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. Dingle Derries

    Gotta watch out for all those World of Warcraft players! The longer they stay virgins, the more likely they are to become a terrorist.

    December 9, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Cindy

    They won't look beyond their noses "Concerned"....... This information is in almost every media source globally What is happening in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Nigeria, Central African Republic........ just to name some.............. Yea, it's all the Republican's fault and a figment of these countries (and obviously the Republicans) apparent vivid imaginations............

    There are none so blind as those who will not see...............

    December 9, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Al. chris

    Macain has got it rite ! give tha terrorist guns an plenty of ammo! an in a couple years they willl work it out .world be safer in no time. jack . ted nuggit 4 pres!

    December 9, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Pathetic T Baggers

    And who killed OBL? Oh yeah...!

    December 9, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. sammy zoso

    Yeah and there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I'd give this a lie detector's test first before I give him one ounce of credibility. Sounds like typical Nazi GOP war mongering.

    December 9, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Well Sammy, you can start with your liberals because Iraq was a total bipartisan decision, far from Bush's alone.

    December 9, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. JP

    If we call enough different groups Al Qaeda, maybe they'll look really menacing together! The creation of Al Qaeda by the US Government and media is a ploy. It's like that other really large and powerful group of terrorists...the Murderers! OMG! The Murderers! See how I just did that? Murderers are everywhere! Defend yourselves now from certain imminent murder!

    December 9, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. Rock Reynolds

    Every time the government creates an agency to "battle a problem", the problem INCREASES (just like the reports in this article).
    And the government's solution to the INCREASED problem???
    Battle it MORE...
    because "obviously", we're not battling it enough.
    By definition, a government must remain immune from quality control and assessment of effectiveness.

    December 9, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. gahh

    When you let terrorists into this country, posed as refugees from the Middle East, what do you expect? For every terrorist we kill, a hundred take their place. It will be that way as long as we invade their land. They consider us Infidels, and want us out of the Middle East. We all know the only reason we're there, is for the oil companies. Stop wasting money and lives, bring our soldiers home.

    December 9, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. watchout

    Sounds like someone is trying to incite riots.

    December 9, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. centurion2016

    must be budget time...

    December 9, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Free Man in the Republic ofTexas

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

    Say WHAT ???

    The One
    Has deemed terrorism dead with Osama !!!

    TRUST "ME"
    "I" am NOT a liar !!!

    December 9, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. unc dig

    Nina – May 2 2012
    "Over the last three years, the tide has turned," Obama said. "The goal that I set — to defeat al-Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild — is within reach."

    December 9, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Iamnotfooled

    Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas was on the floor complaining about Obamacare and his premiums going up. He has 5 children. The poor dear is only worth 114 million. Think he cares about you? I don't believe a word he says.

    December 10, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
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