Ros-Lehtinen: Al-Qaida Is Still Major Threat

Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 03:55 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tells Newsmax that the threat to the United States from terrorists remains strong because “they will stop at nothing to destroy us.”

The Florida Republican also expresses criticism of President Obama’s handling of the crisis in Syria.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had been using force to crush a popular uprising in his country. After sitting on the sidelines, President Obama recently came out and said Assad must step aside, but Ros-Lehtinen believes the administration has not gone far enough.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, she said: “We have yet to define what is the Obama Doctrine. Why this country and not that country?"

Story continues below.

"Why do we get involved in Libya with NATO? We don’t know what guides President Obama to choose which despot is the bad guy of the week. I think he’s been going after low-hanging fruit, the easiest ones to get at.

“Assad has been a bad guy for a long time. We have seen more than 2,000 deaths in Syria. I’m not saying get involved militarily, because American is weary of military engagement," she told Newsmax. "But I just don’t know what it will take for the United States to get tough and at the very least apply tougher economic sanctions against Assad, because we have yet to really apply the whole cafeteria of options that are on the table.”

Ros-Lehtinen was asked about the greatest threat to America’s national security.

“I believe that al-Qaida, the Taliban, terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and their state sponsors like Iran and Syria, continue to be the greatest threat to America’s security," she said.

“I don’t want us to think now that we’ve gotten bin-Laden we’re safe. What a foolish notion that would be. Americans should always know that there are terrorist groups that want to destroy us. They think that we’re heathens, and they will stop at nothing to get to their aim, which is to destroy us.

“To think that we can educate folks into loving us, give them money, is foolish and dangerous. That’s what we tried to do in Pakistan and where did it get us?

“I’m worried about the national security interests of the United States. I want to make sure that this country remains the strongest democracy in the world for ages to come, and I’m confident that we can if we know the threats around us.”

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