Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Terrorist Travel

September 11, 2012

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, chaired by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), held a hearing entitled “Eleven Years Later: Preventing Terrorists from Coming to America”.

Eleven years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, one of the primary objectives of the Department of Homeland Security is to prevent terrorists from obtaining a visa and boarding a plane headed for the United States. DHS has developed a layered approach to visa security that begins with the vetting of visa applicants overseas and ends with a Customs and Border Protection Officer verifying identity and reason for entry into the United States at a port of entry.

This hearing provided Members the opportunity to examine the progress made in visa security and to understand what work remains to ensure terrorists are prevented from entering the United States.

Miller said: “Curtailing the ability of terrorists to travel to the United States can be one of the most effective counterterrorism tools. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the 9/11 hijackers passed through U.S. border security 68 times, highlighting the need to strengthen border security and visa issuance policy. The relative ease with which terrorists evaded detection by presenting fraudulent documents and passports, and the failure to add known al-Qaeda operatives to terror watch lists became missed opportunities to stop the attacks.

“As the 9/11 Commission Report noted, ‘For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.’ Building on the lessons learned, we have strengthened our outer ring of border security to conduct more rigorous checks overseas, collect biometric data, and continuously check visa holders against the terror watch lists. Although progress has been made, the 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot exposed additional weaknesses in our efforts to prevent terrorists from obtaining a visa, or board a plane headed for the U.S. Our hearing will examine the progress made since then to strengthen this outer layer of border security.”

What: Subcommittee Hearing: Eleven Years Later: Preventing Terrorists from Coming to America

When: 10 a.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

**Live video feed will be available HERE

Opening statements, witness testimony, and the live video feed will be available online HERE.

Witness List:

Invited Witnesses Include:

Ms. Kelli Ann Walther
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Office of Policy
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Kevin McAleenan
Acting Assistant Commissioner
Office of Field Operations
Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. John Woods
Assistant Director
National Security Investigations
Homeland Security Investigations
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Charles K. Edwards
Acting Inspector General
Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Edward Ramotowski
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Consular Affairs
U.S. Department of State

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