May 03, 2011

FLOOR STATEMENT ON DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN

MR. PRESIDENT, LATE ON SUNDAY EVENING, THE WORLD WAS TOLD OF NEWS WE HAD BEEN WAITING FOR FOR ALMOST TEN YEARS. OSAMA BIN LADEN WAS A MURDERER WHO DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO THE DESTRUCTION OF FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY AND OUR WAY OF LIFE. HIS DEATH IS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST EXTREMIST VIOLENCE AND A RELIEF TO THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS AND OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD WHO HAVE FELT HIS MURDEROUS DESTRUCTION.

I FIRST AND FOREMOST WANT TO THANK THE MILITARY AND THE INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS WHO CARRIED OUT THIS DARING MISSION WHICH WAS EXECUTED FLAWLESSLY AND WILL GO DOWN IN OUR HISTORY BOOKS AS A MISSION AS TO HOW WE SHOULD DO OUR WORK. I WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO COMPLEMENT ALL OF OUR MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE PEOPLE WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THIS -- IN THIS EFFORT. I TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN REPRESENTING THE STATE OF MARYLAND AND OUR INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES THAT ARE LOCATED AT FORT MEADE. THEY DO INCREDIBLE WORK FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOR OUR NATION, AND THEY DO A LOT OF THINGS THAT KEEP US SAFER BUT THEY CAN NEVER ISSUE A PRESS RELEASE BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THEIR WORK. MANY TIMES I BELIEVE THEIR WORK GOES BASICALLY UNAPPRECIATED BY THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. I JUST WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO CONGRATULATE ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE DEVOTED THEIR LIVES TO KEEPING US SAFE, IN OUR INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES AND IN OUR MILITARY. THIS MISSION DEMONSTRATES THE TYPE OF WORK THAT THEY DO IN ORDER TO KEEP THIS NATION AS A SAFER NATION.

THIS SUCCESSFUL INTERAGENCY OPERATION ILLUSTRATES INTELLIGENCE SHARING AT ITS BEST AND THE COMMITMENT OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF OUR ARMED FORCES AS WELL AS OUR POLITICAL LEADERSHIP. MR. PRESIDENT, AS YOU KNOW, AFTER THE ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY ON SEPTEMBER 11, WE HAD COMMISSIONS DO WORK, WE HAD A LOT OF CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS, AND THERE WAS ONE THEME THAT CAME OUT VERY CLEARLY IN REGARDS TO THE WAY THAT WE COLLECTED INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION TO KEEP THIS NATION SAFE, AND THAT IS THERE WAS TOO MUCH STOVEPIPING AND NOT ENOUGH SHARING OF INFORMATION, AND INFORMATION THAT COULD HAVE BEEN SHARED, COULD HAVE BEEN USED IN A WAY TO KEEP US SAFE WAS NOT BEING DONE. WELL, THIS EFFORT DEMONSTRATES THE ADVANTAGES OF SHARING INFORMATION. OUR INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES ACTED UPON INFORMATION THAT WAS MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH VARIOUS SOURCES, USING THAT TO BE ABLE TO CONDUCT THIS MISSION.

AND TRULY BIN LADEN WAS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE AS A RESULT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DELIBERATIVE PLANNING, COORDINATION AND COMMUNICATION, HIS LEADERSHIP AND HIS PARTNERSHIP AND OUR DOGGED PERSISTENCE, WE WERE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS MISSION. I WANT TO CONGRATULATE PRESIDENT OBAMA. HE HAD TO MAKE A TOUGH CALL. THE INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION WAS NOT CONCLUSIVE. MUCH OF IT WAS CIRCUMSTANTIAL. YET, HE EVALUATED, WITH THE BEST INFORMATION WE HAD, TO DETERMINE THAT BIN LADEN WAS AT THIS LOCATION. HE THEN HAD TO MAKE ANOTHER TOUGH CHOICE AS TO WHAT TYPE OF MISSION TO USE, WHETHER TO JUST USE A -- A SOPHISTICATED BOMB IN ORDER TO DESTROY THE PROPERTY, WHICH WOULD HAVE CAUSED THE LOSS OF SOME INNOCENT LIFE, OR WHETHER TO USE A HIGHER RISK MISSION OF SENDING OUR SEALS INTO PAKISTAN. THE PRESIDENT MADE THE RIGHT CALL. HE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION, AND I CONGRATULATE HIM ON HIS LEADERSHIP.

ALL AMERICANS WERE AFFECTED BY BIN LADEN'S EVIL ACTIONS. WE ALL REMEMBER THAT FATEFUL DAY IN SEPTEMBER, 2001. I WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAPITOL AS A CONGRESSMAN IN MY OFFICE IN THE RAYBURN BUILDING. I REMEMBER RECEIVING INFORMATION THAT WE THOUGHT THAT THERE WAS A PLANE THAT COULD BE HEAD TO GO OUR OWN BUILDING. CAPITOL POLICE USHERED US OUT OF THE BUILDING SO THAT WE COULD TRY TO GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY. WE ALL BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND OUR NATION WAS UNDER ATTACK AND THE WORLD WAS CHANGING. WHILE WE'RE STILL LIVING IN THAT CHANGED WORLD, THIS EVENT REMINDS US AGAIN THAT THE STRENGTH OF AMERICA, ITS FREEDOM AND ITS PERSISTENCE CAN PREVAIL.

AS A LIFELONG PROPONENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS, I KNOW THAT WE DO NOT REJOICE IN KILLING, BUT HIS DEATH RIDS THE WORLD OF THIS MAN WHO WAS COMMITTED TO INTOLERANCE, DESTRUCTION, HATRED AND THE DESECRATION OF HUMAN DIGNITY. BRINGING BIN LADEN TO JUSTICE HELPS HEAL THE WOUNDS OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LOVED ONES AND TO A NATION THAT LIVED THROUGH 9/11.

WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT AS THE FIGHT AGAINST AL QAEDA AND OTHER EXTREMISTS GO ON. WHILE AL QAEDA IS INCREASINGLY MARGINALIZED, PARTICULARLY AS WE SEE IN SO MANY OF THE ARAB WORLDS EXERCISING THEIR DESIRE FOR CHANGE, THE THREAT POSED BY TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS WILL REMAIN WITH US. WE MUST REMAIN ON OUR HIGHEST GUARD, WORKING WITH OUR ALLIES AROUND THE WORLD IN ORDER TO FIGHT THESE EXTREMISTS. ONCE AGAIN, I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE TREMENDOUS EFFORTS OF OUR PRESIDENT, OUR MILITARY AND OUR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY AS THEIR HARD WORK CONTINUES, AND MAY THIS EVENT BRING SOME SENSE OF PEACE TO THE FAMILIES AFFECTED BY BIN LADEN'S EVIL, AS WELL AS TO ALL IN THE WORLD WHO LOVE FREEDOM AND PEACE.

MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT IN QUORUM CALLS, THE TIME BE EQUALLY CHARGED AGAINST THE MAJORITY AND THE MINORITY.