The pressure cooker explosive devices used in two bombings in New York and New Jersey look like models propagated by al Qaida terrorists, says chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
Burr appeared on Fox News Monday night to address the recent attacks and national security. He said federal investigators are still analyzing evidence to figure out whether suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami – a 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan – acted alone this past weekend and whether he was directed or inspired by an organized terrorist group. Rahami was arrested Monday.
This has been influenced greatly by terrorists around the world.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr on weekend attacks
“Complex attack, multiple devices, multiple locations, a tremendous amount of pre-planning had to go into it,” Burr said to Fox New’s Bret Baier. “Could one person do it? Sure. (But) in all likelihood … Probably unlikely.”
The explosive devices set off Saturday in New York City and near Seaside Park, New Jersey, “look like they were matched out of Inspire magazine,” Burr said, referring to a publication developed by al Qaida and available online.
Also Monday, Burr renewed his call for a “pause” on certain refugees and immigrants entering the United States – a position he’s staked out and defended in recent months as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom Burr supports, has made a temporary “ban” on Muslims a central part of his campaign.
Debate over immigration security issues surfaced again Monday in Washington in light of a Department of Homeland Security report that at least 850 people may have been erroneously granted citizenship or allowed to avoid deportation orders due to inadequate fingerprinting records and tracking.
“Let’s figure out a system where we can feel confident,” Burr said on Fox.
Burr’s Democratic challenger has criticized his push for a pause, saying national security is a top priority but filtering potential immigrants and refugees based on a religious test would be wrong.
In a statement to McClatchy earlier this year, Democrat Deborah Ross said: “Instead of supporting an effort to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns, Senator Burr is behind an unenforceable ban on people coming into the country based on their stated religious beliefs.”
Ross was referring to Burr’s opposition to Democratic-written “no fly, no buy” legislation. Republicans and Democrats in Congress floated competing “no fly, no buy” proposals earlier this summer. Burr supported the GOP version of the bill. Proposals on both sides of the aisle have failed to get enough support to pass.
On national security and Islamic State terrorism, Ross supports more airstrikes on ISIS territory and offensive tactics to wipe out oil tankers and infrastructure providing income for terrorist operations. She’s also called for doubling the number of federal agents on the U.S. border with Mexico and increasing funding for federal agencies to ensure adequate vetting of refugees, immigrants and visitors entering the U.S.
Ross and Burr are in a close race with seven weeks of campaigning left. Burr is seeking a third term in the Senate and has said it will be his last.
He told Baier Monday that North Carolina, a “battleground state,” may be where voters determine the next president.
And, he said of his own re-election effort, “I’d love to be running unopposed – I’m not … But I’m confident that if people judge me on my record, not only will I be back but … I’ll have an administration that has a different way forward as it relates to terrorism.”