OTR Interviews

An American killed fighting FOR ISIS - how far and deep is the terror group's reach?

An American has been killed fighting for Islamic militants. Is ISIS's reach farther - and deeper - than we suspect? Plus, Pres. Obama at the American Legion Convention

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 26, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a FOX News alert. FOX News confirming an American was killed in Syria while fighting for ISIS. Yes, for ISIS. That's the same group that executed James Foley.

For the very latest, FOX News chief intelligence correspondent, Catherine Herridge, joins us -- Catherine?

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Greta. Within the last hour, senior law enforcement official confirmed to FOX News that the American citizen killed in Syria was known to the U.S. government and his affiliation also with ISIS. FOX News has been told that the family of Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego, California, has also been notified.

Evidence of his death, including a photo of his American passport, was first reported by the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting against ISIS for control of eastern Syria.

On Twitter in June, he told his ISIS contact that he would soon be meeting them in that country. And as his radicalization deepened, he changed his name it and adopted this moniker, Slave of Allah.

The FBI is tracking dozens of cases of Americans traveling from the U.S. to Syria. And the TSA has instituted new security measures, which help it rack individuals of interest for returning from the region to the United States within 72 hours of their flight. But that system does not flag everyone -- Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: If you fly, of course, first to London and sit there two weeks, you are not in the system at you will, right?

HERRIDGE: You can still be in the system depending on what level of interest you are to the U.S. government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was this man of sufficient interest that he would have gotten caught?

HERRIDGE: He was of significant interest to the U.S. government and they had been tracking him, it's now clear to me, for several months.

The interesting continuing thing to me tonight is when the National Security Council put out a statement about his death, they said it was evidence that Americans should not travel to Syria. What they neglected to mention is that he was fighting for ISIS. And this is not a mistake. This is an act of commission.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's a little absurd to put out a travel advisory to Americans not to travel to Syria.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Not to travel to Syria. That's almost absurd to tell Americans not to travel to Syria.

HERRIDGE: Well, to mention his death and not the fact that he was affiliated with the group that --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Why didn't they? Why wouldn't they?

HERRIDGE: I don't know. But I think that you do see a pattern often where the affiliation with known terrorist groups is dropped. And it takes me back to the original reporting we did on Major Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood massacre where that was classified as work-place violence and a great effort to distance him from his al Qaeda affiliation with a cleric in Yemen.

Catherine, thank you.

HERRIDGE: You're welcome.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North joins us. Good evening, sir.

LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH, FOX NEWS HOST, 'WAR STORIES': Greta, good to be with you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Catherine just reporting this very disheartening news. Douglas McCain, an American, fighting for ISIS, but NSC gives us a travel warning and doesn't want to say that he is working with ISIS or was working with ISIS.

NORTH: Douglas McAuthur McCain was his adopted name. When you are looking at now two in a week, the Brit who murdered James Foley, and now an American, you've got to recognize, I think, that the State Department and our Department of Homeland Security and our immigration folks and the FBI would be concerned. There appear to be a lot of Westerners. And as Catherine just reported, we really don't know how many there are. And the estimates vary widely from 300-plus to 3,000-plus.

VAN SUSTEREN: This whole travel alert business, remember the guy who had -- the underwear bomber. He must have been -- there are so many ways to get passed these no fly lists.

NORTH: There is a lot more of them now than when Richard Reid was doing-and the underwear bomber as well.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: -- into Detroit.

NORTH: That's right. The system has improved. But, as everybody acknowledges, it is not foolproof. There are ways to evade it. And one would think that given their sophistication -- the folks running ISIS recruiting know how to do it. In other words, if you fly to Turkey, or if you fly to Greece and then motor to Turkey, and then go from Turkey into Syria to become part of ISIS or ISIL or whatever they are calling themselves this week, you may not be in the system when you come back out. We have to be very concerned about what's happening with these radicalized jihadists coming back to the United States, just like the Europeans.

VAN SUSTEREN: Flying to Montreal and walking across the border of Vermont or whatever.

Anyway, let me go to this other question. You spoke at the American Legion and so did President Obama at the national convention down in North Carolina. How was he received by the American Legion?

NORTH: I think it the proper word would be politely. They are veterans, 2.4 million represented by the 96th meeting of the American Legion. They were polite to him. He did say some things they wanted to hear about improving veterans' care. The rest of it was almost like it was prepared by several different people. And he just read from the teleprompter. My line was that I learned to speak because I work for a president who spoke from the heart. He speaks from a teleprompter. It was very -- it was disjointed. It was irrational in some parts. Quite frankly, we ought to be concerned about that aspect of it because it's not just detachment. It's almost delusional. And when he speaks the way he does about our coalition, what coalition?

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: He said, "In times of crisis, no other nation can rally such broad coalitions to stand up for international norms and peace." I remember a year ago when he wanted to bomb Syria, the U.K. said -- our best friends wouldn't go with us.

NORTH: And today, for example, it was announced by the Pentagon that we are conducting intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Syria. Yesterday, we were being told by the same Pentagon that the reason why we are dropping bombs in Iraq and not in Syria is because we were in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. And to this point, one of the reasons why Mr. Obama withdrew everybody in December of 2011 was because we did not have a Status of Forces agreement. Do we have one now? And no one asks him these things at these briefings.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm going to ask a question about the vets. He said as soon as it was disclosed, the vet problem. "I got before the American people and I said we would not tolerate it." That's what he ran on in 2008. Did the vets politely accept that one?

NORTH: Yeah. They were polite. He is the commander and chief. They were polite. Quite frankly, I was concerned at the end of the whole presentation because it appears to be so detached from the reality of what's going on in the world today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Colonel North, nice to see you, sir.

NORTH: Good to be back. Thank you.