WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Rep. Peter King, chairman of the sub-committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, once again suggested the 9/11 terror attacks are directly linked to current Middle East unrest, saying that “ISIS is more of a threat to the United States now than Al-Qaeda was prior to September 11.”
Speaking with CNN and NBC News over the weekend, the New York Republican and staunch supporter of international military intervention, said that President Barack Obama’s response to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a much larger problem for U.S. national security and not just for Iraq.
“This is not just Iraq,” King said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “ISIS is a direct threat to the United States of America. We can’t wait for Maliki or the Iraqi parliament to fight ISIS. Every day that goes by ISIS builds up this caliphate. They are more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11. (Sen.) Dick Durbin says we’re not going to do this, not going to do that. I want to hear what he says when they attack us in the United States. I lost hundreds of constituents on 9/11. I never want to do that again.”
Durbin embraced the call by many Democrats and less interventionist Republicans to halt any military strikes beyond airstrikes.
King told CNN that he does support part of the president’s Iraq policy, but that he needs to be more aggressive with his foreign policy leadership. King said the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq showed America’s unwillingness to take continued action in the Middle East.
“I support the airstrikes,” said King. “That is important. But having said that, why he says the US is not going to provide more military help until there’s a more diverse government in Iraq. If ISIS is a threat to the US, and it is, then we shouldn’t let our security depend on the whims of the Iraqi Parliament.
“Also, when the president says that we’re not going to use-we’re not going to go beyond these air strikes – I can’t understand why a commander-in-chief would ever tell the enemy what we’re going to do or not do,” King added.
“What a weak leader,” said King. “Can you imagine Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman [doing that]?”
King has been a staunch supporter of Middle East military intervention despite recent poll showing Americans have lost faith in the ongoing Afghanistan war and the Iraq war that saw U.S. troops pull out in 2011. King labeled National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden a “defector and a traitor” in defense of U.S. military interests.