Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Russia | michael mccaul | unsure | russia | strategy | change

Rep. Michael McCaul Unsure If Russia Will Change Strategies After Crash

(Fox News' "America's Newsroom")

By    |   Thursday, 05 Nov 2015 12:01 PM

If it is true that the Islamic State is behind the deadly crash of a Russian passenger jet, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said Thursday, he hopes Russia will turn the targets of its airstrikes to ISIS and away from anti-Assad forces.

"I don't know if the Russians will do that," the Texas Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program.

But still, he said, the airliner crash is a signal that the United States needs to step up its fight against terrorism, even if it turns out someone other than ISIS was behind the act.

"If it's a Russian airline today, it could be an American airline tomorrow," McCaul told the show.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence sources believe an airport "insider," such as a security officer or a baggage handler, planted an explosive on the plane, causing it to crash over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last weekend.

Further, U.S. and European security sources believe ISIS was behind the attack.

On Thursday, Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said there is a "significant possibility" that an ISIS affiliate brought down the plane, reports Fox News.

A spokesperson also confirmed to Fox News that British Prime Minister David Cameron called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the crash, but Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who visited Prime Minister Cameron in London Thursday, called the ISIS claim "propaganda."

McCaul pointed out that the theory hasn't been officially confirmed, but "all indicators" show that the incident was caused by a bomb or explosive device that was put on the plane by ISIS.

"That answer is based both on official public reports that I have seen in the media," said McCaul. "It has not been officially confirmed yet. But intelligence reporting out there publicly that is widely available has indicated this is most likely an ISIS attack, which will be the largest attack in the aviation sector by the terrorists since 9/11."

ISIS, which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria and is battling the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula, said again on Wednesday it brought down the airplane, adding it would eventually tell the world how it carried out the attack on Airbus A321M.

The plane crashed on Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula shortly after taking off from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on its way to the Russian city of St Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board.

McCaul noted that there has been fragmented parts discovered on some of the bodies in the back of the downed jet, which he finds significant, along with the fact that ISIS has "just declared war on Russia after Russia invaded Syria."

"This plane was headed toward Russia," he said. "The satellite imagery showed a heat flash on the plane, which I thought was significant. The pilot, there was no time to warn about this. So it was something — whatever happened — happened suddenly without a lot of time to respond. I have received classified briefings and I do have to protect the integrity of that."

He acknowledged, though, that while the possible scenario points to an ISIS attack, also, the tail of the plane had been worked on "and possibly there was a failure and it broke off."

And while al-Qaida made threats to Russia in a videotape over the weekend, McCaul pointed out that it is ISIS that is claiming credit for the attack.

But with Russia, the attack complicates issues, because Russia will have its own homeland security issues.

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If it is true that the Islamic State is behind the deadly crash of a Russian passenger jet, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said Thursday, he hopes Russia will turn the targets of its airstrikes to ISIS and away from anti-Assad forces.
michael mccaul, unsure, russia, strategy, change, crash
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2015-01-05
Thursday, 05 Nov 2015 12:01 PM
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