Corker: Time to Consider Updating Authorization For Use Of Force Against Al Qaeda

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
During a hearing today on U.S. counterterrorism policies, U.S. Senator Bob Corker called upon Congress to consider updating the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against al Qaeda in order to address new and emerging terrorist threats and to better protect the American people and our interests overseas. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has exclusive jurisdiction over the authorization of the use of military force.

He said, “For far too long, Congress has failed to fully exercise its constitutional responsibility to authorize the use of military force, including in the current struggle against al Qaeda, so I urge the committee to consider updating current antiterrorism authorities to adapt to threats that did not exist in 2001 and to better protect our nation while upholding our morals and values.

This effort should involve putting in place specific policy guidance for how and when the president can use these authorities, including lethal action and the use of drones, in regular consultation with Congress, so we can restore the appropriate balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of government while maintaining flexibility for the president to respond swiftly under threat of attack.

“Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates has changed dramatically, as the organization has morphed from a centrally-controlled entity headed by Osama Bin Laden to one made up of franchises around the world. As a result, our policy must change to ensure our success in protecting the American people from attack continues. Former counterterrorism officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations have said the current authorities, originally directed at those responsible for 9/11 and groups like the Taliban that harbored them, are increasingly outdated to address new and emerging global terrorist threats. Therefore, we must ensure that Congress has fully granted our government all the tools and capabilities to work with our partners to confront these very real threats to the American people and our interests overseas. I appreciate the chairman’s attention to these issues, and I urge him to hold another hearing in the near future to consider reform of our counterterrorism policy, including possible legislation.”

He said the benefits of updating the 2001 authorities were reiterated in testimony from Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Leiter:“I believe bringing greater visibility to some programs could be useful not only to build U.S. support, but also to build greater international understanding if not support—a key element in our ideological efforts. Moreover, I would suggest that the current debate highlights the need to examine seriously the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). During my tenure at the National Counterterrorism Center, the AUMF provided adequate authority for the use of force, but it was not always a simple or straightforward application. With the continued evolution of the terror threat and most notably its increasing distance from the 9/11 attacks and core al Qa’ida, I believe it is the time to re-evaluate the AUMF to better fit today’s threat landscape.”

Senator Corker said former Bush administration senior counterterrorism official Kenneth L. Wainstein also testified "to the need for reevaluating our counterterrorism policy and the importance of congressional action in establishing legitimacy for military action taken by the president."

Wainstein:“We are now at a pivot point where we need to reevaluate the means and objectives of our counterterrorism program in light of the evolving threat…Congressional action has provided one other very important element to our counterterrorism initiatives -- a measure of political legitimacy that could never be achieved through unilateral executive action…That legitimizing effect -- and its continuation through meaningful oversight -- is critical to maintaining the public’s confidence in the means and methods our government uses in its fight against international terrorism. It also provides assurance to our foreign partners and thereby encourages them to engage in the operational cooperation that is so critical to the success of our combined efforts against international terrorism.”

In its second of two hearings on counterterrorism, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard bipartisan testimony today from Leiter, Wainstein and former House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Jane Harman, D-Calif. Last week’s classified hearing on counterterrorism featured testimony from Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen.

For full committee testimony, including footage of the hearing, visit:http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/counterterrorism-policies-and-priorities_addressing-the-evolving-threat.


Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL     2401 S CHAMBERLAIN AVE.#2 CHATTANOOGA, 37404     27     Chattanooga          VIOLATION OF PROBATION (DOMESTIC ASSAULT) BEAN, BO     HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA,     42    ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My October Garden

Hark! It is the first day of October and, as I make my monthly stroll through the garden, I find a growing numbers of leaves and acorns. Autumn leaves are beautiful while acorns are nuts, thus you will get the idea as we make our monthly awards: A PRETTY LEAF to Phil Hughes after the Minnesota Twins pitcher came within one inning of earning a $500,000 bonus this season. The deal ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Earns Senior-Night Soccer Victory

Honoring the team’s nine seniors was a focus of Tuesday night’s girls’ soccer match at Notre Dame, but it wasn’t the top priority for the Lady Irish. They knew that a win over visiting Signal Mountain would secure a first-place finish in District 7-AA, and their mission was to earn it. Notre Dame did just that, making Emma Higgins’ early goal stand for a ... (click for more)

UTC Men's Hoops: Brooks Savage, Alex Wharton Promoted

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball program is promoting two staffers, pending University approval, coach Will Wade announced Tuesday. Brooks Savage and Alex Wharton are moving into new roles in the wake of assistant coach Turner Battle leaving to take a similar position at UAB. Savage takes Battle’s place as a full-time assistant after ... (click for more)