By Michael O'Brien - 01/16/10 11:00 AM EST
Progress is being made toward achieving U.S. national security
interests in Afghanistan, Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.) said Saturday.
Castle, a 2010 Republican candidate for Senate, urged President Barack Obama to work with congressional Republicans when it comes to securing the homeland and defended the surge Obama ordered in Afghanistan.
A group of House and Senate Republicans traveled to Afghanistan, the site of protracted U.S. military involvement since 2001, to assess the progress of war efforts there.
Castle praised Obama for elements of his national security strategy, particularly heeding military commanders' wishes, keeping on Robert Gates as secretary of Defense, and showing a degree of flexibility in decision-making.
But the Delaware congressman stressed the need for Obama to work with the GOP when it comes to overhauling the nation's intelligence infrastructure.
"To circumvent and pre-empt this threat, we rely heavily on our intelligence gathering systems and professionals - at home and abroad," Castle said. "The arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab makes clear there is much to be reviewed in the way that intelligence is shared, collected, analyzed, and in our methods of approach."
“We cannot rest on one pattern or approach to tracking or analyzing threats to our national security," he added. "The administration should work with congressional Republicans to review and update our current counterterrorism systems to meet the emerging and multiplying threats from al-Qaeda."
The address is also notable for its use as a platform to showcase one of the Republican Party's most promising Senate recruits in 2010.
Castle, a veteran congressman, is running to permanently fill the Senate seat left vacant by Vice President Joe Biden. The Republican lawmaker is seen as a top recruit who's likely to wage a tough battle to win the Delaware seat for Republicans, potentially against the vice president's son, state Attorney General Beau Biden (D).