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Kelly File

Rep. King discusses terror fears after NYC ax attack

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 23, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Joining me now by phone is New York Congressman Peter King, who's a member of the Homeland Security Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence. He also serves in the permanent select committee on intelligence.  

Congressman, thank you for being here. What can you tell us, if anything, about the attack in New York today?

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y., COUNTERTERROR AND INTEL SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN (on the phone): Megyn, first of all my father was a New York City police officer, so this really hits home when we hear something like this. There is to me, a number of people I've spoken to, clearly there were radical Islamic statements that he's made. I can't tell you exactly where I've gotten all of this but there is some documentation saying that he's very much anti- white. Certainly, he is a Muslim. I've heard that he -- tends toward a black Muslim, whether or not this ISIS connections, they don't know.

But clearly this is a person who has at least some terrorist Islamic leadings, certainly radical Islamic leadings. And when you see what's happened over the last several days, whether or not he was actually with ISIS, which probably would not be the case. I don't want to prejudge that. If he does have mental issues, that's when something like this when you see what ISIS is doing, people like this can be provoked, they can act. And also, your guest on before I was just listening to him saying how that a person like this can feel that he's cut off that only ISIS or radical Islam perhaps can motivate him.

And, you know, I think right here in New York when you think of what the New York Times and Associated Press, the way they demean the New York City Police Department, the way they portray them as being anti-Muslim, or prosecuting Muslims, I can see how a person with a mental illness who is inclined towards radicals Islam anyway can be further motivated.

So this is to me too much of a coincidence coming so soon after the other two attacks in Canada and after ISIS has been calling for attacks upon police and the military. Not saying that he was connected with ISIS. That remains to be seen. But clearly he was Muslim and clearly he had radical tendencies from everyone I've spoken to, and you put that all together and this is a bad day for New York and it shows that this is hitting home.  

KELLY: So I just want to confirm, he is a Muslim. You say you were being told he is a Muslim, he had radical tendencies. They have evidence to believe he was, quote, "anti-white." That's all true of the Oklahoma beheading suspect as well. And that's a case which they are telling us is a murder. They are not calling that a terrorist case. Do you see a connection between these two?

KING: Certainly it goes in that direction. Yes, there's certainly a connection that's worth pursuing and to me it's more likely than not. And I would say that if this does turn out to be similar to Oklahoma, we should do the right thing in New York and say that it's a terrorist attack.

Again, not all the facts are in, but enough facts are in to certainly lead us in that direction and to realize that there are people out there, whether they are directly working for ISIS or they are self-starters or they are people with mental illness, will be provoked by ISIS and being provoked by what they see here in the media that should be on our guard.

And the NYPD, which has done such a terrific job despite the demeaning attack on it by New York Times and others, stop Islamic terrorism in the city. They should really be on their guard. And I'm sure that Commissioner Bratton will be instructing his troops accordingly because these men and women work too hard to be victims like this.  

KELLY: Indeed. We heard earlier that there was a patrol bulletin urging heightened awareness for NYPD tonight, obviously in the wake of what happened.

Let me ask you for a broader perspective on this, Congressman, as somebody who devotes the majority of his career to Homeland Security issues and trying to keep us safe. We have seen so many attempts on New York City, you know, in the form of car bombs, attempted in Times Square and so on. If this is a radicalized -- if this is a self-radicalized or otherwise radicalized jihadist sympathizer who has just put a hatchet in the head of a New York City police officer, then what are we seeing here?  I mean, is this a terrorist attack on American soil?

KING: I think if all those facts that we discussed turn out to be accurate then this is definitely another terrorist attack on American soil, another terrorist attack against New York City.

And Megyn, I can't emphasize enough, we can have all the technology in the world, but more than anything else to stop these types of attacks, you need intelligence on the ground, you need informants. You need sources. You need to be able to work your way into those communities without worrying about lawsuits, without worrying about being attacked by the media, without having hands tied by politically correct politicians and judges -- judges stopping police from doing their job.

Because we see now how tragic it can be, how real it can be. And the only way you can get that information is by being active on the ground and not worry about people saying you're being politically correct in profiling. Get the job done. And to get it done, you have to get full cooperation from the community -- that's the underground -- and you can't have your hands tied by the -- or by politically incorrect media.  

KELLY: In addition to raising the awareness of the New York City police tonight, what do you believe will likely be done? What should be done as they investigate whether in fact this was terror or just a lunatic who appears to have radicalized Facebook and other online postings? What should be done right now to protect the nation and law enforcement and military?

KING: First of all, we have to attempt to get more intelligence, obviously through the means of the FBI and CIA, and the others used, but also into the communities, because the people are being radicalized. People are -- whether they have mental issues -- the only way we're going to find out about that in advance is by people in the neighborhood, in the communities, in the mosques, people in the organizations, people in the gathering halls where people in the community talk, and you know who's dangerous, you know who's not. I think we could have stopped the Boston marathon bombing if the FBI had told the Boston police what to look for. The Boston police were never told about it. It's them, it's the cops, the local cops are the people on the ground. They're the ones who work day in and day out.

You go where the enemy's coming from. When they were going after (inaudible) they went to the Irish-American community. When they were going after the (inaudible) they went to the Italian-American community (inaudible). If you're going after Islamic terrorism, you go into the Muslim community and use your sources and your resources and you find out all the information you possibly can because intelligence is the real answer here. That's the only way you're going to stop even an attack like this. People in the community may have known about this person and what he was capable of. We're going to be facing a lot more of this over the next several years. We have to get used to it and we have to be ready for it.

KELLY: Get used to it, what a headline.

Congressman, thank you very much for your time tonight. We appreciate it, sir.

KING: Megyn, thank you.

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