Progressive group requests Transportation Department look into Chao's potential conflicts of interest
GOP chairman: Russian plane crash a 'game changer'
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Tuesday that the crash of a Russian plane in Egypt last month is a "game changer" for airport security.
Investigators have said they are "90 percent sure" that Metrojet Flight 9268 was brought down by a bomb in late October that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist has taken credit for.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Tuesday in an interview with Fox News the apparent attack on a commercial airliner "is a major game changer with respect to ISIS entering a new chapter."
"We expected this from al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula," he said. "They were the premier bomb maker targeting aviation. But now ISIS has demonstrated they - if this is found to be true, which I believe it is - have the capability now to hit aircrafts with bombs. This is going beyond the caliphate. These are external operations that could be pointed right at the United States of America."
The downed Metrojet flight was a Russian Airbus A321 that crashed last month in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. The plane broke up at 33,000 feet, out of range of anti-air weaponry, indicating a bomb may have been placed on board before take-off.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
McCaul said Tuesday that the move to target commercial airliners makes ISIS a threat to domestic security.
"The fact that ISIS is now in this game makes the most dangerous terrorist group in the world," he said.
McCaul added that the likelihood of ISIS being responsible for the Russian plane crash "concerns me a great deal because traditionally they've been focused on the caliphate, not external operations."
"This is a very significant departure from that mission and one that I think could impact our own homeland as well," he said.
-Julian Hattem and Bradford Richardson contributed to this report.