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. Trebec

    What bullocks. Basically these 2 faced "politicians" want us to fear terrorism, while they put in place policies that undermine our civil right. I'm just not afraid of terrorists, if you are then you are brainwashed.

    December 9, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Bobbb

    Terrorism = muslim and muslim = terrorism. IT WON'T STOP UNTIL YOU ACCEPT THIS FACT AND THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    December 9, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. JD

    Justen, your comments reveal an amazing lack of perspective. Criticize Obama all you like; there is much to criticize him for. Please do not compare him to Adolf Hitler.

    December 9, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Sammie

    As long as the U.S. keeps putting their nose in other countries businesses, we will have the threats. Most of them would probably prefer we butt out. We need to let ALL countries take care of themselves and their own concerns and stop getting into their civil wars and issues. We can't even take care of our own country and it's citizens let alone some other country. Let's take care of us first for a change.

    December 9, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. kirk

    the people hoarding all the cash might want to start spending it or there might not be anything left around to spend it on.

    December 9, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. rolnthndr

    Just one more reason why we should concentrate on our problems here at home and let them kill each other without our interference in the middle east and africa.

    December 9, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Matt

    Better chances of getting hit by lightning twice or winning the lottery multiple times than dying in a terrorist attack. Time to spread fear so the Military Industrial Complex can ramp up full force and politicians and their friends can make a lot of money off of our fear. Let's just sign all our liberties over now so we can prevent another terrorist attack. Can anyone name the last time an organized terror group claimed an attack on the United States? I'll wait.

    December 9, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. LazyBones

    Syria is the new training ground? You mean the same Syria that our current administration flooded with money and weapons to aid the "rebels", a.k.a Al Qaeda, to overthrow Assad and establish democracy? That Syria?

    Do these fools think they are convincing anyone anymore? With every breath they spew lies and conceits. There cover-ups are so convoluted they keep tripping over them the next day when attempting to instill fear in the hearts of Americans.

    December 9, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Jan

    Our "war on terror" is rather like trying to put out a fire by blowing on it. While it would work if it were a little candle, all it does with a more substantial flame is feed it oxygen and make it grow. Terrorism is about violence and fear; fighting terrorism cannot be done by "war," but rather requires strong, courageous peace. That does not mean there will be no more casualties, but it will prove more successful than our militaristic, violent and fearful response.

    December 9, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Mike

    More world instability being caused by the abrahamic monothestic religions again...what else is new?

    December 9, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Rob

    Does that threat include the Department of Homeland Security Senior contracts manager, Ayo Kimathi, who works for ICE, who was suspended with pay for advocating the murder or white people, mixed race people and declared United States President Barrack Obama, via video rants on his blog, or is he back at his post?

    December 9, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Paul

    Isn't this like the Tiger Repelling Rock salesman saying the threat of tiger attacks is up over 9000% this year?

    December 9, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. tc

    So now to "keep that threat out of the US" the govt will step up racial profiling? Is that where things are headed? Are we going to have internment camps, too?
    Or will all citizens be treated like terrorists to make sure the US is PC compliant.

    December 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. nopeop

    OY VEY!

    Someone save us !!

    Feinsatan thinks terrorism is on the rise!

    December 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Davidbiz

    Here we go again! How long before we start the Orange Level/Red Level threat alert BS that briefly made an appearance in the Bush Jr. era?! It was a great distraction to any screw up the government was perpetrating at the time. We must never forget the Julius Caesar quote..." Keep the people scared and they'll let you do whatever you want!"

    December 9, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. hmm

    Or one could say... like a spiderweb on fire!! lol.. don't try it, it is scary especially by wooden parts of a domicile.. 😉

    December 9, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Anonymous

    We have more to fear from catastrophic global climate change than terrorists.

    December 9, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. JohnnyBgood

    Terrorism = muslim and muslim = terrorism. IT WON'T STOP UNTIL YOU ACCEPT THIS FACT AND THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    December 9, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |..........What we should do first is something about you. Im not muslim but your comments are ignorant. What if someone wrote "Catholicism = molesters and molesters=catholicism". The two do not go hand in hand as you would like readers to think islam and terrorism are linked.

    December 9, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. ask2learnwhy

    People who think Terrorism is caused by the U.S. "sticking its nose into other countries' business" lack an understanding of History. Religious Terrorism from the Religion that began in the 7th Century has been going on BEFORE the U.S. existed. It was the cause of the 1st war the U.S. fought & that was under Pres. Thomas Jefferson.

    It's not caused by Thomas Jefferson nor the countries who are victims of the need for a Religion to kill off all who resist.

    December 9, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. mikeyD74


    Agreed. The Boston Marathon was the testing ground on how fast and efficiently the Govt could close down a major city.

    Wether the "event" itself was a false flag op or not remains to be seen, but i ALWAYS take whatever our govt spews at us with a grain of salt.

    December 9, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. John Tater

    Obama's " narrative is that al Qaeda is on the run, and since bin Laden has been killed the threat is no longer existing"? Unclear why McCaul needed to misquote Obama 180 degrees here. Could it be he's a Republican?

    December 9, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Me

    Tampa Tim

    How can anyone believe a lying republican? Reptiles have more credibility.
    Do you have a reading comprehension problem? Obama's lap dog Dianne Feinstein "agrees" that we have lost ground (she is a dems ya know...), stop being a partisan hack!!!

    December 9, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Say Da Truth

    Really... Is this another way to tell us we need to attack something??? Maybe they see us as terrorist as we keep bombing them with drones and supporting the people they see as enemies... MAYBE WE NEED TO STOP CALLING THEM TERRORISTS and CHANGE OUR WAYS....

    When we kill a child there.. do you think they will forget??? The same way when a child is killed here... Why do honestly think that we care about our children more than they do????

    This war is sick of who can brainwash us faster and better.. I am sick of seeing people die because we don't like them.. i am sick of seeing revenge after revenge after revenge and the innocent suffer... I am sick of war.. i am sick of republicans...I am sick of money hungry BSers...

    December 9, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Robyn


    The only "Terrorists" I fear are Mike McCaul, Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein.
    Politicians who endlessly cry WOLF ! ! ! in an unceasing effort to panic
    the American people into submitting and surrendering to their agenda.

    Is the world completely safe? No, and it never will be, no matter what we do.
    But we can be sensible and prudent in what we choose to fear and when.
    Or we can run like frightened rabbits to hide behind the tender mercies and
    profound care of McCaul, Rogers and Feinstein.

    Such rabbits get skinned and eaten by the REAL wolf..


    December 9, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Eflow

    Curious question:
    Which is the more terror producing, a Car Bomb or a Drone Strike? And are not all terrorists somehow equal?

    December 9, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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