Top Dem: 'Our airport defenses are inadequate’ (The Hill)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Tuesday the nation’s airports remain vulnerable to violence following last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

“If there was one vulnerability I would say we ought to focus on, it ought to be the airports,” he said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“I still believe that our airport defenses are inadequate,” Schiff continued. "It still distresses me greatly that when we test the TSA, they largely fail those tests.


“In the immediate aftermath of Paris, there is a risk of copycat attacks in the United States,” added Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.


“[It is] not likely of the scope in Paris, but nonetheless, people who have been homegrown radicalized here in the United States acting out, lashing out in the wake of these attacks.”


About 130 people died during a series of coordinated bombings and shootings in Paris the evening of Nov. 14. Reports have since emerged that one of the attackers may have infiltrated Europe using a Syrian passport.


Schiff argued Tuesday that the incident is no excuse for refusing Syrian refugees the safety of the U.S.


“The system does work,” he said. "It has protected us. But look, I understand the fear out there.


“What happened in Paris is terrifying,” Schiff continued. "Safety has to come first.


"While we want safety first and insist on safety first, we are also a very compassionate people,” he added. 


“We don’t turn our backs on mothers and children who are in need and the victims of persecution around the world. It’s part of the proudest tradition of this country.”


The House is likely voting on legislation later this week that would temporarily halt President Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement plan.


Skeptics say that the vetting process for potential migrants is not thorough enough for preventing terrorism.


More than half of the nation’s governors have also moved to temporarily block the entrance of displaced Syrians, according to a list compiled Tuesday by The Hill.


Obama argued Monday that ignoring the plight of those exiled by Syria’s bloody civil war ignores America’s essence as a nation.


“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife,” he said during the G-20 Summit in Ankara, Turkey.

Source: The Hill