Transcript: Bob Schieffer's interview with Rep. Michael McCaul


  BOB SCHIEFFER:  And good morning, again.  As you probably know by now, there has been another mall shooting.  Yesterday, a 19-year-old that police have now identified as Darien Marcus Aguilar, of College Park, Maryland, took a shotgun and two homemade explosive devices into a suburban mall in Maryland, shot and killed two people, then apparently turned the gun on himself.

Plus, there is a new threat against the Sochi Olympics that has surfaced this morning, from the same group that claimed responsibility for the bombings in Volgograd, Russia last month.  Those bombings killed at least 34 people.  For the latest on both of these stories, we're going to go now to the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, Michael McCaul.  He is just back from Sochi.  And I want to get to your trip, Mr. Chairman.

But first I want to know if you know anything more about the shooting at the Columbia mall yesterday.  We're told that police call it an isolated incident.  I take that to mean this was not a terrorist thing.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: No, that's correct.  This is not a terrorist threat at all.  It's probably more a domestic squabble.  But it does highlight the vulnerability of shopping malls.  Two shootings of soft targets like we saw in the Kenya shopping mall case.  Now that's the kind of scenario we do not want to see happen in the United States.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what do we do?  More security at the malls?  What do you do to combat that?


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, you can't have a security lockdown at our malls, but things like canines, a heavier canine presence are very good at detecting explosives.  I know this individual had a backpack of explosives.  But the fact is, Bob, it's very difficult to stop a lone gunman who may have mental issues that wants to kill people.  I mean, you can only do so much to stop that.


BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, let's turn to Sochi.  I know you're just back.  I know when you were there, you said you wanted to come back and get more intelligence before you decided whether you would recommend that your own family go to Sochi for the games.  Where does that stand right now in light of now, yet another terrorist threat to the games?


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, that's a difficult question to answer.  I would say we should not scare people from attending the Olympics.  It's a time honored tradition.  If we do not support our team and show up, I think the terrorists are winning and that's what they're trying to do here.

Having said that, I would say that the security threat to this particular Olympics are the greatest I think I've ever seen because of the proximity of the terrorists to the Olympic village.  And just recently, Bob, most significantly now we have the leader of Al Qaeda, Zawahiri, from Pakistan, Afghanistan, now calling for a global jihad against these Olympics.  As a Homeland Security chairman, that is very disturbing to me in terms of the security at the Olympics.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk about that a little.  I mean, is this something-- should we just cancel this whole thing?  Should we not put our athletes in harm's way?  I mean, when he's talking about a worldwide jihad, that sounds like pretty serious stuff here.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: It's concerning.  It's a little spooky, combined with these so-called black widows we know are seeking revenge for their husbands' death in the Caucus region.  And we know one of these black widows penetrated the ring of steel, if you will, that Putin has put up.

I don't think it's a time to be an alarmist and cancel.  If this thing gets worse, maybe we would consider that.  But remember, this ring of steel has got 100,000 security officials.  I saw them down there, the Cossacks.  You had the special forces, the military.  This is quite a fortified event.  Putin is putting everything he has from a security standpoint down there.

We have also added our diplomatic security corps, FBI agents and others to help with the security.  The perimeter itself I think is secure, the Olympic village.  I think the real threat lies outside this ring of steel, where soft targets can be hit quite easily.

And I think you're probably going to see more of those, like you just saw with that train bombing you had on the program earlier by a suicide bomber (UNINTEL) and they're calling for more of these attacks just as of yesterday.  So I think you're going to see more of these attacks, but outside the perimeter.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Congressman, do you think we are getting the kind of cooperation that we need from Putin himself?  I know for a while there he wasn't talking to the outside agents (UNINTEL).  He said, "We'll handle all this."  Is that situation changed at all?


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: Well, the one sense you get over there in Russia is a sense of national pride.  They do not want the United States to come in and tell them how to secure their Olympic games.  We have a delicate balance to deal with.  I would say the area of cooperation that could be most effective but is not happening right now would be the intelligence sharing and also military sharing with respect to these IEDs being the weapon of choice for these terrorists.  We have these jamming devices that could stop IEDs from going off.  We've offered that to the Russians.  And so far they have not accepted that offer.  I would implore them to work with us on that.


BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, just tell us where we are right now.  Where does this stand?  How dangerous is this?  What has to happen here?  What needs to be done?


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: I think what brings this home, Bob, is, I remember appearing on the show talking about the Boston bombers and trying to explain why this area is so important.  This is the Chechen rebels.  This is, you know, the Dagestan area that's been at war with Russia for 150 years.

And now it's spun off into a radical Islamic (UNINTEL).  And so again, the concern-- you know, my job is to look at threat assessments and to protect Americans.  We're going to have 10,000 to 15,000 Americans at these Olympics.  So this latest development with the leader of Al Qaeda, there's never been this connection between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Chechen rebels before.  Although, some would argue there's been support.  But for the first time, Zawahiri coming out and endorsing, blessing and calling for this global jihad against the Olympics, wow, that gives me great pause.


BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, very disturbing news this morning.  But thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I hope you'll keep us informed.



Jackie Berkowitz, Director of Communications

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