The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee warned that the escalation of “external operations” by terrorists reflects “an unprecedented pace of terror in modern times.”
“I think the airstrikes have ramped up external operations, which is what you’re seeing now, both in Turkey and you saw them in Europe. You’re seeing them in the United States,” Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) told Fox News this morning.
“I was just in Cairo, in Egypt, in — up in the Sinai province where ISIS is very heavy — Tunisia, Libya. They are expanding beyond the caliphate now into Northern Africa. So, they are not on the run. They’re on the rise.”
ISIS marked its two-year anniversary today with a video release this week that focused on expansion, including Islamic State “provinces” in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sinai, Libya and Algeria. They’ve also expanded into West Africa with a loyalty pledge by Boko Haram, are trying to poach Taliban in Afghanistan, and are copying al-Qaeda’s attacks on secularists in Bangladesh.
“The intel reports indicate that the caliphate sent operatives into Turkey and to Europe to conduct terrorist attacks during the season of Ramadan. It’s a holy season. I think this has all the hallmarks of an ISIS-related attack,” McCaul said of the Istanbul airport attack in which 41 people, 13 of those foreigners, were killed. “It involved an airport, just like Brussels. It’s like the sequel to Brussels. It’s the second anniversary of the caliphate, unlike the PKK, which strikes military, they often strike civilian targets as well.”
Despite the ongoing threat, the chairman said, “I would never tell someone not to travel.”
“People ask me that question all the time. And I think if you don’t travel, they win. I don’t want them to win,” he added.
“I know John Kerry boasts about all the success we’ve been having over there. The fact is, they’ve waited three and a half years to do anything, to take any sort of military action. I was in the Persian Gulf on a aircraft carrier watching F-18s going into Iraq and Syria,” McCaul continued.
“But we need to ramp this up. I remember when Reagan was asked about Grenada, he said, well, whatever you recommend, double that, because I want to win and get out. And the fact is, we haven’t done that here. We waited. And delay is not our friend. Delay is our enemy. And this president and John Kerry and the administration have delayed far too much.”