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McCarthy concerned of terror ‘sleeper cells’ in US amid Israel-Hamas war, says speaker must prioritize border

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., warned Sunday of potential terror “sleeper cells” in the United States amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Throwing support behind Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., for his old job as the lower chamber of Congress has remained without a speaker for three weeks, McCarthy said that whoever takes on the role must prioritize border security. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” McCarthy pointed to a new report released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that shows 18 people on the FBI’s terror watch list were apprehended at the southern border in September, accounting for the more than 160 caught so far this year.

“It’s going to be an uphill battle,” McCarthy said of the speakership fight after Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Steve Scalise, R-La., both failed to secure enough votes.

“But if you simply look at what’s the chaos right now, a wide-open southern border. I’m concerned about a cell sitting inside America today,” McCarthy said. “We just caught 18 people just last month on the FBI terrorist watch list coming across our border. More than 160 have done it this year.”

He added, “When we’re looking around the Middle East and the uprisings popping up around Europe and others, they could be sleeper cells right now in America. But this administration [hasn’t done anything] to change what’s happening on the southern border.”

“I would have already sent aid to Israel,” he said. “I would have stood up to the antisemitism that’s coming across the aisle. The lies that are being said by the Democrats where [House Minority Leader] Hakeem [Jeffries] just says there’s no statement. I would have made sure that we had looked at our own border, that we don’t have any sleeping cells here, that we would actually stop these terrorists coming across our own border. And I would have made sure from that perspective going forward that Israel had every sophisticated weapon they needed to defend themselves.” 

Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to and on Twitter: @danimwallace. 


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