Lots of questions this morning about the purpose of President Obama’s surprise trip to Afghanistan. Right after Air Force One went wheels up, the Taliban exploded a car bomb in Kabul that killed seven people. That was a fairly tough reminder that there’s a long way to go in Afghanistan.
The new agreement between President Obama and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai is called the strategic partnership agreement that promises American support for Afghanistan through 2024, 10 years after the last American combat forces are scheduled to leave the country.
Some felt the speech fell a little short, including “The New York Times” in an editorial this morning. They wrote the speech was frustratingly short on specifics.
This morning on “Starting Point,” Soledad talks with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY). She asked him if President Obama made the right case in his speech, and what our purpose in Afghanistan should be.
“I think it’s important to know, for instance, will the U.S. have the right to go from Afghanistan into Pakistan to launch drone attacks for instance? Or if we see al Qaeda operations forming in Pakistan, do we have the right to preempt them? That to me is very important,” King says.
“Otherwise, I believe you could see al Qaeda forming right outside of the Afghanistan border and whatever troops we have left in Afghanistan in 2014, 2015, 2016, will not be adequate to match up against them. So, that’s one issue.”
Soledad also asks him to respond to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s claim from her interview that 14 different plots against New York City have been thwarted since 9/11.
“I think it’s largely because of the infrastructure, the international anti-terrorism infrastructure that was put in place after 9/11 by President Bush. There’s much more cooperation with our allies. We have the Patriot Act. We have many layers of defense. And quite frankly, I agree with Jose Rodriguez. I think a lot of the information that we obtained from Guantanamo and from the interrogations was extremely helpful in stopping attacks against this country,” King says.
King also says he thinks the investigation into the Secret Service scandal in Colombia has been very thorough.
“In a way the Secret Service has ducked a bullet. What happened here really goes against all of the principles of the Secret Service because it was disclosed and there was no long-term security matter involved here, it gives the Secret Service the opportunity to clear up what has happened and do all accounts to make sure it never happens again, or at least minimizes it, to make it very difficult for that to happen again and get the signal out there to all Secret Service members that this conduct will not be tolerated.
See more from the interview below.
King: Anti-terror layers thwart attacks
King: Secret Service ‘ducked a bullet’