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GOP Address: Terrorism And Threats Posed To America

In the Weekly Republican Address, Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), discusses the terrorist threats to the United States and the need for the President to lead a serious campaign to defeat ISIL.

Burr was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

“Hello. I’m Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina, and I’m the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

I’d like to talk to you about terrorism and the threats posed to America by ‘ISIL,’ al-Qai’da, and other extremist groups.

The challenge we face today is unlike one we have ever known. The terrorists are not new and their message is not new. It is their leveraging of our freedoms, technology, and innovation to kill that makes this new and a real threat. That’s why the Obama Administration needs to treat the threat posed by ISIL seriously and lead a campaign to defeat and not merely ‘contain’ the terrorist group.

The principal way to prevent ISIL inspired attacks here in America is to defeat ISIL in Iraq and in Syria. Last week, CIA Director John Brennan testified before my committee and the American people about the growing threat of terrorism and how our intelligence community is challenged to protect us from attacks. The hearing took place just four days after 49 individuals were tragically murdered in Orlando, Florida by a disturbed and evil person. Chillingly, the CIA Director predicted more attacks like those in San Bernardino and Orlando. He assessed that ISIL can draw on a ‘large cadre of western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks here in the west.’

I’ve said before that we live in an open society, one that values freedom and diversity. And, contrary to what some would have you believe, we can live in a free and open society while still being safe. I also feel strongly that we need to continually protect Americans’ civil liberties and privacy. The content of our phone calls, email discussions, bank transactions, medical records, and data should be secure. I have long believed that consumer data is too insecure and that consumers should seek solutions to protect their information. Some of those consumers now happen to be terrorists – and those terrorists are using secure messaging applications to recruit, plan, and execute attacks against civilians.

What is increasingly clear is that the very technology that is enabling tremendous innovation in manufacturing, medicine, and other areas of the global economy, is also providing terrorists ways to innovate and propagate their evil. We find ourselves at a point in time where laws that were enacted to provide authorities and capabilities to our law enforcement and intelligence community agencies are out of date, stale, and in some cases, no longer applicable.

We face a growing and significant threat from ISIL and contrary to what the Administration would have you believe, we face a threat at home and abroad from an ever capable al-Qai’da. We have learned from 15 years at war that we cannot sit back and expect to be protected at home by the great expanse of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Make no mistake, terrorism is global. We will win this fight against our adversaries, but we will only win if we take the fight to them. I have said it before and it remains truer today than when I first said it – we must attack ISIL and al-Qai’da, and those who want to do us harm, where they raise funds, where they recruit, and where they plan their attacks.

We must deny the terrorists a safe haven. We have not effectively brought the collective strength of America to the fight against ISIL.

The Administration has paid lip service to the threat and has taken small steps in some areas and not in others, but it has not directed the full capabilities of this great nation against this problem.

Terrorism has reached our doorstep and touched innocent citizens in Fort Hood, Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando. Right now I fear that the question is not if local, state, or federal police officers will have to respond to another attack; it’s when. And I’m not willing to accept that as a new reality and a new norm.

Director Brennan made it clear that ‘despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.’ Even more worrisome, he assesses that as the pressures mount on ISIL, it will ‘intensify its global terror campaign.’

The President has spoken often about progress the coalition of countries has made to ‘contain’ ISIL’s geographic reach, to degrade its finance and media operations, and to remove its fighters from the battlefield. Let’s start being realistic about the problem before us. Let’s understand it and let’s address it.

While the U.S.-led coalition has made some progress, America and her allies have simply not made the progress we need in order to eliminate the threat ISIL poses. America is the greatest country on earth, and our allies are with us. The time to take action is now.

I’m Senator Burr. Thank you for listening.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.