|WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), House Homeland Security Committee ranking member, today delivered an opening statement at a full committee hearing entitled, “U.S.-Iran Tensions: Implications for Homeland Security.”
Iran has been escalating tensions in the Middle East for decades.
Since the nuclear deal was signed, Iran’s malign activities have only increased.
The $100 billion in assets released by the Obama administration helped Iran enhance the manpower and capability of its terrorist proxies.
It helped Iran to conduct vicious cyberattacks on private industry and allied nations.
It enabled them to grow their missile stockpiles and improve their lethality.
Six months after it signed the JCPOA, Iran conducted ballistic missile tests with missiles carrying the inscription “Israel should be wiped off the earth.”
It is clear the Obama era policies of appeasement did not work.
The President was right to take the United States out of the JCPOA and reimpose sanctions on Iran.
The President understood that the JCPOA was not going to contain Iran.
That flawed deal was doing nothing to end the very clear and direct threat the Iranian regime poses to the United States, Israel, and the rest of our allies.
For over a decade, Iran has funneled money, terrorists, and advanced weapons to its proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, who used them to attack U.S. troops and Israeli citizens.
In so doing, Iran is responsible for the deaths of over 600 Americans.
The latest American murdered at the hands of Iran was civilian contractor and father of two young children in California.
Fortunately, the President took decisive action to eliminate the brutal terrorist primarily responsible for his death and the deaths of thousands of others.
Qassem Soleimani was sanctioned as a terrorist by the U.N and the Obama Administration.
For over 20 years, he led the IRGC’s Quds Force, a foreign terrorist organization.
Soleimani was not visiting Baghdad because it’s a great holiday destination.
He wasn’t there as some peace envoy.
He was there to meet with the leader of a terrorist group to plan more attacks on Americans.
The President used the law and his Constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief to eliminate this terrorist mastermind before he could kill again.
For the first time in years, Iran received the message that there will be real consequences should they continue to threaten the United States and our allies.
I hope Iran understands this message and finally ends their malicious and destabilizing actions in the Middle East.
I also hope the Iranian regime understands that the United States will not hesitate to defend our homeland against any threat they advance.
For years, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and other law enforcement partners have kept close watch on Iran’s intentions and its capability to strike our homeland.
The threat from Iran is real.
We know they continue to shelter senior Al Qaeda leaders and allow them to conspire with other terrorists.
We’ve witnessed their cyberattacks on our industry and local government.
We’ve thwarted their plots to conduct assassinations in the United States.
And we’ve arrested their operatives for surveilling critical infrastructure and plotting attacks on the homeland.
We must remain vigilant in the face of these threats.
It is more important than ever for Americans to report suspicious activity and for law enforcement at every level to share information and intelligence on threats to our security.
Nearly all Committee Members attended a threat briefing with senior DHS officials last week to learn more about the Iranian threat and the Department’s response.
I want to commend Acting Secretary Wolf for the actions the Department is taking to mitigate the threat from Iran.
I look forward to continuing this Committee’s bipartisan efforts to ensure DHS has the authority and resources it needs to successfully counter the threat from Iran and other sponsors of terror.
I thank the witnesses for coming and I thank each of them for their service to our nation.
I look forward to a constructive hearing and a good discussion on what actions the government should take to counter the threat from Iran.