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Posts tagged ‘Michael McCaul’

Snowden Requesting Russian Protection After Threats.

Image: Snowden Requesting Russian Protection After ThreatsEdward Snowden’s refugee documents granted by Russia.

By Newsmax Wires

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. contractor residing in Russia under temporary asylum, is appealing to the local government for protection after receiving threats against his life, his lawyer in Moscow said.

“He has no other option but to seek protection and ask for the situation to be cleared up,” Anatoly Kucherena said by phone today. “There are worries and alarm about statements and actions on the part of some officials.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent PollKucherena, who has represented Snowden’s interests in Russia since he sought refuge last July after leaking classified National Security Agency documents, pointed to reports on Buzzfeed this month that contained threats made by unidentified U.S. officials. Two days ago, Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, described the 30-year-old American as “a thief” who had possible Russian assistance and has “incredibly harmed” the U.S. military.

Snowden received a year’s sanctuary in Russia in August after a month-long confinement in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. After months of debate instigated by Snowden’s leaks, President Barack Obama responded Jan. 17 by endorsing action to ensure American citizens and allies that their privacy is protected while committing to few specifics.

Obama canceled a September meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the decision to grant Snowden temporary asylum.

Life, Safety

“Edward really believes his life and safety are at risk,” Kucherena said, adding that his client currently has private protection. “Since he’s a temporary refugee, he has the same rights and responsibilities as any Russian citizen.”

Snowden hasn’t received notice from the U.S. that he’s being held accountable for any crime, according to Kucherena.

Rogers, the U.S. lawmaker, has offered the only public characterization of a classified Defense Department report on Snowden, saying it concluded that he downloaded about 1.7 million intelligence files while working for the McLean, Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp.

Dianne Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint appearance with Rogers that Snowden “may well have” had assistance. Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who’s chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the same day on ABC’s “This Week” that he thought Snowden had help.

No Asset

Russia isn’t controlling Snowden as an intelligence asset or offering him aid beyond a safe haven, Putin said Dec. 19. Snowden hasn’t been questioned about U.S. intelligence activities regarding Russia, according to Putin.

“I’ll tell you in semiprofessional language: we aren’t working with him and haven’t worked with him in investigative terms,” he said.

The U.S. has accused Snowden of theft and espionage for leaking documents to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post last year that unveiled the breadth of the NSA’s collection of Internet and telephone records.

Snowden, who first went to Hong Kong after leaking the documents, has said his goal was to call the public’s attention to programs he believed had expanded with little meaningful oversight.

“There’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow,” Rogers said, referring to Russia’s security agency. “There’s questions to be answered there. I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll 
© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. McCaul: Iran Deal Could Lead to Nuclear Arms Race.

The nuclear weapons deal between the United States and Iran could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Rep. Michael McCaul said Wednesday.

“If we lift the sanctions, [Secretary of State John Kerry] will allow Iran to continue enriching uranium,” McCaul told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

Story continues below video.

“It’s empowering other partners in the Middle East to possibly do the same. It could start a nuclear arms race,” the Texas Republican said.

McCaul is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairs the Homeland Security Committee. Kerry appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday to answer questions about the recent agreement with Iran.

Earlier this year, the House approved in a bipartisan vote additional sanctions against Iran. McCaul said the purpose of the bill was to give Kerry “a better hand to play” in negotiations.

“When you go into negotiation, you need all the leverage you can get to play your best hand at the table,” McCaul said. “And yet, he does not want us to go down that road.”

McCaul questioned whether Iran was negotiating in good faith. He called Kerry “naive” to negotiate with a country that’s called for the “destruction of Israel and the West, including the United States.”

“Just last week, the president of Iran basically said the centrifuges will never stop spinning. I think that’s very insightful as to their intent,” he said.

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

McCaul: Don’t Repeat N. Korea Mistake with Iran.

Image: McCaul: Don't Repeat N. Korea Mistake with Iran

By Greg Richter

Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, says the terrorist threat facing America is growing and spreading like a web across Africa and the Middle East.

“I believe the threat has become greater, not lesser,” said McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The White House has been touting a “false narrative and premise” that al Qaeda is now on the run because Osama bin Laden is dead, he said.

