Homeland Security Chairman McCaul: Manchester attack's brutal reminder – We must keep terrorists from our shores

Michael McCaul

This week’s terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester is a horrific reminder of the growing threat facing the Western world.

Britain experienced the deadliest terrorist attack on its soil since the 2005 London transit bombings, and we have all once again seen the true face of evil.

The British people now find themselves bracing for another possible attack as their terror threat level is raised from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’—signaling another attack remains not only highly likely but possibly imminent.

The British have deployed soldiers to the streets, a definitive symbol of what is already known: the West is at war with radical Islamist terrorists.

Just last month, DHS Secretary John Kelly said as many as 10,000 European citizens have joined the caliphate in Syria and Iraq and are intent on causing destruction back home.

As we reach the ominous and alarming figure of 200 ISIS-linked plots against the West, there has been a clear change in the directives guiding jihadists: attack where you are with whatever is available.

As we reach the ominous and alarming figure of 200 ISIS-linked plots against the West, there has been a clear change in the directives guiding jihadists: attack where you are with whatever is available.

In France last month, just days before their country’s election, a man opened fire on police officers in Paris in an effort to take lives and instill fear in the French people.

And this brutal attack in Manchester comes less than a month before the British people hold their own elections.

We have seen it throughout the past year—in the Nice vehicle attack and German knife attacks—terrorists are causing destruction by any means possible.

These attacks are proof that, though ISIS’ strongholds in the Middle East are being decimated, jihadists remain intent on causing chaos throughout the civilized world.

While our European allies have been at the epicenter of ISIS’ recent plots and attacks, America remains the crown target.

Though an ocean divides us, it alone cannot protect us from jihadists attempting to infiltrate our homeland.

Make no mistake—they are trying to get to our shores as they have done before.  

We cannot wait until the next large scale tragedy to improve America’s defenses.

That is why I have established a Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States, which is investigating ways to bolster our security against terrorists attempting to reach America.

This bipartisan Task Force, led by Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), had its first hearing earlier this month and will identify ways to improve America’s counterterrorism posture against foreign threats.

Later this year, my Committee will release a culminating report based on the Task Force’s findings to introduce legislative solutions and further protect our country and citizens.

This will continue the work of last Congress’ Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel, which produced over 50 actionable recommendation to protect the homeland—many of which are now law.

Defeating this evil will require close partnerships from nations across the globe. The United States is committed to assisting our allies in this fight, and our hearts go out to all of Britain and the families of those affected by this appalling tragedy.

We finally have an administration fully committed to reestablishing America’s reputation of leading from the front in this critical endeavor.

President Trump is currently overseas reassuring our Middle Eastern and European allies of their role in the fight, as he stated, “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.”

This is a fight not taken lightly and one with no acceptable solution besides success.

The United States mourns with all of Britain in the aftermath of this tragedy and stands resolute in our pledge to defeat radical Islamist terror across the globe.

This attacker was not a man of faith but a coward driven by a hateful ideology hiding behind the façade of religion.

When an innocent 8-year-old girl—one of the first reported fatalities—enjoying a concert with her mother and sister is killed, parents everywhere are attacked.

When peaceful citizens are brutally murdered simply because of their culture and lifestyle, the entire free world is attacked.

Terrorism is an assault on humanity felt around the world, and the response, too, will be global.

Republican Michael McCaul, represents Texas' 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.