Walker Opening Statement at Hearing on Terror Travel
WASHINGTON – Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism Ranking Member Mark Walker (R-N.C.), today delivered the following opening statement at a joint subcommittee hearing entitled ‚ÄúSupporting a Fact-Based Approach to Preventing Terrorist Travel to the United States.‚Äù
The security and facilitation of people and goods crossing the US borders is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the government and a core mission set of the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of the September 11th terror attacks.
Since that time, major enhancements have been made to the policies, technology, and information sharing agreements related to border vetting programs.
Each time a vulnerability is discovered‚ such as the 2009 Christmas Day bomber, the 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky linked to al Qaeda, and 2015 San Bernardino attack, additional improvements are made.
There is a clear commitment and sense of urgency across the Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies to ensure our vetting programs are as robust as possible.
We all know, however, that terrorists and criminals continually assess U.S. systems for weaknesses. Therefore, we must continually evaluate, test, and upgrade vetting programs to prevent, detect, and deter terror travel to the United States.
I want to applaud the efforts of President Trump to further harden vetting systems through the creation of the National Vetting Center and December 2018 release of the Terror Travel Strategy. I am looking forward to hearing more from the witnesses on these initiatives.
The American public demands and deserves secure borders and security programs that connect the dots. The bottom line is that one terrorist slipping through is unacceptable. I want to thank the panel for their service and for appearing here today.
Contact: Nicole Hager