In his effort to politicize yesterday’s failed attempted terrorist attack, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) suggested the Obama administration has thus far failed to “connect the dots.” In a tweet last night, Hoekstra seemed to say that the Obama administration hasn’t paid enough attention to Yemen:
The suspect — 23 year old Nigerian Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab — claimed to be given orders from al Qaeda in Yemen and was given an explosive device by Yemeni operatives. Hoekstra is woefully uninformed if he thinks the Obama administration hasn’t “connected the dots” to Yemen.
Yemeni security forces carried out airstrikes and ground raids against suspected al Qaeda hide-outs over the past two weeks “with what American officials described as ‘intelligence and firepower’ supplied by the United States. The assaults were Yemen’s widest offensive against jihadists in years.” President Obama reportedly personally approved the use of “military hardware, intelligence and other support to Yemeni forces” in their assault on al Qaeda.
Moreover, both Obama and his homeland security adviser, John Brennan, have cited Yemen as a key concern. After a terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen last September, Obama said:
OBAMA: We must do more to strengthen the military, police, and intelligence capability in nations like Yemen that are on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. We need a Shared Security Partnership Program to build the infrastructure to deliver effective counter-terrorism training, and to create a strong foundation for coordinated action against Al Qaeda and its affiliates. [9/17/09]
In his speech on the Afghanistan surge to West Point cadets earlier this month, Obama highlighted Yemen again:
OBAMA: We will have to be nimble and precise in our use of military power. Where al Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold — whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere — they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships. [12/1/09]
Similarly, Brennan noted Yemen in August as a place from which the terrorist threat is emanating:
BRENNAN: Even as the President takes a more focused view of the threat, his approach includes a third element: a broader, more accurate understanding of the causes and conditions that help fuel violent extremism, be they in Pakistan and Afghanistan or Somalia and Yemen. [8/6/09]
Despite Hoekstra’s desire to make a political issue of the terrorist attack, the evidence is clear that the terrorist threat emanating from Yemen has been a focal point for the Obama administration.