John Mica announces hearing on feds’ assessment of Orlando’s risk

John Mica

U.S. Rep. John Mica has announced a congressional hearing to look into why the federal government failed to assess Orlando to be a major target for terrorism.

Mica, the Winter Park Republican who is a member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, said in a news release the hearing will look into the “failure of the federal government to accurately assess the terrorist risk threat facing Orlando and the Central Florida area prior to the Pulse terrorist massacre.”

In 2015 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security downgraded the terror risk assessment of Orlando, stripping it of eligibility for some federal assistance. Mica, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and others have harshly criticized the Obama administration for the move, which they contend ignored the prospects in Orlando, the world’s largest tourism destination.

However, no one suggests the designation might have prevented ISIS-pledging Omar Mateen from going to Orlando’s popular gay nightclub and killing 49 people and wounding 53 on June 12.

Orlando officials, however, had been seeking a re-designation and the federal funding that comes with it.

“Despite my repeated pleas and multiple requests from Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Orlando Police Chief John Mina and documentation provided on our soft target challenges, DHS turned us down,” Mica stated. “The attack on our community proved Orlando is extremely susceptible to a terrorist attack.”

Mica has invited both Demings and Mina to testify at the Government Reform and Oversight Committee Hearing Friday in Washington.

“We need to carefully review how this program failed so dramatically when it is supposed to provide aid and assistance to our local and state law enforcement first responders as they address the terrorist risk and threat to their community,” Mica added.

The July 15th hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. and can be viewed at the Oversight Committee’s website or on YouTube.


Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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