“I personally see it spreading like a spider web, like a wildfire in Africa through the Middle East,” McCaul said.

McCaul also said that former aides to President George W. Bush tell him one of the biggest mistakes they made was agreeing to accords with North Korea, which ended up getting nuclear weapons anyway.

“I don’t want to see that same mistake happen in Iran,” McCaul said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The chairman of House Homeland Security Committee said the United States has been working on sanctions for a decade, and he is worried about the six-month interim deal that allows Iran to continue enriching uranium for non-military purposes.

“What I’m concerned about is that we have not dismantled their program and yet relieved the sanctions, which is a $7 billion economic aid to the country,” McCaul said.

McCaul added that he is troubled by the words of Iranian President Hassan Rouhanion Saturday that the country’s centrifuges will “never stop spinning.”

“That sends to me a very cold, hard message that they are not intent of a civilian nuclear peaceful program, but getting a nuclear weapon,” McCaul told CNN.

McCaul is among a group of senators wanting to see a bill passed to add new sanctions at the end of the six-month deal if the Iranians renege. He said it would give President Barack Obama added leverage in negotiations.

Also appearing on the show was Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who disagrees with the idea of adding sanctions. He said he thinks the interim deal makes sense, but still expressed skepticism that a final agreement will ever be passed. He called Obama’s prediction of a “50-50 or worse” chance “optimistic.”

“You can have a peaceful nuclear energy program with no enrichment,” Schiff said, adding that Iran wants thousands of centrifuges only for the purpose of “fast breakout capability.”

“I wouldn’t begin the process by conceding anything on enrichment,” Schiff said. Now that they have it, Iran will never lose their bomb-making know-how, he said. The only way to stop them once they build a nuclear weapon is a repeated bombing campaign that might also involve boots on the ground, he said.

McCaul said that he would like to employ moderate Muslim leaders in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Schiff said the U.S. is better at fighting terror that it ever has been, but noted, “we’re never going to be 100 percent safe.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Homeland Chairman McCaul Demands More Info on Benghazi.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul is demanding more information out of Secretary of State John Kerry about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya after a report aired Sunday night that a security officer had warned of a possible assault on the compound by terrorists.

The report on CBS’ “60 Minutes” quoted a British security officer assigned to protect U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, saying he repeatedly warned higher-ups that al-Qaida affiliated group seemed poised for an attack.

McCaul said he had sent a letter to Kerry asking for an explanation and more information about the administration’s handling of the tragic incident on Sept. 11, 2012 that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The “60 Minutes” broadcast also carried an interview with Gregory Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya, who said he placed a call during the attack “to the annex chief [in Benghazi], and I told him, ‘Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.”

The comment really got to McCaul, who said on “Fox & Friends” Monday that “this was the most disturbing and offensive event of all the tragedy of Benghazi.”

“Military teaches us ‘no man left behind,’ and we left behind our ambassador and a Navy Seal and two Foreign Service officers. We left them behind to die,” the Texas Republican said.

McCaul said he is particularly upset with the White House for failing to put any suspects in the attack on a terrorist-watch list that offers a reward for their capture.

“This is a sign from the administration they’re not taking it seriously, it’s not a priority. This could bring these terrorists to justice,” he added.

McCaul also said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still needs to answer more questions about her handling of the Benghazi situation and suggested at one point that she could pay a price for it politically if she decides to seek the presidency in 2016.

“She was behind all of this, and I think it’s going to haunt her in any potential presidential election,” McCaul said.

McCaul joined fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in demanding a better accounting of the administration’s actions regarding Benghazi. Graham, also appearing on “Fox & Friends,” threatened to block “every appointment” by the administration until survivors of the attack are allowed to testify before Congress.

Related Stories:

Report: Suspects in Benghazi Attack Linked to Top al-Qaida Leaders
‘We’re Here to Kill Americans,’ Benghazi Attackers Declared: Witness

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Dan Weil

Rep. Mike McCaul: DC Suspect Had No Weapons in Car.

Law-enforcement officials declined to say whether the woman shot and killed by police in Washington, D.C., Thursday had weapons, but a member of Congress says he was told that she did not.

