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

Partial transcript of Q&A with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on the Boston Marathon bombings before the House Committee on Homeland Security on May 9, 2013:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
…The Russian contact – it still baffles all of us in spite of diplomacy issues why if nothing else that was not a trigger in our various centers – the joint terrorism centers – to…probe and to… pursue that information and share it with our local law enforcement. What do you think happened?

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.):
…As you said, hindsight is always clearer. But this was an usual circumstance for Russian intelligence to notify us about two Americans, really – they’ve included the mother originally, Tsarnaev mother, in this case. Now, we understand that we’re operating in a context of mistrust between the U.S. intelligence and Russian intelligence. And yet, there is cooperation in some areas.

So as I look back at this, it seems to me that the fact that this original notification – you kind of look back as you investigate what went wrong, that at what points did somebody have acted to stop this. This really should have raised this case into a very high-profile internally because of where it came from. And as I said it in my opening statement, it could be the most consequential failure to share information was the failure of the Russian intelligence to explain in more detail to us why they were interested in Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But if it had been raised at that level – and that’s why I think – I hope you’ll go back and speak with the FBI, the Attorney General’s office, take another look at those Attorney General guidelines to see if in any way they constrained the FBI from acting more aggressively or sharing the information with the state and local law enforcers.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
…In the course of information coming to you, did the Homeland Security Department provide you with any information about the student visa or the visa of any of the second tier individuals that were arrested earlier than the fact of the bombing that occurred? Did you get any information about there was some concern about the visas dealing with the senior brother and then the others?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
…We did not. We have a homeland security analyst in our BRIC – the Boston Regional Intelligence Center – but neither the BRIC or the JTTF…

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
And you feel confident you could have acted on that information or at least had a structure in your operation that could have looked at that?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
We certainly have a structure that would have looked at it, yes.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
And at this point, is there any mass labeling of the Muslim community in Boston?

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner:
That’s always a concern of ours. I’ve met with members of that community and they’re concerned about it but there have been no incidents reported to me.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
Professor Southers, what would be the better way of dealing with the vast number of Muslims in this nation that in essence pay the taxes, serve in the United States military, and call this country a country that they love? How do we work with this community for those 100% – 99% who want to do well?

Erroll Southers, Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Director of Research Transition at the DHS National Center for Risk & Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events:
…The most important thing we can do right now is to build a bridge instead of a wall. You know, any community or family can facilitate radicalization by inaction and that is what we don’t want at this point. We want to engage the community. We want a community that feels comfortable and confident in sharing information. As we’ve seen time and time again, as the Senator alluded to, a number of thwarted plots have come because we’ve had an engaged community. So at this point, bridges are very important.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
…Sen. Lieberman, I think you made a very good point so let me just conclude on the record that this tragedy as for those of us who started on the homeland security committee…this is not a place to raise a partisan divide between Congress and the administration. This is a place to stand against this ever happen again. Professor, would you say that?

Erroll Southers, Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Director of Research Transition at the DHS National Center for Risk & Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events:
Absolutely, Congresswoman.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
Sen. Lieberman?

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.):
Yes, ma’am. Thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. That’s most important. Should be unifying, really, because we’re all in this together.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas):
Absolutely – to save lives.

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

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Testimony of Professor Erroll Southers on the Boston Marathon bombings before the House Committee on Homeland Security – May 9, 2013 | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: FBI did not inform Boston Police of Russian intel on Tamerlan Tsarnaev | What The Folly?!

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