THE TERROR THREAT – AT 10:50 A.M. ET: The terror threat, especially from home-grown terrorists, is still very much with us, as two stories indicate. From The Hill:
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is floating legislation that would mandate FBI background checks for employees at power plants, water treatment plants and other critical infrastructure.
Schumer cited a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report last month that warned that extremists could seek to launch physical and cyber attacks from the inside.
The upcoming legislation, Schumer’s office said, would expand FBI testing that’s currently applied only to nuclear power plants.
The plan would “close this major security loophole that would make it mandatory for all major utilities and critical infrastructure plants to run FBI background checks on employees with access to the most sensitive areas of utilities,” according to a summary.
“Power plants and utilities present a tempting and potentially catastrophic target to extremists who are bent on wreaking havoc on the United States, which is why thorough background checks on all workers with access to the most sensitive areas of these operations are a must,” Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer is correct. This should have been done a long time ago.
And then there's this, from Fox:
The House Homeland Security Committee “has initiated an investigation” into the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and whether he was an overlooked key player in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a letter from the committee chairman to Attorney General Eric Holder says.
The three-page letter, obtained exclusively by Fox News, makes the case that a decade after the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the full story of 9/11 has not been told.
“This congressional investigation will seek to determine:
"1. To what extent Anwar al-Awlaki wittingly or unwittingly facilitated the plot of the 9/11 hijackers; and
"2. to what extent al-Awlaki was an al Qaeda operative, offering support to acts of terrorism prior to 9/11.”
The letter to Holder, sent by Republican Rep. Peter King of New York on May 26, confirms that investigators believe the American cleric's contacts with three of the five hijackers on Flight 77, which slammed into the Pentagon, were more than a series of coincidences, but rather evidence of a purposeful relationship.
COMMENT: We need confirmed facts here, but, if the suspicions bear out, then 9-11 was partially facilitated by an American-born terrorist. Anwar al-Awlaki is now in Yemen, and is considered one of the most dangerous Al Qaeda operatives active in plots against the United States.
August 16, 2011