CBS Anchor: 'Extremist Forces' Attacked U.S. on 9/11; Sen. Warner: 'Insurgents' Attacked Capitol

Susan Jones | September 12, 2022 | 6:29am EDT
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Security agents patrol the roof of the Pentagon during a remembrance ceremony to mark the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2022. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)
Security agents patrol the roof of the Pentagon during a remembrance ceremony to mark the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2022. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation," host Margaret Brennan said as her Sunday talk show went on the air. Her next sentence: "Twenty-one years ago today, Americans united in their grief and in their opposition to extremist forces who attacked the country on September 11," she said.

The word "extremist" is frequently used these days to describe supporters of Donald Trump. President Biden most recently used the word "extreme" to describe those political opponents in a speech on September 9:

"Extreme MAGA Republicans just don’t threaten our personal and economic rights; they embrace political violence," Biden said. "They refuse to accept the will of the people. They threaten our very democracy. They — and that’s not hyperbole. To this day, they defend the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th."

'We are safer, better prepared'

Appearing on Brennan's show, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the intelligence committee, said the country is safer now than it was 21 years ago, but he took the opportunity to mention "the insurgency that took place on January 6th."

"[I]n many ways, we defeated the terrorists because of the resilience of the American public, because of our intelligence community," Warner said:

"And we are safer, better prepared. The stunning thing to me is, here we are 20 years later, and the attack on the symbol of our democracy was not coming from terrorists, but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6.

"So I believe we are stronger. I believe our intelligence community has performed remarkably. I think the threat of terror has diminished. I think we still have new challenges in terms of nation-state challenges, Russia and, longer term, a technology competition with China.

"But I do worry about some of the activity in this country, where the election deniers, the insurgency that took place on January 6, that is something I hope we could see that same kind of unity of spirit."

‘[L]essons still to be learned’ from 9/11

Over on CNN's "State of the Union," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also drew a line from 9/11 to what she called current-day "extremism."

"Every time we approach September 11, I do think about everything that I saw, all the people that I met, the families of those who lost loved ones," Clinton said:

"So, it is indelibly part of my memories. And I feel grateful that we were able to come together as a country at that really terrible time. We put aside differences. I wish we could find ways of doing that again. We rebuilt New York.

"We have done our best to take care of the families that lost so much on that terrible day. And we have also, I think, been reminded about how important it is to try to deal with extremism of any kind, especially when it uses violence to try to achieve political and ideological goals.

"So, I'm one who thinks that there are lessons still to be learned from what happened to us on 9/11 that we should be very aware of during this time in our country and the world's history."

Clinton said she gives President Biden "a lot of credit for trying to continue to reach out to people, while still sounding the alarm about the threats to our democracy."

'I think that we have to admit that there are attacks from within'

Vice President Kamala Harris told NBC's "Meet the Press" it is "not helpful to our country when we have people who are denying elections or trying to obstruct the outcome of an election where the largest number of people in our country voted for the president of the United States.

"And when we look at where we are, I think that we have to admit that there are attacks from within...And we need to take it seriously."

Her interview with Chuck Todd was recorded on Friday and played on Sunday.

Todd told his viewers, "I began by asking the Vice President about how, over two decades, our focus has had to shift from foreign terror to the threat from within."

"I think it is very dangerous, and I think it is very harmful," Harris said.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told MSNBC on Sunday that the terrorist threat has "evolved" from al-Qaeda to "foreign-inspired attacks" to "domestic-based" extremism:

"Now the principal terrorist threat to our homeland is domestic-based, domestic-based violent extremism. And Homeland Security, FBI need to be focused on that principally as the terrorist threat to our homeland."

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