Tags: Al-Qaida | Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | Kelly Ayotte | ISIS

Sen. Kelly Ayotte Rips White House Claims ISIS Can't Attack US

Image: Sen. Kelly Ayotte Rips White House Claims ISIS Can't Attack US
(Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 07:41 AM

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte has poured cold water on claims by Obama administration counterterrorism officials that Islamic State militants are not capable of conducting an attack inside the United States.

Senior officials were quizzed by lawmakers during a Senate committee on homeland security about whether the terror organization, also known as ISIS or ISIL, posed a threat to American citizens at home, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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"The greatest threat from ISIL to the U.S. and its interests is inside Iraq right now,'' said Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, using the name for the insurgents that the White House prefers, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

He added that if the Islamic State’s military force was not degraded, then the danger of ISIS plots against the United States and other nations is "likely to grow."

But Ayotte attacked Rasmussen’s assessment, pointing out that the extremists have the money, the ideology, the capability, and an interest in launching attacks on U.S. soil.

"I'm concerned it's an understatement to say it's a regional threat,'' said the Republican senator.

Rasmussen replied: "Right now, we assess they do not have active ongoing plots aimed at the U.S. homeland. I don't mean by any means to minimize the threat."

The secretary said that al-Qaida still has the greatest ability to launch attacks inside America, while noting that the terror group has launched several plots in recent years against Americans, including a plan to blow up an airliner over Detroit.

But during a Wednesday hearing of a House subcommittee on border security, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul claimed that the Islamic State "is the biggest threat to the homeland," according to the Journal.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made similar remarks to Rasmussen during a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, the newspaper said.

"Though we know of no credible information that ISIL is planning to attack the homeland at present, we know that ISIL is prepared to kill innocent Americans they encounter because they are Americans," said Johnson.

The secretary said that ISIL was currently such a threat to U.S. interests and its allies overseas that "the only responsible thing to do is to take them on before they become even more dangerous."

Johnson added, "This type of terrorist threat simply has to be engaged. You can't avoid it."

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New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte has poured cold water on claims by Obama administration counter-terrorism officials that Islamic State militants are not capable of conducting an attack inside the United States.
Kelly Ayotte, ISIS, homeland security
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2014-41-11
Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 07:41 AM
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