The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee warned today that she’s “never been more concerned” about the threat posed by ISIS.
“I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding. They’ve just put out a video saying it is their intent to attack this country,” Feinstein told MSNBC.
She echoed the calls of many members of Congress calling for French President Francois Hollande to invoke Article 5, “which will bring NATO into it.”
“Hopefully, we will work with our allies to put together the kind of coalitions and attack plans in more than one place at a given time,” Feinstein said. “There’s only one way we are going to diminish them and that is by taking them out, because they are growing. They are in more than a dozen countries now.”
“They are sophisticated. They have apps to communicate on that cannot be pierced, even with a court order. So they have a kind of secret way of being able to conduct operations and operational planning. So we should take this very, very seriously.”
Feinstein didn’t want to put a number on the ideal number of troops needed, “but we certainly need more than 50 special ops and we need the ability to really make a difference on the ground.”
Citing ISIS’ attacks just in the past few weeks, she stressed that “they are on a march.”
“And candidly, I don’t think bombing runs alone — we have done about 8,000 now — can really make a difference,” the senator continued. “So we’re going to have to look at some new themes — and I think we will have to listen very carefully to our military people and ask for the kind of precise military strategy and tactics that might be able to really contain ISIL and defeat it.”
Feinstein added that it’s not accurate to say there’s currently no “credible” threat to the homeland.
“Director Comey of the FBI reported to us just this past summer that there’s an investigation, I think it’s widely known, in virtually every FBI office. There’s a video now, saying that they are authorizing attacks in our country. So I think they are on a march. I think we have to recognize this,” she said.
“I think we have to work to see that we have a broken passport system. We’ve got 45 million stolen passports floating around. We’ve got international travel documents floating around. We have a visa waiver program that allows somebody, if they come back from Syria to France, to come into this country. All of these things have to be explored and changed. And it has to be done quickly… three big attacks in a month cannot be taken loosely.”