McCaul confident ISIS bomb downed Russian airline, compares tragedy to 9/11 attacks

Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Sunday he’s convinced that an Islamic State bomb recently took down a Russian airliner, comparing the incident to the 9/11 terror attacks and calling for tightened U.S. security.

“All indicators are pointing to the fact that it was ISIS putting a bomb on an airplane,” McCaul told “Fox News Sunday.” “I have a high degree of confidence. It’s been my gut (feeling) all along. … This is comparable to 9/11 for” Russia.

McCaul said he’s basing his conclusion in large part on intelligence reports, ISIS’ declaration of war on Russia and flight data recovered from the plane, which officials say recorded a “loud bang” before the Oct. 31 incident.

The Russian-bound commercial jet crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. Most of the passengers were Russian.

Officials now increasingly suspect somebody, perhaps an airport worker, planted the bomb at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport in Egypt, from where the plane departed.

“All indicators are pointing to the fact that it was ISIS putting a bomb on an airplane.”

— Sen. Mike McCaul, R-Texas

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    The Transportation Security Administration has taken additional safety measures on U.S.-bound flights from the Middle East, including additional screening.

    McCaul said he thinks the agency has been “proactive” in its response but suggested security is needed to focus more on airport or airline employees.

    “It's a huge threat,” said McCaul, who also argued that ISIS appears to be the bomb-making threat that Al Qaeda has notoriously been.

    Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial jets on Sept. 11, 2001, slamming one into the Pentagon and two into the World Trade Center towers in New York. Passengers fought against the terrorists in the fourth plane, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa. Nearly 3,000 were killed in the attacks.

    McCaul also said the Russian plane tragedy was, in part, the fault of the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy.

    “When you project weakness throughout the world and you have a failed foreign policy, this is what you get,” McCaul told Fox. “And now we have chaos in the Middle East, have ISIS taking over Iraq, Syria, Northern Africa, Egypt. Now we have the Russians in there; it has presented a very complicated strategy moving forward in terms of protecting the American people.”