Kerry slams Cheney's 'hysteria'



WASHINGTON, D.C.--Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement this afternoon in reaction to GOP criticism following the attempted Christmas Day attack two weeks ago:  

“The failed attempt to bring down a commercial aircraft on Christmas Day is a sober reminder that combating international terrorism remains an extremely urgent foreign policy priority and a top national security mission for the administration. 

“Unfortunately, too many Republicans have treated this episode as a political opportunity. Led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, they have resorted to partisan denunciations that serve no legitimate purpose and have no place in the nation’s vital debate over how to fight terrorism. The hysteria of Mr. Cheney and some of his fellow Republicans is sadly reminiscent of the days when the previous administration substituted fear mongering for sound policy and led us into an unnecessary and tragic war in Iraq while starving a necessary conflict in Afghanistan.
 
“President Obama was right to demand a full and immediate review of the intelligence failures that permitted the would-be bomber to board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. The president acted quickly and decisively while avoiding the sensationalism Americans too often witnessed over the last eight years. He should be applauded for forthrightly pinpointing the failure of our intelligence agencies to connect the dots available to them and demanding reforms that will reduce the chances of this sort of mistake occurring again.

“Congress has a vital role to play and critical questions to ask in ensuring that the reforms required to protect the American people will be implemented quickly and effectively.

“American foreign policy is strongest when it is bipartisan and there is no room for those who try to exploit a potentially tragic incident for political gain. We need a better discussion, and a bipartisan one, on these questions, and that will be an agenda for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2010. Based on an ongoing staff investigation, the Committee will conduct a hearing on counter-terrorism policy in Yemen when Congress returns from recess in mid-January.

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