December 8th, 2013
10:51 AM ET
11 months ago

Homeland Security chairman: Threat of terrorism spreading like 'wildfire' overseas

(CNN) - The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said the threat of terrorism overseas is "getting worse, not better."

"I personally see it spreading like a spiderweb, like a wildfire, through Northern Africa and the Middle East," Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."

"As that threat increases overseas, so too does it increase to the homeland - and that's my basic concern as Homeland chairman, is to keep that threat outside the United States."

Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees told CNN earlier this month on “State of the Union” that terrorists have gained ground in the past two years and that the U.S. is not any safer than it was at the outset of 2011. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, agreed that the Obama administration has lost ground in the ongoing battle with global terrorism.

McCaul said that though policies put in place as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks have prevented a similar large-scale event on U.S. soil, President Barack Obama is pushing a false narrative about the nation's safety in the world.

"When the President of the United States talks about the, downgrades the threat, his narrative is that al Qaeda is on the run, and since bin Laden has been killed the threat is no longer existing - I think is a false narrative and premise because, as we see this threat all throughout northern Africa, as we saw Egypt fall, Libya, now Syria is a great culmination of the Sunni-Shia conflict."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Feinstein’s and Rogers' comments surprised him but acknowledged that low-level attacks by lone-wolf actors, like the Boston Marathon bombing, are still "very threatening."

But is the U.S. more effective now at keeping terrorism off its shores?

"I think we are better now than we have ever been, but we are never going to be 100% safe," Schiff said, pointing to the ongoing conflict in Syria, a country that he said has become a "magnet" for those looking to join Jihad.

McCaul agreed: "I think Syria is now the training ground for the world. … These rebel forces are more of a threat than anything."

CNN's Jason Seher contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Homeland Security • House • Mike McCaul • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. Len

    We should start the draft again!!!! So everyone has their skin in the game!!!!!

    December 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. TBONE

    The threat of terrorism overseas is "getting worse, not better."Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas. Well Mike we do know one thing, that its time for you and your buddies to go and be voted out. Still stuck in 2001 I see. So sick of these Repubturds. Thats right just keep ringing the alarm. Nobody is listening and does not care anymore. Everybody moved on, did you? Apparently not. Its why your party is dying and can't seem to win many elections anymore. However that being said, I do not like the Dems either as sometimes their a bit too weak and do not have enough backbone sometimes, not all the time, just sometimes.

    December 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Imminent

    "I personally see it spreading like a spiderweb, like a wildfire, through Northern Africa and the Middle East," Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union." - INVALID.

    She personally fails at being a HLS spokes person and her statement is logically invalid. As world markets continue to slump, no one (not even terrorists) have the money to continue campaigning. Anger is what is spreading in countries but it is spreading inward. It is that simple economically. However, the other motivation as that she sees HLS dollars threatened by the lack of threats. Without evidence of threats like HLS has had over the last 3 years, law-destroyers are looking for ways to move money back out of for other projects.

    The rats are starting to get bitter as money continues to thin out.

    December 8, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. caesarbc

    Who cares? Let terrorism grow? So what? The sooner it grows to masses of people, the easier it is to condemn entire societies, societies who we can easily drop neutron bombs on.

    December 8, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Alan

    Sure thing Robert Constant I hate to break it to you this administration has done more to discredit itself then any Republican ever could. Your party shouts down and demonizes anyone with an opposing view in other words liberal Democrat play book

    December 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Andy Hawkins

    About time you looked at your actions and made the same link to their consequences that the rest of us have made.

    Killing civilians does nothing to placate your enemies it only encourages their dislike for America.
    Deciding everyone of military age can be classed as an enemy combatant will lead to the death of innocent americans when your enemies start applying the same logic to their targeting.
    Sending drones in to do your killing, a means against which there is little to no defence will just encourage others to pick softer targets for their revenge.
    You will reap the whirlwind that you whipped up with your own bloodlust, remember that the cheques you receive from the military industrial complex will be written and cashed in American blood.

    December 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. John832

    Domestically we have a lawmaker problem. Frankly I'll take the occasional random terrorist attack over the guaranteed tyranny of a police state and all its abuses and the occasional random terrorist attack (because even police states can't stop them).

    December 8, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. T_Ired

    If the U.S. really wants to be safe, then we need to be an isolationist country. We need to let the world take care of themselves. We should bring all of our troops home, have them secure our borders, and let them actually defend their country rather than somebody else's country.

    December 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Nader

    Threats don't happen by themselves, the US seems to provoke everyone and then feels the need to label other countries retaliation as terrorism. FFS what a joke

    December 8, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. R Franklin

    I said 5 years ago that the biggest threat to this country would be militant muslim terrorists

    December 8, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Aced

    Oh oh! Please, take some more of my rights away and make me feel safer. Give them to a corporation...they can be trusted with them.

    December 8, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. MaryM

    Republicans, Americans are sick and tired of your hate and fear and doom and gloom.

    December 8, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. stevethecpa

    Our current president said "I am getting really good at killing".

    The intelligence relied upon by Germany, France, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States that justified the wars we ate ending was generated by the same NSA we have today. Never in the history of the USA has a president ordered the murder of an American Citizen without trial – until our current president took over...literally.

    I truly believe that allot of the democratic posters that bash republicans are paid hacks. They get paid by the same IRC 501(c)4 groups. Check out Working Families Party's forms 990. All of that money goes to pay protestors that wave signs for democratic causes. The republicans do not play that game. The democrats chest every chance they get.

    Who is charge of the coding of the Diebold voting machines computer code? The board if electors or Diebold!

    December 8, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. stevethecpa

    I apologize for the typos my point is clear.

    December 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. gmclenith

    Let's nominate McCaul as a general, give him a couple battalions and sent him to Africa to clean that country up. What a win, win situation.

    December 8, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Sheila

    @Donna – – if we had your man in there, McCain would have us in WW III by now.

    December 8, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. dinkydow

    But, but the war on terror is over. Obama deemed it so, remember?

    December 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Mopery

    Why is the Department of "Homeland" Security busy with foreign affairs? Does our government even try to make sense anymore?

    December 8, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Douglas J

    Perhaps if we stopped occupying Muslim countries and providing unconditional support to Israel, then the terrorist threat might subside.

    December 8, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. jimmy neutron

    Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas = TERRORIST

    December 8, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Cindy

    I think you people need to wake up and loose your rose colored glasses.

    I do business abroad (in an African nation which shall remain nameless) and have for about the past five years. The threat of expanding terrorism is very real and their grievances aimed at the Western world, mainly the US and her closest allies.

    Al Qaeda and its many affiliates are growing in number and strength by the day. Recruitment is easy as they prey on the impoverished masses who are bored, hungry and frustrated. These groups become their extended families just as street gangs become here in this country.

    Financial backing comes easy from any number of sources as the US has many enemies in these oil rich nations. Enormous shipments of arms come across the porous borders from all over the continent.

    December 8, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. jorge washinsen

    When you have a bunch of losers you can't expect anything else. No future,no jobs, no nothing, but fighting and dying and they really do not know what they are fighting about.

    December 8, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. jorge washinsen

    It could be about censorship, but no one is allowed an opinion but the big guys who give the orders.

    December 8, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Cindy

    Any respect I might have had for Obama went right out the window the day he said we have Al Qaeda on the run and had the gall to keep repeating that lie....................... That is about as truthful as all his other more recent lies.

    December 8, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. jorge washinsen

    Could it be homeland security just wants to got off the countries manure list? Create a problem and get more funds.No problem no funds.If they wanted to get serious why not quit letting them come here,we do not need them.

    December 8, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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