Following the September 11 attacks, Schiff supported American military action against al Qaeda. But he has also pushed for a broader strategy that emphasizes diplomacy, improvements in homeland security, intelligence reform, and efforts to stabilize countries to prevent future failed states from becoming havens for terrorists.
Schiff has worked to reorient American aid to Pakistan in order to persuade Pakistani leaders to make the fight against Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda elements the centerpiece of their national security strategy, rather than the decades-long rivalry with India. As a member of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPS) of the House Committee on Appropriations, Rep. Schiff has pushed Pakistani officials to recognize that al Qaeda and extremism are a threat to both our countries. Schiff also believes that one of best ways to combat extremism is to work with the Pakistani government to bring economic opportunity and better schools to the volatile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and to help Pakistan to widen the circle of economic opportunity for its citizens.
At the same time, Schiff is deeply concerned about the discovery of Osama bin Laden, not in a cave along Pakistan's lawless border with Afghanistan, but instead in a purpose built compound just a few hundred yards from the Pakistan Military Academy. Both in his capacity as an appropriator and also as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Schiff believes that this casts our relationship with Pakistan in a new light -- that while we must maintain our support for the civilian leadership and those elements of the military and intelligence services that are fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda, we must redouble our efforts to get Pakistan to stop its self-defeating and dangerous double dealing with jihadis.
Schiff also supports President Obama's decision to refocus our efforts in Afghanistan. This is a war that the Afghans themselves must win, and that while Schiff believes that international forces still have a role to play in stabilizing the country in the coming months, sufficient Afghan forces must be trained and the Karzai government must engage in a broad national dialogue and commit to transparent and honest government so that NATO forces can begin a serious drawdown.
Schiff is also focusing on Yemen and Somalia, two countries racked by civil strife, limited economic opportunity and active extremist movements. Schiff is concerned that either country could become a new haven for al Qaeda, especially in the wake of bin Laden's death.