Representative Will Hurd (R-TX) said that “we are not getting the information we need from our European allies” on potential terrorists during Saturday’s GOP Weekly Address.
Transcript as Follows:
“If we get the right information to the right people, we can keep terrorists on the run and off our shores. That’s why the House passed legislation this week to tighten up our Visa Waiver program. It’s part of our ongoing effort to tackle the terrorist threat head on, and to keep our country safe.
I spent nine years as an undercover officer in the CIA. I was the guy in the back alleys at four o’clock in the morning, chasing bad guys like al-Qaeda and the Taliban. So when we talk about the threat we’re facing right now—from ISIS and other terrorist groups—I know from first-hand experience, that they are a clear and present danger to the United States.
We can’t contain this threat. We have to defeat it. We need a plan and that’s why the House passed a bill that requires the president to come up with a real strategy to defeat ISIS.
Taking down ISIS will not be easy and there are many things we need to do. One of them is to tighten up the Visa Waiver program.
This program allows citizens of friendly countries to come to the United States for 90 days without getting a visa. This is a great program for promoting trade and tourism. But if we’re not careful, it can be a weak spot in our defenses.
I serve on the House Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign-Fighter Travel, where we look specifically at the threat of ISIS to the homeland. One of the things that we found, is that we are not getting the information we need from our European allies.
Many of them have signed agreements with us, saying that they will share terrorist watch-list data. This includes most of the countries that participate in the Visa Waiver program. We learned that some of them only share the names of convicted terrorists, and not the suspects. Some promise to share the names of people traveling to the United States.
But because the European Union has few internal border checkpoints, terrorists can easily exploit this loophole. So, a German citizen could drive to Spain, and then fly to the United States—entirely undetected. These loopholes need to be closed, and these intelligence failures need to stop.
The bill we overwhelmingly passed this week allows the Department of Homeland Security to suspend a country from the Visa Waiver program if it does not give us the information we need to track terrorists. These ideas are simply common sense. But they go a long way towards keeping us safe.
This is just the start. To defeat ISIS, we have to be in this for the long haul. House Republicans are making progress, and the people of our country deserve nothing less. Thank you.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett