The explosive growth of new terrorist groups in the Middle East represents a huge threat to the United States, Rep. Peter King tells Newsmax TV
"We are, right now, I'd say in a more serious position than we were after 9/11 because al-Qaida has morphed, metastasized into a number of different groups,'' King told "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Monday.
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"The most lethal is ISIS, [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] which actually is technically separated from al-Qaida, even though there is still a strong alliance there.
"We know that over the past several years they've actually had scientists come in and they are working on bombs and explosives that can be carried onto planes without being detected. So, that's the real concern here.''
King, a member of the Homeland Security Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, added that the chance of terrorists boarding U.S.-bound jets has grown considerably.
"You have hundreds of Europeans and well over 100 Americans [who've gone] to Syria to fight on the side of the al-Qaida allies . . . They are getting very, very sophisticated terrorist training,'' he said.
"[The] Europeans come from countries that are called visa waiver countries, which means they can go back to Europe and fly into the U.S. without having to get a visa.
"Keeping track of thousands of them — where they're going, and when they're coming into the U.S. — is very, very difficult, and we need to cooperate entirely closely with our allies. It's going to be difficult.''
King said tighter security measures at foreign airports are a must.
"The real concern is . . . planes coming in from overseas into the U.S,'' he said.
"Many of these countries just do not have the tight security, they're lax, their equipment is not as sophisticated as it should be.''
King said he "fully'' supported Monday's Supreme Court decision that companies cannot be forced to provide insurance coverage for birth control methods they consider to be abortion, and disagreed with liberals who call it more of the right's "war on women.''
"This was a case of religious freedom, and I find it interesting that many of these Democrats and liberals — who want to get their picture taken with Catholic bishops and cardinals — are so quick to call a religious belief a war against women,'' he said.
"I can understand someone being pro-choice. I'm pro-life myself, and I believe we should have laws protecting the unborn and I believe that today's decision is actually just very simply an issue of religious freedom.
"It bothers me when they throw around terms like 'war against women' on what is really a very important constitutional issue of religious freedom and respecting someone's religious beliefs, which should be what this country is based on.''
On Monday, President Barack Obama vowed to seek legal advice on what executive powers he has to enact stalled immigration reform.
King said there was little chance a reform bill could have been hammered out on Capitol Hill this year.
"It could have been the possibility of a limited immigration reform, but it would have required both sides to come together. It would have required the president to come down from his high horse,'' he said.
"What really hurt the president was the issue of executive orders, of not enforcing current laws, and the feeling . . . the president would just enforce it any way he wanted to anyway.''
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