WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, says the terrorist threat facing America is growing and spreading like a web across Africa and the Middle East.
“I believe the threat has become greater, not lesser,” said McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The White House has been touting a “false narrative and premise” that al Qaeda is now on the run because Osama bin Laden is dead, he said.
“I personally see it spreading like a spider web, like a wildfire in Africa through the Middle East,” McCaul said.
McCaul also said that former aides to President George W. Bush tell him one of the biggest mistakes they made was agreeing to accords with North Korea, which ended up getting nuclear weapons anyway.
“I don’t want to see that same mistake happen in Iran,” McCaul said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The chairman of House Homeland Security Committee said the United States has been working on sanctions for a decade, and he is worried about the six-month interim deal that allows Iran to continue enriching uranium for non-military purposes.
“What I’m concerned about is that we have not dismantled their program and yet relieved the sanctions, which is a $7 billion economic aid to the country,” McCaul said.
McCaul added that he is troubled by the words of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday that the country’s centrifuges will “never stop spinning.”
“That sends to me a very cold, hard message that they are not intent of a civilian nuclear peaceful program, but getting a nuclear weapon,” McCaul told CNN.
McCaul is among a group of senators wanting to see a bill passed to add new sanctions at the end of the six-month deal if the Iranians renege. He said it would give President Barack Obama added leverage in negotiations.
Also appearing on the show was Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who disagrees with the idea of adding sanctions. He said he thinks the interim deal makes sense, but still expressed skepticism that a final agreement will ever be passed. He called Obama’s prediction of a “50-50 or worse” chance “optimistic.”
“You can have a peaceful nuclear energy program with no enrichment,” Schiff said, adding that Iran wants thousands of centrifuges only for the purpose of “fast breakout capability.”
“I wouldn’t begin the process by conceding anything on enrichment,” Schiff said. Now that they have it, Iran will never lose their bomb-making know-how, he said. The only way to stop them once they build a nuclear weapon is a repeated bombing campaign that might also involve boots on the ground, he said.
McCaul said that he would like to employ moderate Muslim leaders in the fight against Islamic extremism.
Schiff said the U.S. is better at fighting terror that it ever has been, but noted, “we’re never going to be 100 percent safe.”