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McConnell

Preventing ISIL-Inspired Attacks Requires Defeating ISIL

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

‘Our responsibility in the Senate is to make a choice: Work on serious solutions to prevent terrorist attacks, or use the Senate as a campaign studio. Yesterday the FBI Director came to deliver a critical briefing on Orlando and explain what’s needed to prevent similar terrorist attacks in the future. Senate Republicans attended and asked serious questions; a group of Senate Democrats regrettably skipped it for a campaign talk-a-thon.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need for the President to lay out a credible plan to defeat ISIL. The following are Senator McConnell’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Over the past few months, terrorists inspired or directed by ISIL have committed mass murder in Brussels, in California, and in France. When ISIL issued a call for lone wolf attacks against the West during Ramadan, its followers heard the call.

“This week, just outside Paris, more innocent lives were ended brutally — by a terrorist who broadcast news of the attack over the Internet.

“This week, in Orlando, Americans were targeted deliberately and taken forever from their families — by a terrorist ISIL has claimed is ‘one of the

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) photographed at the Capitol on December 2, 2008.  Photograph by Karen Ballard

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) photographed at the Capitol on December 2, 2008. Photograph by Karen Ballard

soldiers of the caliphate.’

“It’s clear from his behavior that this was not a random act of violence. This was a calculated act of terror.

“As CIA Director John Brennan testified this morning before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Islamic State militants are ‘training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West.’ He also called this terrorist attack an assault on the values of openness and tolerance that define the United States as a nation. He’s right. It throws into stark relief the troubling reality we now face.

“ISIL is not the JV Team. ISIL is not ‘contained.’ ISIL is the personification of evil in our world, and it will continue to bring tragedy after tragedy to our doorsteps until it is defeated.

“President Obama needs to finally lead a campaign to accomplish this objective, or at the very least prepare the military and intelligence community to help the next president do so if he won’t. This is his primary responsibility in the wake of this terrorist tragedy.

“Here is ours. Our responsibility in the Senate is to make a choice: Work on serious solutions to prevent terrorist attacks, or use the Senate as a campaign studio.

“Yesterday the FBI Director came to deliver a critical briefing on Orlando and explain what’s needed to prevent similar terrorist attacks in the future. Senate Republicans attended and asked serious questions; a group of Senate Democrats regrettably skipped it for a campaign talk-a-thon.

“It’s hard to think of a clearer contrast between serious work for solutions on the one hand and endless partisan campaigning on the other.

“Doing what we can to fight terror beyond our borders and prevent attacks within our border were priorities of ours well before the terrorist attack in Orlando, they continue to be at the forefront of our efforts now.

“We just passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act. It will go a long way toward helping Americans confront global security challenges today and toward preparing the next commander-in-chief to take on threats tomorrow.

“We’re now working to pass an appropriations bill that will give the FBI and other law enforcement officials more of the resources needed to track down and defuse threats on American soil. As we consider that measure, we’re continuing to explore additional tools that can help prevent devastating terrorist attacks — like tools to help us permanently address the threat of lone wolf terrorists, and to help us connect the dots when it comes to terrorist communications.

“Now is the time for Democrats to finally join with us in pursuing serious solutions that can make a real difference. As we said on Tuesday, there will be amendment votes on this bill — and yesterday, we were prepared to begin that process but were unable to get amendments pending because of extended floor debate.

“We will try again today to move forward with amendments from both sides, and once there is an agreement to do so, we’ll update everyone.

“Of course no one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns — let’s get real here — so if Democrats are actually serious about getting a solution on that issue, not just making a political talking point, they’ll join with us to support Senator Cornyn’s SHIELD Act. It will give the Justice Department the ability to prevent known or suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. It will protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans. It will go a step further too, and actually allow terrorists to be taken into custody if a judge finds probable cause. Now that’s a serious solution on this issue.

“Let’s remember, however, that this issue represents only a piece of a much, much bigger challenge. Director Brennan also told the Intelligence Committee today that ‘despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.’

“If we want to prevent ISIL-inspired and directed attacks, we have to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Here’s what that means. From the White House, it means we don’t need another lecture or another threat to veto the defense bill — it means we need real leadership and a plan of action to defeat ISIL. From our colleagues in the Senate, it means we don’t need more campaign talk-a-thons — it means we need serious solutions and hard work. That’s what our constituents sent us here to do. We may have gotten held back by a day, but now we’re able to keep moving forward to set up votes on both sides, just as we always expected.”

