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Mar 22, 2016 9:54 PM

Steinhauser: Hassan tells NH1 News there are 'no credible threats' facing NH

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan says “we are in constant communication with the FBI.”

New Hampshire’s governor made the comment as she spoke one-on-one with NH1 News about the Granite State’s security precautions in the wake of Tuesday’s horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium.

“We have no information that leads us to believe that there are credible threats in New Hampshire but that being said we are in constant communication with the federal authorities, with our information and analysis center. We are taking extra precautions and we'll be extra vigilant,” Hassan said.

And the governor urged residents to help out, saying if “people see something, they need to say something. That includes not just in their physical environment but also on social media. It's really important that we all stand together and that we are all vigilant together.”

Hassan added that “the people of the Granite State and the United States stand with the people of Brussels and Belgium in grief and in mourning. And in our determination that people who are trying to sow hatred and fear will never overcome our united resolve to defeat them.”

The Democratic governor, who’s challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte this year rather than run for a third term in the Corner Office, told NH1 News that “I’ve long been saying that we have to do more to defeat ISIS. We’re going to have to increase our intelligence capabilities. We also know we’re going to have to continue to use air strikes and special forces to go ISIS and root them out where ever they are.”

And she suggested that “Congress needs to take up a much stronger authorization of use of military force so we can be clear who are enemy is an clear with the American people to what it’s going to take to defeat them.”

Ayotte put out a statement Tuesday morning stating that “my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Belgium following the horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels, which is home to NATO’s headquarters and the European Union. These attacks represent not just an attack on our NATO ally and every member of the alliance, but also an attack on every nation and individual who stands opposed to the depravity, oppression, and violence of Islamist extremism.”

“I call on the Obama administration to immediately lead an effort convening NATO members to provide Belgium all assistance possible and work together to defeat radical Islamist terrorists,” Ayotte added.

Shaheen in Brussels in Monday

New Hampshire’s senior senator, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, was in Brussels late last week through Monday, speaking at a conference focusing on the fight against international terrorism and ISIS in particular. Shaheen spoke with reporters Tuesday evening after landing at Boston’s Logan Airport following a flight back from Europe.

Shaheen shared that she was told by federal authorities that steps are in place to “prevent travel from Belgium by people who are under suspicion.”

“Obviously, that will be very strict as we move ahead,” she added.

And Shaheen pointed out that she witnessed increased security following the Brussels attacks at airports in Europe and in Boston.

"It was very clear when I came into Boston that there was more law enforcement,” Shaheen said.

But the senator also said that Americans should continue with their plans for travel.

"One of the things that I think is really important to remember is that the terrorists want us to disrupt our normal activities," Shaheen said, adding that we should be thoughtful but “we should continue with our normal activities.

Former state Sen. Jim Rubens, who’s launched a primary challenge against Sen. Ayotte, released a statement saying “once again ISIS has demonstrated its depraved barbarism, killing and maiming innocent humans today in Belgium.”

Rubens criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, for her “failed strategy of endless nation-building wars.”

“This failed strategy resulted in ISIS now being operational in eight countries and has increased chaos throughout the Middle East. This strategy is a direct cause of this morning’s horror in Belgium,” he added.

Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster said her “deepest thoughts and prayers are with the Belgian people today, and my heart goes out to all the victims injured and killed in today’s attacks and their families. This was an act of pure evil, and we must not allow the perpetrators of such senseless violence to go unpunished.”

Kuster, who represents New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, added in a statement that “we must work with our European allies to bring those responsible for today’s attacks to justice, and to stop these heartless individuals from continuing to terrorize our communities around the world.”

And Republican Rep. Frank Guinta said “my heart goes out to the victims of terror attacks in Brussels, the latest European capital to experience widespread violence, all of it directed at innocent civilians. While the facts are still coming in, adherents of the radical Islamic organization ISIS are claiming responsibility, indicating that their jihad against Western democracy continues, perhaps stronger than ever. Attacks in Brussels follow others in Paris and San Bernardino, a growing list of tragedies.”

Guinta, who represents the Granite State’s 1st Congressional District, added that “the perpetrators are cowardly but well organized and require a forceful collective response. The United States must lead other nations in the fight – not from behind. The world’s most powerful democracy must not hide behind its borders, where weak oversight may encourage our enemies. As a member of Congress, I will do everything possible to secure our country and to help our allies.”

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