Two senior Republican lawmakers voiced opinions Sunday that contrary to President Obama’s continued narrative that al-Qaida is “decimated” and “on the run,” the threat from the terrorist organization is actually “getting worse, not better.”
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., disagreed with the administration’s practice of distinguishing “core al-Qaida” from its affiliates, according to CNS News.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” McCaul referred to it as making a “distinction without a difference. It’s all al-Qaeda,” he said.
“And it’s spreading,” McCaul added. “It’s getting worse, not better. And I think the American people need to know that. And I believe it’s very deceptive for this president to give a narrative that is pretty much over when, in fact, what I see is a spider web throughout northern Africa into Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan. This threat is getting worse, not better.”
McCain told Chris Wallace that the administration’s practice was little more than “semantic gymnastics” when he appeared on “Fox News Sunday.
Obama maintains that “core al-Qaida” – the Pakistan-based group led by Ayman al-Zawahiri since the death of Osama bin Laden – has been severely weakened even as affiliates in Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere still pose a significant threat.
He made the point again during a White House press conference Friday, saying that “this tightly-organized and relatively centralized al-Qaida that attacked us on 9/11 has been broken apart and is very weak and does not have a lot of operational capacity.”
McCaul said Obama’s assertion that “al-Qaida is on its heels” was a “very dangerous narrative.”
He continued, “I get the same threat briefings that the president of the United States does, and I’m not seeing his rhetoric meeting reality.”
McCain also questioned the administration’s narrative.
“You can’t say you have destroyed, quote, ‘core al-Qaida’ – by the way, that’s semantic gymnastics, which is remarkable – you can’t say that and at the same time have to close embassies and consulates all over,” he said. “Look, al-Qaida is on the rise, they have continued to penetrate.”
McCain placed the blame for al-Qaida’s rise squarely on the White House steps.
“Al-Qaida is strengthening every day in every way because of a lack of American leadership and policy. The only American policy that I can think of that President Obama is practicing – one, he’s not [President George W.] Bush, and second, that the United States is withdrawing.”
The Associated Press referred to the Obama-McCain relationship as “Washington’s Newest Odd Couple.” Sounds like that relationship has taken a tumble.
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