Americans are in more danger of terrorist attacks than ever before, the leaders of congressional intelligence panels said on Sunday.
“The threat level has never been more diverse than it is today,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."
“The more efforts [extremists] try, the more perfect you have to be in trying to stop something, and that's a challenge," he said.
Rogers and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, discussed threats from terrorists with greater numbers and evolving methods.
“There are more groups than ever and there is huge malevolence out there,” Feinstein said. “The fatalities are way up, the numbers [of attacks] are way up, there are new bombs – very big bombs -- trucks being reinforced for those bombs; bombs can get through magnetometers [and onto planes].”
And Feinstein said that groups are becoming more determined.
“There is a real displaced aggression within this fundamentalist, jihadist Islamic community. And that is, the West is responsible for all the things that are going wrong," she said.
The lawmakers argued that questions about the activities of the U.S. intelligence community only damage its ability to thwart these attacks, which, Rogers says, could become smaller and more frequent.
“We're fighting amongst ourselves here in this country about the role of our intelligence community that is having an impact on our ability to stop threats. So we've got to shake ourselves out of this pretty soon and understand that our intelligence services are not the bad guys,” Rogers said.
Since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden began leaking classified intelligence documents in June, a national debate has been stirring about what activities the NSA and other agencies are engaging in and how much of American’s private information is available to them.
Terrorist cells in the agency’s crosshairs are becoming more determined than ever and, Rogers says, more complacent with smaller attacks.
"I think people think, 'Oh we've got this thing beat, It's kinda over. We don't have to worry about al Qaeda anymore,'" he said. "What we see is, that's really not the case," he added.