Lieberman Back on Hill to Warn of ‘Rapidly Spreading’ Islamist Threat
In first hearing on Boston bombings, former senator says "it was possible to have prevented" attack and questions why mosque that says it threw out Tamerlan Tsarnaev didn't report him.
May 9, 2013 - 10:02 pm
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the bombings showed “we certainly need to enlist the community better.”
“And the points about identifying radical extremism and ferreting that out, the first thing we need to do is go to the community. We need to explain to the community that they have a responsibility to their community and to their nation and to what’s right to report the kind of activity that these brothers were involved in prior to the incident. And I think that’s the first line of defense,” he said.
“…The truth of the matter is, nobody bats 1,000, and I think that as a nation we need to comes to terms with it and do everything we can to prevent it, but also recognize that fusion centers and intelligence analysis and joint terrorism task forces are part of our future.”
“Before the bombing, were you aware of the Russian intelligence warning regarding Tamerlan and the fact that he may travel overseas to meet with extremists?” McCaul asked Davis.
“We have three detectives and a sergeant who were assigned to the joint terrorism task force. One of my detectives is actually in the squad that investigated that,” Davis said. “We have access to all the databases. But we were not, in fact, informed of that particular development.”
The commissioner said the information about Tsarnaev started to flow into his department the morning after the shootout in Watertown, Mass., in which the suspect was killed.
“In this case, aggravatingly, you have two of our great homeland security agencies that didn’t involve, before the event, the local and state authorities that could have helped us prevent the attack on the marathon,” Lieberman said.
“…We’re in a war. And, as I said, it’s against an ideology that is not receding. It’s spreading. And it’s taking a very difficult turn, which is, as we saw in Boston case, because — the only three attacks against America, terrorist attacks that have succeeded since 9/11, are homegrown terrorists.”
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) asked Davis if anyone from the local mosque came forward to identify either of the brothers after the photos of the suspects were made public.
“I don’t — I’m not certain of that. I don’t know of anyone that did, but I know that there was some conversation with a group we — that we meet with frequently from the mosques,” Davis responded, promising to check on whether any specific tips were received from the mosque.
The commissioner did know with certainty, though, that no students from UMass Dartmouth came forward to identify Dzohkhar Tsarnaev.
King noted to Lieberman that, unlike anyone in the Obama administration, the former senator freely used the terms “violent Islamist ideology” and “violent Islamist extremism.”
“It was self-evidently and publicly violent Islamist extremism that led to the attacks on us on 9/11/01 and didn’t take detective work. Osama bin Laden and everybody else declared that to be the purpose. They want to bring down America and our civilization. And I — you know, it’s the old Chinese wisdom a millennia ago: The first thing you gotta know in war is your enemy is. And you have to call it by its name,” Lieberman said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) asked Davis if, at this point, there’s “any mass labeling of the Muslim community in Boston.”
“That’s always a concern of ours. I’ve met with members of that community, and they’re concerned about it. But there have been no incidents reported to me,” he responded.
Jackson Lee chided the committee that “this is not a place to raise a partisan divide between Congress and the administration. This is a place to stand against this ever happening again.”
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) asked Lieberman why he believes this administration is unwilling to use the term “radical Islam” to describe these acts of terror.
“What is gained by the president’s refusal to appropriately describe jihad as expressed by radical Islamist extremists as their motivation for attacking the United States and other free nations?” Perry said.
“Well, I don’t know. In other words, this is a debate that I had over the years in my time in the Senate and particularly with this administration,” Lieberman responded.
“The sad fact is today that most terrorists that we’re dealing with in America are inspired by this violent Islamic extremist ideology,” he added. “You have to recognize that to deal with them.”