The top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee has a history of making controversial statements.
He did it again Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., led off a hearing on the security risks of Syrian refugees by saying the committee would be better served if it looked within at U.S.-born citizens for potential terrorists.
Thompson said the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week illustrated America’s more pressing problems with “violent extremism.” He suggested that the threats posed by “domestic terrorism” were more acute than those posed by Muslim refugees being sent to the U.S. from Syria.
“Time and time again, I have urged this committee not to have a narrow view of violent extremism, which ignores violent extremist activity of domestic groups,” Thompson said.
“Regrettably, last week’s attacks at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston brought this issue into stark focus,” he continued. “Congress, the president, and the Department of Homeland Security need to come together with state and local governments to honestly acknowledge that domestic terrorism is a threat to the safety and security of the American homeland, including the refugees who resettle within our borders. We must move beyond the perceived fears of the unknown and focus on credible threat information and allow the security vetting systems we have in place (for refugees) to work.” more