Issa: White House putting legacy over Americans' security

Critics blast Secretary of State Kerry for suggesting Iran could bypass visa restrictions


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 22, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The Iranians are saying we're violating this agreement. Did you hear me on that? They are saying we violated this agreement.

And this new visa policy that was put into the latest spending bill that required some 30-some-odd countries if it involves traveling through the likes of Iran or Iraq or Syria, well, those visas could get more closely scrutinized, if not outright pulled. And the Iranians are saying that violates this agreement. You're cheating, U.S. of A.

That would be like me telling you all of you to go on a diet. That is chutzpah, my friends.

California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa doesn't like the fact that we are kowtowing to their demands and trying to reassure them.

It is weird, Congressman. But did I get the gist of that right?

REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: You did. And it's even worse than you can explain.

Visa waiver is a program that lets 38 nations that we particularly trust have their citizens go online, fill out a form and then go to the airport. The only thing that will happen, if you visit and maybe get terrorist training in Syria or in Iran, is that you will have to go to the consulate for an interview, what every other country on Earth does, except these 38 special, trusted countries like Britain.

And this was a very measured response to the reality that some of those people who murdered in France could have gotten on a plane under visa waiver and come here and done it.

This wasn't about Iran. But if Iran wants to make it about the reality that they're a state sponsor of terrorism, well, bring it on.

CAVUTO: You know what is weird about it? I could see any of these 38 countries, but the travel through some dangerous countries gets the attention of authorities now, right? Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, might be others.

But would that alone, Congressman, get them -- get you stopped, so you would have to be pulled over, go to a consulate or whatever, because the Iranians are claiming you're deliberately changing things for Iranians who are trying to travel or those who visited Iran, and that's not fair, that's not right? And that is a change.

ISSA: Well, it's a change as to our 38 nations that we have visa waiver with. It's a change the Europeans -- and they're -- most of the countries are European -- realize happens.

But let's remember, what we're dealing with is simply saying, if you have gone somewhere, not for an hour, but you have gone somewhere and been radicalized, we would like to have an interview with you, we should like to have that one chance for Secretary Kerry's employees to interview these people, and maybe, just maybe, catch a few of these people who have been radicalized before they come here.

And, you know, the questions they ask are not going to be, are you radicalized? They are going to be, did you go to a terrorist training camp? And, oh, by the way, why are you coming to the United States?


CAVUTO: But who would answer yes to that? It's like when they ask you at an airport, has this luggage ever left your presence? Anyone who says, yes, it did, I saw a guy in some robes take it, obviously, it's stupid, right? So, who is going to answer the affirmative to that?

But part of it is, what, a screening process that the Iranians are objecting to?

ISSA: Well, the Iranians are objecting to anything that -- quote -- "hurts their tourism, their freedom." They think what they got was a complete get out of jail free.

But they didn't. When the House voted on this piece of legislation included in the omnibus, 407 Republicans and Democrats all agreed that we need to tighten up the visa waiver program to protect Americans.

CAVUTO: But I'm worried, though, that the secretary of state has been very concerned -- very concerned about the Iranians' concerns, certainly a lot more than he seemed to be -- I don't want to accuse him of anything -- than your concern about the deal itself.

So, we seem to be bending over backwards for Iranians concerned about this deal, not so much Iranians who themselves might be cheating left and right on this deal.

ISSA: Well, exactly.

And the Iranians -- Iranians are already cheating with their nuclear -- or their firing of missiles. But let's remember this is about the president's legacy over the American people's security. And when you have 407 out of 435 members of Congress all agreeing that we need to tighten up security to protect American from foreign nationals coming here, it's not something the president has some sort of freedom to just say, we're going to waive it.

The intent of Congress was clear when it came to these countries, none of which are Iran, that these individual citizens of countries other than Iran need to in fact be -- go through a secondary -- if they have traveled to countries stated in the bill or added later by a responsible president as countries of interest for radicalizing people.

CAVUTO: Weird.

Chairman, thank you very, very much. Good seeing you again.

ISSA: Thank you, Neil. Merry Christmas.

CAVUTO: Merry Christmas to you as well, sir. All right.

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