May 9th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
4 years ago

We can't prevent every terrorism attack, Republican says


Washington (CNN) – Reflecting on the recent failed terrorism attack on Times Square, a Republican senator said Sunday that the United States may not be able to prevent every scheme designed to do harm.

“We can do everything we can to protect – but there will be some things that will slip up on us, no matter what,” Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Shelby noted that the recent Times Square plot and last year’s failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day had something in common - they were both carried out in the main by a single person. Those types of one-person operations make intelligence gathering and detection that much harder, he said.

“So if they keep doing this and they fan out all over the country, we’re going to have deep, deep challenges ahead in terms terrorism work,” Shelby told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Later in the interview, Shelby said that law enforcement officials were lucky when it came to the botched Times Square plot. “It’s been said before: Luck shouldn’t be our policy,” said Shelby, “We’ve got to be more diligent. We’ve got to do more training. We’ve got to realize that individuals are dangerous by themselves especially when they’ve had training.”

Shelby added, “Something’s going to happen and we’re not going to be so fortunate. So we’ve got to be more diligent. We’ve got to recognize that it’s not just big groups or lots of people on one hit day. It’s individuals, spread all over the country.”

Joining Shelby Sunday on the broadcast, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said government cannot deal on its own with the apparent trend of radicalization of young men who later attempt to carry out attacks on the United States.

“We’re going to have to have clerics who understand true Islam [to] help us in preaching what is the accurate teachings of the Koran because when these guys are told to go blow themselves up and go blow innocent civilians up, that’s not what the Koran teaches,” said Nelson.

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. S Callahan

    Looks like Shelby just lost and Alabama election.

    You are wrong though..there is a way to prevent this..laugh if you will ..but putting on a little sackcloth...repenting...and seeking God's will would help alot. As well, leave Israel alone...she is our friend and in times of trouble friends do not desert each other.

    May 9, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Discernment

    OH MY!?!

    Senator Shelby spoke reality, instead of political back scratching?

    I'm not going outside now, because it is going to rain cats & dogs when an overly political Senator Shelby speaks the truth instead of Conservative Republican scare tactics.

    May 9, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Texas Doc

    We have already seen the damage done when the president ignores obvious warnings like "Bin Laden determined to attack US". At least now we have avoided several potentially devastating events.

    May 9, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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