Rep. Miller: Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Must Share Information to Stop Future Attacks

May 9, 2013 Issues: Defense and Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Vice Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today participate in the Committee on Homeland Security hearing: The Boston Bombings: A First Look.  The Committee heard from witnesses regarding the attack’s initial response and investigation, how local and state law enforcement were able to work in coordination with federal agencies, and ultimately track down the two suspected bombers.  Miller said:

“We, as a nation, need to understand what happened on April 15th in Boston so that we can take appropriate action to see to it that it does not happen again.  The prime recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to stop future attacks was that our federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies must move from a mindset of the need to know, to the need to share information.  While I believe we have made great strides in our homeland security since 9/11; this attack shows that some elements of federal law enforcement have slid back into hording information rather than sharing.  During this hearing I was shocked to hear the Boston Police Department Commissioner, Edward Davis, testify that local law enforcement had no idea who Tamerlan Tsarnaev was until after he was dead, even though the FBI and other agencies had been given extensive information on his potential radicalization.  This information was never shared with local law enforcement in advance of the attack, when perhaps it could have been put to use to stop this attack from occurring. 

“It is clear that the response actions from local law enforcement, as well as the public in Boston who immediately ran to the bombing sites, was professional, courageous and even heroic.  But the actions of certain elements of federal law enforcement is following the same line that allowed the attempted Christmas Day Bomber to board a plane even though his own father had told our State Department that he had become radicalized, as well as allowed Major Nidal Hassan to murder 13 soldiers at Fort Hood even though his superiors were aware of his ongoing radicalization and continued to promote him.  Those responsible for preventing attacks failed to connect the dots to stop those attacks and the Boston attack from occurring.  The information that our federal agencies had regarding the older suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, should have been shared with local law enforcement to provide the local police with information that could have been put into use to prevent the attack.  Moving forward from today’s hearing, we must make every effort to hold our federal agencies accountable and ensure this breakdown in law enforcement information sharing does not continue.”

This hearing heard from witnesses:
Senator Joseph Lieberman, former Senator from Connecticut and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Commissioner Edward F. Davis, Boston Police Department
Undersecretary Kurt Schwartz, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Rep. Miller with Boston Police Department Commissioner Edward F. Davis