Written by Matthew A. Piacentini Friday, 06 May 2011 00:00
Reaction to President Obama’s announcement Sunday night showed how united most Americans feel about the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Where the population does remain divided, however, is in the approach our country should take in weeding out terrorist threats that are less identifiable than Osama bin Laden. Since taking on the role of chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives, Congressman Peter King, who also represents this area, has championed what he defines as the new fight: rooting out threats within our borders. The Glen Cove Republican Committee held a dinner honoring these efforts at the Swan Club last week as part of a fundraising kick-off to the local 2011 campaign.
The dinner and discussion with Congressman King was held just days before our country successfully took down bin Laden in Pakistan, but the division remains the same in our government. Even as King has commended the president publicly for leading the CIA and Navy SEAL effort, he maintains that they stand at odds when it comes to homeland security. King’s position was spelled out for local Republicans at the dinner, where he said: operations at Guantanamo should continue; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should resign for, what King considers, thwarting the CIA’s anti-terrorist work; and the president was wrong for trying to bring terror trials to New York City. Beyond these points, King stressed his main goal, fighting the threat coming from unsuspected and unwatched parties already in the U.S.
“It would be very difficult for al-Qaida to carry out an attack like 9/11,” King told the audience at the Swan Club. “But al-Qaida is now recruiting from within [the U.S.], under our radar.” The congressman enumerated several attacks and near attacks that came out of nowhere, with no warning, including Major Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood shooting, Faisal Shahzad’s Times Square bomb attempt and Najibullah Zazi’s subway plot.
“There is a conscious effort to recruit from the United States,” King said. “...24/7, we are threatened constantly,” he also said, stating that Nassau and the rest of the tri-state metro area are “in a class by ourselves” in terms of danger. The congressman maintains that the next big attack, in his mind, will come from the suburbs.
Paul Meli, chairman of the Glen Cove Republican Committee, told the audience that Congressman King says what people are thinking but afraid to say, offering, “Pete says what is on our minds.”
Meli said that local Republicans “had the distinct pleasure of putting Pete into Congress,” and that the dinner was being held in honor of the fact that, “He is working hard day and night to keep us safe.”
Meli thanked dignitaries in attendance and key people in the local Republican movement, saying, “The Republican Committee is energized as this [dinner with King] and our recent newsletter show.”
He recognized Pamela Panzenbeck and David Nieri for their efforts; Kathleen Lappano, the new president of the Glen Cove Republican Club; Charles Bozzello; Filomena Ricciardi; Pasquale Cervasio; and Fernando Vincenzini. Dignitaries at the dinner that Meli mentioned were: Assemblyman Michael Montesano, Senator Carl Marcellino, Joe Reilly, Board of Education Trustee Grady Farnan, and Nassau County Youth Board Executive Director Maggie Malito.
Several attendees spoke to the Record Pilot after the event. Filomena Ricciardi shared, “The evening was clearly a fundraising effort to help finance the upcoming mayoral campaign. As for why we chose Congressman King, beside his obvious political level in the Republican Party, there is another, more substantive reason; all indications point to the fact that this country is longing for a change to bring back a society that stands on the values upon which America built its civic, social and political foundations…[Peter King’s] courage and determination is a source of inspiration for the battle that we in Glen Cove have ahead of us. We, the citizens of Glen Cove, can no longer bear the burden of a delusional and irresponsible administration. We can no longer allow the mantra that ‘we are fine’ and ‘we are holding our own’ when we are fast loosing ground financially.”
Pasquale Cervasio said, “It is clear that communities across the country, thence the country itself are yearning for a new direction and new leadership to lead the way in this quest… A leadership, which will adhere to the old creed of politicians apt at being of service to their constituencies. In the person of Congressman Peter King: We, the people, of the 3rd Congressional District have that kind of statesmanship... He is an inspirational example that puts people first and politics later if ever. I think that in that spirit we should go out in our communities and engage our friends and fellow citizens in a debate that clearly identifies the issues and in a even clearer way offer solutions, not based on political correctness or calculus; but pragmatic approach to the people needs.”
Kathleen Lappano said, “[The] fundraiser honoring Congressman Peter King was an outstanding success if the applause and standing O’s are any indication. Congressman King is a clear example of a new breed of Republican that will not abide business as usual, especially when it concerns our country’s security and his courage was appreciated by this crowd last night. The Glen Cove Republican Party is proud to stand with him.”