House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) says he anticipates there will be more small-cell, Paris-style attacks in the future, because they are difficult to detect. That could even include strikes that reach America’s shores.
“A small cell like this one, very difficult to detect, deter and disrupt, which is really our goal. And I think we’re going to see more and more of these taking place, whether it be foreign fighters” exporting the war or being radicalized over the Internet, McCaul said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.
According to McCaul, larger-scale attacks, requiring bigger cells, are more easily detected than the smaller ones. He noted, however, that what happened in Paris could happen in the U.S.
“Look, this is a threat that happened in Paris that could happen anywhere. And I think we need to be focused on that threat. This is a different style attack, in the sense that you had foreign fighters that went to Yemen to train in the art of warfare and then bring that war back home to where they lived in France,” he said.
McCaul noted that the U.S. is not immune from that threat of foreign fighters bringing the war to the U.S.
“That could happen here in the United States. We have had thousands of these Western travelers that have become foreign fighters in Syria, Iraq and Yemen that pose a threat and a risk returning to where they came from, and to do the same thing that we saw in Paris,” he said.
Most disturbing to the Texas Republican is the foreign fighter portion of the threat, namely the intelligence about who is in the terrorist hotbeds of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
“We need to identify who has gone over there, traveled over there to fight this fight. And then how do we keep them off of airplanes and restrict their travel,” he said. “Western Europe, again, is more lenient in their travel restrictions. And we have a visa waiver, free system where they can fly into the United States without even having a visa. We need to look at all sorts of the things like that. But, mainly, it’s driven by intelligence.”
McCaul added that he intends to launch an investigation into potential security gaps regarding foreign fighters and noted that the Paris attack is “the most successful foreign fighter terrorist attack that we have seen to date.”