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Tag: Homeland Security

Terrorism Nearly Impossible to Stop in U.S., Says House Homeland Security Chairman

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said Sunday that the U.S. cannot completely eradicate terrorism in this country, as evidenced by the attack in California last week that killed 14 people, the New York Post reports. 

“We didn’t see this one coming. There were no warning signs or flags,” McCaul (R-Texas) admitted to “Fox News Sunday.”

McCaul said the problem is that ISIS is a well-oiled propaganda machine, working to recruit people through social media and encrypted messages.

“We’ve stopped a lot of bad things from happening, but you just can’t stop it all when you have 200,000 ISIS tweets per day on the Internet coming into the United States to kill,” the Texas Republican said.

He added, “The volume is so high and the chatter is so high that it’s almost impossible to stop it all.”

In the meantime, the committee will try to determine whether federal investigators missed an opportunity to identify the threat posed by the San Bernardino shooters.

“There’s a serious investigation ongoing into what she was doing in Pakistan and in Saudi, including if she attended the red mosque in Islamabad, which is a very radicalized mosque,” McCaul said. “We think that she had a lot to do with the radicalization process and perhaps with Mr. Farook’s radicalization from within the United States.”

Homeland Security Chief: Syrian Refugees Face Strong Scrutiny to Cross Border

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told NPR that the fears over Syrian refugees are overstated, suggesting the focus should be on people traveling as tourists from Europe.

Johnson is restricting the visa waiver program because most of the suspects in the Paris attacks were legal residents of European countries and were not Syrian refugees.

For example, anyone who previously visited “terrorist safe havens” would be denied visa-free travel.

“What we want to do is work with Congress in ways that are effective to improve homeland security,” Johnson said. “The refugee program as it is currently exists is probably the most thorough, multilayered, time-consuming way for anyone to cross our borders, to come into this country.”

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Committee Chief Calls for More Funding for FBI, DHS

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Following the Paris terror attacks, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for “an increase in funding” to protect the U.S. from a similar attack, CNSNEws.com reports. 

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” what needs to be done to protect the homeland, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, responded:

“Well, it’s — it’s very difficult and — and we don’t want these foreign fighters coming into the United States from visa waiver countries,” McCaul responded. “We’ve had, in the homeland, 18 plots stopped that were ISIS-related. We’ve arrested 70 ISIS followers. And we have 1,000 investigations in all 50 states.

“So I think one thing Congress can do is we have an appropriations bill coming up in about two weeks. And I think the FBI and components of Homeland Security will need an increase in funding to help combat this threat that we see right in our homeland.”

Reop. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said airport security remains a problem.

“We certainly have resource challenges, but we are fortunate that we don’t have anywhere near the number of foreign fighters to track that Europe does.

“At the same time, I think two areas where we can really beef up our own security, one is a continuing vulnerability at our airports. All too often when we test the TSA, they don’t meet the test, and that has to (change).”

Lawmakers Demand Guarantees to Prevent Terrorists from Slipping into U.S. As Refugees

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. officials sought to assure skeptics that refugees settling in the U.S. are properly vetted to ensure terrorists don’t slip through.

MassLive reports that federal officials said the process involves in-person interviews and a myriad of other security checks by Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about how refugees from Syria and Iraq are vetted and want guarantees that “would in essence stop the relocations of refugees,” MassLive wrote.

Concerns have been heightened following the Paris attacks.

Homeland Security Investigating Roughly 900 Homegrown Terrorism Suspects in U.S.

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security estimates there are roughly 900 investigations into homegrown terrorists in the U.S., and a vast majority have ties to ISIS, the New York Daily News reports. 

A recent report by Homeland Security said investigations have netted 71 arrests related to ISIS.

The suspects range from Americans to immigrants.

But most suspects were American citizens in their early 20s.

Investigation: Secret Service Employees Improperly Accessed Data to Embarrass a Critic

Jason Chaffetz

Rep. Jason Chaffetz

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An internal Homeland Security investigation found that Secret Service employees improperly accessed a database 60 times in search of information that would embarrass House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, NBC News reports. 

Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth discussed the investigation at a joint House-Senate hearing Tuesday.

The information was accessed between March 24 and April 2.

“Knowledge of Chairman Chaffetz’s application was widespread and was fueled and confirmed by improper access to the Secret Service database at issue,” Roth said.

Chaffetz is a frequent critics of the agency, which appeared to be the motive behind embarrassing him.

The Secret Service apologized to the Utah Republican last month.

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Senate Homeland Security Chairman Calls for War Against Islamic State

Sen. Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Monday that the he supports going to war against Islamic State, the USA Today reports. 

Sen. Ron Johnson also called President Obama’s approach naive because of the global threat posed by the terrorist organization.

“It’s high time that we make a commitment in the world that Islamic terrorists have got to be wiped off the face of the planet,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a telephone interview. “Because if we don’t, every day that ISIS survives, every day that they are not overtly losing, they are perceived as winners and perceived as winning and they’ll continue to inspire adherents to this barbarity.”

Johnson supports a global coalition, like the one used by former President George H.W. Bush to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

“It’s not a perfect solution, but you have to start at the head: We’ve got to destroy the caliphate, which means we’ve got to take back the territory, because a caliphate does not exist without the territory,” he said.

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Head of House Homeland Security Committee Warns of ‘Gaping Holes’ for Terrorism

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. is vulnerable to attack on the scale of the one in Paris because of “gaping holes” in security, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee warned Sunday, The Hill reports. 

“There are a lot of holes — gaping holes,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We have hundreds of Americans that have traveled” to Iraq and Syria, he added. “Many of them have come back as well. I think that’s a direct threat.”

McCaul said he is concerned with how easily Europeans and Americans can travel to Iraq and Syria.

He also expressed concerns about terrorists slipping into the U.S. by posing as Syrian refugees.  t

“This causes a great concern on the part of policymakers, because we don’t want to be complicit with a program that could bring potential terrorists into the United States,” McCaul said.

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