As we work to improve and streamline information sharing, we need to remember that an alert citizenry reminds -- remains our first line of defense against terrorist attacks, whether at transportation hubs or city parks or airports or Times Square.
A good example of how an alert -- is how an alert street vendor, noticing smoke coming from a vehicle in Times Square, reported it to local law enforcement and thus helped to disrupt an attempted bombing. If not for this concerned citizen, the consequences could have been deadly.
In 2007, Senator Lieberman and I co-authored a law that made it easier for alert citizens to report suspicious activity in the transportation sector indicating potential terrorist behavior without facing the threat of frivolous lawsuits. This year, we have reintroduced our "See Something, Say Something" bill to expand those protections to reports of such behavior in all sectors.
The world is a safer place without Osama bin Laden, but we are not yet safe. We are better prepared for terrorist attacks across all modes of transportation. But the fact remains that future attacks, at least attempted attacks, are certain. The enemy continues to innovate and probe our defenses.
Administrator Pistole and I recently spoke at a forum conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about these challenges. One of our greatest assets is the spirit of innovation and flexibility that are fostered when we partner with the private sector, state and local governments, and local law enforcement officials. We are able to benefit from their eyes, ears and ideas.
I thank our witnesses for being here, and I look forward to the discussion today.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks very much, Senator Collins.
I thank Senator Paul and Senator Carper for being here.
We'll go now to Director Pistole.
John Pistole has spent 28 years in service of our government. And we talk a lot about service in the military, but people like Administrator Pistole have served our country with great effect -- appreciate it -- most of that with the FBI and now with the TSA.
So we look forward to your testimony now.
PISTOLE: Thank you, Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins, Senator Carper, Senator Paul. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today with the distinguished co-witnesses to discuss the efforts of TSA in partnership with not only DHS and FEMA, of course, but our industry partners and those who are in the best position to provide the best possible mass transit and passenger rail security.
And, Chairman Lieberman, I'd just comment on your -- your five goals for improvement that you noted in your opening statement, and I agree with each one of those, noting that we have made some significant improvement in those areas, but we need to do more. And so I appreciate you highlighting those.
As been mentioned, last month the president announced the U.S. operation that resulted in Osama bin Laden's death. That effort marked a historic counterterrorism success for not only the U.S., but for the world.
And I would add to that the recently announced -- announced death of Ilyas Kashmiri, the leader of Al Qaida operational wing out of Pakistan for western attacks, including Europe and the U.S., and Harun Fazul, the leader of Al Qaida in East Africa and, of course, the leader of the -- the 1998 East Africa bombings and much of Al Qaida's work in -- in the Horn of Africa there.
Our efforts to combat terrorism go well beyond those individuals as Senator Collins mentions -- mentioned -- and that's why we remain focused on trying to do what we can do in terms of enhancing the efforts of others, along with our own critical mission of protecting the traveling public and our transportation systems.
TSA will continue to evaluate screening measures based on the latest intelligence, and we'll continue to share information with stakeholders to enable them to enhance protective measures and surge resources as appropriate.
As we know, mass transit systems and passenger railroads are a critical part of the transportation network TSA works to protect, as passengers rely on them for over 10 billion trips annually.