Intelligence chiefs warn of Islamic State threat to U.S.
Washington — Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees on Sunday prodded President Barack Obama to take decisive action against what they say are growing threats from Islamic State militants on U.S. soil.
The lawmakers, one Republican and one Democratic, offered bipartisan pressure on the White House to turn back the hazard of Islamist fighters who have taken control of vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Those militants now are looking toward the United States or Western Europe for its next targets, lawmakers said.
Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions how to confront them, the lawmakers said Obama soon needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to crush the fighters.
“His foreign policy is in absolute free-fall,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Howell, who heads the House Intelligence Committee.
In another TV interview, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate intelligence panel, said Obama is perhaps “too cautious” in his approach to combatting the Islamic State group.
“This is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous,” Feinstein said. “And they’ll kill with abandon.”
The pair of lawmakers, who have access to some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets and receive regular and detailed briefings from the nation’s spy agencies, offered dire predictions of an attack on the United States or its European allies if the militants are not confronted.
“They have announced that they don’t intend to stop,” Feinstein said. “They have announced that they will come after us if they can, that they will, quote, ‘spill our blood.’ ”
The threat, Rogers said, could include Americans who have trained with Islamic State fighters. He said there are hundreds of Islamic State-trained Americans who can return to the U.S. with their American passports.
Obama said Thursday he did not yet have a strategy for dealing with the Islamic State organization, a remark that brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.
Feinstein spoke to NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Rogers appeared on “Fox News Sunday.” Ruppersberger was on CNN’s “State of the Union.” McCain, Smith and King were interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”