Feinstein: Chattanooga shooter likely a lone wolf

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday she believes that the shooting spree at a Marine facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this week that left five dead was "a classic, lone wolf terrorist attack."

Investigators have identified Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, as the gunman behind the attacks. Officials believe that he traveled on at least four separate occasions to Jordan with the last recorded date of travel between April 2014 and November, but do not have any information to suggest that the trips were connected to any violent extremist activities.

Feinstein cited the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) put out a call in 2014 for people in the United States to attack military, police or other government officials on their own.

"It could well be that this is that case. Here's somebody who had guns, who knew how to use them, who may have been aggrieved by one thing or another," Feinstein said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

She said an "extraordinarily dangerous" environment has been created by the fact that people can communicate between Syria, an ISIS stronghold, and the United States with an encrypted application that cannot be decrypted by the government without a court order.

"This concerns me very greatly. I have met with the chief counsels of the internet companies, pointed this out, asked for help," Feinstein said, adding that it is possible to obtain directions for making a bomb and where to sit on an airplane to maximize damage on the internet. "I've asked the internet companies to take that off. They will not do it, unless they are mandated to do it by law."

This reality puts more pressure on the U.S. to defeat ISIS overseas, Feinstein said.

"We're gonna fight them there or we're going to fight them here," she said. "Now, whether degrade and destroy is enough, I think the jury is out. We have been counting on our Sunni Arab neighbors to help, and, candidly, there has been some help but clearly, not enough. So I think this is a constant battle, and will be a constant battle, and we have to understand that there are lots of people out there who are going to succumb to the lures of the propaganda and try to do these kinds of things."

On the nuclear deal with Iran, Feinstein has been one of the more supportive Democrats to weigh in. She said that the "jury is out" with regards to whether other members of her party will support the deal, but she hopes they do.

"I believe it's our one opportunity. I believe you can't ignore the fact you have Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany all aligned," Feinstein said. She predicted that the powers that negotiated the deal will see it approved by the United Nations and that other nations will drop their sanctions against Iran at some point regardless of what the U.S. does.

She also responded to concerns by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in an earlier interview on "Face the Nation" that the deal has become Israel's "biggest security problem."

"I think it's pretty clear to everybody that America has Israel's back. We give huge amount of money, $25 billion dollars, we give security help, help with the Iron Dome, help with other sophisticated programs, precision weapons. And, if Israel were to be attacked, this would be major war on our part," Feinstein said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.