Obama Calls on Bush to Address Reported Al Qaeda Resurgence by Briefing Congress on Strategy, Passing Defense Bill
U.S. Senator Barack Obama sent the following letter to President Bush today following news reports of a resurgent al-Qaeda along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Obama called on Bush to "brief Congress on its strategy for dealing with a resurgent al-Qaeda as soon as possible, but certainly before Congress recesses at the beginning of August" and to "use [his] leverage to convince Republican senators to forego their stalling tactics and pass the bill as soon as possible."
The text of the letter is below:
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
I am writing with regard to today's press accounts that al-Qaeda has used its safe haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to restore its capabilities to pre-9/11 levels. According to a new threat assessment from counterterrorism analysts, al-Qaeda core operational capability significantly improved after the Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with tribal leaders in December 2006 that effectively removed government military presence from the northwest border with Afghanistan.
This finding was echoed in Administration testimony to Congress yesterday. Before the House Armed Services Committee, the head of the CIA Analysis Directorate said, "They [al-Qaeda] seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications. We see that activity rising."
The Senate is currently considering the Department of Defense authorization bill, which includes an important provision requiring a strategy from your Administration to deal with these safe havens. This strategy is supposed to be submitted to the congressional defense committees 90 days after the bill is enacted.
Given this recent threat assessment about al-Qaeda's strength - and the warnings by Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff over the past few days - we cannot afford to wait 90 days for a strategy to be developed on this important issue. As a result, I call on the Administration to brief Congress on its strategy for dealing with a resurgent al-Qaeda as soon as possible, but certainly before Congress recesses at the beginning of August.
Moreover, I am concerned that your Republican allies in Congress are intent on slowing down consideration of this important Department of Defense bill. Because this bill authorizes our military's efforts to fight al-Qaeda, I hope you will use your leverage to convince Republican senators to forego their stalling tactics and pass the bill as soon as possible.
I thank you in advance for the consideration of my request.
United States Senator