Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s counterterrorism speech at the National Defense University:

“President Obama said today that the terrorist threat facing America today has significantly declined and is similar to what we faced prior to the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11th, 2001.  Last fall, he similarly declared that “Al-Qaeda is on its heels,” yet a month earlier, its affiliates had attacked and killed four Americans in Benghazi.  Since then, Al-Qaeda associates have established a stronger presence in Northern Africa, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and, more recently, two Al-Qaeda inspired terrorists executed a gruesome bombing in Boston.  The troubling reality is that the President continues to underestimate the serious threat that Al-Qaeda and its affiliated and inspired terrorists present to Americans.  Now is not the time to abandon robust efforts to keep Americans safe.   Al-Qaeda and its affiliates were not on their heels last year, and they clearly are not now.” 

“The President continues to mistakenly treat counterterrorism as a law enforcement issue.  As a recent example, the Administration has reportedly failed to take military action against the identified Benghazi attackers, in part, because it prefers to try to collect evidence on them so that they might be tried in U.S. courts, leaving these terrorists on the loose.  The President’s renewed and ill conceived push to close Guantanamo threatens the security of U.S. citizens at home and abroad.”