Feedback
Meet the Press
Paris Terror Attacks

Homeland Security Chair on Paris: ‘Can’t Afford Not to Respond’

Can Syrian Refugees Be Properly Vetted By U.S.? 3:32

The Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security said Sunday that, after the attacks in Paris last week, the White House has no choice but ramp up its involvement in the fight against ISIS.

“I think maybe reluctantly they will change. I think they have to,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What happened in Paris was so horrific, on such a large scale, that we can’t afford not to respond to what happened.”

McCaul predicted Friday’s coordinated attacks in Paris, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, will bring the Arab nations and NATO coalition nations together. But, he said, the effort to take down ISIS has to be led by the U.S.

“It's got to be under U.S. leadership with Special Forces embedded,” McCaul told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “We're not going to put a hundred U.S. combat troops on the ground, nor should we. But this has to be a policy of defeat and destruction and not this containment issue that's been going on for two years.”

McCaul’s committee put out a bipartisan report two months ago on the threat posed by foreign fighters traveling abroad. Among the report’s findings: Security gaps in foreign countries – especially in Europe – make it easier for jihadists to travel back-and-forth from terrorist hotspots and the West. McCaul called for European countries to re-evaluate their open borders travel policies.

“There are a lot of holes – gaping holes,” he said. “You have 5,000 foreign fighters in Europe. They traveled to the region and come back. This is what happened in Paris.”

Because two of the alleged terrorists in Paris may have been Syrian refugees, McCaul said the U.S. should be concerned about its refugee program.

“We don't want to be complicit with a program that could bring in potential terrorists into the United States,” he said. “I've been briefed by the FBI and Homeland Security, and they tell me that this cannot be properly done. We don't have the databases to vet them past.”