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Hoekstra: Isolated By the United States, Egypt Is the Epicenter of Radical Jihad

On Newsmax TV’s “Newsmax Prime,” while discussing the missing EgyptAir Flight 804 former Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) pointed to Egypt as once “a stabilizing force” in the Middle East as now the epicenter of radical jihad and pointed to it being isolated by the United States as one of the reasons.

Partial transcript as follows:

HAYWORTH: We’re pleased to be joined this evening by our intelligence panel, first Skyping in from Holland, Mich., Pete Hoekstra. Pete served on Capitol Hill as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during our days in the House of Representatives. Today he is a Shillman Senior Fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Pete of course, also the author of “Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya;” and, via Skype from Washington, D.C., we are pleased to be joined by former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz. Today Fred is a Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs at the Center for Security Policy. Thanks to you both for your time tonight on Newsmax Prime. Fred, let me begin with you. What are your sources telling you tonight?

FLEITZ: Well, what I have been talking to people knowledgeable about this today is that we may not know this, whether this was terrorism or not, but, it’s a reason why we have to have American and foreign intelligence services, to really double down on what ISIS and al-Qaeda are doing to defeat airport security; either by trying to get their members as airport employees, or to find technical ways to get around what we are doing right now to detect efforts to get bombs onto airplanes. I think that’s going on, and if this was a terrorist attack, that suggests that these efforts were successful.

HAYWORTH: Pete, EgyptAir broke down the manifest of passengers by nationality, and we take a look at that list: 30 Egyptians on board, 15 Frenchman, two Iraqis, and citizens from Algeria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada, Chad, Kuwait, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and the Sudan. You take a look at that list, and just about every nationality there has had some involvement with terrorism.

HOEKSTRA: Well that’s exactly right, J.D., but I really think, and I agree with Fred, you know, there are a number of layers that we need to use the intelligence community to find out exactly where exactly the gaps are, and how ISIS is exploiting this. But I go back to, you know what happened, you know, five years ago, four or five years ago. Egypt is a target; Egypt is at the crosshairs of ISIS right now. Remember, Egypt is a place where the Muslim Brotherhood, uh, was founded 90 years ago. This is the epicenter of radical jihadists. This administration, the Obama Administration, Hilary Clinton, they didn’t have steady leadership. What they provided was the opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood to take control of Egypt to govern it for almost a year. Luckily the Egyptian people and the military stood up and revolted; but, Egypt continues to be at the crosshairs because right now Egypt is isolated. This administration will not embrace the new government, they will not provide them with military assistance, and so, you know, we talk a lot about Iraq, we talk a lot about Syria, we talk a lot about Libya, but let’s not forget Egypt. Egypt has been a stabilizing force in the Middle East and right now they feel like they are isolated.

HAYWORTH: Pete Hoekstra, our old colleague on Capitol Hill, Congressman Peter King discussed that earlier today. Let’s see what Congressman King had to say.

KING: I’m certain that when it comes to France and European countries and the insiders, that’s where the real threat, I think, comes. Obviously you have to check passengers going on board. But the insider threat, is in many ways, more difficult to stop. And I know the French intelligence has been very concerned about the presence of Islamist supporters working at the airport, being at the airport.

HAYWORTH: Well Pete Hoekstra, let me ask you, what Pete King is pointing out here, and add to it just a little bit. I understand that there has been a form of a crackdown, increased security screening at Charles de Gaulle airport for the workers, and in fact a number were dismissed just a couple of weeks ago.

HOEKSTRA: Yeah but there is also indications that in other places in Europe, I think at Heathrow they just identified someone who had been working there for an extended period of time who had ties to radical jihadists; but, the bottom line here, J.D., is, you know, Europe is not safe, the Middle East is not safe; ISIS, al-Qaeda, other radical jihadist groups consistently probed in terms of how they can most effectively penetrate our security networks. They are on the offensive. I’m not even sure that in some of these places we are on the defensive, at least not very effectively. This is the second Egyptian airport, or this is the second plane tied to Cairo that has gone down in the last number of months. You got the Paris attack, the Brussels attack, the things that are happening throughout the Middle East, throughout Africa. You know, ISIS and radical jihadists, they’ve made significant progress in their ability to, you know, spread terror, and create terror throughout vast swaths of the world. They’re winning in this process.

Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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