Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein appeared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday and told host Gloria Borger that America has an “Achilles heel” in the form of terror cells living inside the United States, although she said there’s “no credible defined threat” to America.
With the terrorist attack that killed 17 in Paris, as well as the subsequent and related fire bombing in Germany overnight, Islamic terrorism is centered on the world stage. The head of British intelligence sent out a warning to the world this week to be on the ready for even more mass casualty attacks.
But based on U.S. intelligence, in accordance to Feinstein’s interpretation, there is “no credible defined threat” as such. However, she did add that it’s “within the realm of possibility.”
“I think we’re in an all-out situation,” Feinstein said on CNN. “I think there are sleeper cells not only in France, but certainly in other countries, and yes, even in our own.”
Feinstein called for “vigilance” from all countries involved in finding terrorists, whom she said are “deeply embedded,” before they carry out planned attacks. She also called for the intelligence communities and national security organizations to be fully funded at this time in order to work with the governments of France, Britain, and Germany. The California Senator added, “The way you stop this is [through] intelligence.”
Borger asked about the possibility that these French citizens, who are responsible for the attack, could have made their way into the United States under its Visa Waiver Program even though they may have been on a no-fly list.
“Is the visa program a hole in the security net?” Borger asked.
Here is Feinstein’s response:
This is not new for me. I serve on the judiciary committee as well, and it’s my belief, and I’ve said this publicly many times, that the Visa Waiver Program is the Achilles heel of America. Because you’re right, Gloria, they can come back from training, they go through a visa waiver country, and they come into this country. Now, there are no-fly lists, there are terrorist lists, but they’re in the tens of thousands and even millions, so it’s difficult to ferret someone out. There are stolen travel documents, large numbers that they can pick up a false passport, et cetera. So, we have a big problem there. I think we need to take a look at the Visa Waiver Program again, and see what we can do to prevent this kind of thing from happening, because I believe it will happen if it hasn’t already.