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Tuesday September 13, 2011 | 09:29 AM

There may not have been a second foreign-terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, and the 9/11 weekend threat didn’t materialize, but that doesn’t mean the United States doesn’t have more work to do on the homeland security front, says Sen. Susan Collins.

“As has been noted often, the terrorists only have to get it right once; we have to be right every time or suffer the consequences of an attack,” says Collins, R-Maine, in remarks prepared for a hearing later this morning of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security exploring the question: “Ten years after 9/11: Are we safer?

Collins says that, “We are much safer than we were a decade ago, but we must be relentless in anticipating the changing tactics of terrorists.”

Collins, the top Republican on the homeland security committee, touts some of the homeland security successes over the past decade, but also points out what she views as continuing security gaps.

“The operation that killed Osama bin Laden represented the kind of successful collaboration of intelligence and operations that we envisioned,” Collins says, alluding to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 she co-authored with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., the committee’s chairman.  “Information is now being shared more effectively, both across the federal government and among federal agencies and their state, local, and tribal partners.”

Homegrown terrorism is just one of the continuing threats to homeland security, she says.

While the Department of Homeland Security has strengthened border security and made identification documents more difficult to forge, two Iraqi refugees with ties to al Qaida were arrested in Kentucky recently for allegedly helping to carry out attacks against U.S. troops, Collins noted.

While airline passenger screening has been shored up, recently a young man was able to fly across the country without a valid form of identification and with an expired boarding pass not even in his name, Collins said.

“We must ask:  Are there other Iraqi nationals granted asylum who were involved in attacking our troops?  It is deeply troubling that we still await clear answers from the administration,” Collins says in her hearing remarks.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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