As a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a military combat veteran, I am committed to providing our Armed Forces and Intelligence Community with the resources they need to provide a strong national defense. To effectively advance our nation’s security goals, we must be able to objectively assess our security challenges and adapt accordingly. I will continue working to make sure all branches of the Armed Forces have the tools and resources they need to keep our nation safe, and that Congress continues to play its role in overseeing Executive Branch agencies.
The Afghanistan war is now the longest running war in United States history. Since 2001, we have lost more than 2,300 men and women in Afghanistan, nearly 20,000 have been wounded, and our national treasury has been reduced by close to $557 billion.
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, the United States went into Afghanistan to eliminate a glaring threat to our national security: the safe haven and protection provided to Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda by the ruling Taliban. However, instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Unfortunately, this diversion allowed the Taliban to refortify in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and al Qaeda and affiliated groups relocated to the border region of Pakistan and to other countries around the world. Since the height of the “surge” in 2011, the U.S. has begun to redeploy our forces in Afghanistan, and is on track to end our combat role there by the end of 2014.
I support bringing our troops home from Afghanistan as quickly and safely as possible and changing our policy to a counterterrorism strategy that focuses on the threat posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates around the world, including here in the United States. Last Congress, I cosponsored a bill which would require the president to submit a plan to Congress for the safe, orderly, and expeditious redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan.
I have voted in favor of requiring President Obama to submit a plan to Congress outlining the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and have voted to invoke the War Powers Act requiring the President to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan within 30 days. Though these efforts have not yet passed the House of Representatives, I will continue to monitor the redeployment from Afghanistan, to ensure that it is significant and sizeable; and will strongly consider other legislation that may come for a vote requiring our withdrawal from Afghanistan.
I strongly believe that the current regime in Iran is a profound threat to U.S. national security interests – not only because of their nuclear ambitions, but because of the military assistance they provide armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran continues to ignore the international community on the issue of nuclear proliferation and has pledged to build new nuclear facilities, which may indicate the desire to enrich uranium for potential weapons development.
In an effort to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and strengthen security in the region, I have supported several efforts to enforce international sanctions against the Iranian government. Specifically, in the 112th Congress, I cosponsored and voted in favor of H.R. 1905, The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, which strengthened sanctions against Iran to prevent them from further developing any nuclear weapons programs. In the 113th Congress, I also coauthored H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which will place the most restrictive sanctions on Iran to date, targeting individuals and companies that do business with Iranian financial institutions.
I voted against authorizing the war in Iraq in 2002 and have been a vocal opponent of the war since before it began. Our country sacrificed enormously in this conflict, spending over $729 billion and suffering the loss of 4,409 brave American servicemembers. After the failed policies of the last administration, I am proud to see President Obama implementing policies that have removed all U.S. forces from Iraq. Our troops did what we sent them to do – now it is time for the Iraqis to take full control of their country’s defenses.
As a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), I have been continuously briefed on the situation on the ground in Syria since major unrest began in March 2011 between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups. I continue to closely monitor day-to-day developments.
Over the course of this now two year civil war, the situation in Syria deteriorated, culminating in the use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians.
The use of chemical weapons is deplorable no matter who uses them or why. And if these weapons are ever used, there should be a robust, global response to deter these types of atrocities from ever happening again. However, any such response, either militarily or otherwise, must be undertaken by the world community working in concert.
I sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to immediately reconvene Congress so that we can have a full and vigorous debate on these developments. It is essential that Congress be consulted before the United States commits itself to any response to these attacks. Congress must have the opportunity to thoroughly review the evidence assembled by the U. S. intelligence community, fully debate what, if any, U.S. action is appropriate, and ensure that an international coalition leads the resulting effort, if that is the course of action our nation decides to take.
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ISIL is a dangerous terrorist organization that must be stopped. It has brutally murdered two American citizens, and it poses a threat to the United States, to our allies and to regional stability.
However, arming Syrian opposition groups alone is not an effective strategy to combat the ISIL terrorist group and diminish its capacity to operate. There has been inadequate vetting of these opposition groups. We do not have enough information on the people we are proposing to arm and train.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), a senior member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on Wednesday voted against arming Syrian opposition groups to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
The authorization to arm and train the Syrian opposition groups passed the House by a vote of 273-156.
“ISIL is a dangerous terrorist organization that must be stopped. It has brutally murdered two American citizens, and it poses a threat to the United States, our allies, and to regional stability,” Thompson said.
Sonoma County’s two Democratic congressmen, Mike Thompson of St. Helena and Jared Huffman of San Rafael, voted Wednesday against President Barack Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels, calling it a flawed response to the terrorist group known as the Islamic State.
The measure passed the House, 273-156, with liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans united in opposition. The Senate is expected to approve the measure, with support from California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jerry McNerney were the only greater Bay Area House members who voted Wednesday in favor of President Obama’s plan to beat back the Islamic State in part by training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels.
The House voted 273-156 to add an amendment authorizing Obama’s plans to a short-term spending bill passed shortly after that will keep the federal government operating through mid-December. Voting yes were 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats, while 85 Democrats and 71 Republicans voted no.
The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, said Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena, the second-ranking Democrat on the committee.
The panel voted Thursday to declassify the report, the result of two years of investigation by the committee. U.S. intelligence agencies will have to approve making the report public.
Legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) to improve the security at American embassies passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of H.R. 4681, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015.
Studies since the Benghazi attack in 2012 have identified the need for security personnel at U.S. diplomatic posts to receive threat information from the Intelligence Community in a timely manner so that they can request and receive security enhancements as needed.
By Staff - Legislation by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) to improve security at American embassies passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of H.R. 4681, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, it was announced Tuesday.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) to improve the security at American embassies passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of H.R. 4681, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. Studies since the Benghazi attack in 2012 have identified the need for security personnel at U.S. diplomatic posts to receive threat information from the Intelligence Community in a timely manner so that they can request and receive security enhancements as needed.