Homeland Security Cmte Chair: More Foreign Fighters Joining ISIS ‘Than Ever Before’

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) reported that there were “more foreign fighters pouring into the region than ever before” to fight for ISIS on Thursday’s “Wolf” on CNN.

McCaul began by stating ISIS could not be destroyed without a ground force, and that the failure to provide a ground force was “a failure of the administration’s policy right now. It’s policy of containment rather than a policy to degrade and destroy, and you can’t do that with a limited airstrikes, you need airstrikes, but you also need a ground force, and that’s the remaining question mark is where is that ground force going to come from? I personally think given what happened with the Jordanian pilot, I hope to see the Sunni Arab nations standing up, along with Turkey, who’s really in the best position with a fighting force to deal with this, Turkey, they hate Assad and they don’t like ISIS either. I think they’re in a really unique position to help us out…President Erdogan is really the problem here. He’s sitting on the Muslim Brotherhood, and he doesn’t want to upset them.”

McCaul then reported that “we’re talking about 50,000 ISIS fighters, and growing by the day. Since the strikes began, there are more foreign fighters pouring into the region than ever before,” and that the number of foreign fighters fighting with ISIS had “jumped from 15 to now, 20,000 foreign fighters, and 5,000 of those with
Western passports.”

He continued, “Americans [who have gone to fight], number in the couple hundreds, in the hundreds,” McCaul then said “we’ve had a couple hundred come back, we are monitoring those who have actually come back,” it appeared that McCaul misspoke when he said “a couple hundred” had returned, as he immediately stated afterwards “200 have gone over to fight, [a repetition of his earlier claim that the number of Americans fighting with ISIS was ‘in the couple hundreds’], but the number I can’t specify on air. We are monitoring these individuals, but you don’t know what you don’t know, Wolf, and the problem is, our human intelligence isn’t very good in Syria on the ground. So, we don’t know what the real precise number is. So, we have the foreign fighter threat coming through Turkey and Western Europe and into the United States, but also the home-grown violent extremists.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett