House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday said he was skeptical of President Obama’s claim that al Qaeda was on the run and calls for a revised counterterrorism approach.
McCaul called Obama’s Thursday national security address one of “the most significant foreign policy address ever given by this president,” during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I mean, the narrative is sort of that, you know, al Qaeda is on the run. They're defeated, let's claim victory, war's over. And then, let's go back to a pre-9/11 mentality. He actually said that the threat now is what it was before 9/11,” said McCaul. “I couldn’t disagree with him more on that.”
In his address Thursday, the president touted gains against al Qaeda and announced new limits on armed drone strikes and a renewed push to shutter the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
McCaul said efforts to close Gitmo were impractical and questioned where detainees suspected of terrorism could be housed.
“The president's position was let's just close it down and find a solution to this,” he said. “I think the reverse should be true and that is we ought to be trying to find how to deal with them before we close this facility down.
“Name me one American city that would like to host these guys -- these terrorists in their country?,” asked McCaul.
McCaul’s comments were mirrored by other GOP lawmakers, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) calling the president’s national security address “tone deaf.”
“At a time we need resolve the most, we’re sounding retreat,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday."