Tensions with Russia over the political situation in Ukraine could complicate U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, says Chad Jenkins, founder of the Jenkins Group security firm.
Speaking to Newsmax TV's John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Monday, Jenkins, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, said that even in the aftermath of last year's Boston Marathon bombings and in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the United States was not receiving much intelligence from Russian authorities.
"We have Islamic extremists all over the world that pose a threat to the United States. Right at this point in time, we need to take a look at how we best defend ourselves and our national security, and not only Islamic extremism, but now we have Russia playing a vital role in deterring the security. . . so this is a pivotal moment in which we're about to embark upon in the United States," he said.
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Responding to remarks by Rep. Mike Rogers,
chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who said on Fox News on Sunday that the Russians have been "running circles around us" in negotiations on issues such as Syria and missile defense, Jenkins said, "I saw him yesterday morning, and his insight into the nuances that take place and really behind the scenes . . . we're not privy to that information. He's an individual that, thank goodness he's in that predicament, he's in that position. He's been there."
"He's walked the walk, and now he sees it from that standpoint and he's invaluable to the national security of the United States, and really taking it to the people and letting them know, 'Hey, here's our threats, here's our vulnerabilities, and this is the best recourse we can do in order to protect our interests.' He does a very good job of that."
Rogers also said it would not be a good idea to send more naval ships to the Black Sea.
Asked what options he thought the United States could consider if Russia does not withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Jenkins replied, "Right now, if you look at it, economic sanctions — I mean that's laughable for the simple fact we've just allowed — we've just relinquished our economic sanctions on Iran. Iran could go ahead and fund Russia right behind us."
"To say that we're going to impose visa threats or visa sanctions against them and not provide visas, well, then they'll just go to Belarus or Moldavia, and those individuals who want to get to the United States will then just pick up those passports and use them to get here to the United States," Jenkins said.
"We're in a very difficult predicament. It'll be interesting to see what else, what other red lines or grave mistakes that we're going to say have been crossed and what we do or lack there to do."
As for how the situation affects him personally, Jenkins , a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and a former infantry officer in the Army, explained:
"At the end of the day, you know, not only from a domestic standpoint, but then my four deployments as an Army ranger to Iraq and seeing that play out. And now look at our foreign policy, you know, our withdrawal from Iraq, and now they're flying the al-Qaida flags in Fallujah — a place that I spent a year at.
"When you see all those things transpire and the politicalness of those decisions . . . for a guy who wants to provide security to this country, it's difficult to look at that and just focus on your task at hand."
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