NY GOP Congressman Pete King on Terror Plot: Someone Should be Fired

Republican Leader Is Confident GOP Will Take Back the House This Year.

ByHUMA KHAN via via logo
January 6, 2010, 6:44 AM

Jan. 6, 2010— -- The ranking Republican member on the House Homeland Security Committee today said that someone in the Obama administration should be fired for security failures in the case of the Christmas Day terror plot, and expressed confidence that his party will take back the House this year.

"If the situation is as bad as the president says it was, as far as so many dots not being connected, so many obvious mistakes being made, that I would think once the president has set that stage, to show that he's serious, someone will have to go," Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos, but the nine-term congressman declined to say who he thinks that should be.

"The administration has not been very forthcoming in telling Congress what happened, how it happened, when it happened, so I'm not in a full position right now to say," he added.

King, who has become a leading critic of the Obama administration in the wake of the botched Dec. 25 bombing attempt, criticized the Obama administration for not being forthcoming enough with Congress.

"I just feel there is a disconnect between some of the intensity of his [Obama's] rhetoric and actually what he's proposing to do," King said. "This administration tells very little, unlike previous administrations."

President Obama met with his national security advisers Tuesday and admitted to systemic failures in the case of 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who boarded a U.S.-bound plane Christmas with explosives strapped to this underwear. The president said that the nation's security and intelligence systems "failed in a potentially disastrous way" and that more needs to be done to ensure such security breaches do not occur in the future.

"When a suspected terrorist is able to board a plane with explosives on Christmas Day, the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way," Obama said after the nearly two-hour meeting. "This was not a failure to collect intelligence. It was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already have. The information was there."

One piece of advice King said he would give to the president is to use the word "terrorism" more often and that administration officials be tougher in their screenings. King also argued that Abdulmutallab should be tried in a military tribunal rather than in the criminal justice system.

"If this is a war on terrorism, then this person should not be treated as an ordinary criminal," King said on "GMA."

Democrats Face Tough Election Fight in 2010

King expressed confidence today that his party will regain control of the House.

Several Democratic lawmakers are in line for retirement in both the House and Senate.

Today, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut announced that he will not run for a sixth term this year. The news comes on the heels of another announcement Tuesday from a powerful Democrat, Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, that he will also not run again. Both leaders faced a tough election fight, and their departures highlight the Democrats' precarious position this election season.

At least four other Senate seats, including that of Majority Leader Harry Reid, are considered vulnerable, which could pave the way for a Republican revival in Congress.

King had hinted that he was eyeing the Senate seat held by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, and previously by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but today he said so far he is "leaning against" it. King told Stephanopoulos he will decide in the next week.

Why the change of heart?

King said he is inclined to keep his position in the House because if the Republicans regain control of that chamber in this year's mid-term election, it will make him the chairman of the influential House Homeland Security Committee, a position he enjoyed for two years before Democrats became a majority in the House in 2006.

Being chairman would "put me in a position to get more done," King said.

Democrats face a tough election fight this year.

They face the prospect of losing key seats in Congress, which could threaten Obama's agenda. The president enjoys a comfortable Democratic majority in Congress at the moment, and with concerns about some seats going into Republican hands, the White House is likely to push big agenda items such as health care, financial regulatory overhaul and climate change, all of which Republicans oppose.

Democratic lawmakers from Republican-leaning states also face a tough balancing act as they try to align their party's interests with that of their constituents.

ABC News' Jonathan Karl contributed to this report.

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