he said. “We're not seeing what they're seeing. They all know how dangerous it is — what that could do to our credit standing in the world. It could be a demolition of our credibility.”
And we asked for Lautenberg’s take on his home-state Gov. Chris Christie, whom some have referred to as a Republican rock star.
“I don't want to challenge public opinion, if he is a rock star,” he said. “I think that we are exercising our judgments about what government is. I see government as an assist to people, to help them make progress.”
“Gov. Christie is determined to carry out, as I see it, the public mantra, 'cut, cut, cut.' When you cut so much, blood starts oozing. And when blood starts oozing, you're in terminal stage. And we have to be very careful about this.”
“So I don't think that he is a rock star. I haven't heard him sing by the way.”
Watch the full interview with Sen. Frank Lautenberg HERE.