Published September 30, 2011
Politicians in the nation's capital and on the campaign trail are heaping praise on the CIA and U.S. Joint Special Operations Command for killing American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who died early Friday in a drone and jet strike on his convoy. Here are there statements:
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee: "The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a great success in our fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. For the past several years, al-Awlaki has been more dangerous even than Usama bin Laden had been. The killing of al-Awlaki is a tremendous tribute to President Obama and the men and women of our intelligence community. Despite this vital development today, we must remain as vigilant as ever, knowing that there are more Islamic terrorists who will gladly step forward to backfill this dangerous killer."
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a tweet: "The world is safer with Anwar al-Awlaki dead. Pressure on Al Qaeda needs to be kept up."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: "This is a crucial win in the fight against extremism. Along with the elimination of Usama bin Laden, this is a serious blow to Al Qaeda's worldwide franchise.We must keep in mind, however, that al-Awlaki was by no means the most dangerous member of Al Qaeda, and that the broad extremist threat our country faces remains dangerous. We must continue to remain vigilant, and work to destroy Al Qaeda and others who threaten our homeland."
Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee: "A dangerous terrorist is dead, and I offer my thanks to the Yemeni forces who killed him, with the assistance of the United States. Al-Awlaki inspired multiple attacks against Americans, and I am relieved that the threat he posed has been eliminated. However, this is not a time to let our guards down. Rather, we must redouble our efforts to keep al Qaeda on the run and break their ability to carry out future attacks."
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: "As the English-speaking leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the radical cleric al-Awlaki inspired and encouraged numerous terrorist plots against our country, using his knowledge of America as a means to harm us. The Fort Hood attacks, the attempted bombing in New York's Times Square, the failed attempt to bring down an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009, and the thwarted plot to detonate explosives concealed in printer toner cartridges on airplanes all bore his fingerprints. He fueled hate against America, and we are safer because al-Awlaki is dead. We must nevertheless continue our efforts to combat and discredit the violent Islamist ideology he espoused and disseminated."
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee: "The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen is another great step forward in breaking the back of Al Qaeda. Born in New Mexico, al-Awlaki's deep understanding of American culture made him a very dangerous inspirational leader in the terrorist network. Al-Awlaki continued to inspire others to terror and actively planned and sought ways to kill Americans and attack our homeland."
Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee: "The death of Anwar al-Awlaki is a significant blow to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to the Al Qaeda movement, which has repeatedly tried to carry out terrorist attacks against the United States and the people of Yemen. "Anwar al-Awlaki will no longer be able to propagate hatred and manipulate impressionable youth to take up arms against the United States and our allies. His hate-filled sermons have inspired multiple recent terror plots and Yemen and the world are safer places now that he is gone. Following the death of Usama Bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki's death is the latest in a long line of successes by the President and the men and women of our intelligence community. I applaud them for their excellent work in keeping our country safe."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a 2012 presidential contender: "I want to congratulate the United States military and intelligence communities -- and President Obama for sticking with the government's longstanding and aggressive anti-terror policies -- for getting another key international terrorist. The death of American-raised Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki is an important victory in the war on terror."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2012 presidential contender: "The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a major victory in our fight against Islamist terrorism and proper justice for the numerous attacks and plots he inspired or planned against America. I commend the president, the members of the intelligence community, our service members, and our allies for their continued efforts to keep Americans safe. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant and continue the fight against those who seek to destroy us and our freedoms."