House Intelligence Commitee Chairman Mike Rogers: We Have To Get More Involved On The Ground In Syria
The Michigan Republican briefed the rest of the GOP House Conference on a phone call this morning. Guest Host John Campbell was on that call, and brought on the Congressman to give America the same briefing on ISIS. His conclusion: They can’t be degraded solely by air strikes in Iraq. Syria ground action will have to be undertaken.
JC: Our next guest here is someone who knows a lot about the background on that. We have with us Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Mike, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show, and thank you for coming on with us.
MR: John, it’s always good to hear your voice, now even over the radio.
JC: Yes, yes, and you’ll be on this side of the mic at some point in the future, but we’ll get to that later. Three hours ago, you and I were on a conference call with House Republicans, with the Speaker and Majority Leader McCarthy and so forth, and you gave us a briefing on ISIS, and on the threats that ISIS provides, and your thoughts on that. To the extent that you can, and you feel comfortable doing so, I think America should hear what you told Congress three hours ago. So I would ask you now to repeat as much of that as you feel comfortable repeating.
JC: Well, sure, John, I’m happy to do it. And it’s one of the reasons you hear those of us who look at this information every day, and have tracked the rise of ISIS well over a year now, and certainly their brutality across Iraq, why we’re concerned, and why people like me keep saying hey, we have to do something and deal with this. So a couple of things that are concerning. One, you have an organization that has lots of time and space. And the one thing that we’ve learned leading up to 9/11 was that al Qaeda, Osama bin laden, had lots of time and space, He could recruit and train and raise money, plan operations without disruption, practice conducting operations, get themselves armed, get themselves the right kind of paperwork and passports to get where they needed to go. And they had the time and freedom and space to do it. Well, we see that exactly happening with ISIS only on steroids. And the reason I say that is because we believe that there are in excess of 3,000 individuals who have left either European or the United States or Canada countries, traveled, and are now being trained and further radicalized, and we hope not operationalized. We don’t have good acuity on that, that are just about a plan ticket away from coming home. So they go back to Europe. If they can find no derogatory information, that individual gets on an airplane and flies to the United States. They have, it’s called a visa waiver that would allow them to do that. And even though we’re better at tracking these things since 9/11, it’s not perfect. And we’ve never experienced this volume of individuals that we’d have to track. So when you get to countries like Canada, they have a different set of rules. They don’t track their, those kinds of movements of citizens, even in those areas. It makes it more difficult for us to figure out who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. They come into Canada, as you know, they’re just a simple drive right across the bridge, and they’re in the United States. So that’s why David Cameron stood up and so forcefully said hey, we’ve got a problem in Great Britain, and we think it’s in excess of 500 individuals. We’re trying to figure out who they are. We’re not figuring out all of them. That leaves huge gaps in our ability to determine the movement of these folks when they come home. You add, in addition to that, that about 12 of the 20 al Qaeda affiliates around the world have either overtly or covertly expressed some support to the ISIS movement, meaning they haven’t necessarily abandoned al Qaeda and its goals, aims and desires, but they’ve secretly in some cases, and overtly in some cases, expressed lots of support for this ISIS organization. Now you say well, what does that mean? Well, that means that other al Qaeda affiliates operating in Africa or Southwest Asia, or even the Levant, now you can plug into their logistical operations. They may have an individual that fits the right criteria that can do a Western style attack. So some notion that ISIS is so preoccupied with what its doing in Syria and Iraq that they aren’t interested in conducting a Western attack, terrorist attack, easy to say. But the evidence, the empirical evidence here is overwhelming that we have a huge problem, and that we have to deal with it. And most of their training camps, most of their logistics, are now happening out in Syria. Continue Reading