The mass terror strikes in Israel this weekend should serve as a "wake up" call for Americans, according to former House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who told the Washington Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview that the chaos at the U.S. southern border could set the stage for a similar type of terror attack.
"We should wake up ourselves. We could have the same thing happen next week to us," McCarthy said. "We caught more people on the terrorist watchlist in February than we caught in the entire administration. We could have cells sitting inside of America right now."
McCarthy’s warning comes as Israel and its Western allies reassess their intelligence prowess on the heels of Hamas’s weekend invasion that caught the Jewish state off guard and left over a thousand killed and hundreds more wounded. Analysts are calling the attacks Israel’s 9/11, echoing a time when U.S. intelligence agencies completely failed to detect a shock al Qaeda operation that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
"We should take a step back and look at ourselves," McCarthy said. "Your intel is never perfect and we’ve got a wide-open border. They’re coming from 160 different countries," including those known to harbor militant operatives loyal to Iran and other terror groups, like the Taliban.
"How did we not know that is happening" in the Gaza Strip? McCarthy asked. "Everybody should look at their own intelligence right now."
The former House leader, who was ousted from his role last week by a small group of GOP insurgents and their Democratic allies, said during a press conference on Monday that he would consider resuming his role amid concerns the stalemate in the Republican-controlled House could undermine U.S. support for Israel going forward.
McCarthy told the Free Beacon that the uncertainty created by his ouster is contributing to fears Congress will not be ready to ensure Israel is armed with the resources it needs to combat Hamas.
"It’s unfortunate a few members did the actions they did, and now we don’t even have a speaker sitting there," he said. "It shows the weakness."
McCarthy also said the Biden administration is "1,000 percent" responsible for creating conditions that enabled Iran to fund Hamas and help plan its attack on Israel.
There’s "no doubt they contributed," he said. "From day one when the Biden administration came in, they changed the policies with Iran to appeasement."
This includes a $6 billion ransom payment last month that gave Iran access to cash reserves that analysts and Republican lawmakers say helped pay for Hamas’s war.
The Biden administration has denied the accusations, going on a media blitz this weekend to make the case that its diplomacy with Iran did not send Tehran’s terrorist arm into overdrive.
Republican foreign policy leaders and Middle East analysts also say the Biden administration’s decision to pour millions in U.S. taxpayer funds into the Palestinian territories bolstered Hamas’s arsenal. The State Department, in communications obtained earlier this year by the Free Beacon, assessed there is "a high risk Hamas could potentially derive indirect, unintentional benefit from U.S. assistance to Gaza."
The Biden administration’s foreign policy decisions, McCarthy said, "built up and created what’s happening in today’s world."
The lawmaker also said that Israel’s war with Hamas will not end anytime soon, even as Democrats in Congress call on the Jewish state to stand down.
"You have to understand this isn’t going to be a short time," McCarthy said. "This is something different. This is a long-term battle."