Five-term Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the newly appointed chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, believes the greatest threat to national security can come from homegrown radicalization, cyber space and an unsecured border. But there's another one that some might not recognize.
"Many (threats) are coming out of the Middle East but one of the bigger threats I talk about is the narrative being spun out of this administration that the war against Al Qaeda and radical Islam is over," McCaul said in an interview at TheBlaze newsroom in New York. "After bin Laden was killed, they want to close the case on al-Qaeda and radical Islam...The idea that somehow this is all over is really preposterous."
McCaul cited the killing of the U.S. Ambassador and other citizens in Benghazi, which "was not an attack of terrorism according to them," the 2009 shooting at Ft. Hood in Texas, which was called a case of "workplace violence" and the Boston Bombings, which McCaul thinks the Obama administration treated like "a domestic event that we can sweep under the rug."
"That kind of narrative and rhetoric is very dangerous because it underplays and undercuts the threat itself," McCaul said in a video interview (below) with TheBlaze contributor Mallory Factor. "If you can't identify the enemy, you can't defeat the enemy."
In the ongoing investigation of the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, McCaul said that as chair of his committee and a leading Republican examining the issue, he and his colleagues are trying to operate methodically and in a responsible way.
"If we get too inflammatory, I think people are going to question us on this," he said.
McCaul noted the points he raised during the congressional hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when the secretary and State Department were scrutinized for not responding in a stronger way after they were briefed multiple times from the consulate about the need for more security before the attack. McCaul said he and his colleagues will continue to investigate who was involved in manipulating administration talking points on the issue from a political standpoint.
In defending against homegrown terrorism, like the Tsarnaev brothers responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings, McCaul told Factor that it becomes very important to leverage state and local law enforcement, to spot when people radicalize on a local level and stop them.
Given fears that increased homeland security measures could impact traditional American civil liberties, McCaul said there must be a balance between respecting those rights and national security.
"I would argue anything on the public domain is fair use to look at" McCall said for investigating homegrown terrorism. If not, we need to look at Fourth Amendment protections and get a search warrant, but a lot is available in public domain," he said.
In the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, McCaul said there were many signs when he came back from the Chechen region that he had become radicalized. From the Iman at his mosque wanting to throw him out, friends discussing his behavior to Tamerlan's YouTube website, flags were all over the place, McCaul said.
McCaul also addressed the issue of improving U.S. border security and cyber security, comparing the budget cost of defense spending versus mandatory spending, and where he would like to see the Homeland Security Department three years from now.
Watch the full interview with Congressman Michael McCaul below: