A Message from Senator Richard Burr

As we wrap up another week in Washington, I hope you will take a moment to read over some of this week's events and how they impact you and our fellow North Carolinians.

As a Senator, one of my most significant responsibilities is to ensure the protection of America's citizens from those who wish to do us harm.This week, the Senate Committee on Intelligence released a report on how the intelligence community failed to identify Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the individual charged with attempting to detonate a bomb on Christmas Day 2009, as a terrorist threat. The report pointed to several factors including human error, technical problems, analytical misjudgments, and competing priorities among government agencies which prevented the suspect from being identified as a security risk.In addition to the views contained in the report, Senator Saxby Chambliss from Georgia and I issued an additional statement that shows that some of the same security issues we identified within the intelligence community prior to 9/11 still exist today.As a member of this committee, I will continue to work to ensure that our intelligence community is as vigilant and well-positioned to intercept threats to our national security as possible.

In other news regarding the intelligence community, Admiral Dennis Blair today resigned as Director of National Intelligence after being asked by President Obama to step down.Admiral Blair is a patriot with a proud and distinguished career of service to this nation, and he can be proud of the contribution he has made to national security.This abrupt resignation signals to me that unhealthy tensions exist in our government.We need clear, nonpolitical leadership making the decisions that affect our intelligence collection and analysis.It worries me that the Director of National Intelligence can be removed at a pivotal time in the fight against terrorism and in the wake of a serious attack, such as the one that occurred in Times Square.

In addition to our physical security, our nation's economic security is a top priority of mine.To strengthen our economic infrastructure, we need financial regulatory reform. However, the legislation that passed last night does not address the root causes of the economic crisis and fails to accomplish regulatory reform in a way that helps the average American.Instead, it enables unlimited bailouts for the biggest banks at taxpayers' expense, allows government bureaucrats to monitor credit card purchases, and does nothing to address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two agencies at the center of the economic meltdown. It empowers big banks on Wall Street to the detriment of Americans doing business on Main Street. I strongly opposed this bill.

For those of you in the western part of the state, I'd like to give you an update on the toxic waste site in the Mills Gap area, as I know this is very important for area residents.On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report that confirmed my suspicions that the tests conducted by EPA Region 4 failed to provide a clear picture of the extent of the contamination.EPA also failed to effectively communicate in clear terms what these results mean for people living in the area. I have called for the EPA to assign responsibility for this area to a different Region, which should perform new and additional tests and inform residents of what they need to do to avoid further exposure to toxic chemicals.We will continue to remain in close contact to the people living in the area on how these tests progress.


U.S. Senator Richard Burr

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