OTR Interviews

Lessons from France terror siege: A 'new phase' of terrorism is upon us

South Carlina senator believes US and world is threatened by more terror groups with more safe avens and capibilities than before 9/11

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: As we all watch the Paris terrorist siege unfold, there's new concerns about our security and a possible attack right here in America.

Senator Lindsey Graham tweeting, "I fear we are entering a new phase against terrorism. Find ourselves dealing with more terror groups, safe havens and capability than before 9/11."

And Senator Lindsey Graham joins us. Good evening, sir.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Very distressing, very disturbing. This is not getting any better.

GRAHAM: No, it's not. The operative word here is "more." More terrorists, more organizations with more weapons with more safe havens, more capabilities than there were before 9/11 to strike our homeland. In a perverse kind of way, there's a jihadi Olympic contest between these groups, and the gold medal will go to the one that can hit us here in America. So I'm very worried.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's interesting, the State Department issued this worldwide caution tonight and talks about, you know, all the unsafe places in the world, and names every single continent --

GRAHAM: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: -- from North Africa -- but the one thing it doesn't say is the United States -- it's absolutely silent about the United States as though we are hermetically sealed and we're safe. But that's not true.

GRAHAM: No, it's not. They would rather hit us here than anywhere. They have a lot of foreign fighters that have gone to Syria and Iraq. And different organizations are trying to come here. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is in charge of the Yemen area. There's 68 of the 132 detainees at Guantanamo Bay come from Yemen. And the Obama administration seems to be hell-bent on letting people out of Guantanamo Bay at a time when it really is dangerous.

So, Senator Ayotte has legislation to put a moratorium on releases from Guantanamo Bay from medium and high-level threats. I hope that passes soon. And I hope the president will reevaluate his failed policies, because we no longer interrogate terror suspects, we read him the Miranda rights, and at the end of the day, the budget cuts for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community is making it less safe for us, degrading our capability to pick up one of these attacks.

VAN SUSTEREN: If we have fear, unease at home tonight, here in the United States, how do we know it's not just sort of hysteria as sort of the having been provoked by Paris and that, instead, it's being really smart and about what's the possibility? I mean, how do you draw that line?

GRAHAM: I can assure you that the terrorist organizations that are more in number than they have ever been since 9/11 really want to come here. And to our FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and all those who are on the front lines protecting us, God bless you. They have to be right every time. The terrorist only has to be right once.

What you see happening in Europe is going to come here soon unless we take the fight to these guys. President Obama's policies towards Syria and Iraq and ISIL is not to degrade and destroy, but really to contain. This phased approach is really political double speak for I'm going to contain this problem until I get out of office. If he allows these guys a safe haven for three more years, because he doesn't want to take on ground components, the likelihood of us getting attacked goes up exponentially.

VAN SUSTEREN: You talk about all these terror groups, last night, here ON THE RECORD, we had a map around the world and we showed about where these terror cells are growing. It's on Gretawire, if anyone wants to see it.

Senator Graham, nice to see you, sir.