“From what I understand, she didn’t have any weapons in the car,” Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, told CNN on Thursday.

McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, described the person who rammed a barricade near the White House before leading police on a chase several blocks to the Capitol as a 34-year-old woman from Connecticut.

None of the information McCaul gave to CNN has been confirmed by Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, which is heading the investigation.

Police shot the woman to death after her car crashed near the Capitol. She reportedly refused to follow police orders.

The woman may have had mental health issues, McCaul said he has been told by multiple sources. The woman’s 18-month-old daughter was in the car, but was unharmed in the incident.

McCaul said he was told by Homeland Security and the FBI that the incident is likely isolated and not connected to terrorism.

“It hasn’t been ruled out completely,” McCaul told CNN, and the FBI is digging into the woman’s background.

A reporter at an earlier press conference with police officials asked whether the woman, who was black, was of Somali descent. Police would not answer that question, or any others about the suspect, and McCaul said he is unaware whether the woman is American or an immigrant. He also said he has not been told her name.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Reps. Sanchez, McCaul Say Syria Action Could Lead to Larger War.

Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California isn’t convinced America’s national security is at stake, and is leaning against approving President Barack Obama’s request to approve limited military action against Syria for using chemical weapons against its own civilians.

“I haven’t heard that [President Bashar] Assad wants to use weapons against us,” Sanchez said Sunday on NBC’sMeet the Press.” “I haven’t heard that he wants to use weapons against our allies, that he’s moving them to terrorist organizations.”

Once an American cruise missile lands in Syria, “we are in the Syrian war,” Sanchez said. “So for the president to say this is just, you know, a very quick thing and we’re out of there, that’s how long wars start.”

“Little wars start big wars,” added Republican Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas, also on NBC.

McCaul and Sanchez both expressed concern that some of the Syrian rebel groups have been infiltrated by al-Qaida. McCaul found it ironic that the vote over taking action will come on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11.

“Those images I saw of the children in Damascus are horrific,” McCaul said. “Assad is a brutal dictator, but I don’t want to see those images broadcast and shown in the United States with American kids.”

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York backs Obama’s plan, though he thinks he should have acted earlier without consulting Congress.

“For one year he said this red line was there. And then the red line is crossed. And he sends [Secretary of State John] Kerry and [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel out, all set to basically have an attack,” King said. “We’re told that Congress is not needed. At the 11th hour he brings in Congress. And then he says it’s not his red line.”

King said: “Here’s a person who’s vacillating. I can’t imagine Harry Truman or John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower ever putting the nation in a position like this on military policy.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Rep. McCaul on CBS: Syrian Chemical Weapons Threat to U.S.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee on Sunday warned that dangerous chemicals recently used against the Syrian people could be captured by al-Qaida and used on Americans unless President Barack Obama acts quickly to destroy the weapon stockpile.

Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, told CBS’sFace the Nation” that securing and destroying the weapons used last week in a Damascus suburb must be the president’s top priority.

“My greatest fear as chairman of Homeland Security is these weapons ending up in the wrong hands of some al-Qaida jihadists, who we know are there fighting in the rebel forces, and that could be a direct threat not only to Western interest in the Middle East, but also directly to the homeland security of the United States,” McCaul said.

The chairman said Obama has been presented with several options by the U.S. military to respond to the attack, and that four warships are currently off the coast of Syria. Missiles are one option to take out the chemical stockpile, but McCaul warned against direct engagement by U.S. troops.

“I don’t think the American people have the appetite to put troops on the ground,” McCaul said.

McCaul said that he is frustrated with the Obama administration for allowing the situation to “fester,” and for taking a “wait-and-see policy in hoping for the best.”

“Every time I get briefed on this issue, it gets worse because it’s become a Mecca for jihadists,” McCaul said.

“They are travelling from all over the world, al-Qaida factions into Syria to fight the Assad regime, so I don’t really see any good outcome here, given the number one chief objective should be to secure and destroy these chemical weapons,” McCaul said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Audrey Hudson

Republicans Raise Concerns About Obama’s ICE Nominee.

