Transcript: Q&A with Rep. Peter King on the Boston Marathon bombings before the House Committee on Homeland Security – May 9, 2013

Partial transcript of Q&A with Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on the Boston Marathon bombings before the House Committee on Homeland Security on May 9, 2013:

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
…From the time of the attack on Monday afternoon to a shootout early Friday morning, did the FBI bring to your attention at all the fact that the older brother had been under investigation by the FBI?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
No, we didn’t start to look at that until after the shootout.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
So this is 3.5 days after and the FBI still did not make you aware of it?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
That’s correct. I should stress that there was an ongoing investigation and a lot of information coming in from a lot of different sources. But the answer to your question is no, we didn’t look at the brothers until after the shootout.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
After the photos were posted late Thursday afternoon, did anyone from the local mosques come forward to identify either of the brothers?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
I don’t – I’m not certain of that. I don’t know of anyone that did but I know that there was some conversation with a group we would meet frequently from the mosques called Bridges but I’m not quite sure what their role was in the conversation.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
Can you check and get back to us whether or not? To me, their photos were all over television. Someone should have recognized them from the mosques.

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
By all means.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
Also, did any student from UMass Dartmouth come forward to identify the younger brother?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
They did not.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
…In your statement though, you must mention any number of times the term “violent Islamist ideology”, “violent Islamist extremism”. I have not heard one administration official, including the Attorney General and the President, use the term Islamist. As Chairman McCaul said, how are we going to know the enemy if we don’t identify the enemy?

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.):
Well, I agree with that. Look, we know that there are other sources of terrorism than violent Islamist extremism. We know that from the Oklahoma City bombing. We know it from the Unabomber. But it was self-evidently and publicly violent Islamic extremism that led to the attacks against us on 9/11/01, and it didn’t take detective work – Osama bin Laden and everybody else declared that to be the purpose. They wanted to bring down America and our civilization. And it’s the old Chinese wisdom a millennia ago that the first thing you got to know in wars is your enemy you have to call it by its name.

I understand the sensitivity here but I think in some sense it’s unfair to the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world and particularly our fellow American who are Muslim to leave it unspoken as if somehow they’re part of this. It’s obvious that the violent Islamist extremists are a very, very, very small minority of the community. The community in America, which is the one I can speak about, is as we all know from our friends and neighbors as law-abiding and patriotic, and I don’t think we do any service to them; in some sense, it’s almost unfair not to call this by its name. We’re all looking for the right words that distinguish this small group of radical, extremist terrorists from the great majority of – an overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country, and maybe we haven’t found the right words.

In this case, what I gathered happened in the mosque in Boston is very instructive. When Tamerlan Tsarnaev came back from his trip overseas, he was clearly radicalized. And he began to speak in such an extremist way that I gathered that the people in the mosque asked him to leave. That’s representative of, if I can say, the mainstream Muslim community in our country.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.):
…I think it’s absolutely indefensible that the FBI found out on Sunday that there was a planned attack against Times Square and never notified the NYPD. Here’s a city that’s been attacked twice, had 16 plots against it, and the FBI refused to give that information to the NYPD. Their reaction [when] Commissioner [Ray] Kelly, Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg, and I went public was to criticize us, say we were somehow compromising the investigation at the same time saying the reason they didn’t give the information to the NYPD because there was no threat, there was not a real threat. They can’t have it both ways, and the failure to share information is absolutely indefensible…To me it’s a severe breakdown in law enforcement.

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2 Comments on “Transcript: Q&A with Rep. Peter King on the Boston Marathon bombings before the House Committee on Homeland Security – May 9, 2013

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