Feinstein seeks revision of terrorist watchlist rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Wednesday sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to strengthen U.S. counterterrorism policies in the wake of the December 25 attack.
Following is the text of the letter sent by Chairman Feinstein to President Obama:
December 30, 2009
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The failed December 25, 2009, plot by Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab is a reminder that attempts to attack the U.S. Homeland continue and that al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups are searching for new ways to use explosive devices and operatives that will not arouse suspicion in order to carry out attacks in this country. We must therefore adjust to meet these developments and stay ahead of them.
It is clear that the U.S. Government was warned of Mr. Abdulmutallab’s radicalization more than a month before he flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam to Detroit. Yet apparently no action was taken other than to put Mr. Abdulmutallab in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). He was not placed on a No Fly or Selectee List for additional scrutiny and screening, nor was action taken to revoke his visa. I understand that no such action was taken because of a policy, established in 2008 and remaining in place today, that limits the circumstances under which the government adds an individual to the watchlist.
I believe the 2008 standard is too restrictive and should be changed. The U.S. Government should watchlist, and deny visas to, anyone who is reasonably believed to be affiliated with, part of, or acting on behalf of a terrorist organization.
Intelligence collection, dissemination, and sharing has improved greatly since 9/11. The immediate counterterrorism challenge we face is understanding the importance of information already available and acting urgently on that information.
I understand that increasing protective measures may lead to increased delay and hassle to many Americans. But as you have said many times, and I strongly agree, our first priority must be to protect our nation from attack. I appreciate your effort to begin a full review of U.S. policies and I look forward to working with you to implement the changes that are needed to protect our nation.
Preceding provided by Senator Feinstein