SOURCE:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Republican-Led Senate Continues Working on Bipartisan Efforts to Fight Terrorism

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

‘Republicans have offered ideas to address the threat of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks like the one we saw in Orlando. Republicans have offered ideas to help connect the dots with respect to terrorist communications. Republicans have offered ideas to help disrupt terrorists’ plans. These are the kinds of things we’ve long advocated. They were important before the horrific events this weekend. They’re all the more important today.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need for the President to lay out a credible plan to defeat ISIL:

“Seven months ago, ISIL terrorists massacred 130 victims across the city of Paris. Six months ago, ISIL supporters murdered more than a dozen victims at a holiday party in San Bernardino. Three months ago, ISIL bombings killed and maimed indiscriminately in the heart of Europe. And then, last month, ISIL’s spokesman issued a chilling declaration of war against the Western World. He called for attacks, specifically ‘lone wolf’ attacks, throughout the month of Ramadan in Europe and the United States. ‘Get prepared…to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers,’ he said, ‘[T]he smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would if you were with us.’

“On Sunday, a terrorist claiming allegiance to ISIL took 49 American lives. The next day, an ISIL supporter in France murdered two people including an off-duty police officer.

“We hope to learn more about the Orlando terrorist attack and the depth of that particular terrorist’s involvement with ISIL when Senators are briefed later today by the FBI Director and the Homeland Security Secretary. But this much seems clear already.

“I do not believe this was some random act of violence. It seems clear this was cold-blooded murder committed by a terrorist who picked his targets with deliberate malice, who pledged his allegiance to a group that stones gay men and tosses them from rooftops. To a group that enslaves women. To a group that crucifies children.

“ISIL is not the JV Team, it’s the personification of evil in our world. ISIL is not ‘contained,’ nor can it be.

“The way to prevent more ISIL-inspired and ISIL-directed heartbreak is to defeat ISIL. This is why we’ve repeatedly demanded a serious plan from the President to defeat ISIL, and done what we can to fill the leadership vacuum he’s left. This is why we’ve worked to strengthen law-enforcement, rebuild our military, and develop counter-terrorism tools designed to save lives.

“The terrorist attack in Orlando underlines the critical importance of this work, and it presents each of us with a choice: Do we want to make the tough choices to actually solve the problem and defeat ISIL, or do we want to use the Senate floor to make 30-second political ads?

“As I said, the principal way to prevent ISIL-inspired or directed attacks is to defeat ISIL inside Iraq and Syria.

“The President’s containment strategy, which has relied primarily upon a ground proxy force of Syrian YPG Kurds, will not be sufficient to dislodge ISIL from its headquarters in Raqqa or clear and hold ground in Arab parts of Syria.

“The next President must do much more, and there are steps we can take today to help him or her succeed in that effort. The sweeping defense bill we passed yesterday represents a decisive step in the right direction.

“Not only will it help prepare our next commander-in-chief, it will help strengthen military readiness, better enable service members to confront threats, and help keep the American people safer from an array of national security challenges. Passing that bill sent a strong signal to our men and women in uniform. It sent a strong signal to our allies. It sent a strong signal to our adversaries. But there’s more we can and must do.

“This week, through the appropriations process, we’ll continue to discuss ways we can shore up our efforts to fight terrorism. Several Republican colleagues have already offered ideas on how we can do so.

“Republicans have offered ideas to address the threat of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks like the one we saw in Orlando. Republicans have offered ideas to help connect the dots with respect to terrorist communications. Republicans have offered ideas to help disrupt terrorists’ plans. These are the kinds of things we’ve long advocated. They were important before the horrific events this weekend. They’re all the more important today.

“By passing the underlying appropriations bill, we can provide the FBI with more of the support it needs to follow leads generated within our borders. In the meantime, I encourage Senators to work with the very capable bill managers who crafted this legislation — the Senior Senators from Alabama and Maryland — if they have other effective ideas to make this bill stronger.

“This much is clear. We can choose to respond to terrorist attacks after the damage is already done, or we can make it our goal to prevent them. I know my choice. I am going to keep doing what I can to prevent the pain and the loss of terrorism.

“Our families and communities are counting on it. Our freedoms and rights as Americans are counting on it.

“We must continue to do what’s necessary to seek out terror threats at every level and protect the country we love.”

SOURCE:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

General Officer Announcements

SOURCE:  DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the president has made the following nominations:

Air Force Lt. Gen. Stephen W. Wilson for appointment to the rank of general, and for assignment as vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.  Wilson is currently serving as deputy commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Air Force Maj. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson for appointment to the rank of lieutenant-general, and for assignment as deputy chief of staff, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.  Jamieson is currently serving as deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, U.S. Strategic Command, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, District of Columbia.

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