WASHINGTON, D.C. ñ Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade, along with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, held a hearing on ìThe Terrorist Threat in North Africa: Before and After Benghaziî. The Subcommittees called the hearing to examine the terrorist threat in North Africa in light of the attacks in Benghazi and Algeria which resulted in the deaths of seven Americans. Four witnesses testified including three experts on the issue and Mike Lovelady, brother of Victor Lovelady who died in the Algeria attack. Victor Lovelady lived in Congressman Poeís district in Southeast Texas.
In September, four brave Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, died when extremists attacked an American consulate in Benghazi. Then, in January, over 800 people were taken hostage by militants at a gas plant in Algeria. These attacks were reminders that the threat in North Africa continues to grow. The Algeria attack was proof that the instability in Libya has spread and threatens American interests throughout the region. Whether itís cross border weapons smugglers, transnational drug traffickers, or global terrorist groups working through the porous and unsecured borders, we still face serious challenges.
ìFor years, the publicís focus in regards to Islamic terrorism has been on the Middle East,î said Chairman Poe. ìWhile the threat still remains strong in that region, the terrorists have expanded their operations to other areas of the world, including North Africa. Today we heard insightful testimony from experts in this area as well as the tragic story of Mike Lovelady whose brother Victor died in the Algeria attack. The attacks in Libya and Algeria demonstrated the urgent need for America to be proactive in understanding the growing threat in North Africa that will only continue to inflate if we do not act now.î