Radical jihadists have identified a chink in the U.S. armor with their attacks on embassies in the Mideast and they will continue to try to exploit it, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and current candidate for Senate Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax.TV.
Hoekstra, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said that despite his contacts in the intelligence community, he could not predict whether other attacks are imminent.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
“But, clearly, with what’s happened on Tuesday, radical Jihadists have identified weaknesses, they tested those weakness, they found out that we were weak and that they could be successful,” he said. “They will continue to test our ability to defend American interests and the willingness for the ability of these other governments to protect American interests.
“We’re going to find it wonting and what you’re going to see is a strategic retrenchment of U.S. government interests in this region over the coming weeks and months because we can’t send enough Marines into Libya and Egypt into Tunisia into Yemen to protect all of our interests so we’re going to have to pull some assets and some resources out of these countries until these governments develop the capability or the willingness to stand up.”
Hoekstra’s comments come on the heels of the attacks in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen that left four dead in Benghazi including Ambassador Chris Stevens. He said the attacks that occurred on the anniversary of 9/11 are not a coincidence.
“I believe that these were pre-meditated, planned attacks specifically designed to occur on 9/11 2012 to embarrass America on our day of remembrance,” he said.
Hoekstra added the attacks were clearly terrorist attacks.
“When you get someone standing on the walls and inside the compound of our embassy in Cairo saying, ‘We are all Osama,’ sounds like a terrorist attack to me,” he said. “Sounds like, perhaps, some type of an affiliation, or at least a sympathy, with al-Qaida or like-minded terrorist organizations.
“You don’t have a spontaneous mob in Benghazi that has, according to reports, has rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns, and those types of things attacking the U.S. embassy. We don’t know specifically who these people were but they, clearly, were acts of terror. They clearly were carried out by people who hate the United States and wanted to make a statement on 9/11.”
Hoekstra said recent reports that President Barack Obama has not physically attended some recent intelligence briefings are “not the issue.”
“This is really not about process,” he said. “I believe that this president, hopefully, is getting the briefings. Whether he shows up for a briefing or whether he’s reading the briefing materials, that’s not really the issue here. What we have here is we have a great American vulnerability now through Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula, and Northern Africa."
Hoekstra said this is not a “new playbook” for jihadists and dates back to the 1990s when they attacked embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
“Embassies are symbols. What I’m worried about is what’s going to happen tomorrow on Prayer Day,” he said. “I’m worried about what’s going to happen over the coming weeks and months when we’ve got these kinds of governments that will not protect or are incapable of protecting American interests because what we saw after our attacks on the embassies, we then saw the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, we saw the attack on the Khobar Towers.
“What the success that these extremists have experienced this week, and there’s no other way to describe what happened on Tuesday in Egypt and in Libya other than a success for the radical Jihadists on a tactical basis, what I’m afraid of is will this spread and will they now go to additional targets of that are clearly identified with U.S. interests where dependence of embassy personnel may be living, other symbols of the U.S. presence in the Middle East. That’s what I am concerned about. I’m not concerned that much about whether the president read a daily brief. What’s he going to do to protect American interests?”
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