Michael McCaul laments “intelligence and security gaps” overseas but reassures Americans
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Europe is “in pre-9/11 posture” on terrorism.
Michael McCaul spoke with John Dickerson, moderator of CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think, in many ways, I think Europe is in pre-9/11 posture,” the Texas congressman said. “They have many intelligence and security gaps. I traveled over there prior to the Paris attacks, met with the Belgian minister of interior, met with counterterrorism officials in France, went to Turkey.
“The phenomena here is the foreign fighter threat, the revolving door from Europe to the region in Iraq and Syria and back through Turkey, back into Europe. And that’s what happened in the Paris attackers. And now we know the nexus between the cells that became operational in Paris and now the ones that attacked in Brussels, all part of the same network, same bomb-maker, and all tied to the foreign fighter threat.
“These are trained militants that have gone to the region and have come back. And it’s one of the greatest threats that Europe has, because they’re not prepared for it from a security standpoint.”
Dickerson asked if Americans should worry about such soft-target dangers as attacks at airports and train stations, such as the attack in Brussels in which 35 people were killed and scores wounded.
“Well, I think the threat is higher in Europe because of the number of foreign fighters,” McCaul said. “They also don’t share databases as well as we do or intelligence. They have lot of restrictions with their laws that they need to change. …
“I talked to the TSA administrator, who actually landed at Brussels when the bombing occurred. And we are ramping up security at train stations, at airports, at subway systems using canines and other things, but visible and invisible. So, there are things happening behind the scenes you may not see.
“But I want to give the American people assurances that we are protecting them.”