Two Republican lawmakers have expressed “extreme concern” to President Barack Obama over his choice for acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing John Sandweg’s “critically thin” experience in law enforcement.

“A litany of concerning allegations has been raised against Mr. Sandweg,” said the legislators, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul and Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, in a letter to Obama. “Perhaps the most concerning is the clear political partisanship displayed throughout his career.”

McCaul chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security and Duncan is the chairman of the panel’s Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee.

The legislators’ letter was reported by Fox News on Wednesday and follows a report the network published last week detailing Sandweg’s close ties to outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and his experience as a criminal defense attorney.

According to the congressmen’s letter, Sandweg, 38, now heads the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and oversees 20,000 employees and an annual budget of almost $6 billion despite a “gaping lack of experience.”

“Despite extensive political experience, Mr. Sandweg’s qualifications are critically thin in one area: experience in law enforcement,” the letter states.

“Such a critical agency to our homeland security demands a leader with proven experience, significant managerial acumen, and tested judgment,” the legislators wrote. “We fear your choice may possess none of these crucial qualities.”

In its Aug. 14 report, explained that Sandweg represented sex offenders and murderers while in private practice in Arizona, where he also served as a fundraiser for Napolitano while she was governor.

The lawmakers cited much of the Fox report in their letter to Obama.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Fox.

Sandweg’s supporters include David Aguilar, who recently retired as deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“I think he’s extremely qualified to serve as the acting director of ICE and that’s in my opinion. That’s the opinion of a 35-year cop,” Aguilar told Fox.

He said he worked with Sandweg on immigration and border-control issues.

But McCaul and Duncan noted Sandweg’s recent participation in the National Immigration Law Center’s National Low-Income Immigrant Right’s Conference, which included workshops on “anti-deportation education and organizing.”

“These facts suggest he may not implement ICE’s mission in a non-partisan manner,” the legislators wrote.

A Homeland Security official cited Sandweg’s work as general counsel for the department as providing experience for his current position, according to Fox.

He helped develop border-security and immigration-enforcement strategies, helped remove more than 950,000 convicted criminal aliens since 2009, and worked with the Pentagon to deploy the National Guard to the Southwest Border, the official told Fox.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Todd Beamon

McCaul: Obama in ‘Mess’ for Not Explaining NSA Program.

Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas criticized President Barack Obama for inadequately explaining the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program to the American people.

Obama has failed to explain the value of the NSA programs that capture virtually all electronic communications between Americans, but are intended only to spy on terrorists, McCaul said Sunday during an appearance on NBC’sMeet The Press.”

“He has not adequately explained them or defended them, and now he’s in a bit of a mess,” said McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.

During a time when people don’t trust the administration with their tax records, they don’t trust them with their phone records either, McCaul said.

McCaul said the president was not being forthright with the public. “I’m not seeing his rhetoric is meeting reality,” McCaul said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Ted Koppel on Terrorism: ‘We’ve Done This to Ourselves’.

With a conference call, al-Qaida has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around northern Africa and the Middle East, veteran journalist Ted Koppel says.

Appearing on NBC’sMeet the Press” on Sunday, Koppel accused the United States of overreacting to intelligence that al-Qaida leaders are planning a major attack.

“The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved in all our response,” Koppel said.

“We have done this to ourselves,” Koppel said of the U.S. reaction to the threat. Terrorism has existed for as long as human history, he said, and it should not be allowed to give it’s proponents the power they seek.

“Terrorism is simply the weapon by which the weak engage the strong,” he said. “And what they do is they cause the strong, in this case us, to overreact.”

But Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, disagreed. As chairman, he said he sees the same threat briefings as President Barack Obama, and the threat is real.

He did accuse the president, however of not being forthright with the public. “I’m not seeing his rhetoric is meeting reality,” McCaul said.

Obama has failed to explain the value of the National Security Agency programs that capture virtually all electronic communications between Americans, but are intended only to spy on terrorists, McCaul said.

“He has not adequately explained them or defended them, and now he’s in a bit of a mess,” he said. In a time when people don’t trust the administration with their tax records, they don’t trust them with their phone records either, McCaul said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

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