• With: Tom Ridge

    This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right.

    Well, if ISIS isn't already here in America, those who want to help them are, the federal government charging six Bosnian immigrants across some three states with assisting ISIS and Al Qaeda. They allegedly sent weapons and cash to the terror groups. In fact, they were set to fly out to Syria when all of that was done last summer. We stopped them.

    But former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge fears they might not be alone, and we might be behind the eight-ball.

    Secretary, Governor, always good to see you.

    TOM RIDGE, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: Nice to be with you again. Thank you.

    CAVUTO: How did we catch these guys? Do we know?

    RIDGE: Well, I can't say for certain.

    But I do know that multiple sources of intelligence, including our friends at the FBI, got them appropriately, probably had their eyes on them for quite some time.

    CAVUTO: Right.

    RIDGE: And, unfortunately, Neil, I think this is a manifestation of a troubling, but permanent reality in the 21st century.

    CAVUTO: That they are here, that the bad guys are here and we're not doing enough to...

    (CROSSTALK)

    CAVUTO: ... them out?

    RIDGE: Well, no, but the reality is, is that we're going to have people in this country that are going to support the savage attacks on -- that ISIL perpetrated on Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians.

    But we're -- also, there's another level of engagement. And, unfortunately, it will be either ISIL veterans returning to this country or just think about the Tsarnaev brothers.

    CAVUTO: Oh, right.

    RIDGE: They operated independently of any central command.

    (CROSSTALK)

    CAVUTO: And all these six Bosnians, if memory serves me, Governor, they were all here legally. There was nothing in question about them, as were most of the 9/11 terrorists.

    (CROSSTALK)

    RIDGE: Right.

    CAVUTO: How do we weed out groups like that?

    RIDGE: Our best hope -- our best hope is to gather sufficient information in time to connect with them before they act.

    But in a country of 330 million people, even though we now have more restrictions on immigration, we're foolish to conclude that we could catch them all before they all act. But whatever the sources were for these individuals, fortunately, we were able to detect it.

    That's one area where I think those families, individuals in the communities, if they're operating in the broader Muslim community, it's pretty difficult for these individuals to operate independently, that won't let their intent be known.

    And that's why I think sometimes it's just people in the community give us a heads-up. Unfortunately, we didn't get any of that with the Tsarnaev brothers.

    CAVUTO: Right.

    RIDGE: But, I think time will tell. I think that's one of the responsibilities of the broader community, Muslim community.

    CAVUTO: I have asked you -- I'm sorry, sir. I have asked you this before. But do you think we're going to have another 9/11-type event?

    RIDGE: I think the prospects of more independent, smaller attacks similar to the ones that we saw in Boston, are probably closer to the reality we have to deal with.

    But I don't think we should ever conclude that the big strategic hit is something that's not on minds of Al Qaeda. But, right now, they seem to be taking -- they're in second place in the Islamic jihadist world. But there is no doubt in my mind that they would continue to plan something as significant and as horrific as 9/11.

    But, right now, I think our prominent concern has to be these kind of attacks, the support to ISIL overseas and the possibility that there would be one or two operating independently in this country.

    CAVUTO: Right.

    What would change if ISIL/ISIS got control of a sovereign country? How does that change things, in other words, if they took over Syria, if they took over Iraq? You have heard all the caliphate arguments. What happens?

    RIDGE: Well, you know, sadly, Neil, I don't think they have to take over control of the entire country.

    They control enough square miles now, exclusively under their control, unless they're ousted. Then obviously, it becomes a much larger training ground than Al Qaeda had in Afghanistan.

    CAVUTO: But what if -- to Ted Cruz, who might be running for president, who says no boots on the ground, no U.S. boots on the ground?

    RIDGE: Well, I just -- I think his premise is wrong.