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Ex-White House adviser: Trump's Muslim plan is a risk to national security

Ex-White House adviser on San Bernardino investigation 04:34

Donald Trump is standing by his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, despite the barrage of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, the White House, as well as other world leaders.

The Republican presidential frontrunner fired back in a tweet Tuesday night, saying: "So many foolish people that refuse to acknowledge the tremendous danger and uncertainty of certain people coming into U.S."

But Fran Townsend, a former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush, says Trump's comments raises dangers to national security.

"Our greatest counter-terrorism allies are actually our Arab partners -- the Saudis, the Emirates -- who give us better on-the-ground intelligence about threats coming our way than any other service," Townsend told "CBS This Morning" Wednesday. "The other thing is our diplomats and military get put at risk because they represent the U.S. in these Arab countries."

Townsend also said that the comments could turn members of the Muslim community away from providing useful information to U.S. intelligence.

"Here in this country, it is incredibly important that we not alienate our Muslim friends here in the United States and around the world," Townsend said.

Townsend's comments follow Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson's condemnation of Trump's proposal on MSNBC Tuesday, calling it "irresponsible, probably illegal, unconstitutional, and contrary to international law (and) un-American" which could actually "hurt our efforts at homeland security and national security."

The Pentagon also signaled that Trump's proposal could threaten national security.

"Anything that bolsters ISIL's narrative and pits the United States against the Muslim faith is certainly not only contrary to our values but contrary to our national security," spokesman Peter Cook said Tuesday, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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