December 8th, 2013
10:51 AM ET
9 years 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. Who Will Protect Us From Our 'Protectors'?

    The biggest terrorists are in Washington.

    December 9, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Who would belive that?

    "When the President of the United States talks about the [insert subject] ... his narrative is that... [yada yada] ... I think is a false narrative..." Roger that.

    December 9, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. terri wesbutten

    its Obama's fault

    December 9, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Kenny

    So the president was lying last year. Big surprise.

    December 9, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. BZB

    Usually, when you expand the definition of terrorist, this happens. After all these laws, everyone is a terrorist/threat on a no-fly list. Maybe an exponential in increased spending and fear-mongering will reduce this threat... oh wait...

    December 9, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Graeme from Ottawa

    paranoid freak

    December 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. whorhay

    This guy saying terrorism is spreading like wildfire is like the CEO of Pepsico warning that athletes are more dehydrated than ever and need to drink more of his companies product, Gatorade. Seriously this guy is just attempting to justify his own employment. It would be career suicide for him to go on the record and say that the threat of terrorism is over blown

    December 9, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Bamada

    Terrorism? Wh're still many times safer today from murder, home accidents, school shootings and even terrrorism compared to history.

    Stop the fear-mongering and read the scientific research. And If you don't believe in that, then just shut up.

    December 9, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Tommy

    Of course they say that. How else are they supposed to scare you into justifying all the breach of privacy going on?

    I suppose the FED is also saying "We need to remain in control for the betterment of your country". No surprise, be brave and don't let the powers that be scare you.

    Not to mention, America has done a fine job of angering the rest of the world, basically turning countries and factions against us.

    December 9, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Ross

    Please enter Tax Dollars here.

    December 9, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. ALLuh

    The religion of peace and love, ISLAM, a bunch of uneducated violence prone misogynists.

    December 9, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Dizzyd

    It would have been more credible if McCaul hadn't turned it into yet another attack on Pres. Obama. And how can we fight a potent enemy if we're weak as a country? We need to stay vigilant, yes, but we need to strengthen our country thru our people instead of giving our wealth away to the greedy corporations.

    December 9, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Tim Halbert

    The real threat to the U.S. comes from within through constantly allowing fundamentalist muslims to immigrate to the U.S. who do not respect our laws, will lie to blend in and have nothing more in mind than to impose Sharia law on the U.S. Simply read the Koran and you will see this for yourself.

    December 9, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. dina

    The Republicans have SO little credibility. I read this, waiting for the typical pathetic sucker punch to Obama, and McCaul did not disappoint.

    December 9, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. JohnRJohnson

    Sure they are. And the closer we get to November 2014, the more terrorists there will be. Funny how that happens.

    December 9, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Zolicon

    Just like I have been telling You that this was going to happen it is happening.
    Now for the bad news it is going to go Global.
    I hope You are all ready for it.

    December 9, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Jon of Dallas

    False flag terrorist threats keep flying out of Washington

    December 9, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. al

    Snowden has now made it easier.

    December 9, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Concerned

    Look up the connection between Hezbollah and Latin America. Look up Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Then tell me if you really think the terror threat is receding.

    December 9, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. YeahRight

    It would help if the strongest, most stabilizing force in the world wasn't led by a complete coward and terrorist sympathizer.

    December 9, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Truth

    Stop these power elites now and they will bring you another Great War.

    December 9, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Jake

    oh look Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein looking for more ways to bring us closer to a socialist state, what else is new? If this was the 50s or 60s these two would be publicly hung by a rope

    December 9, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. sly

    Heh heh heh .. .now the TeaBillieKKK's are saying President Obama invented terrorism?

    Just when you think Republicans cannot say anything more stupid ... they open their mouths.

    I thin intelligent people know that there will always be people out there that want to gain revenge on America for our global policy of murder.

    December 9, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Chuck

    World War III is at the gate

    December 9, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Farrok

    "Lies spread like Wildfires", too..........................

    December 9, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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