A leading Republican senator said Sunday the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden does not remove the terror threat against the United States.
Amid a backdrop of jubilation surrounding the slaying of bin Laden, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said the U.S. must remain vigilant.
"The reported death of Osama bin Laden is welcome news, but it in no way eliminates the threat from the terrorism he espoused," he said in a statement. "This is another reminder that Americans cannot hide from global affairs."
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should not "let our guard down" because of bin Laden's killing.
"While we have succeeded in taking out the head of al Qaeda, the effects of his death are yet unseen, and could span a broad range of possibilities," said Inhofe. "We must not let our guard down in the global war on terrorism, and we must remain ever vigilant in protecting our nation and its people.”
Despite some agreement with President Obama on past foreign policy issues, Lugar made no mention of the president in his statement. The Indiana senator split with the president over the U.S. military intervention in Libya and faces a tough reelection in 2012.
Lugar, a proponent of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia that Obama also championed, said that bin Laden's killing highlights the need to prevent nuclear proliferation.
"Americans must continue to be vigilant to ensure that terrorist groups and rouge states do not obtain weapons of mass destruction, a goal that I and many other Americans have sought for 20 years," he said.
This post was updated at 12:55 a.m.
Josiah Ryan contributed to this story.