Public Threat Assessments Politicized

Public Threat Assessments Politicized

WASHINGTON (AP) -- If you want a straightforward answer on the terror threat Americans face this holiday weekend, don't ask a politician in a campaign year.

The Republican and Democratic heads on the House Intelligence Committee on Sunday gave opposing, at times muddled answers as to what exactly the U.S. is up against. Neither cited a specific, credible threat.

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes said the Islamic State group and al-Qaida are growing in size and strength. Yet his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Adam Schiff, said the Islamic State group is "losing territory but at the same time expanding its global presence."

Nunes says new recruits are being radicalized every day, while Schiff claims fewer foreign fighters are joining IS.

In June, CIA Director John Brennan told Congress that the U.S. battle against the Islamic State group has not yet curbed its global reach and that they are expected to plot more attacks on the West and incite lone wolves to violence. He said the group has a large cadre of Western fighters who could attack the West.

Schiff reiterated this position on Sunday.

"ISIS is still virulent," Schiff said. "It is very much losing territory but at the same time expanding its global presence. And when people are self-radicalized, as we've seen in the United States and they don't share their plotting with others, that makes it very tough to stop."

When asked about how to curb online radicalization, Nunes seemed to skirt the question by responding with the GOP accusation that President Barack Obama is taking "victory laps" in Iraq and Syria without looking at the bigger global picture.

Nunes spoke on "Fox News Sunday." Schiff spoke on CBS "Face the Nation."