Rep. Michael McCaul: Developments in Yemen 'Greatly Disturb Me'

Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul on the violent unrest in Yemen.
9:53 | 03/22/15

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Transcript for Rep. Michael McCaul: Developments in Yemen 'Greatly Disturb Me'
Breaking news major developments in a country considered one of the most dangerous in the world to the US. And now US special forces announcing their pulling out of Yemen. Because of the growing chaos meaning there will be no US presence on the ground there which could have a huge impact in the fight against prices. And al-Qaeda. ABC's Alex mark court has been tracking all of it good morning Alex. Good morning Martha it's hard to see the situation in Yemen this morning as anything other than complete anarchy in a failed state a complex web of warring factions that have pushed the US out and treated a vacuum that America's biggest enemies are now trying to fill. This weekend yemen's growing chaos forcing the US to pull out completely. The State Department saying 100 military trainers and special operations forces have now left. Forces that had remained even after the US embassy closed last month. Eliminating the American presence in a country the Obama administration considers vital for counterterrorism. We continued to go after. High value targets inside of Yemen and to continue we will continue to maintain the pressure that's required. To keep the American people safe. But now the unrest in Yemen has reached a new low. The US backed president has fled the capital. Rebels from the Shiite who. US now in charge and this morning taking over yemen's third biggest city. Then during Friday prayers suicide attacks that struck two different Shiite mosques more than 130. People killed. A Sunni jihadist group claiming links to ice this warning this is just the beginning. It's unclear how much I Asus is actually been involved in these attacks but I do think what is clear is that there. Their ideology. And their inspiration. Has impacted several of these attacks. Yemen spokesman in Washington tweeting I hate to say this but I'm hearing the loud and clear beating of the drums of war. It was in Yemen that the USS Cole was attacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers in 2017. American sailors were killed. Then in 2012 in an operation designed by the Yemen based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula the so called underwear bomber tried to bring down a plane with plastic explosives. Martha Raddatz later touring the school and apartment where he trained. And back here in Tunisia the government overnight releasing new video of that attack on the national museum that left at least 21 people dead. He says president saying this morning a third gunman was involved but he escaped. That attack like the ones in Yemen evidence of ice is trying to expand their global reach. Martha. Thanks Alex now this stunning new threat from a group claiming to rep present crisis. Publishing and online hit list with the names addresses and photos of US military personnel. The Pentagon is responding this morning and ABC's hang wish McDonald joins us with the latest good morning Hamlisch. Martha good morning DC is unprecedented. The names and addresses. The around a hundred US military personnel published on line by group calling itself. The Islamic state packing division and they cooling only support is to kill those identified at home in the United States now a pentagon spokesman. This told ABC news that they weren't confirmed if the but we do know they've been contacting the families all of those on the least. Mainly air force and navy personnel. On the same calm FaceBook page series abroad a warning saying that they rob bad actors out there trying to getting your information. For the road and benefit and potentially to use it against you now it does not appear that this information was actually hacked from government service. Officials as saying this morning that most of this information was already in the public domain. Places like social media. Martha. Thanks hey mission let's bring in a chair of the house homeland security committee congressman Michael not call mister chairman I wanna go back to Yemen. And the dangers there can you tell us what the latest intelligence on that situation is. Well I think the promise rocketed have any intelligence in Yemen yemen's one most dangerous spots in the world. Al-Qaeda and Arabian Peninsula as he. Largest external operation force within al-Qaeda they're responsible for he's under broadcasts the underwear bomber. Fired a plots against the west in the last several years. They were tied to the Corzine group and Syria to make bombs to blow your points now. We pulled our embassy out in our special operations and and that became because of the chaos have taken over the third largest city. Hutu rebels are effort precisely at a now because we we are withdrawn completely. We will have no intelligence footprint or capabilities. To monitor their what 83. This year militants or are doing in the region and without it would get intelligence stops plots against the homeland. Without that intelligence we cannot effectively stop and that's what I'm most concerned about it this is what the State Department is saying this morning we also continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and have. Capabilities postured in the area to address and it's just not as good Brett is cited citing country and the human intelligence value is not there. The mayor we can launch drone strikes from other countries but if you don't have that intelligence on the ground. How do you know who to hit where and when and where we don't have allies on the ground we don't it is the allies rarely Isla less. And they know it what it's a model for what he. We pulled out of Libya now look what's happened safe haven in a vacuum ice is training. And on the militants to hit in Tunisia. And now we get a Yemen. But in all northern Africa seems to be falling to. This power vacuum and that has been filled by the terrorists and an ice is joining with al-Qaeda I think it all seems to be blurted. If it is getting more blurry I know that they cute he's very much. Fights crisis on the other hand book go wrong recently pledged their latest crisis and I predict you're gonna see more more. This is shifting of al-Qaeda affiliates going to a crisis because. They are of the game in town. It and so I think these developments and in Yemen greatly disturbing because of yeah. The potential to attack the United States and and then let's talk about what's going on in Iraq a couple of weeks ago I was in Baghdad people seemed quite confident that the Iraqi Security Forces would be able to retake to create. Which then they could go on and do most all but we're saying that completely stalled. Art I think it's it's a matter of leadership and policy I think that we're not look in the military do their job here. It's a policy of containment not at a policy to degrade and destroy a defeat. Prices in the region yet the president when he stood watch your strikes in Syria. The same day touted Yemen as a model for counterterrorism operations and that is now imploded. We can't have the same things have we have we have no intelligence and Syria. Which is a major problem. We have to give more aggressive in taking down ice this where they exist. In the head of the snake is in Iraq and Syria at an end just on that note today you saw the threats against the US military in this hit list with a hundred names on it they probably compiled after a social media. And yet to say have the capability. To strike those people who have families. Wrote we have the foreign fighters found there about 30000 of them 5000 well surpass Ford's. According to do united clapper a 180 have returned for gone to the region and we haven't done number that I kicked disclosed publicly. They're here in the united states of the foreign fighters in addition is that the homegrown violent extremists. Who can be inspired and radicalized over the Internet. As we're greatly concerns me to inspire them to attack our military in the United States and I think unfortunately you would be not so difficult to pull off. Thank you very much for joining us German McCall. And are now joining us general Carter Ham retired commander of US. Africa command general general ham I want to talk to you about these threats to the families specifically and that you you're just heard chairman called talk about it it could be possible they can carry out the check 12% due to a. Obviously dead to the families the specific families that were identified in this in this release. But more broadly across the armed services to know that those who engaging in social media that that information. And now can be corrupted it in used by a terrorist organization. To threaten them in a worst case. What what they hope to do is inspire or motivate. As someone here in the United States. To attack or kill. These decent service members or their families. And and I have to say that last night when this first came out I went on FaceBook to see if I could find those people that they talked about very easy to find. The Defense Department said clean up your social media Kelenna on again this morning and and some of those pictures were still public in those names on FaceBook accounts showing their in the military. I I suppose you would say about social media as well. Yes the department defense has been very active over the past many years of reminding service members in their family's to be very cautious. About the information that you put on social me. Disabling your geo location. Being today are very circumspect about the location of the service members for a precisely the reason that has now played out. And I worry that this increasing sophistication by this. He's Islamic terrorist organizations. To manipulate social media to their own ends. It is is a very worrying trend and it got to worry about cyber security to absolutely OK thank you very much for joining us general.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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