Hoping to cull a summary of how the United States has held up in its efforts to stave off foreign-inspired terrorist attacks since 9/11, the House Homeland Security Committee next week will hear testimony from Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to examine the Boston Marathon bombing and its implications for U.S. homeland security, committee chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, announced Wednesday.
"Two weeks ago, our country was attacked by radical Islamist terrorists," McCaul said in a statement. "Four lives were lost and hundreds of others were forever changed. As our nation recovers, it is imperative that we understand what happened, what signs may have been missed and what we can improve."
News of the hearing, scheduled for Thursday, May 9, comes one day after President Obama went to bat for U.S. law enforcement and his administration for their handling of the tragedy that killed three and left more than 180 wounded. Having identified now-deceased bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev years ago as potentially tied to terrorists, he said during a press conference, U.S. officials determined there were no signs he was "engaging in extremist activity."
Another line of questioning that's likely to come up is Tamerlan Tsarnaev's 2011 trip to Russia. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has led the charge in questioning security measures, claiming that Tsarnaev's six-month trip went off without a hitch because his name was misspelled; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, though, argued that the "system pinged" when he boarded the plane, but the investigation had concluded by the time he returned to the United States.
"This will be the first in a series of hearings, as part of a broader investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings," McCaul said. "The investigation will look at how law enforcement addressed the area after the attack; how federal, state and local officials communicated with their counterparts at other agencies regarding the suspects before and following the event; and the challenges associated with securing our country since 9/11.
"Ultimately," he continued, "the investigation will assess how our efforts have evolved to meet the dynamic terrorist threat of foreign-inspired attacks on our soil, and what changes may be necessary to protect the homeland."
Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Massachusetts undersecretary for homeland security Kurt Schwartz are also slated to testify.