More than 25,000 foreigners have flocked to war-torn Syria and Iraq since 2011 to fight with Islamist terrorist groups including ISIS, according to U.S. government estimates noted in the report.
“Despite concerted efforts to stem the flow, we have largely failed to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists,” the task force determined in its report.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, McCaul called for greater cooperation among NATO partners in the fight to destroy ISIS, and he warned that the terror threat facing the homeland is now greater than ever from IS recruits:
“The facts are the facts, and the fact is, we’re losing in this fight against ISIS,” he said.
“Hundreds of Americans have traveled there, and many have come back, so the threat to the Homeland is real,” McCaul said, “Not only from foreign fighter travel, but radicalization over the Internet.”
One of the problems is that the United States doesn’t have a strategy for dealing with ISIS or even with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad effectively.
“Right now, it’s been a policy of containment, not one to defeat and destroy,” he said. “I think that’s the great failure here.”
But implementing and policing any economic sanctions against ISIS would be a difficult move, if it came to that, because “we have very little presence on the ground,” McCaul said. “We have very little human intelligence, which is why the numbers I gave you, we’re not even sure how real the numbers are.”And all Americans who are joining in the ISIS fight “present a ticking time bomb,” said McCaul.
“What keeps me up at night are the ones we’ve missed, the ones who have come back who are plotting an attack,” said McCaul. “The ones who are being radicalized over the Internet from Syria social media operatives; the case like Chattanooga that we didn’t know about. We didn’t have any warning signs. I’m concerned that could very well happen again.”
This news coincides with several disturbing reports about the Obama administration’s mismanagement in the fight against Islamic terror. Yesterday, a report revealed that the Obama administration has granted residency or asylum to 1,519 foreigners who supported terror at one time.
Yesterday, a member of al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra was pictured with a new American-made machine gun. The photo spread quickly on social media.
Fox News reported yesterday that dozens of MRAPs provided by the U.S. government to its Kurdish allies in Iraq arrived without protective side armor. According to a security contractor who works with the Kurds, riding in one of the vehicles is tantamount to “committing suicide.”
Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL) told Fox News host Bill Hemmer Wednesday that the U.S. should take a stronger approach in fighting the Islamic State:
“At the end of the day, these people that are ready to join need to see that violence will be brought upon them if they do that,” he said.
The Islamic State has doubled in size in one year according to the report: “A year ago, 15,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq – one hundred of whom were Americans. A year later – 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria – 250 Americans,” Hemmer noted.
“So where is the presidential leadership on this?” Kinzinger asked. “Why isn’t President Obama sitting in the Oval Office having an Oval Office address telling the American people exactly what the problem is, and exactly how we’re going to defeat it? We see the Russians going in to the Middle East. We see Russia going into the Ukraine, we see ISIS expanding, we see Assad brutalize his population, and the president is frankly nowhere to be found on this.”
“A central pillar of American foreign policy for over 50 years has been to keep the Russians out of the Middle East,” said Elliott Abrams in a recent column at NRO. Thanks to Obama’s weakness, we are welcoming their return as a military power there while the homeland becomes less secure.